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As many of you who have read my food reviews know, seeking out dairy free food is a dull but necessary chore for me, because I'm an asthmatic and (as is quite common for asthmatics) my body is not equipped to handle dairy. In this review, I discuss various types of dairy intolerances and other hypersensitivities, including lactose intolerance, milk protein intolerance and allergy. Most of this is based on my own experiences and reading on the subject after diagnosis (i.e. I have no medical training). I would strongly advise anyone who believes they may have a dairy intolerance or an allergy to talk to a medical professional about it. If you look at the adult population of the entire world, then tolerance of dairy is unusual, being an adaption that only occurred after humans started domesticating animals. Sadly, since I live in Western Europe, dairy is ubiquitous in the Western diet and is rather hard to avoid. To most people, the terms "lactose intolerance", "dairy allergy", "milk protein intolerance" and "dairy intolerance" are synonymous, but they actually cover a variety of conditions, which I will cover briefly in this review. ==What is the "bad" stuff in the dairy?== There are three common things in dairy that your body may not be able to process: lactose, whey and casein. People who cannot have dairy may have problems with any or all of these, and you may need the help of an allergist to diagnose which it is. Lactose is a sugar that many people do not have the right enzymes to digest. This condition is called lactose intolerance and is by far the most common reason that people cannot have dairy. Happily, this condition is partly controllable for some people by the use of lactase tablets and by avoiding milk. Many people find that they can tolerate small amounts of lactose, and that they just have to make sure that they don't have too much. Whey and casein are both dairy proteins and can trigger the immune system to react. Depending on which part of the immune system responds, you may be diagnosed conditions called "Milk protein intolerance" or "dairy allergy". These conditions are much harder to treat, other than by the complete elimination of dairy products. ==What is the difference between an allergy and an intolerance?== A food intolerance is where your body reacts in a negative way to normal, harmless foodstuffs that are not toxic. Although many people refer to such an intolerance as being allergic to a food, this is not really the case. An allergy is a very specific type of hypersensitivity reaction where your body produces ig-E antibodies to something harmless. It does not necessarily mean it is a severe reaction, nor does it mean it is a permanent one (as evidenced by the large number of snuffly wheezy toddlers who grow out of it). There are a number of other ways that your immune system can react to food, so although these may not be a true allergy, they can still be very dangerous. Some tests that can help to diagnose that dairy is a problem include blood tests and skin prick tests. However, these will not detect lactose intolerance, delayed immune reactions or non-ig-E mediated reactions and an elimination diet may be needed to determine whether dairy can be tolerated or not. A really good allergist can spot a dairy intolerance or allergy through the pattern of symptoms alone. ==What are the symptoms?== This depends on whether your body cannot have lactose or dairy proteins. The most common symptoms after eating a dairy product are digestive problems such as bloating, cramps, stomach upsets, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. These can happen for lactose intolerance, dairy protein intolerance and dairy allergy alike. In people for whom the immune system is involved (whether this is a milk protein intolerance or a milk protein allergy), the immune system attacks other organs as well, leading to inflammation and mucous production. Commonly, this leads to persistent eczema, hives, "hayfever", asthma and migraines. More rarely, it will cause persistent acid reflux, affect joints, and even cause anaphylaxis. ==Can you grow out of it?== Lots of children have problems with dairy and then grow out of it when they are older. But generally, over the world, dairy tolerance decreases once you reach adulthood, so this is usually something you grow into, not grow out of! Many lucky people of Northern European descent have inherited an adaptation to be able to eat dairy as an adult (dairy tolerance has a prevalence of 85-95% in Britain where I live), so if you are lucky enough to be dairy tolerant, then consider yourself one of the fortunate few! ==Can it be treated?== Sometimes, depending on severity and how many organs are affected - really, this is something that you need to discuss with a specialist. If it is just your digestion, you may be able to manage with reduced dairy consumption, consuming low-lactose milk, switching to goat milk or taking digestive remedies. Some people with slight allergies can get away with just taking an antihistamine or topical steroid product (e.g. an inhaler). Generally, milk protein intolerance and dairy protein allergy can only be treated by complete elimination of dairy from the diet, with the assistance of a dietician to make sure you keep your diet balanced. ==What dairy products can non-dairy people have?== If you are cooking for someone and you don't know the answer to this, then PLEASE assume the answer is none because it is better to be safe than sorry. People with milk protein intolerance and dairy protein allergy can't generally have goat's milk, low-lactose milk, sheep milk, cream, ice cream, yoghurt, butter or cheese. People with lactose intolerance often MAY be able to have some or all of these, depending on the severity of their condition and how "under the weather" they are at that time, and it may fluctuate a lot. ==What alternatives are there?== Happily, there are a large number of replacements to dairy products that can be consumed instead so that you don't need to make extensive changes to your diet just because you have to give up dairy. There are a large number of non-dairy milk alternatives, including soya, rice, oat, quinoa and coconut. Many of these are fortified with calcium. Other soya alternatives include soya cream (yum), soya yoghurts (yum) and soya cheese (yuk!). ==Calcium== One of the main reasons you should talk to a nutritionist is to make sure you get enough calcium in your diet and enough vitamin D and K so that your body can absorb it. Calcium is essential for healthy teeth and bones. My advised amount is 1000 mg of calcium a day, though you should check this independently as it depends on your age, sex and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Although many green leafy vegetables contain calcium, it's pretty hard to get enough calcium if you don't eat dairy unless you plan your diet carefully. Plus, who really wants to eat six heads of broccoli a day? I personally take a dietary supplement and make sure that I eat a lot of calcium-fortified foods. ==Hidden dairy== Watch out for hidden dairy in processed foods - a large number of biscuits and chocolate contain whey powder. Allergy warning panels are very helpful, whatever it is in the dairy that disagrees with you. ==Some surprising safe foods== Surprisingly, many foods are actually safe. Many brands of jam doughnuts, chocolate bourbon biscuits and 70% or greater chocolate are non-dairy. ==Conclusion== Although it is a frustrating experience to be unable to eat dairy, there are a lot of alternatives available these days, so it isn't the disaster it once was. However, there is still a long way to go. Next time you eat out, why not ask whether the restaurant or cafe you are at has anything non-dairy (or even vegan)?
No doubt about it, I was always 'Queen of Dairy Products.' Milk was a main food, cheese came a close second and I lathered everything in butter! But about ten years ago I started suffering symptoms that I didn't, at first, associate with Lactose intolence. Grumbling tum, getting 'the runs,' at first. Then I started with severe stomach cramps. My GP at first diagnosed Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but I had doubts. Over the next couple of years things got worse, the stomach cramps literally had me screaming in agony and the only thing that would relieve it was ibuprofen. The GP was still insistent on IBS and was no help at all. Everything escalated and I hit the internet trying to find out the source - many sites suggested that maybe I didn't have Lactose intolerance, their symptoms actually appeared less severe than mine, but there is a big difference between intolerance and allergy - always something to remember! Then I started losing weight - it seemed the more I ate, the more I lost, which absolutely convinced me that I did have a food intolerance and I hit the net once more. This time I found a wonderful site, in the US I think, that had the vital words, Lactose intolerance is not always diagnosed until the patient is suffering malnutrition - yeah! It also recommended Lactase. From what I can gather, and please do not take my words as law - but the body carries it's own lactose, if you digest a lot of products that contain lactose (and many more products do now than used to) then the body cannot convert it (with lactase) to a sugar you can absorb. Anyhow, I searched out Lactase and bought the enzyme, which usually comes in 15ml bottles. You put the recommended number of drops in milk and 'voila' it sorts out the excess lactose. I used this product for probably eight years, until about a year ago when I bought my own goat and now have fresh milk that hasn't been processed - but the Lactase was really vital to me. My weight loss stopped immediately I started using it (and I had lost about a stone and a half - which is a lot for a 9 stone frame) and after a month or so started gaining. Up to a year ago the product could be found, with postage costs for about £10 or £11 a bottle and this used to last me a month or so. Well worth it in my opinion! Oh, just added a note: Lactase can make milk taste slightly sweeter, so it may not appeal to everybody.
Seven years ago, my first child was born, he was perfectly normal when born, with no problems, but when my son went onto formula milk, he was very poorly, he struggled to put on weight, was projectile vomiting constantly, had diohrea, red blotchy skin, eczema and was always catching viruses and getting colds, he also had asthma, and always looked ill and had pale skin, the health profession where I lived just kept saying he is just a sicky baby, and offered me no help or explanation as to what was causing his problems. Then I moved into a new area, and registered with the local doctors. One day my son suddenly had a severe allergic reaction, his skin was red and blotchy, his lips swollen, and he was having difficulties breathing and had become ill shortly after he had something to eat, and the doctor told me he has had a severe allergic reaction, he told me to give my son some antihistamine straight away, so I went home and gave my son some antihistamine, and within 10 minutes the most severe of the symptoms had died down, just leaving with a spotty red face. I went back to the doctors who told me that my son had had an severe allergic reaction to something he ate, and to isolate the foods, and gradually re-introduce them until I found the culprit, when I started him back on dairy products he was always very poorly, buy I just could not find what had caused the big reaction, I had some leftover christmas decorations, and gave one to my son as a treat, seconds later, he had another severe allergic reaction, straight away I gave him the antihistamine, and within 10 minutes it had settled, I went straight to the doctor and told him I wanted an allergy test done asap, he hummed and ahhed and said he would see if they could get him in for allergy testing soon. So I took my son to have some private tests done, but they were not 100% accurate, the results came back, my son had high levels of intolerance with milk, and slightly raised on the nut result, then I had an appointment for the peadiatrician so we went, and my son had blood tests done, and the peadiatrician said because he had had two anaphlaptic shocks, and they could not risk him having another one, so they trained me and my husband in using the epipen, and told us what to do in case of an emergency, and where to keep them, one in the car, in the house, and to let the school know, so they know what to do, and I had to provide the school with an epipen. The peadiatrician also told me to get him completely off milk, and provide him with soya milk. A few weeks later, the results came back, and it shown that he had high levels of milk intolerance, and no unusual levels on the nuts. So it was the milk that was causing his problems. The referred my son to a dietician, when my son visited the dietician she took his weight and height, and told me his height was low for his age, but amazingly he had put on some weight, since we first went for the tests he had been on a dairy free diet, the dietician said they were more concerned about his height, the dietician advised me on what I could feed him, and gave me a booklet, with all the foods he can and cant have, and what is in foods. He has been on a dairy free diet now for nearly two years, and what a difference, he has grown, the dietician is pleased with his progress, he looks fit and healthy, he has put on weight, and is hardily ever ill, his asthma has improved, and does not rely on his inhalers as much. The only thing I worry about is he has a very weak immune system. I had another baby three months ago, and decided to put him onto soya formula, but after a start on breastmilk, but unfortunately he just would not take to the breast, and put him onto soya formula, the doctor did not like it, and advised me to put him onto a cows milk formula. I asked the advise of the health visitor, who said as long as he is thriving, growing and putting on weight she did not see a problem with it. And sure enough he has kept thriving and putting on weight, again the doctor has told me to get him ontocows milk formula, and I have told the doctor that the health visitor is happy with his progress and and does not see a problem with it. My baby is fit and healthy, and putting on weight all the time, and he is hardily ever sick, and he is enjoying the milk, and cannot get enough.
Some of you will already know that I have four children. Well, most of them aren?t really children any more- they range in age from 14-22. I have been unfortunate that three of them have had dairy food allergies. Two very severely and one less so. I suppose that entitles me to consider myself fairly ?clued up? on the subject. Ooh- by the way, and keep this secret as I feel rather too young for this-!! I have two gorgeous grandsons aged 3 and 6 months. Sadly, one of them also seems to have a dairy problem. The thing I have noticed over the years is how much easier it is to cope with now in this diet conscious society. Permit me, if you will to take a journey back in time. It is 1979 and I have given birth to my first child, a son called Philip. He was such a rosy baby the very picture of health. In those days you had 5 days in hospital whether you liked it or not. I enjoyed the time but on the 5th day when I was due to be discharged I was ready to go home. The midwife checked me over and said once the Doctor has checked the baby we will tell your husband you can go home. I was very excited. The Doctor came and took Philip off. When she returned she said that I could go home whenever I liked but baby had to stay in the hospital. What? Was she mad? Me go home and not the baby? He seemed alright to me I said, and he was feeding regularly. She informed me that Philip had lost far too much weight and that he could not be discharged until the pattern was reversed. They did not know why, perhaps there was a problem and would take tests. Nothing obvious showed. They eventually allowed us home. Then the fun started! Projectile vomiting. . . projectile black diarrhoea. You had to really hope you weren?t in the firing line!! I was breast-feeding and Phil had no supplements of any kind so nobody considered a food allergy. In those days they were not well known like they are now. The GP sent us back to the paediatrician. They thought it might be severe colic and gave him a medicine called Merbentyl. How?s that for memory after 22 years, eh?!! I don?t think they give this out much anymore. Philip was getting thinner and continued to produce violently at both ends 6 or 7 times a day. By this time I was pregnant with no 2 and felt very liverish myself, so coping was hard. We had a weekly hospital appointment but none of us felt we were getting anywhere. At four months I introduced farex to his diet. Do you still get Farex I wonder? Initially I mixed it with breast milk, but to be honest squirting your boob into a cereal bowl is somewhere you don?t want to go! Pumps were useless in those days, and rarely worked. I trotted down to the clinic for some formula milk with which to mix the solids. Oh Blimey!! The reaction was instant and foul. I wondered whether we were onto something. I talked it through with the paediatrician and he agreed that we had probably found the root of the problem. But you had been breast-feeding, I hear you say. I thought that too, but it seemed any dairy food I consumed was going through to the baby. This meant that I had to cut out milk myself. At that stage we thought it was only milk that was the problem, but as his diet expanded we discovered that eggs and butter had devastating effects. In those days there was no Soya formula, neither could you buy Soya milk straight from the supermarket shelf. We are so lucky today in the choices we have! We had to have powdered Soya milk on prescription. It was called ?Prosobee?. This should have revolutionised our lives- we could eat the same rice pudding, for instance. The stuff was FOUL!!!!! You had to mix it with boiling water, only it didn?t mix. It floated in great, gloopy globules on the top. It was an unappetising beige colour. Oh, yuk, yuk, yuk!! Imagine Horlicks that hasn?t been mixed properly and you will get somewhere close. My then husband bravely tasted it- ?Look Phil, yum yum, Daddy will drink so me! ?. He took an enormous swig and turned puce! I watched in great amusement as he struggled to swallow it. ?Lovely? he said whilst swiftly reaching for his beer to wash it down. He told me afterwards that it was the most awful thing he had ever tasted. Apparently it was like ?smoky weetabix?. We struggled valiantly on, collecting 6 large tins a week from the pharmacy. As the younger children were born it seemed easier to use the ?milk? to cook for all of them in case Philip accidentally got hold of dairy food. With so little available in the shops I had to use every inch of imagination to make interesting meals for him. Poor little lad, it was very tough. If he went on a kiddies outing or to a friend?s party he had to take his own bag of food. I used to feel so sad watching him looking at the other children tucking into exciting looking fare while he had his sandwiches and eggless, fatless cake! Not much of a cake at all really- tasted like cardboard. I used to put brightly coloured icing on to tempt him. The years passed by and eventually things became easier. The health food shops came up trumps with things like chocolate Soya pudding. You can still get this and it is scrummy! My eldest daughter has always been really healthy and had no allergies. Hannah the next one down has digestive problems due to dairy food intolerance but not life threateningly so like Philip. My youngest has a different Dad. We had presumed that the dairy food intolerance had come from my first husband as he had had it as a child. Caroline was also ill from birth. She had frequent apnoea attacks and was on an alarm. Apnoea is when a person forgets to breathe. I had to resuscitate her on more than one occasion. She also had terrible eczema. Once she was introduced to solids/milk that wasn?t mine she had awful problems emptying her bowels. It was obviously an agonising experience for her and she screamed in pain whenever she went. This started when she wa s about six months old. There was sometimes blood in her nappy. We were worried sick. After several trips to the hospital it was decided to do an exploratory operation to remove a small part of her bowel. I took her in with great trepidation. The registrar came to book us in and give Caroline the once over. She was new to the hospital and had not seen Caroline before. She turned her over and had a good look at her. ?This baby has bad eczema? she said, ? why doesn?t it say on her notes?? I didn?t know. The eczema had always been treated by the GP. The doctor asked if we had dairy intolerance in the family. YES!!! That was it. It was as though a veil had been removed from my eyes. It was glaringly obvious. I was so very grateful to the registrar, as her observation and quick thinking had saved my baby from a nasty operation. We immediately put Caroline on a dairy free diet. As she was quite a bit younger than the others we had given up on everyone has Soya milk you see! I couldn?t believe how much easier it was- everything labelled helpfully and so much available at the local supermarket. Once she was on the diet she never looked back. WHAT IS LACTOSE INTOLERANCE? It is caused by a lack of the lactase enzyme. Lactase is needed to digest the lactose produced. It comes from cells lining the small intestine. If there is a shortfall in lactase a variety of unpleasant symptoms can occur, such as asthma, eczema, digestive disorders; Nausea, vomiting, bloating, wind, cramps and diarrhoea. It is surprisingly common with approx 30/50 million Americans suffering from it. I couldn?t find statistics for the Uk, sorry! WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT CALCIUM? Obviously you have to look at the balance of the diet very carefully. At the end I have suggested a couple of books to give you loads of ideas and recipes. If you have removed dairy food then a large amount of the calcium intake has gone. Calcium is available as a supplement but don?t give this without asking your GP. Caroline sadly has appalling teeth, largely due to a calcium deficiency, which went undiagnosed; so do pester your doctor on this one. High calcium foods are dark green vegetables such as Kale or broccoli. It is also very high in Japanese Sea Vegetables (obtainable dried from any reputable health shop) these are delicious in soups or stews. The one I like is packaged by Clear Spring and is called WAKAME. It has one of the highest concentrations of Calcium in any food. You could also try fish with soft, edible bones such as salmon or sardines. SOME CALCIUM RICH FOODS ARE A WASTE OF TIME! Rhubarb and spinach are very rich in calcium. Unfortunately the human body cannot absorb this particular calcium. This is because they contain OXALATES. Oxalates prevent the absorption of calcium. Drat! VITAMIN D Did you know that we can only absorb calcium if vitamin D is present in the body? Check your diet- is there enough vitamin D? Don?t forget that 15/20 minutes in the sun each day will provide all the vitamin D you need/ LACTASE TABLETS/LIQUID These are readily available from the chemist. The idea is that if you replace your missing lactase then you can eat a little dairy food. LABELS Read your labels carefully. It?s a real drag, but you get quite quick at it! Lactose is hidden in many products such as bread, processed food. Instant mashed potato, sweets, salad dressing, margarine, some indigestion remedies - even the birth control pill!! Look out for and avoid, whey, curds, dry milk solids, casein ACTIVE BIO YOGHURT Recent research shows that it may be fine for lactose intolerants to eat this bio yoghurt. It seems that the cultures used to make the yoghurt contain lactase enzyme. This will assist in the digestion of the lactose. It might be worth trying, but only offer a little to start with. USEFUL BOO KS: ALLERGY COOKING WITH EASE by Nicolette Dumke SPECIAL FOOD FOR SPECIAL KIDS by Todd Adelman and Jodi Behrend These are both available on Amazon USEFUL WEBSITES: www.lactose.net www.lactoseintolerant.org I hope that this advice might be of use to someone and that it hasn?t made too boring a read!
It was 2 weeks before my sons first birthday when we noticed something wasn't quite right. He started to get really clingy and upset, he was off his food, wouldn't sleep and had up to 6 really bad dirty nappies a day. After 3 days we took him to the Doctor, we were told he was fine and that it was just a "bug that was going around" but 2 days later he came out in a rash all over his body, we waited for 24 hours to see how he was, but when he got up the next day he was covered and the rash had turned into big spots that were blistering. Immediately we thought it was chicken pox, but the doctor confirmed it wasn't because the spots kept dissapearing then coming back again in big blisters. He just told us he didn't have a clue and then sent us away. Typical doctor!! Obviously we were still worried so we phoned NHS Direct who were a brilliant help. They went into great detail about what he eats, and the only thing they could come up with was the possibility of an intolerance to cows milk. The second they mentioned this everything seemed to make sense. He had been really bad that day and for lunch he had; ice cream, milkshake, yoghurt and cheesespread - obviously not a good combination if you have an intolerance. But.. we were told apparently there is no test that can be done for this. So the only way we could find out if this was the problem was to cut everythng out. We were told to put him back onto formula milk only for 48 hours, it made such a big difference. The nappies dried up and he seemed a lot better in himself. Now we just have to be careful what he eats, he is allowed dairy products but not too much at once. We have been told to try him on cows milk again in 3 months time as it is an intolerance that most children get and grow out of by the time they are 2 years old. I hope this helps if anyone thinks their child had the same sym ptons - but don't worry most children DO grow out of it!
My daughter turned 4 years old last week,and she is thriving. As a small baby she took to breast feeding like a natural & piled on the weight steadily & consistantly until 4 months,when she was introduced to solid foods. Like most breast fed babies her nappies were often dirty after every feed & were the 'normal'mustard colour etc... sorry for the graphic details! So when I began to introduce solids I expected to see a change but was quite unprepared by the dramatic change Suddenly she was passing green stools & what went in one end literaly came straight back out the other! The problem was at first put down to over feeding by the Heath Visitor, so I tried to limit the time she breast fed as she had always tended to feed for at least 20 minutes on each side. During the next few weeks as I introduced more solids she slowly grew more & more miserable.I had tried to express my milk to mix with weaning foods but was not very successful at expressing so I used formula milk to dilute or mix feeds. By 6 months when she began to eat foods containing gluten such as bread,biscuits etc.. & was having door step milk on cereals. She was not putting on weight but losing it!& she was started on fromage frais & yoghurts which she adored so it seemed! In hindsite I know now that she was starving so loved anything that was food. She was clingy,miserable,colicky & producing this green watery diarrhoea which did not smell as it did not even get a chance to go through any form of digestive process. Things came to a head while we were visiting friends in Belgium & she was producing up to 19 dirty nappies a day! Her poor little bottom was red, raw & bleeding & she was miserable. Because things peaked while we were there I thought at first that it was due to the change in milk, thinking Belgium cows produced creamier milk (I had always reacted to Irish milk as a child & came out in a rash) She woul d breast feed frequently during the day & constantly at night, only sleeping if she was feeding! As you can probably imagine I was exhausted & suffering from severe PND-Postnatal Depression. On return to England I took her straight to our GP, who imediately referred her to the Paediatrician. I thought that she might be intolerant of wheat products as she was so much worse when she ate these- especially wheatabix ( mixed with cows milk) While waiting for the appointment to see him-2 weeks, I took her off all gluten products & started her on soya milk. The paediatrician felt it was a dairy intolerance & said that she had developed a gluten intolerance due to gut damage from the dairy intolerance. I was not convinced at first because I have Irish family members who have Coeliac Disease- gluten intolerance. He said I had done right to exclude both wheat & dairy products as her gut needed to heal. Well, he was right & she could not tolerate gluten products until 15 months old. Blood tests concluded she was not Coeliac. She thrived from then on but is still dairy intolerant.On last review he decided she will probably continue to be dairy intolerant but we should continue to challenge her with dairy products insmall amounts to see what she tolerates. Now age 4, she can tolerate a few biscuits a week that contain milk or about 4 malteesers as a treat. She is starting to rebel & try anything but as soon as she has too much she gets stomach cramps & spends the next few hours on the toilet, then the next 48 hours recovering. Sadly she is learning by her mistakes- she is a very strong willed child so I tell her when she rebels that she might get stomach ache.Most times she is good & tells people that she can't have *** as it gives her a sore tummy. To conclude, be very careful introducing cow's milk & wheat to a baby, keep a diary if suspicious & don't be fobbed off by health visit ors. NB: 75% of the worlds population are dairy intolerant. Perhistoric man was a hunter-gatherer & ate meat & plants, dairy & wheat foods were not consumed by most of our ancestors so our digestive systems have mostly adapted to digest these products but some people's have not.
My eldest grandson, now aged 5 was very poorly from the age of six months until he was 2. He was diagnosed with Asthma but, having watched my daughter grow up with this illness, I was not convinced. He had several 'attacks' – he did not wheeze but his breathing was very laboured and his little tummy was going nineteen to the dozen. It was obvious there was something wrong with his lungs and he usually ended up in hospital on a drip and being given antibiotics and steroids. I was horrified that such a young child should be given steroids knowing the effect they had on my daughter when she had a bad Asthma attack but what was the alternative? Well, I’ve always been very interested in complimentary therapies and heard of a Chinese acupuncturist in Plymouth who had successfully treated a local child with severe eczema. We took James to see him and the first thing he asked was what formula was he drinking. Normal SMA my daughter replied wondering why he had asked. In China, he said, no child is given cows milk; their digestive systems are not designed to cope with such a complex food and, if breast milk was not available then Soya milk was substituted. James was given acupuncture treatment for many weeks and amazingly he tolerated the needles without flinching (it should not be too painful anyway if done properly) and he was also given Soya milk formula which he drank quite readily. Incidently, you can get this on prescription which, of course, is free to children. I suppose it took about 6 months before we noticed any great difference but there was a steady improvement not only in his breathing but also in his sleeping and general demeanour – he obviously felt better so was a much happier baby. He stayed on Soya formula for quite some time – sorry I can’t be more precise, but eventually cows’ milk products were introduced into his diet and he learnt to tolerate them. He is now eating as normally as most 5 year olds – fish fingers, chips and chicken nuggets to name but a few of his favourites and he likes nothing better than a glass of (cows) milk! Then along came Joseph – brother to James born by caesarean section in March 2000. He appeared fine at first but as he got older he always seemed to have the proverbial runny nose and, despite a good appetite, he failed to thrive and fell off his line several time causing us all some concern. We blamed his constant colds and foul nappies on the fact that he was always teething and by 12 months had something like 12 or 13 little white pearly teeth but his GP was obviously getting concerned and wanted various tests done. Nothing was found and then, as if I had had a brainstorm, I said to my daughter – perhaps it’s the cows milk again. He drinks gallons of it and really likes it which is often the way if you have an allergy or intolerance to a food source. Yes, you’ve guessed it – he has been on Soya milk now for about 3 months and is actually beginning to grow and catch up with his peers. He sleeps well and is a very, very happy child. He is not on formula – he prefers So Good ( usually 99p a litre) which is obtainable from most supermarkets but I keep a stock of Safeway’s long life Soya milk in the cupboard as it keeps longer – it is 75p a litre. Why I didn’t think of it before I just don’t know – probably something to do with my illness but hey, it’s working now and, as they say, better late than never. UPDATE - 31/8/01 Oh dear, had I spoken too soon? Just after I wrote this Joseph was stricken with really bad diarrhoea which would not clear up so he was taken to our GP; as Mummy & Daddy were at work it fell to me to take him and our doctor – who has become a friend of the whole family, asked why I had suggested Soya milk. I told him adding that a Chinese acupuncturist had told us that n o Chinese children are fed on cow’s milk & he said “I’ve just read an article on that; our stomachs are not designed to deal with such rich food as cows milk”. That made me feel SO GOOD! I actually knew something before my doctor – perhaps I should buy myself a stethoscope. Perhaps not!! He suggested that Joseph had caught a tummy bug – he’d been to a BBQ a few weeks before, and this had caused infantile diarrhoea, which could go on for months. The bug can irritate the lining of the intestine and make it even more lactose intolerant. He suggested that Joseph be kept on a dairy free diet and to transfer him to Soya formula milk as this contained extra nutrients which would aid his recovery. It did and roughly 2 weeks later he is (fingers crossed) fine. There is an added bonus too – the Soya formula milk is on prescription and therefore is free. A great help to every young families budget. Here are a few more facts on Soya milk from the British Nutrition Foundation that you may be interested in, it looks as if it can be beneficial for many ailments. Possible health effects of Soya 1. In October 1999 the Food and Drink Administration in the USA approved a health claim about the role of soy protein in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. This claim states that when soy protein is included in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, it may reduce CHD risk by lowering cholesterol levels. 2. Soya is also a rich source of isoflavones which belong to a group of compounds called phyto-oestrogens. Phyto-oestrogens are found in plant foods and are structurally similar to the mammalian oestrodiol. 3. The isoflavones in soya include diadzein and genistein, which have been shown to have both oestrogenic and anti-oestrogenic effects. They compete with oestradiol to bind with the oestrogen receptor-complex. However, on binding they fail to stimulate a full oes trogenic response. Evidence is building that they may offer some protection against a wide range of hormone-related conditions including breast, bowel, prostate and other cancers and menopausal symptoms.1 4. Evidence from animal studies and also epidemiological studies together indicate that soyabean products may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. In studies on rats, isoflavones have been shown to reduce tumour growth through their anti-oestrogenic properties and also their antioxidant properties. People living in China and Japan have higher intakes of isoflavones, as the traditional diet is higher in soyabeans, than people following a Western diet. There is a low incidence of these cancers in the Chinese and Japanese population that may or may not be linked to dietary factors. 5. It has been suggested that a high consumption of isoflavones from soya may reduce symptoms of the menopause and incidence of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women.2 However sufficient clinical data to support these claims remains to be established. 6. Isoflavones also have strong antioxidant properties. It has been proposed that foods rich in antioxidants (e.g. fruit and vegetables) may help to reduce risk from coronary heart disease. Soya is also a source of soluble fibre which can lower cholesterol levels. 7. There are question marks over the long-term effects of phyto-oestrogens given to infants and young children. Currently, breast milk or cow’s milk formula are recommended for infant feeding, unless there is a clear indication that soya milk formula is required on medical grounds. It should be noted that infants allergic to cow’s milk may also become sensitive to soy protein, particularly if the cow’s milk intolerance included gastrointestinal symptoms. However, soya infant formulae are suitable for bottle fed infants who are lactose intolerant and brands containing no ingredients of animal origin are acceptable in vegan diets. 8. Recent media coverage has raised a number of concerns about possible effects of soya products on health including thyroid abnormalities, mineral deficiencies, Alzheimer’s disease and effects in women consuming soy products during pregnancy on the unborn child3. In reality, for most of these there have been few published studies and much of the work cited to support many of these claims has been conducted in experimental animals, rather than humans. So, at the present time, these concerns remain speculative and unproven. 9. Because of the potential benefits, particularly in relation to cholesterol lowering (as supported by the FDA), on the one hand, vis à vis the suggestions from some studies of adverse effects of consumption of soya products in relation to other aspects of metabolism, earlier this year COT (Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment) convened a Working Group on Phytoestrogens. Its remit is to review published scientific research on the beneficial and adverse health effects of dietary phytoestrogens. Its report is due to be published in Spring 2001. 10. There are a number of different soya products available including textured vegetable protein, tofu, tempeh and soya milks, all of which can make a useful contribution to nutrient intake. If soya products are used to replace animal sources of protein, such as meat or milk, it is important to ensure that adequate amounts of the nutrients that these animal-derived foods contain (particularly iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12) are provided by other foods and drinks. It is the balance of the diet that is important to achieve optimum health.
The inability to digest significant amounts of lactose, the predominant sugar occurring in milk and milk products. This condition results from a shortage of lactase, the enzyme located on the brush border of the lining of the small intestine.