Dairy-free diet

Try eliminating all dairy foods from you child's diet.

I admit, I was skeptical of a dairy-free diet at first.  Kids need milk to grow strong bones, right?  And besides, my daughter loved milk and cheese - - that was mostly what she ate!  I half-heartedly tried going off of dairy a couple of times and it didn't seem to make a difference in her encopresis symptoms.  Finally, her condition got so bad that I was willing to give it another try.  

Here’s why a dairy-free diet might help your child’s constipation and encopresis symptoms:

1) Dairy is constipating in many people.  Many adults and children suffer from constipation caused by dairy but are unaware of the cause. 

2) Your child may be lactose intolerant. Dairy foods are made up of two main parts, the milk sugar (also called lactose) and the milk protein (sometimes called casein on food labels). If your child's digestive tract does not handle the milk sugar well, it can cause constipation and encopresis.

3) Your child may have a dairy allergy. Your child may be able to handle lactose ok, but not the milk protein. Some people are also allergic to both the milk sugar and the milk protein. An allergy to any kind of dairy may cause constipation and encopresis symptoms.

Here’s how to get started on a dairy-free diet:

Sorry, milk.  You're outta here!

1) Set a date. For our family, starting a dairy-free diet was extremely daunting to me. I could hardly think of a single meal that my family liked that didn't include a dairy ingredient.  I set a date for two weeks in advance to go dairy-free.  Then I used those two weeks to do some research on dairy-free products and collect dairy-free recipes.

Replace dairy milk with almond milk.

2) Get rid of all the dairy products in your house. At first you may be tempted to prepare special dairy-free meals for your child and let the rest of your family members continue to eat dairy. This didn't work for us, though. It was too hard to tell my daughter what she could eat and what she couldn't eat.  She would sit and stare at the cheesy enchiladas and beg for them.  Or the sippy cups would get mixed up and I wasn't sure if she had just drunk a glass of cow's milk or a glass of almond milk.  I think it's better to just have the whole house go dairy-free for a while.  Then after you've gotten a handle on things, you could start introducing a few dairy products back in for the other family members. (And of course I always give you free license to eat ice-cream after the kids are in bed.  If you haven't tried Talenti sea salt caramel gelato yet, you must!).  So eat up the obvious dairy foods first: milk, butter, cheese, and cream cheese.  Then start checking the labels of prepared foods.  Most labels have the warning CONTAINS MILK if there are diary ingredients.  Also look for the words "casein" and "whey" (both are dairy products).

Eat ice cream when the kids are in bed!

3) Plan to not eat out for a week or two. It is hard to find dairy-free food at restaurants. It is also hard to be certain that the food you are given is really, truly dairy free (even if you've requested it!).  Plan to eat at home for a few weeks so that you are certain of what your child is eating.

Use non-dairy butter substitutes.  It's not as good as real butter, but it tastes ok.

[Note: Cutting out dairy is helpful, but you're probably going to have to make some other changes too.] 

Have you tried a dairy-free diet with your child? What were the results?

1 comment:

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