Family Nature

Dairy on My Mind…And on My Nerves

Food Allergy Awareness Week: May 5-8 in Canada, May 10-16 in the United States

Milk drop in glassI’ve been thinking a lot about dairy lately.  Before we knew that Son-S had any allergies we cut dairy out of our diet for a while.   Along with wheat, we cut it out on a recommendation from our Naturopathic Doctor in the hopes of helping to calm down asthma and croup in our two oldest boys.  It wasn’t so bad.  We did all our grocery shopping at The Carrot Common and easily found alternatives.  Before long though, we realized that we were spending a small fortune in groceries – WAY more than we used to. So, slowly but surely dairy and wheat crept back into our lives.

Not so long after that we learned Son-S had a dairy allergy.  He is allergic to all dairy; cow, sheep, and goat – in any way, shape or form.  So we got rid of dairy again, but not entirely.  Right around the same time Son-O decided that he loves cow’s milk and just recently Son-F decided that he loves it too.  I kind of wish they didn’t love it.  Dairy has been on my mind a lot recently because I want to get it out of the house all together but it’s hard. 

All of my cooking and baking is dairy-free but we still have it in our lives.  I drink milk in my coffee and tea and no matter what other whitener I try it just doesn’t taste the same as milk.  The kids want to drink milk and there are lots of good things in milk so it’s hard to say no when they’re begging for it.  And cheese, everyone loves cheese.  Butter…why oh why does butter taste so good?  I love butter.  I have an angel on one shoulder telling me not to eat it…and a devil on the other telling me to go ahead; unfortunately, the devil usually wins.  I just can’t have butter in the house and not eat it, and I don’t think there is any way I’d ever convince my husband to go without it.

I used to love milk.  If I have a sip and don’t think of anything else, I still like the taste of it but I never drink it.  The thing is this: dairy gets on my nerves.  It’s not until you try to cut down or cut it out completely that you realize how much dairy we as a society consume.  When you can’t have it you realize how much we rely on dairy; how it’s in just about everything!  It bugs me, why do we think that dairy is the be-all-end-all?  And the question then becomes, what do you do if you can’t drink it…or if you don’t like it?  What if you’re allergic?  What if you’re vegan?  Oh sure, there are other options; they’re just not promoted nearly as well. 

Have you ever wondered how we humans started drinking cow’s milk?  Why is the idea of human breast milk so gross to some, yet these same people turn around and have a nice big glass of milk with their dinner?  When Salma Hayek breastfed another woman’s baby in Sierra Leone it was all over the news.  There was a lot of praise for Salma but there were also lots of people squirming in their seats at the idea of breastfeeding someone other than your own child.  Well people, here’s a newsflash: We not only drink milk from someone other than our own mothers, we drink the milk of another species!  Think about it, what would you say if you heard the latest health craze was drinking dog’s milk?  Kind of gross, eh?  What about monkey milk, how would you feel about feeding that to your kids?  No thanks, right?  Yet we seem to have no problem with cow’s milk.  Why is that?

This article, published recently in the National Post talks about how breastfeeding is “…is a subject that is clearly interesting to a limited audience-mostly the toothless under 12 months set.” It goes on to say that it’s “creepy” to be breastfeeding a toddler and that they have, “no reason to be breastfed.”  How is it then that we can’t seem to live without cow’s milk?  How did humans ever survive before we started consuming cow’s milk?  How can people in other countries – where cow’s milk is not the norm – possibly survive?

If your kids don’t drink milk doctors, dieticians and public health often recommend chocolate milk.  Am I the only one that thinks there is something wrong with this?  My kids would probably eat every kind of vegetable known to man if I put chocolate sauce on them but I still don’t think it’s a good idea.  Instead, why not promote the alternatives?

As I sit here drinking my coffee with milk, feeling like a hypocrite, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to get rid of it.  Will I ever be able to just say no…to dairy?  Maybe not, but it will never be the be-all-end-all for me, regardless of whether or not my son grows out of his dairy allergy.  But hey, if you know of a great non-dairy coffee whitener, will you let me know?

Photo by denmar via flickr.

9 thoughts on “Dairy on My Mind…And on My Nerves

  1. Kristin Callender

    Had similar issues with my 2nd son, who was having stomach and weight gain problems that turned out to the results of a dairy allergy. We were spending a fortune and hours at the grocery store reading everything to be sure it was really dairy free. A parent that doesn’t have to worry about the whey, lactose, and curd in their families food doesn’t understand that it’s in almost everything today. I began cooking and thinking dairy free and thankfully he grew out of his allergy. Gradually we all grew away from the dairy free cooking too. Now he’s almost 17 and loves all things dairy, especially ice cream and cheese pizza. I sometimes think that we would all be better off going back to a more dairy free diet, we would be poorer but healthier.
    Thanks for sending me your venting on twitter 🙂
    Kristin Callender (aka @KCBOOKS)

  2. Karen

    I can’t relate to the allergies, but I do love cream in my coffee.

    Rich’s http://www.rich.com/misc.cfm?itemid=25313 has THE BEST liquid coffee whitener. I’ve worked with some Kosher caterers in my day and this is what they use. You can find it in the freezer section at the grocery store.

    They make a whipped topping too. Also VERY tasty. Especially on broccoli 😉

  3. Alexandra

    I wouldn’t feel like a hypocrite in your shoes – or your coffee cup, as it were. I personally limit dairy, and look for good alternatives where I can. We drink rice, almond, soy and hemp milk; and use sheep and goat cheese (and I limit cheese).

    My parents are vegan, and they are coming to stay with me for two weeks at the end of June. I was planning on following their diet with them, to see what it’s like. Perhaps I will have more feedback after that!

  4. familynature

    Hey, I’d love to know what it was like to be a vegan for two weeks! Maybe another guest post is coming…;)

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