Consider Dairy Free

Consider Dairy Free

One of the things we have been struggling with is our son’s tonsils. Every time we go for our clinic evaluation (every 6 mos.) the ENT takes a look and comments on our son’s tonsils. Our son’s tonsils are pretty big and are not in the same place as a typical child’s would be due to the cleft palate and repair. It has been discussed that we should take the tonsils out and that they have a way to take some of the tissue and use it to repair the back of his palate possibly giving him better air flow and assistance with his speech.

We have opted out for the time being. He doesn’t get a lot of colds or throat infections since we have him (and all of us) on probiotics. I began researching and trying to find out if any other parents, cleft affected or otherwise, were struggling with the same thing. A dear friend of mine suggested I look into dairy possibly being the culprit. Dairy? Why would dairy enlarge tonsils?

Well I decided to research dairy and tonsils. To my surprise, I found a great deal of information on the subject! Did you know that your tonsils and adenoids are designed by nature to act as filters for bacteria, viruses and toxins? They’re also sensitive indicators for your body’s health.

A food allergy may cause the tonsils to become swollen, especially if the food is milk or wheat. Even ingesting a small amount of these foods can cause your tonsils to become enlarged.

Milk allergy is very common in children. If the child’s body doesn’t produce the enzyme lactase to completely digest the milk, the sugar lactose from this milk can cause gastric irritation and mucus production leading to – you guessed it – inflamed or swollen tonsils.

After reading a great deal of information I decided that we were going to try to eliminate dairy from our son’s diet and see if that would have any kind of affect on his tonsils or health in general. This came at such a high price, you have no idea! My son was mad. He LOVES his chocolate milk, cheese pizza and ice cream…I  mean who doesn’t, right?  I had to explain to him that we were simply going to try it out to see if his tonsils got smaller and in the process maybe his congestion from allergies would clear up. Reluctantly, he agreed to this dietary change.

I hit up Sprouts (my go to) and purchased Almond Milk, Coconut Milk and Goat’s Milk. I made sure to purchase the unsweetened versions that had vanilla only as an added ingredient. The Almond Milk didn’t go over so well for him (too watery) and the Goat’s Milk was a resounding NO. We both agreed that the Goat’s Milk was a little grassy for us and just could not get past the flavor. He did however, like the Vanilla Coconut Milk. I also found some chocolate coconut milks for kids that I could put in his lunch and he definitely liked those, telling us that it tasted like “pudding” and he felt as if he was getting a treat. By now, you will have guessed that our family uses coconut oil and the like for a great many ailments. Needless to say I was pretty happy that the coconut milk was such a hit because I believe it would be better for his digestion and immune system anyway.

So for the next 3 weeks he remained off of dairy and some interesting things happened. First, he was sleeping through the night. He has always been a restless sleeper and often gets up needing water or help getting back to sleep. Could it be that dairy was interrupting his sleep? More importantly, mine? Not entirely sure, regardless a fabulous side effect. We also experienced a decrease in his head sweating. He would wake up in the middle of the night with his entire head wet from sweat no matter the temperature in the house. After about a week we noticed that he was not waking with a wet head and soaked pillowcase. Weird, right?

After the 2 week mark he was increasing his water intake and seemed to not miss his chocolate milk after school. He was still drinking the Coconut Milk but not consuming nearly as much as he used to with regular milk. His stuffy nose seemed to be clearing up and the circles under his eyes (our pediatrician told us they were from severe head congestion due to allergies) were fading.

At this point I’m starting to feel like a bad mom for not having thought of milk as being the culprit for some of his ailments. At least I’m finally figuring some things out now…so yeah for me!

We hit the end of the 3 week mark and while out to breakfast with my parents my son decides he wants to celebrate by ordering a chocolate milk with his pancakes. I decide to let him and see what happens. At the end of breakfast he starts complaining that his stomach hurts and he wants to go home. We finish up and while heading home he keeps complaining that his stomach doesn’t feel good and he just wants to lay down. Hmmm…I’m thinking it’s the freakin’ milk!

I head to the store and purchase some chewable lactaid pills for him and have him take one when I get home. He starts to feel better but still says his stomach is hurting. We don’t let him have any more dairy the remainder of the day and his stomach feels better after awhile. After this episode he no longer wants to drink chocolate milk on his own. We start carrying the chewables with us when we are out and at home he knows that he needs to take a chewable lactaid pill if he is going to have milk, cheese or ice cream. When he takes the chewable he doesn’t suffer from the stomach pains.

The head sweating is a thing of the past and he still sleeps through the night without interruption. At our last few check ups his tonsils have been noted to not be enlarged. The doctors still consider them to be markedly larger than normal but not red or clearly inflamed. The suggestion for surgery has been off the table so far and I’m glad we opted to go dairy free for the 3 weeks that we did. We avoided a surgery and found out that he needs the assistance of a lactaid pill in order to enjoy milk products without the side effects.

If your child experiences some of the same symptoms mine did it might be a good idea to try an elimination diet starting with dairy and/or wheat. I’m glad we did!

Coconut Milk Benefitscoconut milk

Coconut milk can be a healthy addition to your diet for some of the following reasons:

    1. Coconut milk is easier to digest because the body uses 3 less enzymes to digest it as opposed to cow’s milk.
    2. It contains a high level of omega 3, 6 and 9 fats along with high amounts of amino acids. On its own, it makes a perfect meal because it has an excellent combination of fats and amino acids. The high level of omega 3, 6 and 9 fats and protein in this milk are more bio-available to humans compared to all other animal fats and most vegetable fats. This bio-availability results in the body’s ability to assimilate all its nutrients.
    3. It’s very healing to the digestive tract and even heals damage done to the system in cases of IBS, Crohn’s disease and severe malnutrition.
    4. It’s healthy and food. Especially helpful for people who want to avoid dairy, are lactose intolerant, or have dairy allergies.
    5. Helps build strong bones because it contains phosphorus. Phosphorus is a nutrient that is needed along with calcium to prevent bone loss and which supplies the body with phosphates. Phosphates are key for the building of bone.
    6. Helps maintain balanced blood sugar levels by being a good source of manganese. This mineral is usually deficient in people with blood sugar issues.
    7. Helps to reduce inflammation in joints by controlling the amount of free radicals in the system. As a result, arthritis sufferers can feel relief.
    8. Aids in lowering blood pressure levels because of its high level of potassium.
    9. Keeps the immune system strong and healthy by providing an optimal level of Vitamin C.
    10. Helps prevent anemia. Iron deficient anemia is a very common ailment among people throughout the world. One (1) cup of this milk can provide nearly a quarter of your daily iron needs.
    11. Helps nerves and muscles relax because it has an abundance of magnesium. This mineral counteracts the hyperactivity of nerves caused by too much calcium and relieves muscle pain and soreness. The B vitamins in coconut milk also benefit nerves by calming them.
    12. Promotes prostate health because it contains the mineral, zinc. Zinc helps to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
    13. Helpful for weight management because when you consume this milk you feel fuller sooner due to its level of fiber.