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Thread: how to cook for lactose intolerant children

  1. #1
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    how to cook for lactose intolerant children

    I think my 20 month old daughter from China might be lactose intolerant. Problem is that she lives off of cheese! How do you cook for a toddler who is lactose intolerant? Oh no, no more mac and cheese!
    Any ideas?
    Susan

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    I've been trying to go lactose-free for a few weeks now, and I've found that lactose-free milk works well in cooking and baking - it's a bit sweet to drink, but otherwise tastes like regular milk. Also, I think most hard cheeses are pretty low in lactose, so your DD may be able to tolerate some cheese - I know it doesn't seem to bother me too much. I know others will have some suggestions, too.

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    There are lots of cheeses now made with soy, almond or rice "milk" to replicate the original...be careful if she is allergic to the protein part (caesin) or the lactose part as some of these mfg. add in the caesin.

    There are also lots of books on Vegan cooking, which uses no dairy.

    Finally, unsweetened soymilk can be used anywhere cow's milk is used.

    Congrats on your new addition
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  4. #4
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    As someone that became lactose intolerant just over a year ago, I hope that I can help a little! I was never lactose intolerant as a child so I don't know if there is a difference between being born that way and devloping it (like I did).

    First of all, try to see to what degree she is unable to have dairy. I am unable to have anything but fat free skim milk without having to take a lactaid pill. I used to be a 2% kind of milk drinker and have been my whole life. Now I can't even drink 1% without experiencing major consequences! LOL! I HATE the lactaid milk. It's way too sweet for me and it changes the taste of everything. So, try buying the skim or fat free cheese and giving her skim milk and see if you notice a difference (I'm not sure if you know all the "consequences" of drinking lactose. If you don't, I'd be more than happy to share all the gross details. LOL!)

    Also, you don't have to change the diet completely...if she is able to still digest skim milk/fat free milk. Just buy the fat free version of most dairy products and see how she does with those. Also, not all cheeses will usually have the same effect on her. I am able to still eat certain cheeses in *small* portions, but I swear that even the sight of bleu cheese makes me have to excuse myself from the table.

    The other things to stay away from or at least test out to know that you should stay away from them (I know that I stay as far away as I can!!) that people don't usually think about: honey mustard sauce at restaurants (may contain mayonnaise which can upset her stomach), ranch dressing, sour cream, heavy whipping cream, and pancakes...especially the ones made with buttermilk! Seriously watch out for those! LOL!

    I have found that I really haven't had to change my diet that much, just adjust it a little. I was one of those people that would get asked if I would like some baked potato with my cheese. I've tried the soy cheese and it's not that bad!

    For recipes that do call for cheese, try using soy cheese and the fat free/skim milk cheese. Test them out first as a lot of times they aren't going to melt as well or have the same consistency when heated.
    ERIKA (a dairy-free, and almost soy-free kind of gal)

    "I don't know where she got her cooking skills from. I barely have the patience or skill to cook noodles. I'll tell you one thing, though, all she ever wanted to do as a kid was bang on pots and pans." - my mother

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    I'm a bit confused - lactose is a milk sugar; I didn't think it was related to the fat in dairy products?

  6. #6
    Are they doing tests to find out if she is really lactose intolerant? Or are you just cutting back -- or eliminating dairy -- to see if she improves?

    One of my children was lactose intolerant for a time (she grew out of it, thank goodness) and the biggest concern I had was getting enough calcium in her diet. There's a limit on how much broccoli a kid can eat! So if you are cutting back on milk and dairy products, be sure to ask about calcium supplements or using Tums (high in calcium) for that age child.

    You could also ask about using goat's milk, especially for cooking/baking. Michel Nischan, chef of Heatbeat Restaurant in NYC, said on TV a while back that he had not had such good luck cooking with the lactose-free milk products or with soy milk, but found that goat's milk was better, and that is is very low in lactose. You should be able to find goat's milk in a good health food store.

    A while ago, I found an interesting cookbook that I gave as a gift: Beth Kidder, "The Milk Free Kitchen: Living Well without Dairy Products: 450 Family-Style Recipes." The recipes seemed to cover just about every kind of dish, including baked goods, which I think would be the hardest to deal with. Amazon is showing it as in stock, and has other dairy-free cookbooks, too.

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    Originally posted by ClaraB
    I'm a bit confused - lactose is a milk sugar; I didn't think it was related to the fat in dairy products?
    Yes, I was thinking the same thing.
    Perhaps cinnamon-queen had other allergies/intolerances in addition to lactose.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by wallycat


    Yes, I was thinking the same thing.
    Perhaps cinnamon-queen had other allergies/intolerances in addition to lactose.
    When I discussed this with my dr's they said that it was not uncommon for people that are lactose intolerant to be able to digest skim milk or fat free milk but not be able to digest whole milk. Nutritionally, the content of all milk is the same but the butterfat (if I remember correctly what they told me) is what has been removed from the skim milk hence the reason why it appears "blue" to people that aren't used to drinking it. My dr's said that it's estimated that 75% of the population is lactose intolerant but don't know they are.

    There are varying degrees of lactose intolerance (which is probably why they can use such a high number as 75% and not have millions of people taking lactaid pills). While some people are able to digest up to a certain amount of dairy in a day, others are very sensitive and couldn't even have one cheese flavored potato chip! It gets worse over time and since I was JUST diagnosed with it last year and developed it in my 20's, I seem to be at the point where I'm still able to tolerate a certain amount of dairy per day. I have noticed that even within this past year that it has gotten worse and many of the foods that I used to be able to eat I am finding I'm having minor problems digesting (not nearly the problems I have if I were to eat say a piece of cheese though!).

    I would definitely recommend that your daughter get tested for it just to make sure it's not something more serious.
    ERIKA (a dairy-free, and almost soy-free kind of gal)

    "I don't know where she got her cooking skills from. I barely have the patience or skill to cook noodles. I'll tell you one thing, though, all she ever wanted to do as a kid was bang on pots and pans." - my mother

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by cinnamon_queen

    When I discussed this with my dr's they said that it was not uncommon for people that are lactose intolerant to be able to digest skim milk or fat free milk but not be able to digest whole milk. Nutritionally, the content of all milk is the same but the butterfat (if I remember correctly what they told me) is what has been removed from the skim milk hence the reason why it appears "blue" to people that aren't used to drinking it.
    Yes, but isn't the lactose content of skim milk the same as that of 2% or whole milk? I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm just wondering how you're able to tolerate one and not the other?

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by ClaraB
    Yes, but isn't the lactose content of skim milk the same as that of 2% or whole milk? I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm just wondering how you're able to tolerate one and not the other?
    I know you aren't trying to be argumentative. I wish I knew the answer! All I know is that when I first started noticing problems I went and saw my dr and they put me on a lactose free diet for 2 weeks...it was terrible for this cheese lover! When I went back to the dr(s) they told me that if I wanted I could try to reintroduce skim milk/fat free milk into my diet and see if I had any problems.

    My best friend has been lactose intolerant for about 4 years (another case of "adult onset") and she used to be able to tolerate skim milk, but isn't able to anymore. Strangely enough she just had a baby and during her entire pregnancy she was NOT lactose intolerant and could digest ALL dairy products. I have never seen *anyone* eat so much dairy in my life. She took full advantage of being able to eat full fat, non soy ice-cream straight from the container and Chicago deep dish extra cheese pizzas! LOL! Now that she's had the baby she's able to drink skim milk again, but she suspects that it will only be a matter of time before she won't be able to do that anymore either.

    I wish I knew what to tell you, I'm only speaking from experience and from other experiences that I know of.
    ERIKA (a dairy-free, and almost soy-free kind of gal)

    "I don't know where she got her cooking skills from. I barely have the patience or skill to cook noodles. I'll tell you one thing, though, all she ever wanted to do as a kid was bang on pots and pans." - my mother

  11. #11
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    Hmmm, that's interesting - I had never heard of that before. I'd like to try skim milk again, but I'm honestly a bit nervous about all the symptoms coming back if I don't tolerate it . I don't mind the lactose-free milk, either - it's fine over cereal, or by itself, I just don't care for it with a meal, since it is pretty sweet.

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by ClaraB
    I'd like to try skim milk again, but I'm honestly a bit nervous about all the symptoms coming back if I don't tolerate it .
    I completely understand what you mean by that!! I'm sure that a nice warning would also be appreciated to anyone that you live with, should you add it to your diet! If you're anything like me, they have to suffer the consequences almost as much as you do. LOL!
    ERIKA (a dairy-free, and almost soy-free kind of gal)

    "I don't know where she got her cooking skills from. I barely have the patience or skill to cook noodles. I'll tell you one thing, though, all she ever wanted to do as a kid was bang on pots and pans." - my mother

  13. #13
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    I'd recommend talking to your pediatrician before changing DD's diet -- my understanding is that it's not recommended to feed children under age 2 a diet of exclusively non-fat or low-fat dairy.

    Also, you didn't say how long she's been home from China, but it's particularly important not to switch to non-fat without some medical guidance if she had less-than-optimal nutrition while she was in China. I'm not a doctor, but my son (now 28 months) was adopted from Guatemala, and the doctor still wants him on either whole or 2 percent milk, because he needs to "catch up" a bit, as far as his growth goes.

    Another thing -- has your DD been tested for giardia? Even if she doesn't show any immediate symptoms (like diarrhea), she could have acquired it some time ago, (while in China),and still have the bacteria living in her system -- and, apparently, giardia can mimic symptoms of lactose intolerance. This was the case with my DS -- we first thought he was lactose intolerant (would get very gassy after drinking milk), and gave him Lactaid milk (whole). But after the giardia was discovered and treated, he was able to drink regular milk just fine. We were also told that in order to be sure a giardia infection has cleared up, there need to be three negative tests in a row, since it's not uncommon to get "false negatives." (Sorry if this info is kinda gross -- but I hope it may be helpful.)

    If your pediatrician hasn't treated a lot of internationally adopted kids, I'd also suggest contacting a doctor who specializes in adoption medicine, and running the situation past her/him.

    Good luck,

    Helene
    "We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake."
    --President Barack Obama, 1/20/09

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