Friday, March 14, 2014

Lactose Free(ish)

I have to make an actual, constant effort to keep my pictures from all looking like this. My milk-addict children constantly have sippy-cups clenched in their teeth.

My children drink a lot of milk. A LOT. They also throw up a ton, like once weekly- but there's no rhyme or reason to it. They puke in the car when the road is curvy, they puke if they take too big a bite at dinner and it gags them, they puke in the middle of the night and sleep in their own vomit because they didn't wake up because it's, like, no big deal.
They can announce "I'm throwing up," and have enough time to make it to the toilet and don't even need or want any help. They just throw up and then are fine. It's super weird.

So, even though people have been telling me to get them off lactose for two years- I've pretty much ignored that advice.
It doesn't seem like "a lactose thing" it seems like a gag reflex thing, or an acid reflux thing.
But a couple weeks ago, we had a weird, rough week.
The boys each threw up once a day, but otherwise acted fine, for like 8 days in a row.
It was bizarre and it was a tipping point.  So I took them off lactose.

It's so hard! Because, besides just drinking milk (which was easy to replace with lactose-free milk), we also eat a lot of cheese (quesadillas for lunch every other day), and the boys are used to a big bowl of yogurt with breakfast.
They have not been happy to let those things go. They both ask for yogurt several times a day, and I have yet to figure out how to cook without cream. Good thing we don't have to give up butter, because I would actually rather take puking than a butter-free kitchen.

BUT. No one has thrown up at our house since we went off milk.
Okay. That's only two weeks of no puking, but it's actually kind of a big deal.

On Sunday, we forgot to buy more lactose-free milk and since we are milk-drinkers, the boys each had several cups of regular milk. And since we were already making a day of it, we also let them have a snack of sliced cheese, and dinner of creamy, cheesy pasta.
No one threw up that night, but no one slept either.
The boys each got up twice in the night and didn't want to go back to sleep. Micah threw a raging tantrum at 2am that made me very grateful to have such a patient, helpful husband. (Since I mostly insisted on staying in my bed and whining while he dealt with things.)

I don't know. It could have very well been a coincidence. It probably was.
But I'm giving milk the blame.

The plan is to be "milk free" for the rest of March. Then to go BACK on to milk in April and see if there's a significant difference in my kids' behavior and health.

Meh. I guess I can fork over 30$ in milk a week.
Oh. You think that's an exaggeration?
Let's figure out the math.
The boys go through a half gallon a day, so 7 half-gallons a week.
The cheapest lactose-free milk I've found is $3 a half-gallon. ($21)
And Travis and I also go through a gallon or two of milk a week (another $3-6)
So. $27 a week on milk.
And if I am successful at my attempts to make lactose-free yogurt  this week, that really would be $30 or more. Yikes.
No wonder my kids are pukers. That's a lot of dairy, huh?

Those of you with lactose intolerance (or lactose intolerant kids), any advice?
Can I bake with cream and milk? because it's hard to let those delicious things go! I assume I shouldn't make chowder.
Also, I'm pretty sure that my kids aren't SUPER intolerant, since they don't have constantly upset stomachs and they poop regularly and stuff, so is a bit of cheese or yogurt for lunch some days really going to make a difference if we're otherwise lactose free?

Anyway. I'll probably update you in April when the grand experiment is finished.

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Anonymous said...

A quick bit of advice- people can loose their tolerance to lactose very quickly. When I was in college (about 2 years ago) I unintentionally went about two weeks without any dairy products, except yogurt (which has to bacteria to help you break it down). I wasn't trying, it just happened because I was on a huge soymilk kick. One day at work I had a big glass of milk and a huge piece of cheesy lasagna. Oh my goodness. It's actually pretty embarrassing. I had THE WORST gas and an incredibly painful stomach ache. I had no idea so much air could be inside someone. I would burp and it tasted like poop. Seriously. A friend who had come over to study actually had to leave because it smelled so bad! Anyway, all this to say, be careful when you get your kids back on dairy. They might loose their tolerance to lactose!

P.S. I think you're fantastic.

faeriequeene said...

I'm sensitive to lactose and can't drink regular milk so lactose free it is. I can still eat cheese and yogurt without issue as long as I don't decide to eat a whole pot of macaroni by myself. I have issue with soft serve ice cream too, but can eat it out of the freezer without a problem. My gut is weird.

I'd suggest going lactose free with the milk, and cutting back how much the boys are drinking - like only one sippy in the morning, and milk on cereal if they eat it that way. That should keep them from going through so much milk in a week, and your pocketbook will thank you. Let them have yogurt once a day, and cheese when it is regularly in the meal like with quesadillas and pasta.

Good luck, and I hope the boys will be able to adjust easily with the new way of doing things.

cscallions said...

My daughter has always had a hard time with cows milk but I didn't want to take out all dairy products from her diet. Our pediatrician gave us this handout (
showing the different lactose contents which I have found helpful. I keep her away from cows milk, and don't cook with evaporated/condensed milk and most yogurts but she eats plenty of cheeses/creams and doesn't seem to bother her. Also I know they make lactase enzyme drops you can add to cows milk to break down the lactose. That might be a cheaper option for you if you can't get them to cut out drinking so much milk. Good luck!

-Danica- said...

The only experience I have with this is having to go off of dairy while breast feeding both of my kids. But on of the best things I've found for cooking is using coconut milk in place of any milk or cream in a recipe. I honestly have not tasted a difference in anything I've used it in so far and I don't have a fussy baby the next day! Win-win. Also I'm not sure if the boys can tolerate keifer?? My daughter drinks what she calls "juicey na-nights" (because when she was weaning off of nursing we would give her one before bed) and it's just half keifer half water. It might be an option of something else to drink sometimes rather than milk?
Good luck!

Kristin said...

My best find as far as cooking replacements is making cream cheese or sour cream out of cashews. It's on my 000Approved pinboard. I'll send it to you. It sounds weird and I was super skeptical the first time I made it, but man it has revived some of our favorite dinners! It melts, cooks, spreads just like cream cheese and you just add a little more liquid for sour cream. It's super quick to make, too. You can also use cashews in place of heavy cream in most recipes if you blend them up after soaking them first.

gillian claire said...

This is so interesting. I have always wondered if my second son could be lactose intolerant or have some sort of food allergy. He had a lot of acid reflux as a baby, and he is very very high needs. He also pukes randomly but not to the extend that you have mentioned with your boys. Like you said though, cutting out milk is SO hard so I have never been able to stick with it! Especially since he doesn't seem to like any other milk - coconut milk/lactose free milk/soy milk. And he LOVES milk, so even when I try to cut it out I end up giving up and giving in. I'm interested to hear how your experiment goes!

Lana said...

reading "milk" and "vomit" so many times together made me feel nauseous. It's actually really unhealthy for adults to drink a lot of milk. The "got milk" campaigns are just trying to make money. your body is made to stop processing milk by the *ahem* gallon at about age 5. maybe try drinking more water when you're going to reach for the milk?

Morgan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Morgan said...

I actually work in a creamery and we have found that people who are lactose intolerant can drink our milk/eat our ice cream/cheese because we only pasteurize the milk. Since we don't homogenize it, people are able to digest it better since fat isn't broken down.

Jeannie Bruce said...

My sister, niece and cousin have a lactose issue as well, but their problem is that they can't handle whole milk, but can drink 2% milk and eat low fat ice cream and yogurt and cheese with out problem.

Unknown said...

We also tried to cut back on lactose in our house while ago when my sons bm's were so nasty and seriously smelled like rotten cheese. So we drink almond milk (which he loves). For awhile we stopped feeding him regular yogurt and fed him soy yogurt or lactose free yogurt (Yoplait has it, but it also has a lot of sugar, ugh.) Now we're at a point where just cow's milk bothers him. We've always been ok with cheese, unless he eats a bunch!

The Waldram Family said...

My son would start to vomit when we started to introduce solids (my twins are now 3) at around 9 months...we couldn't explain it! We took him to an allergist and had him tested for allergens. Turns out he was allergic to many things; soy (all legumes), eggs, tree nuts, and peanuts. Because of his high allergies and the vomiting, we had him tested by endoscopy for Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Which is an auto immune disease, where allergens basically attack the esophagus. It turns out that I also have this disease (extremely hereditary). Dairy and wheat are huge contributors to it, even if the skin test shows up negative. If any family members have lots of allergies (even pet/pollen/tree), I would get your boys in to see an allergist. Not saying that they have what my son has...but I always found that it is better to be safe than sorry :) I see Dr. Hendershot at the Salt Lake Clinic!