People often ask me how George is doing these days with regard to his dairy allergy, so I thought I'd update here. It seems like so long ago that George was constantly broken out in a rash and difficult to soothe, but those days really are in the past. I am nearly five months dairy-free now, and I am continuing to nurse George with no milk and extremely limited soy in my diet. An exception is two ounces per day of Alimentum formula that he gets with his baby oatmeal, as I long ago told BJ that I'm just not dedicated enough to add a 20-minute pumping session into the end of my day for that. George struggled with other types of formula, but the Alimentum seems to work really well.
George's dairy and soy problems are not equal in nature. It has become apparent to me that he does have sensitivity to soy, so I limit my intake quite a bit for him. Dairy, however, cannot be consumed even in moderation. As I believe I said in a previous post, I experimented months ago by eating a single hush-puppy that I knew had milk in it, and he was broken into a rash all over his face the next day; worse, it didn't go away (which was par for the course) and we had to apply the steroid cream all over again. I was so daunted by a soy-free diet in particular, because soy is in practically everything; however, some quick research led me to understand that the two most common soy ingredients on the labels, soy lecithin and soybean oil, are not considered allergens by the US Food and Drug Administration and therefore are safe to consume. This organization has not led me astray, as I consume soy lecithin all the time with no apparent recourse for George. As it stands now, I can't consume a quantity of soy sauce such as a quarter of a cup that goes into a marinade; I can, however, dip the corner of my sushi rolls into soy sauce guilt-free (no edamame to accompany it, though!).
The health benefits that have come of this for me have not gone unnoticed. Although my weight loss has finally stabilized, I'm a good 15 pounds under my George pre-pregnancy weight and more than five pounds under what I weighed before my pregnancy with Silas. This is encouraging, especially because my running has slacked and I've still kept it off. (Note: The Moore War Run 5K was this past Saturday and I ran the whole thing without stopping in 35 minutes. What what. I decided to stop making fun of myself when the posted results showed me in 7th place out of 23 for women in my age group!)
This being said, the real challenge for me will come this fall, as I approach my favorite time of eating, with all of my favorite foods, and will find myself quite limited. I do plan to nurse George until his first birthday in January, so that puts me through the whole Christmas season scrambling to find my dairy-free favorites and somehow try to take the milk out of my favorites that do indeed utilize the cow. I will be looking head-on into a Christmas season of no Hello Dollies, creamy gravy, green bean casserole, hot chocolate, homemade egg nog, pumpkin ice cream, etc. I have decided to begin focusing on the foods that I CAN eat though, and I'm still quite excited about the options: homemade cranberry sauce, pumpkin bread, sweet potatoes, turkey, homemade marshmallows...Yum. I'm also excited about the potential for experimentation to make my favorite foods work for me. Butter crisco can easily substitute for butter in baking and, surprisingly, does not contain dairy. Mashed potatoes also taste delicious when made with chicken broth (thanks for the tip, Rachem!). I'll try substituting rice milk for cow milk in our family's traditional fried bread. And I'll be damned if I'm going without my favorite of all, pumpkin pie! Who needs evaporated milk anyway? Who even knows what evaporated milk is? I have put some research in and found this dairy-free, soy-free recipe for pumpkin pie, and I'll report back on results.
Additionally, I intend to finish what I started last year with the chili exploration. The truth is, BJ and I did experiment with two different chili recipes, but I only posted one of them on the blog. Toward the beginning of our quest for finding good chili recipes, Owen received his diagnosis and sent our plans into a tailspin. The season was never the same after that, and we lost the motivation for frivolous things like chili. This fall we're going to try it again, and I'll finally put up some belated posts because I took good notes.
Finally, a happy first birthday to Owen today. We love this little man and I get to see him next week! (Did I mention that George and I get to visit Massachusetts for a long weekend??) Tomorrow morning before I head into work I will plant some Black-Eyed Susans in our front garden in his honor; Som has declared these as her flower of choice to commemorate our man and the life he brings to our lives, in spite of his difficult journey over the past year. We love you, birthday boy!