Ditching Dairy




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Back in the day, pre-kids and during my disposable income point in life, I sometimes thought a legit dinner was a board of fancy cheeses paired with some grapes and liquid grapes. Many moons ago, I spent quite a bit of time both living in and commuting to Manhattan. I felt fancy and did fancy things. One of my favorite restaurants by the apartment I was living at was a cheese and wine place. As in that is all they served. I was a regular. Cheese and wine for dinner. The fancier and creamier the cheese, the better. Back in Chicago, my bestie D and I would often frequent whole foods for a selection of cheese and wine and spend our nights on the balcony of the condo chatting and cheesing.


Fast forward to a time when my cheese and wine days are infrequent, and my days and nights are spent with my tiny humans instead of a balcony, a bar, and disposable income (and a 20-something metabolism). When we switched B from nursing to milk at 13 months, he immediately hated it. He never wanted to take a bottle anyways (lucky me) and when he finally started milk, he was crabby. Then he started to get digestion sick. Like really sick. We tried almond milk, soy milk, and lactose free milk, and he refused it all. He is a peanut and he needed the calories, so we switched him to a special drink for him per his pediatrician. He started eating more and more cheese and yogurt, and the drink did the trick. No more terrible diapers and crabby boy. At 20 months, he decided almond milk was ok and started drinking it! Thank goodness! We got a $100/month raise when we didn’t have to buy his special drink anymore! Woo hoo! He still does fine with cheese, yogurt, and almond milk which is great!


So about 23 weeks into this pregnancy, we discovered that dairy and me do not get along. I spent a lot of time sick, feeling sick, and just feeling off. Immediate relief from the vomiting came as soon as I went dairy free. So that was good.  I admit that I have a poor attitude about my love for cheese being taken away from me because it was a hard thing to give up. Milk was not that bad of a give up as I don’t really love milk like I love cheese. Its actually pretty stressful and difficult to go out to eat with a food allergy. Cooking has become easier, but dining out is near impossible. I find that looking at a menu ahead of time makes it easier to figure out something that is safe and that I will actually enjoy. Cooking is admittedly becoming boring because of the limits, but I’ve learned to substitute. (thanks to N, one of my wonderful friends and clients who went dairy free for her little guy and is just a ROCKSTAR!) If I mess up and have dairy now, the effects are magnified presumably because I have been off of dairy for long enough for my body to be really pissed at it. I ate a chicken rub with dairy in it last weekend by accident and I paid for it in excessive barfing for 2 hours. It didn’t even taste dairy at all. 


All this said, something crazy happened when I gave up dairy. I started feeling better in ways that I hadn’t known I felt bad about. It has taken about 2.5 months to realize these things, but it is really eye opening. I think 8 weeks is about a proper detox amount of time for most things anyways. Here is what I have learned about becoming dairy free:

  • My gut feels MUCH better now that I am not eating dairy. I didn’t even realize that I was bloating up after dairy but I was. Like adipose tissue bloat. The kind that makes your pants tight, but everywhere in your body. As weird as it sounds, my pants fit better 10 weeks further into my pregnancy than they did before. 


  • My recovery from workouts have gotten better. I am less sore and my muscles recover easier. I used to eat a greek yogurt after a workout and now I fuel with almond milk and granola. 


  • Though part of this is hormonal, my skin has cleared up a ton. Ths baby brought me teenage skin, and almost immediately after cutting out dairy, my skin had cleared up for the most part. Was this dairy? Maybe partially. Was it hormone changes? Maybe. My guess is that it is both. 


  • Faux cheese products are not my thing. They don’t taste natural to me. The closest to “worth it” for me is the Trader Joe’s Almond cheese and Daiya. And even then, I don’t need a lot of it, nor do I want a lot of it.


  • I have no intention of drinking cows milk ever again. And I don’t envision myself buying cows milk again. Cheese, fro yo and MAYBE yogurt, however, I do hope to enjoy again if my body allows.


  • Food allergies suck. Ive always been sympathetic to food allergies- especially for kiddos. We do the teal pumpkin at Halloween and I monitor B’s eating of dairy like a hawk to make sure he is ok. Now, I’m just plain mad at food allergies.

Learning ‘Mom of 3’

This week, I got my first taste at the balancing act that will be my role as mom of three come September. The week started off slow, which is good. I had a couple nights of alone parenting which is getting to be harder and harder the more I slow down. The kids are getting better about bedtime (knock on wood). By Wednesday, I was ready for some time out of the house solo. 

My workout regimen has been intense this entire pregnancy. I am listening to my body and what it needs and working out has been a priority. Wednesday, I went to my regular workout and was feeling great. Halfway through, J commented that my bump had moved, which I clearly felt. The baby was sitting much higher than it has been- practically in my rib cage and no longer bouncing its head off of my bladder. 

The next day was Thursday, and I was sending B to camp for the first time. As I sat in my office after the chaos and stress of a new chapter for B started, I began to notice that Baby 3 was not moving as much as I am used to. So I gave it time and drank some juice. It moved a bit, but not like it normally does. Come to think of it, I slept a ton better the night before due to what I thought was its new found space off my bladder, but maybe it just wasn’t moving? I got nervous, so at nap time, I laid down and did some kick counts in my room. And nada. Like the baby was not moving at all- even on my back. It would lightly roll and I had Braxton Hicks periodically, but not the normal acrobatics. 

I went downstairs and had a popsicle and chugged a gatorade. Nothing. So I called the Doc. See, I have literally the world’s greatest OB. She called me within 5 minutes with advice. I can be so real with her- she works out and is pregnant herself. She recommended to go in for a decrease in movement, and I got an appointment for right then. As I was leaving and nervous about Baby 3, Baby 2 (B) woke up with a bad fever and not feeling well. Then S woke up and needed mommy snuggles. Here we go. 

So hubs and I checked B’s temp while I cuddled S and prayed that Baby 3 would move. Gave B some tylenol and S a snuggle as I headed out the door solo to go check on 3. yikes. This is the balancing everyone talks about and 3 isn’t even here yet! I was tending to 3 and leaving a sick one and a needy one with dada. My heart was in a lot of different places all at once. 

Baby 3 is doing well. We had an ultrasound and a NST (stress test). Baby wasn’t moving much, but had a great test. I will go back this Friday for another appointment, but I can rest a bit easier knowing the inside baby is fine for now. I am doing kick counts once per day and thinking about it literally the whole day. Mama bear is there even before baby arrives. 

The weekend came and B was still not well, so I ended up taking him into immediate care this morning. Our dear friend’s brother is the doc at the place right by our house, so we were lucky to get really great care. As I left, the tremendous guilt of how S has taken the backseat to a sick little bro and a mom who was worried about the bump kicked in. As I was waiting with a sweet and rambunctious B, I decided that she needed some 1:1 time. 

When we got home from B’s Immediate Care ordeal, I took S to her first mani/pedi and lunch. She is a heart melter and her empathy is unreal when it comes to situations like this. She knows when I am stressed and she knows when people hurt. She asked if she could pick out a toy for B since he was so brave. Cue heart melting. Man, I love this little lady. We went into Walgreens after nails and lunch to pick up B’s prescription and were going to pick him out a toy. As we popped out of the car, S looks at me and says, point blank, “My water broke! My babies are coming!” I. About. Died. She listens and remembers everything. Lately, our favorite bedtime story are the stories of when her and B were born. She can tell you about each birth story and day. 

As we get excited for this next chapter as a family of 5, nature has a way of preparing me for the new “zone defense” that we will learn come September. Here is what I learned thus far in my balancing act of 3… 3 and under: 

-My first baby is growing faster than I can fathom. With her grows the love and empathy and kindness that have been my wishes since she was a light in my eye.  My second baby is growing just as fast and is full blown toddler who is pull of polite, kindness and love. 

-I need to breathe and work like triage. The most challenging issues take precedent and the rest will fall into place. With help. Lots of help. 

-Rely on my village. I need advice daily from some of the best friends out there. And I needed Dr. S and Dr. M (all a part of my extended village) to get me through this week. 

-Smell the sweetness of siblings. S laid her head on my belly as I was singing to her after I got home on Thursday. As soon as she did, Baby 3 woke up and gave her a good few jabs to the cheek. All 3 wanted was its sibling and some mommy tunes to get it going.

-Kids repeat everything and tell everything. We had to stop at a liquor store in a not so nice area tonight for S to pee (in a bug filled, very dirty bathroom). We got home and she popped out of the car and yelled to hubs “Dada! We visited the liquor store!” Hubs just looked at me puzzled and I started the story. I laughed so hard. 

Bring it on, baby 3. We are (almost) ready for you. #thirdkidhasnonurseryyet

 Waiting for 3 to fill their blanket
Waiting for 3 to fill their blanket