Tuesday, 19 May 2015
Cows milk protein allergy/ Dairy free cooking, baking and eating
As a new mum, learning to deal with Cow's Milk Protein Allergy has been a steep learning curve, so I thought I'd use today's post, to outline some of the products that have been useful to us over the last few months.
We've been weaning Harry for 5 months now, and have been dairy free for all of that time, and soya free for about 3 months. The difference in him is amazing. He doesn't wail, arching his back, or hold his breath because he's in so much pain with the reflux anymore. He doesn't projectile vomit every feed back up, and he's lost that slightly haunted, underweight look that made me so sad. To see him squeal and giggle, clap and stand up, and generally just be wonderful (not that I'm biased at all) really makes me not care about the chocolate, cheese, milk or anything else I can't have. He's doing brilliantly and that means that I'm coping fine.
However, for Harry and I, being dairy & soya free isn't without it's challenges. I actually don't find the day to day side of things too hard - it's the pressure of trying to be inventive - to balance making sure he's getting enough of the right kind of calories with interesting, tasty food - that I find a struggle. If I don't plan, I hit a 3pm wall as it were, when I bemoan all those quick and easy suppers that I've clearly filed away over the years that all contain dairy. So, I plan, I make sure I have the right kind of food in for him and me, and we get on with it.
Some babies do grow out of their CMPA - to be honest I'm not thinking about that because it'll be great if it happens, but I'm sticking with where we are. I will stop breastfeeding at some point, but for now, what we're doing is working for us so I'm reluctant to make any changes.
So - onto some of our useful and not so useful products...
Almond milk - we use this for porridge, cereals, baking and pretty much for Harry anything except drinking. We haven't really broached weaning from breast milk yet - but I suspect we'll use Oat milk when the time comes. I really like the mild flavour of the almond milk, it categorically doesn't work in tea or coffee - but then I've not found a dairy substitute that does.
Coyo - Coconut milk yoghurt. This is lovely. There are vanilla, raw chocolate and plain flavours in our local Waitrose, and I pop in weekly to pick some up. Harry has his with chopped fruit normally, although I've used the plain one to make him a mild curry.
Wot No Dairy? - These yoghurt type puddings were suggested by our dietician and are not a hit. Made with pea protein, I don't know if it's the flavour Harry doesn't like (although I've tried them mixed in with banana which is his absolute favourite to no avail) but I found them oddly flavoured too.
Violife 'cheese' - we buy the mozzarella style slices as that's what our Holland and Barrett stocks, although apparently in bigger Tescos you can get it in grateable blocks too. I cannot stand the smell of this - as much as I miss cheese, I just can't do Violife. That said Harry loves it. If we're having a picnic lunch (I put out little bits and pieces of ham, cheese, veggies, rice cakes, houmous etc and we eat them off his splash mat on the floor) I swear he hones in on this and inhales it. It doesn't melt like dairy cheese does, but chopped up and popped in a warm pasta sauce it does soften nicely.
Oatly Creamy Oat - this is our hero product at the moment, used to make dairy free rice puddings, creamy pasta sauces, and in pretty much anything where I might have previously used butter/ cream or cheese. It has a really mild taste so for Harry is ideal. I need to get some more at the moment actually as we're out of our baked rice pudding.
Vitalite - I use this for baking as well as a spread. Having done some anecdotal research if you're using this for baking - watch your cakes! It cooks much quicker than butter, and I find cakes are more likely to catch so you have to be careful. We've also used the Pure spreads, but think Harry reacts to something in them, which he doesn't seem to do to the Vitalite.
We don't eat a lot of Free from type products, truth be told I find them expensive and because we're allergic to soya as well as dairy, many just aren't suitable. I also think (with a few notable exceptions) that I'd rather bake for Harry and I as that way I know what we're reacting to, rather than trying to work out from a massive list of ingredients. That said, I have a huge soft spot for the Sainsburys Free from chocolate chip cookies, and could easily eat them by the packet. All of that aside - this list from PETA of accidentally vegan snack food has been a bit of a go-to for me!
If you're dairy free for any reason then I hope this is useful for you, it's not easy so do hang on in there.
If you've got any questions or requests for help with meals do comment below and let me know. I've had some requests for lunch inspirations, much like my breakfast suggestions post so I'm working on that at that moment and of course I'll continue to blog anything we happen across that makes our lives easier.