Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bye, Bye Dairy

Since birth, Aden has had dry, sensitive skin and in the last few months, he's battled a nasty rash on his neck, chest, armpits and head. I've tried all the over-the-counter creams and lotions and nothing seems to truly remedy the issue. His pediatrician chocks it up to the harsh climate we live in, saying he sees babies and kids all day long with irritated skin caused by the dry, cold weather.

It's one thing to have dry skin (I think everyone has some level of this in the wintertime), but Aden's re-occurring rash is different. My poor boy breaks out in a rash a few times a week and itches his face, head, neck, chest and legs so badly he's left with bloody scratches all over his body. I keep baby mittens or socks on his hands 24/7 to prevent him from injuring himself, but now Aden's learned to bite the mittens off to free his hands. Clearly he's finding ways to scratch despite my efforts.

I might sound a little crazy, but I also worry about the development of Aden's hand/eye coordination because we wears mittens/socks on his hands all the time. If his hands are covered, he can't practice grasping or holding onto toys and the few minutes his hands are free, he looks at them like they're foreign objects. But, every time I take his mittens off, he scratches himself something fierce.

The doctor recommended an over-the-counter anti-itch cream to treat rash flare-ups and doses of Children's Benedryl to relieve Aden's discomfort. It works - temporarily - but I can't keep treating his symptoms this way every other day. My poor baby is suffering!

A friend of mine said her pediatrician recommended eliminating dairy when her son went through something similar as a baby. I've never thought much about what I eat and how it may affect Aden. Two days ago, I made a pot of my favorite Tomato Tortellini Soup (which is full of milk, cream and acidic tomatoes) and the next morning Aden woke up with a horrible rash on his head. Coincidence? Maybe.

So, I thought it might be worth a try to eliminate dairy from my diet for Aden's sake. What can it hurt to try it and see if dairy's the culprit for all his skin irritations. Yesterday was my first day cutting dairy and man, it's challenging. I never realized how many things contain milk until I tried to avoid it.

For breakfast, I usually have a bowl of oatmeal and coffee (black, so no issue there). Sometimes, I'll eat peanut butter toast and a banana. Those are my typical breakfast staples, so no big hardship there.

Dinners are fairly easy because we tend to eat a lot of baked chicken, shredded beef/pork in the Crockpot, etc. served with a steamed vegetable on the side. Cut out my occasional glass of milk and dairy's fairly easy to avoid during that meal.

It's lunchtime that's really throwing me for a loop. I'm a big soup and sandwich girl, and Tory and I usually have grilled cheese and tomato soup, turkey and cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, or a cheese quesadilla with a side of sour cream during the week. Ranch is my favorite salad dressing, so even my go-to leafy green selection (lettuce, cottage cheese, croutons and Ranch) is out of the question.

So, I need some lunch ideas! What are some of your favorite dairy-free lunch meals? Preferably something quick and easy to prepare. Toddler-friendly ideas aren't mandatory, but ideally I wouldn't be preparing two lunches for both Tory and I on a daily basis.

Ready, GO! Leave me a comment; I'd love to hear from you. And hopefully, kicking dairy from my diet proves to be the answer to Aden's skin issues.


  1. I have cut dairy all 3 times so far and it's hard (and that's an understatement!). Everything has dairy in it, our ped gave me a list to watch for that constitute as dairy in foods. For lunch I substitute cheese with avocado spread on my sandwich/wrap and it's actually quite tasty. Hope Aden's itchiness resolves quickly!

  2. Poor guy!! Cutting out dairy might help with his spitting up (if he's still doing that) too. We eat a lot of dairy over here too, should have been a farmer ;-) I like chicken or veggie soups with rice or quinoa for lunch... Hope it helps!

  3. That is kind of frustrating that the ped wants to just try to treat instead of finding the cause. We are also huge dairy people - both growing up on dairy farms - but we did eliminate it for awhile last fall (trying to self-diagnose some GI issues with my hubby) and after the first couple of days it wasn't so bad. Even now that we're not restricting dairy we do eat/drink a lot less. And as a former dairy princess I MUST remind you to make sure you're still getting your calcium!!! :)

    As far as actual meal ideas, I think it will get easier as the weather warms up too and you don't want to be cooking as much "comfort" food type things.

  4. They do make non dairy products like soy milk, and non dairy yogurt you could make your own salad dressings etc. just have to search for non dairy items, if that is the issue.

  5. Tuna with avocado instead of mayo, morningstar products are good and fast, taco salads, almond milk is a good subsititute. I never could find a soy cheese that I could stomach but Trader Joe's does have good soy ice cream sandwhichs.

  6. I have had to cut dairy for my own issues many a time (as in...I should probably never eat dairy but LALALALALA) and I went dairy free during thrush days.

    I don't remember if you are a salad fan or not, but I would often put sandwich type ingredients on a bed of lettuce. So tuna salad on lettuce or chicken salad (I have a curried chicken salad with mango and grapes that I really like). For dinners I would do fancier salads - caesar with grilled chicken breast, taco salad, etc.

    You can find dairy free breads, but it does take some ingredient reading to make sure there is no whey, casein, etc. You might try googling that to see what you can come up with.

    Do you like eggs? Egg type meals could work for lunch, especially if you pair it with a dairy free bread.

    Check Pinterest for dairy free meals, too!

    Good luck!