Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Going Dairy Free~ A Lifestyle Change Experiment

Back in November I was out with girlfriends to see part 2 of Breaking Dawn. I met a mother who also had a special needs child (though hers is quite older than mine.) She mentioned how her daughter becomes non-verbal when she eats meat. Then another lady there chimed in and said that she's heard that if a person seems "addicted" to any specific type of food, that they could actually be very sensitive to it. And I thought to myself "Hmmmm... Little Lady is pretty hooked on milk. Like, REALLY hooked on milk." After that night, I mostly forgot all about it.
Early in December, I stumbled across some information that made me consider it again. I'm not 100% sure what I started researching (probably the term "developmental delay") and I found something regarding dairy being a contributing factor to delays in some children. Again, I gave thought to my Little Lady's ultra-love for milk.
Further research triggered an experimental lifestyle change. She was going Dairy Free, and so was I.
(The males in this household aren't on board with making the change themselves, however, they are consuming less dairy as a result of the cooking changes I've made. Baby steps.)
I realized that December is a very challenging time to make any type of dietary changes so I gave us that month to use as our "phase out" time. During those four weeks, we worked on the elimination of dairy and dairy by-products in our diets.
Within a week of starting this change, my daughter propelled herself forward in her gait trainer for the first time ever!
She's still working on the movement in the gait trainer, but I feel that after she gets new braces she'll improve even more! Also, her vocalization has increased, as well as her floor movement (she rolls from room to room regularly now!). Her struggle with constipation has improved considerably as well.
This has been a learning curve. Dairy, and dairy derivatives are in A LOT of food. Especially processed foods, or restaurant foods. Even "non-dairy creamer" has dairy derivatives in it (casein).
After we have mastered the dairy free diet, I'm hoping to move us into a gluten free lifestyle as well. But one big change at a time.
To read some of the findings on why dairy is no good, check this out. And this. And this. Here is an interesting article.
The change has been much less challenging than I was anticipating. She drinks almond milk now instead of cow milk (so do I). One day I made her some dairy free creamy potato soup. I've also made dairy free blueberry muffins, dairy free pancakes and dairy free mac & cheese. I found a relatively nearby health food store that has many dairy free and/or vegan options.
I'm looking forward to sharing our new adventure with you.
If you have any special dietary lifestyle choices (dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, etc.) I'd love to know what they are & why you chose to take that route.
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