"I Could Never Give up Cheese!"
“I could never give up cheese!”
I used to say it myself and I’ve heard it a thousand times since, when talking about living a dairy-free lifestyle. However, when both of my boys tested positive for a cow’s milk allergy, while nursing, it was the easiest thing in the world.
My pediatrician used to preach, “Cow’s milk is the perfect food for a baby cow.” I didn’t believe it, and honestly I used to roll my eyes when friends would tell me they had to cut dairy out of their diets while nursing their babies. I couldn’t imagine a life without cheese or yogurt. Before kids, my husband and I used to live in Europe and, Oh! The cheese! We would have dinners made solely of cheese, which was a habit we brought back home with us.
As luck would have it, three weeks after my first son was born, he started displaying digestive issues and trouble nursing. The doctor suggested removing dairy from my diet just to see if he would respond. I almost cried because, “I could never give up cheese!” However, I was desperate for a happy baby and stopped eating it immediately. After about a week, I noticed a significant difference in his sleeping habits, and ease of nursing. Of course, I was also craving my old eating habits so I gave it a few weeks and called it a “coincidence.” I tested my luck by purposely eating a meal full of dairy to see what would happen. The next day, it was as if I had flipped a light switch when my son reverted back to screaming and refusing to nurse. I couldn’t believe how quickly dairy affected him and immediately removed it again. I slowly began adding it back in as he continued to grow and that’s when he started to react in a different way – this time in his skin. He broke out in very persistent eczema and always seemed to have a rash of some sort. Of course, any typical doctor prescribes the quick fix – steroid creams and antibiotics. He was eating finger foods at this age and I couldn’t stand the thought of treating his skin with such strong drugs when he was still so little. So, away went the dairy again, and away went the eczema and every other skin problem with it.
Now, over four years later, our family has cut out most allergens; landing us eating close to a 100% plant-based diet. I am such a strong believer in how food affects our health and how many diseases and health problems can be treated, if not cured, simply by the foods we choose to eat.
When asked, “How did you give up cheese?” my first response is that there are so many great alternatives that it makes it really easy. Almond milk, coconut milk, yogurt, and ice cream, and even cashew based cheeses and creams are easy to find, and actually taste great! You have to focus on what you CAN eat, instead of what you can’t.
Favorite neighborhood options:
Happy + Hale, Kairos Greek Kitchen, Kuka Juice, Southern Pressed Juicery
Sidewall Pizza – Antipasti Pizza with vegan cheese and coconut milk ice cream
Plant Based meal delivery service – Purple Carrot & Sakara Life
Because, doesn't this look amazing? It is. Dairy free, 100% plant-based, and totally prepared!! SCORE!!!