What’s it Like for a Kid to Get Diagnosed with a Food Allergy? (HPC: E54)

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.

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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!

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.

Eliminating the dairy uncovered symptoms we didn't even know she had. -Katie Kimball

  • 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.

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.

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.

I think it's worth it, but it's really hard. - Katie Kimball

Resources We Mentioned About Going Dairy Free

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