Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Going Dairy-Free - How I have gained greater respect for those with food sensitivities and allergies

Hello, again. It has certainly been a while!

Here's my short-list of excuses:

1) I actually wrote a new blog post last week, but Blogger was down when I went to publish it, so my post was LOST (AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!). So frustrating.

2) We've had carpenter ants invading part of our house, so that has resulted in JC & I fleeing the house to seek refuge at my parents' place in the country (where internet is S-L-O-W and sometimes non-existent).

3) Ultimate season is upon us, which means practices, games, tourneys, and LOTS of recap chats with my hubby. We actually finished 4/20 at Soggy Bottom a couple of weeks ago, and the team did great at TUF this past weekend (though Day 2 was rained out).

4) Soccer season is also upon us. Convening a league makes for busy times, but a good time. Sistas in Soccer starts up May 29th.

5) The weather has been BEAUTIFUL! Well, until this past weekend at least. When it's so gorgeous out, I just want to play outside. No time for sitting at my computer typing out blog posts. I'm sure you understand.


Now on to the real blog post. The one that has been written and is now being re-written, because that's how things go sometimes.

This post is a tribute to all of you out there who have food allergies, intolerances and/or sensitivities. Or just follow a very specific eating pattern.

As much as I'm a dietitian who knows and understands special diets, I still find it difficult to work around food restrictions. For example, I have a few friends with food restrictions, and when they come to visit, I often draw a blank as to what to serve them. Why? Because I get caught up in the "can't haves" rather than focusing on the "can haves."

Let's take my one friend, DA. She is intolerant to dairy, chicken, almonds, bananas, gluten, and shrimp. I know what you're thinking: "What does the woman eat????!!" See that's the thing - it sounds so restrictive, but there are still TONS of foods she can eat. She can have soy, beef, pork, turkey, legumes, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, kiwis, apples, oranges, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, salmon, tuna, ..... and the list goes on.

Lately I have been attempting to go dairy-free. Not because I think milk is gross or because I watched Food Inc. It's because little JC is about THE gassiest baby I have ever known. The burps and toots don't bother me - it's the crying from gas pain that breaks my heart. There are plenty of theories about what can cause such issues in a baby, but one of the most common ones I have read about is dairy intake by the breastfeeding mother. I don't know the science behind it (nor can I guarantee that there is any), but I am doing my best to eliminate dairy from my diet for the time being to see if it makes a different for my poor little bean.

The first week was a bit of a novelty, as I bought up some unsweetened soy milk and took the cheese off the grocery list. The second week was a little tougher, as I tired of my cheese- and yogurt-free life. However, I'm sort of in a groove with it now with only the occasional hiccup.

My poor husband longs for pizza with cheese, macaroni and cheese, lasagna with cheese, and all things cheesy. But he's being very patient with me. I don't know if it's really helping JC, but at least it makes me feel like I'm doing something to help her.

I am being careful to eat foods that are rich in calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin D, because those are the reasons I drink milk to begin with. Unsweetened soy milk is a great substitute, and I continue to eat lots of whole grains, nuts and seeds, fresh fruits and veggies, and to take a vitamin D supplement (1000 IU/d) and a pre-/postnatal multivitamin.

So what should you take away from this blabber about food restrictions:

1) It's easy, but not easy to follow a special diet.

2) It's the people around you that can make or break it for you. If you're surrounded by supportive people, it's much easier to make a change (or stick with a diet). If you're surrounded by skeptics, it's going to be a tough go.

3) SUPPORT your friends and family as they adopt special diets for health reasons. It's not always easy to do it. Your support means a lot. It's a way of showing respect.

1 comment:

  1. I had to cut dairy out of my diet too - Em was super gassy to the point of painful toots/cramps. She's getting better ... still not perfect but MUCH better :)