Family Food Management Made Easy – Part 1

Why we are dairy free

So as I kick off Family food management month, I wanted to start this blog series by sharing the food principles my twins (who are nearly 6) and I follow at home and in particular today, why we are a dairy free family. We are not lactose intolerant, but 90-95% of the time we don’t have dairy in our diets.

The principles we follow are 90-95% of the time, so this allows for some guilt free indulgences if we fancy them and if we can’t get food that fits in with the principles, we don’t get stressed out. We are NOT that anal family that only eats greens and can never tuck into chips and pudding, far from it!

In summary:

1. No wheat, choosing wheat free alternatives or having higher carb vegetables
2. No dairy, see below
3. No sugar, they do have fresh fruit and sweets occasionally but no puddings, desserts, fruit juice, cakes, biscuits day to day
4. Vegetables at every meal – house rule number 2!
5. Very hydrated – 2-3 litres a day of very diluted squash or water and have a small vegetable juice most mornings
6. We don’t use a microwave, never have, even when they were babies
7. No processed food, chicken goujons and fish fingers are about the only processed food they have and no sweeteners
8. They snack on olives, nuts, seeds, vegetable crisps, home made popcorn
9. They have an Epsom salts bath 2-3 times a week to help restore the body’s PH balance, calm adrenals, help nervous system, draw out toxins and replace magnesium
10. They are super-active – not with forced activities (they only have swimming lessons once a week), but they exercise at least 2 hours a day via kids play, trampolining etc and Monty declared recently that ‘Exercise should be the law!”

So why no dairy? Lets start at the beginning!

No dairy babies

After I breastfed the boys (yes both at the same time for a month – I’m still waiting for my medal!), they went on to goats milk formula and then oat milk. Guess what? No gut issues, no colic, no mucous issues, no bad colds etc.

Dairy causes stagnation in the body as well as inflammation and it is also acidic meaning it actually depletes calcium stores. Want to know more read this great article by Channel 4 GP Dr Christian Jesson TIME TO STOP MILKING IT


Why you will be told to have dairy

Your GP or Health Visitor may say you need to load up on milk and dairy but you don’t. We need calcium not dairy. Have you ever seen an elephant or a gorilla eating a yogurt or swigging a milkshake? No. Do they have strong bones? Yes. Why? They eat greens, seeds, nuts and berries.

Many will probably also tell you that Goats milk formula shouldn’t be consumed by babies, but if they are dealing with a baby that is intolerant to all dairy formula, they will eventually put them on to Goats milk formula, so they do know it isn’t harmful, but they are so linked to the dairy / formula red tape industry links that, they a) often don’t know the truth about dairy or b) if they do know, they probably don’t want to say anything because of fear. Of course there are a few exceptions and actually I do think you will see a shift in this over the coming years as people are realizing that dairy hinders children’s health.

The hormone impact of dairy and soy

Before Health Visitors will suggest a baby moves onto Goats formula as a last resort, they will in fact put them onto soy. But “An infant taking the recommended amount of soy formula is consuming a hormone load equivalent of 4 birth control pills a day!” For me soy in many ways is worse than dairy (and the research that told us soy was good, was of course funded by the soy industry!). But of course if you aren’t giving your baby organic dairy, there are also many excess hormones being given to your baby or child because the animals are pumped full of artificial hormones to help it produce in many cases up to eight times the amount of milk.

Babies and children don’t need excess hormones and they don’t need mucous and stagnation because this is how they get sick.

Power to the mums

Now I’m not actually what is considered a ‘normal’ mum because when I was given the red books when the boys were born by the hospital, I threw them away in the bin shortly after. I didn’t take them back to be weighed by the health visitor, because all they talk about is where your child is on the percentile graph of growth (which I hate!) and tried to persuade me to get the boys off goats milk and onto dairy formula!

As a mum, I trusted my instinct, knowledge and ability to decide whether my child was healthy and growing and as all the babies and children around me were sniffling and ill, mine seemed to flourish. Many mums around me were stressed, worried about their children’s health and I cant tell you how many times I’ve worked with mothers who have left the health visitors feeling like a failing mum because their baby had dropped on the percentile chart or they were told they weren’t doing things right. One Mum I worked with was told that it was completely normal for babies to cry for hours at a time after feeding. Are you for real? This is NUTS! Again I want to reiterate that it isn’t all GPs and Health Visitors, but unfortunately from what I’ve seen, many. I’m also not suggesting all Mums through their red books away either, my point is that red books don’t need to be part of a ‘real health’ approach and I wish more mums would trust their instincts and challenge the system a little more if things don’t feel right in their soul or they want to feel a little more empowered as a parent.

My twins haven’t needed to go to the doctor or taken any medication or antibiotics (other than a bit of calpol) and if I hear someone else say ‘It’s totally normal for children to have lots of throat and ear infections and have colds!’ I might actually go mad. It’s not normal! My children haven’t and in fact one GP I know who’s child is permanently ill and sick thought I was mad when I suggested she took her daughter off wheat, dairy and sugar. Really, am I mad? I think you’ll find it won’t be long until people wake up to the fact that the proof is in the pudding, excuse the pun.

Implementing dairy free eating

It’s easy!

1. Oats milk instead of dairy milk – I do however have a small amount of full fat organic milk in my daily morning coffee and once a week have a latte
2. The boys don’t eat cheese – they will have some organic full fat mature cheddar if we make our home made gluten free pizzas (more on wheat on the next blog!). I eat some organic feta or goats cheese (this does not have the same impact as dairy from cows)
3. The boys don’t have yogurts – they like them and sometimes have them if they go and stay at my mums but we don’t keep them in the house
4. Any milk shake or smoothie we make is made with almond milk or oat milk and any chocolate they occasionally eat at home, would be dark chocolate, dark chocolate and beetroot wheat free muffins or as an occasional treat, they’re allowed a small amount of milk chocolate
5. We don’t have pudding in our house after meal times, so there is no rice pudding / ice-cream. They do have a pudding if we go to a restaurant, but as a habit of eating something sweet after a meal? It just doesn’t happen in our house

Now don’t get me wrong, the boys will have a Mr Whippy ice cream if we’re at a fair and their favourite pudding is profiteroles and I allow this and there are no banned foods as such.

But the boys know that dairy is not good for you. Only this morning Harry declared at the top of his voice ‘Milk is bad for you isn’t it Mummy, vegetables are better!’ and ‘Yogurts are bad for you, but ok if you have it sometimes!’, so no food is banned and we talk about it in quite a light hearted way. I explain why it is bad but why some people still think it is ok. It’s the same with sugar and wheat (more on next week’s blog), they know we don’t have it all the time, but they know it’s ok to have occasionally.

What happens when you go dairy free

Well you’ll notice a significant impact on your children’s well being in many areas, both short term and long term.

1. Eczema and asthma can often disappear in a couple of weeks (esp if combined with low to no wheat and sugar)
2. Better energy and vitality, especially as lots of dairy products have sugar in them too
3. Better behaviour – if you’re stressed from your child’s behaviour, get the dairy (wheat and sugar) out and be prepared for miracles!
4. Brighter in the mind – many dyslexic experts take children off wheat and dairy and sugar and see rapid improvements
5. Better digestion – apart from the afore-mentioned reasons, children do NOT have the enzymes to digest cows milk and dairy can aggravate children’s tummies
6. Better immunity – immunity stems from good gut health and having as little stagnation in the body. I’ve seen mother’s stressed out to high heavens with sick and grumpy children and they’ve taken them off dairy and said that their children have transformed in as little as a week
7. Long term we know that acidic food depletes our calcium stores. Obviously manufacturers won’t tell you that and actually the government would have a hard time admitting it too. Can you imagine the uproar if the government said to the nation ‘no dairy’, there would probably be a farming revolt not to mention generations of mums asking why they’d not said something before! Cut the dairy out and HELP your children’s bones and growth!
8. Do you really want your children pumped full of hormones? Homeostasis (the intrinsic balance of hormones in our bodies) is affected by dairy consumption. Do you think it’s random that girls as young as 6 and 7 are getting their periods? Even without that hormone imbalance over a period of time creates unbelievable health issues from thyroid, adrenal, weight gain, fertility issues and beyond that we know that hormones play a massive role in cancer, not just breast cancer
9. Dairy is often high in calories. Cutting dairy out helps to reduce excess calories in children. I’ve seen ‘puffy’ children who are told by parents in public ‘ he’s just like me, big boned, will always be a bit chubby’ literally change body shape in a month by reducing the inflammation caused by dairy (and wheat/sugar) and dropping excess calories
10. It reduces those childhood illnesses so many think are common and helps your child become healthier and happier.

Please don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

For more information, I’d recommend the automated Food Management Made Easy programme. When booked in July, you get 3 hours of family food management q and a webinars as a bonus (these will take place in August where you will have the chance to submit any questions you have).

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One comment

  • sarah james September 20, 2014   Reply →

    well done to all of those that take your advice
    i have endometroisis and thank god my wonderful consultant (nhs)
    did not want to do surgery he asked me to change my diet for three months
    then come back and see him to see how i was feeling
    as i wasn’t keen on surgery etc i stuck to the diet / choices !
    and when i return in three months i felt like a different women
    hence no surgery required to this day and that was about six years ago
    what was the diet i hear to ask
    NO ALCOHOL……..

    when i am good my mind body is fab but to maintain this i have to be so organised when food shopping / planning meals / entertaining etc as my family love nothing more than eating meat and drinking beer and guess what their favourite take away is an indain
    i try hard to make the right choices but when i don’t i enjoy that curry and a glass of wine so much more as it is a real treat …….
    look forward to reading your next blog
    sarah james

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