Friday, 7 September 2012

Dairy Free Dilemma

It's been just over 3 years now since Toots was diagnosed as being dairy intolerant.  Some days I feel like I've got a handle on it.  Others I'm convinced I haven't!

She was originally diagnosed after endless visits to the health visitor by me trying to find a reason for her, lets say, extremely regular poo cycle!  'Toddler diarrhoea' was always the response.  But as she was almost 3.5 and it had never changed, I began to suspect that couldn't be the case - particularly as she was often having accidents despite being potty trained from age 2.

Anyway, around the same time, my mum dramatically lost 2 stone.  We all thought the worst (except my mum, funnily enough) until, after about six months of testing, they discovered she was coeliac (or celiac if you're in the US).  The minute that word was mentioned within earshot of a health professional, Toots was rushed in to the Sick Kids for a battery of tests to rule it out.

The blood test (which was awful - screaming, almost passing out, turning three shades of grey - and that was just me!) revealed possible dairy, egg and peanut allergies.  After the allergy tests - a much calmer 'spot on the skin' testing experience - we discovered that she was intolerant and not allergic (phew!) to all three.  I remain totally unconvinced about peanuts (she'd eaten most of the entire bag she was to feed to the squirrels at the Botanics two days before being tested and was neither up nor down - however...).

As soon as milk was excluded from her diet there was a dramatic improvement.  But that said, we often have days when she'll have an upset stomach and we can't figure out why.  We have managed to re-introduce eggs but, given that she's 6, it's not looking like she is going to grow out of her dairy intolerance (apparently).

Fortunately, I love cooking, so have taken to experimenting with a few family favourites with mixed success.  Macaroni Cheese made with soya milk and Sheese just isn't any comparison to the real thing for the rest of us (although Toots loves it!).  Similarly, I haven't managed to make a fish pie that we're all happy with.  Toots has forgotten what dairy tastes like - we have not!

However, I have come up with lots of recipes that do work, mainly of the cake variety (as a big complaint of hers is a lack of 'treats' for dairy free kids!) and I'll be sharing some of them on here. And, of course, if you've any that you'd like to share back, I'd love to hear them!

1 comment:

  1. It's tricky isn't it? I have tried many different combinations to achieve a good dairy free cheese sauce and have come to the conclusion that it's not possible to make a direct equivalent.

    Soya milks vary hugely and I use different ones for cooking and for having on cereal. I also use Tofutti (tofu cream cheese stuff) in sauces. That combined with yeast flakes for vague cheesiness actually do a pretty good job with pasta :)

    Must admit I can't stand any of the fake cheeses...