If you’re a kid, finding out you have to cut dairy because of an intolerance is NO fun. Even though as a family we knew how to do an elimination diet with kids, making it work longer term was tricky.
How much does it stink to not be able to eat your favorite foods??!!??
My daughter Leah joins us today for a candid chat about how we discovered her dairy sensitivity about a year ago and what it’s been like since then.
(I think we’re both still in denial a little bit which is probably too long to be a healthy grieving reaction!) 🙁
She’ll talk about:
- What it felt like to do an elimination diet
- What she noticed first and the big surprise when she tried dairy again :0
- How kids teased her for clearing her throat in 4th grade (sheesh, I mean, really kids???)
- Some good substitutions that made life easier
- Whether dairy-free ice cream, cheese and yogurt saved the day
- The challenges of lunch packing and being at celebrations
- How she deals with “cheat days”
I want parents to know that even though it’s REALLY hard for the whole family to juggle any sort of food sensitivity, it’s STILL worth trying an elimination diet, because when your child feels better, you feel better.
(Plus, I am sure there are long term health issues we’re avoiding by listening to her body and not giving her things that will hurt her. There better be, because this is HARD with a double H!)
Leah wanted to tell you that she forgot to say that ghee became a lot more tolerable once she tried adding salt to it, to mimic salted butter. 🙂
If you’re wondering if you should try omitting dairy or gluten from your child’s diet, definitely watch the insightful interview with Dr. Sheila Kilbane from last week.
I’ve already heard from a handful of moms in our community that they saw their own kids in Dr. Kilbane’s descriptions and are gearing up to try eliminating dairy. I’m pulling for you ladies! You can do it!
Can’t see the video? Click to watch “A Kid’s Perspective: Going Dairy Free” on YouTube.
No time to watch the whole video? Here are the notes!
Going Dairy Free Video Time Stamps
- 0:00: After I recorded Dr. Kilbane’s interview about symptoms of a dairy intolerance, we discovered that my daughter Leah had a dairy sensitivity. Today she’s going to share her first hand experience.
Doing an Elimination Diet with Kids
- 1:08: Leah shares her reaction when I suggested she and Paul do a trial elimination of dairy. Paul was experiencing chronic sinus congestion and Leah was having breathing difficulties.
- 2:08: We decided to do a full month elimination. About 2 weeks in, Leah realized she could breath better, but she didn’t want to tell me because she didn’t want it to be true!
- 2:57: We’re both still in a bit of denial about this despite the fact that it’s been a year.
Symptoms of Dairy Sensitivity
- 3:08: Leah shares more details about her symptoms. We didn’t even realize she was having stomach aches until she reintroduced dairy.
- 3:50: We eat dairy all the time, so it was hard for Leah to not be able to eat what everyone else was eating. She shares a couple things that made it easier.
- 4:38: Kids at school noticed her clearing her throat constantly and actually teased her about it!
- 5:35: Paul had a cold during the elimination trial, so that might have skewed his results. He didn’t notice any stomach aches or other symptoms during reintroduction though.
- 6:06: Leah describes her initial reintroduction of yogurt and how she feels after eating dairy.
- 7:05: When we first started the elimination, Leah declared that she would have one day a week that was her “dairy day” if she ended up being sensitive. She didn’t realize that eating dairy on one day would affect her for several days afterwards, not just for a few hours.
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Difficulties of Being a Dairy Free Kid
- 8:01: Leah shares what she misses the most about eating dairy.
I used to say, “I could eat a stick of butter for breakfast.” I love butter! -Leah
- 9:28: It’s difficult as a mom as well. I have had to shift some things as we cook for Leah as well as the rest of the family who all enjoy dairy regularly. Some swaps are simple (like almond milk instead of cow’s milk in our homemade pizza crust) but other recipes require more creativity or using two baking pans so we can make some with cheese and some without.
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Dairy Free Substitutions
- 9:55: We talk about Leah’s journey finding dairy free cheese. At first she was so excited to hear that dairy free cheese existed, but it’s just not as good.
- 12:01: Leah’s verdict on dairy free yogurt is that it isn’t as good as normal yogurt, but it’s better than dairy free cheese.
It’s so hard to see people eating dairy in front of me. -Leah
- 12:48: We have discovered a good dairy free ranch dressing recipe (we should share that soon!), and our Caesar dressing is easy to make dairy free by leaving out the Parmesan.
- 13:08: Leah shares about trying different dairy free ice creams.
- 14:12: We talk a bit about packing lunch for school without dairy.
Healing a Dairy Allergy
- 15:41: We’re a year into Leah’s dairy free experience. We talk a bit about the future.
- 16:27: Being away from home is a challenge when you’re traveling, going out to eat or being served food at birthday parties and school.
- 18:39: I ask Leah if she wishes she could rewind the clock and not do the dairy free trial.
Resources We Mentioned About Going Dairy Free
- Dr. Kilbane’s interview about why you should go dairy free
- Tips for doing an elimination diet with kids
- Beginner’s guide to going dairy and gluten free with kids
- How to remain dairy free for the long haul
- All the dairy free recipes at Kitchen Stewardship
- Our pizza crust recipe
- Our Caesar dressing recipe
What You Should Do Next:
1. Subscribe to The Healthy Parenting Connector
2. Try a Free Preview of my Cooking Class for Kids
Our members’ favorite lesson is always our 10-minute knife skills and safety class, teaching techniques with unique & memorable phrases from butter knives to chef’s knives (ages 2-teen). Take a peek here and try it out with your kids.
3. Enroll in the Online Cooking Course for Kids:
About Katie Kimball
Katie Kimball, CSME, creator of Kids Cook Real Food and CEO of Kitchen Stewardship, LLC, is passionate about connecting families around healthy food. As a trusted educator and author of 8 real food cookbooks, she’s been featured on media outlets like ABC, NBC and First for Women magazine and contributes periodically on the FOX Network.
Since 2009, busy moms have looked to Katie as a trusted authority and advocate for children’s health, and she often partners with health experts and medical practitioners to stay on the cutting edge. In 2016 she created the Wall Street Journal recommended best online kids cooking course, Kids Cook Real Food, helping thousands of families around the world learn to cook. She is actively masterminding the Kids’ Meal Revolution, with a goal of every child learning to cook.
A mom of 4 kids from Michigan, she is also a Certified Stress Mastery Educator, member of the American Institute of Stress and trained speaker through Bo Eason’s Personal Story Power.