Wholesome Child : Wholesome Child full
step 7: rethink dairy • Let your child make shapes out of cheese using cookie cutters. • Milk can be disguised in your child’s favorite foods, too. Try mixing it in oatmeal or add cream or blocks of cheese to tomato soup. What about dairy allergies? There is a longstanding debate over the place of dairy, especially milk, in any mammal’s diet once they have been weaned because dairy allergy or intolerance is extremely common in children. While some children have the constitution to handle cow’s milk, others can react severely with eczema or gut irritation. Growing evidence also suggests that children on the autism spectrum may benefit from a casein (milk protein) and gluten-free diet. Mainstream medical practitioners refute the link but clinical and anecdotal evidence has started to show more and more that for certain children a dairy-free diet can improve behaviour and symptoms all round. If there is a history of dairy allergy in the family look out for any of the following signs of sensitivity: • Eczema flare-ups • Loose stools • Ear infections • Constantly runny nose • Bloating • Cramps • Rhinitis If you notice any of these symptoms after your child has eaten dairy then consider decreasing or eliminating dairy for a period of three to six weeks under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner to see if it will reduce their symptoms. Then slowly reintroduce dairy products in small amounts, one by one, and keep an eye out for any reactions. By the same token, if your child shows no ill effects from consuming dairy products then there is no need for you to cut them out. What are the best sources of calcium? Dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt contain calcium but there are many other nondairy food sources such as sardines and tinned salmon plus good vegetarian options including almonds, basil, kale, bok choy, poppy, sesame and chia seeds. Other non-dairy sources of calcium Wholegrain bread, soy milk, chicken, fish and meat broths, dried apricots, oranges, limes, kumquats, watercress, green beans, spring onions, parsley, watercress, nori seaweed and leeks. Top five high-calcium fruits 1. Rhubarb 2. Blackcurrants 3. Oranges 4. Kiwi fruit 5. Dried figs Top five high-calcium veggies 1. Okra 2. Broccoli 3. Kale 4. Leeks 5. Chinese cabbage (pak choi) Are non-dairy alternatives a suitable replacement for milk? Non-dairy alternatives (see page 240), should not be used for infants, but you can start introducing them between the ages of 1-2. However, they do not offer the same nutritional benefits as whole milk, as they are low in protein and low in fat. And even if they are fortified with calcium, it’s often in the form of calcium carbonate, which is not easily absorbed and has been proven to reduce the acidity of the gut harming the absorption of other nutrients too. The simple truth is that nature cannot be easily replicated by synthetic additives like those found in fortified milks. Calcium needs fat and vitamin D to be absorbed and dairy alternatives are often lacking in both. Offering a child a glass of almond milk after school is not sufficient in itself, however, an almond milk smoothie, blended with whole almonds as well as banana, kale and chia seeds, would be an optimal choice as it contains a higher percentage of nutrients from other calcium rich sources. Many children’s diets include these milk replacements as they may have lactose intolerance, or for a variety of reasons, may be following a dairy-free diet. I don’t urge everyone to go dairy-free, but I do believe in mixing up the diet, and rotating the milks you are using. As discussed earlier, many children are suffering 237 you know? Drinking milk Did from grass-fed cows can help our balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.