Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A new diet

I'm sure that most of you are thinking that because I just had a baby, I am dieting in order to lose the last of my baby weight.  That's a pretty normal assumption, I would think.  However, I really have to say that working out through pregnancy really did help me to keep my weight at a very reasonable level, and almost all of that weight has come off in the past 8 weeks.  I'm currently about 6-7 lbs (depending on the scale) over what I weight prior to getting preggers.  I'm pretty happy with that, and I know if I could fit a little more workout time into my schedule, I'd lose even more. 

Today's post is, unfortunately, a lot more heartwrenching (for me at least) that just a few lbs.  About two weeks ago I noticed that SYT had some blood in his stool when I changed his diaper.  Knowing that nothing about that was normal, I called the pediatrician's office to see if I needed to make an apointment, get a stool sample, etc.  Our pedi called me back, we discussed all the symptoms, and then, just like that, my next 6 months to a year are seriously changed. 

SYT is growing like a weed, has no symptoms of pain, is a generally happy baby, etc, etc.  The number one cause of blood in stools when the baby is healthy and growing well?  The inability to break down Cow's milk protein.  What's this you say?  What is cow's milk protein- it's dairy, ladies, DAIRY!  Oh, and it's just found in EVERY SINGLE FRICKIN THING AT THE GROCERY STORE!!!!!!  Yes, my friends, this woman is now on a dairy free diet.  DAIRY FREE!!!!!!!!!!  As in no milk products, none, nada, zip zilch.  Okay, so you think, ahhhh, stop whining and just get some soy milk for your cereal.  Oh no, I can have NO CHEESE, no butter, no yogurt, no cottage cheese, NO ICE CREAM, nothing with whey or caesin (pretty much all breads at the normal grocery store have at least one of these), no pesto (parmesan), no caprese salads, NO ICE CREAM, no baked cheetos or cheese-its (my go to salty snacks), no chocolate, no sour cream, no cream cheese, NO CHEESE, pretty much no baked goods (due to the butter) etc.  If you look on labels, most of them will give allergy information on the back.  Go ahead, look at the labels and see how many of them contain milk- it's a lot.  I have zero food allergies, so I've never realized how hard this could be, and I am now one very sympathetic person!

The pedi asked me right away how committed to breastfeeding I am.  I said that my plan was to nurse for a year.  I'm going to pump at work and, while I can't guarantee that SYT won't wean himself earlier than that, that's my current goal.  I still feel that way, but boy is it a lot more of a big deal now.  I have read a few articles that she sent me and have done some of my own research, and this isn't uncommon for babies to have.  There are many symptoms (fussiness, frequen spit ups, etc) that may take a while to diagnose, but bloody stools are really easy to spot and they immediately stopped after I gave up dairy.  In fact, one night up north, I took in dairy without even thinking about it (old habits die hard) and the next morning SYT had blood in his stool again.  That makes it pretty obvious to me that his little GI tract is having a hard time breaking those proteins down, and he needs me to be vigilant about not eating dairy in order to help him out. 

The good news is that I try reintroducing dairy into my diet when he is 6 months to see what happens.  50% of children outgrow this by then, and 98% outgrow it by their 1st birthday, so sometime between November and May, I should be able to add cheese, greek yogurt, and ice cream back into their normal place in my world.  I'm so glad that there is such a small risk of him actually having a dairy allergy, as it wouldn't be fun at all for him to miss out on so much food!  Giving it up for 6 months or 9 months is one thing, never experiencing a grilled cheese sandwich, an ice cream cone, or a glass of milk with a fresh baked cookie is another. 

So, yes, this is going to be hard.  I could just quit breastfeeding him and try out different formulas, but I love knowing that I'm able to provide something special for him, especially since I will be going back to work soon.  I also love that we have bonding time multiple times a day.  To me, breastfeeding is way worth it.  Living dairy free seems to be a healthy way of living.  I'll be eating lots of protein, lots of vegetables, lots of fruits, and very little processed foods.  Hopefully this will help to get off these last few pounds as well!!  (Especially if I can create a good schedule that allows me at least 45 min to work out- but that's another post!)

Any great dairy free recipes out there that you would like to share?  Does anyone have good baking recipes that DON"T involve butter, milk, or chocolate?  I just don't know how I'll survive if I don't get my time in the kitchen!  Any bloggers who have been through this that I need to be reading about?  I'd love any info you guys have!


  1. i don't have a dairy allergy, i am sensitive to dairy in large quantities, and i am allergic to soy, which is a major ingredient in the things you mentioned (except for cheese). i've found that the food for life baking company has the best gluten-free, soy-free bread. they also make an english muffin that is huge and is spongy like a marshmellow, it's texturally pleasing for me when i toast it and the outside is crispy brown and the inside is spongy still.

    it took a while, but i found that eating a plant-based diet during the day was the best option. i tend to eat a ton of fruits and veggies for meals, a combination of veggie sandwiches, salads, hummus and chips, etc during the day. and then at nighttime, i eat unprocessed meats (a lot of prepared meats have soy in it as a preservative) and there are a lot of ethnic foods that don't involve ethnic has been a fun challenge! coconut milk is often in thai and indian foods, which helps contribute to a creamy mouth-feel of foods without the dairy, if i'm correct!

    it's pretty rough to start with, i completely empathize and know how rough it is. there's a lot of websites dedicated to allergy-free recipes, and google has been my friend. if you need any help or support or a place to bitch, feel free, i've had many a day like that, but i promise, with time, it gets easier and you CAN do it!

  2. So sorry to hear that. I gave up dairy for 2 weeks when I thought it might be part of my digestive issues (i kind of think it might still be) and it was not fun. But you have the sweet baby boy and its for a short time in the scheme of life. I will let you know if I came across any recipes for you! I'll be thinking of you.

  3. go you on nixing the dairy, you will be so happy and have so much more energy... did it a few months ago and haven't looked back!

    go you on only 6 to 7 lbs eight weeks after the baby, you kick fanny!



  4. We thought my daughter had a dairy allergy (it turned out she didn't) and I was off dairy for a month. It was incredibly hard at first - like you said, almost everything processed has some sort of whey or casein in it. However, after 2 weeks dairy-free I had SO much energy - mostly because, I think, I wasn't eating much processed food. Just veggies, fruit, whole grain breads (carefully chosen to avoid the dairy), and lean protein. Since we found out she's not really allergic, I have gone back to dairy in small quantities but you'd be surprised how much better you feel without it!

    Good luck to you!!

  5. I've just stumbled upon your blog ~ so fun!

    I read that you had dinner in Grand Rapids. I was born and raised in East Lansing ~ so miss my home state.

    We went through the same thing when I was nursing my son. I had to stop eating dairy and really watch my diet but it was worth it in the end. Be careful of the veggies ~ some of them upset his tummy. To date, Nicholas does have a few food allergies but dairy isn't really one of them that he worries about. He can't however go overboard. If he eats too much in one day he gets ill and it takes a few days to get his stomach back in order. Hope that's not too much information ;)

    Best of luck~

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  7. Trust me, I am a fan of the dairy. BUT, why do we even eat/drink it!? The point of cow's milk is to make calfs (calves? how about just baby cows) into cows. We don't need it. Period. Now, I don't always practice what I preach, because I love cheese, ice cream, etc. but I get it and it is true. Milk and dairy is a scam. Try some of these Paleo sites to find dairy free recipes! Good luck!!!

  8. Oh, I am so sorry. I have no allergies and am incredibly grateful to be able to eat anything in sight (especially here in the Middle East when you can't always be sure what THAT is in front of you!) I was actually in pain reading about your restrictions. I cannot live without cheese and occasional chocolate and I love just about everything else on your list. (At least you are still allowed peanut butter!)

    I once spent a weekend on vacation with a mom who was bfing and on a dairy free diet. I felt so bad for her - she had to eat plain spaghetti with absolutely nothing on it.

    Can you use substitutes or do a lot of Vegan stuff? I know some happy Vegans and the best cupcake I've ever had in my life was a Vegan recipe.

    I guess the positive is that you figured out quickly what was wrong and he should be just fine. Good luck and let us know if you come across any fantastic new recipes.

  9. Oh, and ps: AWESOME job with the weight loss! Seriously, only 6-7 pounds??? I'm in awe!

  10. True that you will miss the ice cream and the cheese, but it will be worth it!!! Congrats on the Hubs getting a job offer too!!!

  11. Amazing that you have lost that much weight. I am sure cutting out dairy you are going to be less then you were before you got pregnant!

  12. my first reaction is to say "Oh dude, that seriously sucks!" Second is to say you can do it! I have had a handful of friends who were committed to that year of bfing... try soymilk and other non-dairy alternatives. It's hard but there are many options for you out there. You may want to seek a nutritionist because calcium is very important to the Mamma... baby will get his calcium from you but you don't want him depleting your calcium supply. I have found that parenting groups at iVillage were very helpful to me... you may find the answers you need there. Good luck and I'm proud of you for sticking with this! XOXO

  13. I am lactose intolerant and Logan is allergic to milk so I know LOTS about it! Email me your questions!

  14. I do know that there is a soy formula out there for children that have problems......

  15. Our pediatrician doesn't like to switch to soy when their is an obvious dairy problem as he states it's harder on babies/children to digest than milk.

    Keep up the breastfeeding you can eat quite well without dairy. And please check the bread you eat because most of them contain milk or milk products.

    By the way I found your blog about a month ago and think your baby boy is absolutely gorgeous! Good luck!

  16. You will get through this! I went dairy-free for a health issue of my own almost seven years ago, and although it was hard at first, I'm so glad I did it! I did find that while soy is fine sometimes, it's better not to overdo it. There are some great "treats" that make you feel like you're not on a "special diet" that make it a lot easier. Some of my favorites include: Sharon's Sorbet (chocolate or coconut), Earth Balance (dairy free butter substitute), Coconut Milk anything (!), Pomegranate Chip Soy Ice Cream, Newman's O's "Oreos"--and that's just the beginning! I would be happy to talk to you about other tricks and recipes; feel free to email or gchat me at!

  17. Oh wow - this sounds definitely challenging but I know you can do it! Please keep us updated on how it's going and hopefully we can try to help you along the way!


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