Unfortunately, there is no black and white answers when it comes to food allergies. Each of us will react to proteins in food based on our own health status and biochemical individuality.
Remember that adage, “One man’s food is another man’s poison”? Boy is that true more than ever today. Unfortunately dairy is a very common poison for a lot of children today.
This Is Not Your Mother’s Allergy
If you or your parents had allergies, you knew it. Sneezing, constant blowing ones nose, puffy eyes, wads of tissues all over the house – that is an allergy.
Today however our kids may not have a full blown allergy to something, making it much more insidious to spot in them. These are sensitivities and they can cause everything from bad behavior, to concentration difficulties, to skin issues, to poor sleep, chronic ear/nose/throat infections . . . even to temporarily bad handwriting. Really.
Allergies are pretty easy to spot, sensitivities are a lot more difficult to find, but both cause a host of issues in our children.
My Mom Wasn’t Allergic to Dairy
Heck, no one was allergic to dairy 20 years ago. It seemed like my household growing up would drink it by the barrel. And it wasn’t just milk. No, it was ice cream, butter, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and a bunch of things that sort of passed for cheese (Velveeta or Cheese Wiz anyone?), but they had dairy in them, too.
Come to think of it, no one I knew had a dairy allergy. Why all the problems now?
Milk: Does It Do a Body Good?
Milk and dairy were touted as great sources of protein, calcium, and vitamin D for everyone, especially children, for healthy bones and teeth. Unfortunately the research isn’t too convincing. For example:
- This study suggested that milk consumption does not improve the integrity of bone in children
- In this study, dairy consumption in adolescent girls does not prevent stress fractures
- The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study showed no benefit of milk consumption on fracture risk
- Dairy consumption has been linked to increased risk for prostate, breast, and ovarian cancer
- Multiple studies suggest dairy consumption is connected to Type I Diabetes when the genetic tendency is present
There are also the additional issues of the hormones and chemicals found in today’s commercially raised cattle, but that is a different story. Suffice it to say, the body can do just fine without dairy.
A1 – It’s Not Just a Steak Sauce
There is an interesting theory being talked about, and of course debated, that there are two different types of cows genetically speaking – A1 and A2.
As the theory goes, most cows used to be A2 cows, which produced milk that everyone could drink and be healthy. This is because of a protein in the milk called beta-casein and the A2 version of beta-casein doesn’t pose problems for people. (Supposedly this is the same type of beta-casein in goat and human milk).
They A1 cows also produce beta-casein, but it is a wee bit different, and when humans digest this type of milk protein from A1 cows, it supposedly turns into something called beta-casomorphin-7, which according to research has a host of issues:
- Oxidizes cholesterol, leading to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease
- Cause inflammation in the digestive system
- Negatively effects the immune and nervous system
- Can lead to sleep issues and brain fog
(For you science geeks, the 67th amino acid in A2 beta-casein is proline, but in A1 beta-casein, it is histidine. Amazing what one amino acid in 209 can do!)
In addition to the A1/A2 genetic variant, there are a host of other problems with today’s dairy:
- Grass fed versus CAFO fed (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation – corn, soy, and pretty much whatever farmers want to feed them)
- Hormones, antibiotics, and pretty much whatever farmers want to inject in them
- Happy cows living in a pasture versus unhappy cows living in their own excrement
Yeah, but…my kid LOVES cheese.
Yeah, you know what, and so do I. But I love my children more and am happy to keep it out of our diets. Isn’t it our job as parents to do what we can to support our child’s health? I mean, we brush their teeth every night, we give them baths, we make sure they get enough sleep…why does the buck stop just because little Johnny loves cheese sticks?
Dairy Free is Actually Very Easy. No really, it is.
Being dairy free is much easier than it has ever been.
I have a child who is severely allergic to dairy. Like, he breaks out in hives, his eyes swell shuts, and he has a full on asthma attack if he consumes it. It is a full on anaphylactic reaction.
Despite this, he has his fair share of all the regular kid foods like pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, butter, smoothies, ice cream, cookies, etc.
Substitutions are readily available these days. Some of our family’s favorites include:
Daiya cheese – Hate cheese alternatives? Me too! Until now. This stuff is incredible. It comes in shreds, slices, and block form. We always buy the shreds to put on sandwiches and pizza. But guess what, this company also makes frozen pizza, mac-n-cheese, and even cheesecake. Where do you get it? Health food stores and even our regular grocery chains carry it.
So Delicious Coconut Milk Products – When I bring this up to clients they’ll tell me, “Ew. I hate coconut.” Or, “I hate soy milk.” Or even, “I hate coconut water.” This is none of those things. So Delicious makes coconut milk in plain and vanilla and I guarantee you, after using it for a little while, you will not miss the taste of regular milk. In fact, regular milk may just repulse you. And, for the extra health conscious, there’s no carrageenan in this brand of coconut milk. This company makes yogurt and ice cream too. Where do you get it? Health food stores and even our regular grocery chains carry it.
Earths Balance Dairy Free Butter – This is a plant based product, made without artificial ingredients or hydrogenated oils, and is free of lactose and eggs. The best part? It tastes really, really good. Better than butter in my opinion. You can use this as you use butter in any dish or recipe.
Pamelas – This Company’s claim to fame is gluten-free products but they have a bunch of dairy free products as well. Consult this list or package labels to be sure. We use Pamela’s gluten free bread mix, pizza crust mix, and cake mix.
Making the Plunge – How To Go Dairy Free
For all the reasons above and more, it’s worth it for you and your child to go dairy free for a while just to see if it makes a difference. Go for a minimum of 10 days and if all is going well, extend that out to three weeks or so. Seriously, what do you have to lose? A few pounds? Temper tantrums? Sinus congestion? Joint pain?
All you need to do is cut out anything with dairy in it. Sure its in a lot of stuff, but fortunately today with all the allergies out there, you don’t have to read through the entire list of ingredients, but instead jump straight to the bottom where in bold it will say something like Contains: Milk. If it has it on there, don’t eat it.
Need some more help? Book a Virtual Health Strategy Session. We'll get to the bottom of what's going on, together.
Since you've gotten to the bottom of this article you must've found this at least a little bit informative, right? So listen, can you help me spread the word by doing two things?
1. Share it! Someone out there is struggling with their health because of dairy. Help them out!
2. Leave a comment below to let me know your experiences with dairy.