Over the past 6 months, I have successfully transitioned my daughters to a lacto-paleo diet. I tackled this transition by finding great paleo substitutes for their favorites, gradually introducing new foods, and slowly phasing out the foods that we don’t eat anymore. You can read about various aspects of my children’s transition to paleo in these posts:
and also about my general approach to the transition in this post:
How has going paleo improved their health? Both girls had small patches of eczema that cleared up once their diet was gluten-free. My youngest still gets very mild rashes from time to time, which I think might indicate a dairy sensitivity and I am also growing suspicious of strawberries (she got a very obvious rash after eating birthday cake so we know she is for sure gluten-sensitive). I love that I don’t have to slather my girls in cortisone cream anymore! I have also noticed that, since going gluten-free, both my daughters’ immune systems seem to be much stronger. The last few colds that passed through our house were so minor as to be barely noticed. We used to be sick all the time and catch absolutely everything that was going around. Now, I’ve even started to not worry about exposure to other sick kids because for I finally have some confidence in their immune systems actually doing their job! The most amazing accomplishment is that we were able to wean my oldest off of Miralax, which she had been on for the last three years (since she was 2!) for chronic constipation. And this is saving a noticeable amount of money! My oldest also seems to be sleeping a bit better and has better energy, but still seems lower energy than other kids her age. We’ve had her tested for various deficiencies, all of which she doesn’t have, so it seems to be simply caused by not eating enough, or at least, not regulating her blood sugar well with what she is eating.
Unfortunately, my youngest still has nighttime breathing issues which continue to be not fully diagnosed (and actually even less clear than they were before because now they continue after she awakes, so it doesn’t look like sleep apnea anymore). We have taken her off the acid reflux medicine (it never did anything anyway!), which I think is progress in terms of ruling that out as a potential cause (I also disliked that she was on proton-pump inhibitors at all, so I am very pleased to have her off of them!). We do know that she still has a laryngomalacia (a floppy epiglottis) and that her vocal cord bands are tight. This may be the root cause of her breathing issues (in which case, she may grow out of it, but surgery is an option), which would be unrelated to diet. We have another sleep study booked (her third!) to see whether or not she is still experiencing any obstructive sleep apnea and will proceed from there.
So, what are my goals with my kids? I am proud of my girls (and myself) for making and accepting so many changes to their diets. However, I have decided that I want to remove dairy products from their diet after all. For my youngest, I am hoping it will fix whatever is causing her to gasp for air at night and hopefully put an end to the occasional rashes she gets. For my oldest, I am hoping that removing these insulinogenic foods from her diet will help balance her blood sugar and hence her energy levels during the day. I have actually already started the process. We got my youngest used to drinking water instead of milk throughout the day (this was never an issue with my oldest who never did like to drink straight milk). We no longer have cow’s milk in the house so that if they do want milk, it’s coconut milk. And I have been experimenting with flavoring my own homemade coconut milk yogurt so that the girls will eat it. I haven’t quite figured out what to do about cheese, except try to get used to not eating it. My youngest doesn’t eat much, so this is mostly an issue for my oldest.
When I think back to how my kids ate just 6 months ago, I am completely amazed at how much progress we have made. I still have challenges ahead of me; but I can now say that I feel confident that I am feeding my children optimal nutrition and teaching them how to eat to stay healthy for their entire lives. And that feels pretty good!