I have been off dairy for nearly 6 months. It did take a while to figure out how to replace milk. At first I didn't replace it... Now I use silk unsweetened almond milk... 30 calores a cup for smoothies... coffee and that is about it... To get calcium, kale, broccoli , almonds, salmon etc. I also tried that diet JJ Virgin I think Lose seven pounds in seven days by eliminating the foods that have the greatest sensitivity .Peanuts, eggs, sugar, soya corn, gluten, and dairy..... there is some interesting facts here.
Eliminating dairy significantly increased my food bill because it's not just the obvious dairy, like milk and cheese that I had to eliminate. I had to eliminate everything that had hidden dairy as well, usually in the form of modified milk products, casein, or whey in the ingredient list. That meant reading labels carefully and buying based on the ingredients rather than on the sale price. It also has meant experimenting with new foods to get the protein that I need. Until very recently the majority of my protein came from dairy. Now I have to find other ways to get it. Considering how bad my reaction to even hidden dairy is, my family and I felt it was safer to eliminate all hidden dairy in the house. We still have cheese and milk and what not for the rest of the family, and almond or coconut milk for me.
I live in a northern community, which means groceries are more expensive in general. My same grocery bill would be at least $100 less per shopping trip if I lived in the nearest city about 5 hours south of us. Add onto that buying dairy-free items and my grocery bill increased significantly.
Retraining my taste buds has been very difficult! I love dairy! Creamy cheese, yogurt, ice cream!! But I'm adjusting. Every now and then I get a strong craving for something in the dairy department, but so far the memory of the worst reaction I had is still fresh in my memory, so it's easy to ignore the cravings. I am in the process of trying different alternative milks...so far I've tried almond milk and coconut milk. They have their pros and cons. I'm not supposed to have soy, so I haven't tried many of the cheese substitutes since they're often soy-based.
Eliminating the dairy has been difficult, but doable. Now on to the next challenge!!
If you are eliminating dairy, it might help to change the mindset that you have to actually replace it with an equivalent non-dairy item. I don't mean this in a negative way, I just mean that you do not have to replace regular cheese with non-dairy cheese, yogurt for soy yogurt, etc. For sure, that can raise your food bill! You may need to retrain your tastebuds (and your family also, which I know is HARD) to do without the taste and texture of dairy and cheesy things. Most of the dairy substitutes I have tried are not that good anyway. I don't do dairy (I'm vegan) but the only substitute I use is almond or soymilk for regular milk and I still get all my nutrition from other foods. If your family gives you a hard time, you can still offer them cheese or dairy items, for example you could have tacos or fajitas on corn tortillas instead of wheat and they can just put cheese on theirs while you leave it off. My DD can't have gluten, and for dinner we often have a baked potato bar with different veggies, vegetable chili, etc.(clean out the fridge, lol) and everyone else in my family puts cheese and/or sour cream on theirs while I don't.
Why did cutting dairy increase your grocery bill? I tried cutting dairy for several months when I was nursing and my bill went down since I was not buying cheese, butter, milk, or many processed foods. I did get Earth Balance and almond milk as a substitute in baking or in cereal but overall, eliminating dairy saved me money while I was doing it. But yes, a full emlimination diet may be expensive, since you may have to eliminate the potential allergen even from your food source's food source- meaning get grass fed beef instead of "convential" beef. Ask your doctor, or someone who understands you doctor like the physicians assistant, to help you come up with a menu. The idea is that it is a temporary so you can find what you can tolerate well, what you can tolerate occasionally, and what you cannot tolerate. You can get a few extras for you family, but since it is only for a few weeks while you figure it out, they can handle it. And if it turns out you cannot handle a few of those, they will need to cut back a bit, too. My mother cannot eat shellfish, so if I wanted shrimp, I ate it at a restaurant. She also has multiple allergies and we just worked around the worst ones. We still had peanut butter at home, she just never are it (fortunatley not a contact allergy). When we had eggs for breakfast, she would eat bacon, toast or whatever else we were having and skipped the eggs.
So glad to hear you have good follow up in the future. Once the restricitions are determined---it will help in finding appropriate cookbooks, recipes, substitutions, etc. This can help with food costs.
I do have a referal to a specialist for further testing, and who will hopefully provide the guidance needed. However, that specialist is only in town one week every two months, so it can take up to 6 months to get in to see them, hence the direction by my doctor to begin monitoring for reactions to the foods that responded with very high IgE values (I did a little research since I originally posted, and understand a bit more of what the doctor was trying to explain to me). One extremely severe response (compared to the others I'd had to date) to dairy was enough to cause him concern in regards to the other foods, especially considering the sudden and rapid onset of the dairy sensitivity. At least the dairy issues are mostly under control now.
I can probably manage to eliminate one particular food at a time for a week and then reintroduce it and monitor for reactions without too much difficulty. What really concerns me is if there are reactions that I just haven't noticed in the general symptoms of other medical conditions, and I do end up having to permanently adjust my diet. I live in a northern community, and conforming to a special diet is extremely costly. Just eliminating dairy increased my grocery bill by over $200 per month. I shudder to think what eliminating more would cost.
I do know that there are people out there who are living with the restrictions placed on them by multiple food allergies or sensitivities. I'm hoping they can provide some insight into how they do it.
Blood testing is not an approved way to diasnose food allergies and determine which foods really need to be eliminated. An elimination diet is...but there are very specific techniques used for this.
I suggest that you see a Board Certified Allergiest who is familiar with the diagnosis and treatment of food allergies. Not only will this type physician get the diagnosis correct, but should also have the resources and staff to assist with diet education, menu planning, label reading, etc.
I'm putting this plea out to all the Sparkers who have multiple food sensitivities...
What on earth do you earth do you eat when nearly everything on earth is listed on your food sensitivity chart?
Ok, that's a little over dramatic and a wee bit exagerated, but that's what it feels like right now. I just got back from the doctor's office. The results of my blood work show sensitivities "with very high numbers" (his words, not mine...which I don't really understand. His first language is not english, so I often leave his office more confused than when I went in) to dairy (no surprise on that one), eggwhites, peanuts, wheat and soy, along with hits on environmental allergens. He's sending me for additional tests that are more specific, but in the meantime he wants me to start eliminating things from my diet and then gradually add them back in to see how my body reacts.
My first thought was "What am I supposed to do? Eat rice and carrots and nothing else?"
Going dairy-free cost me a fortune in groceries up here. The thought of spending that much money again to eliminate the other stuff is frightening to my pocket book. And is it really necessary? I mean, the only thing on that list that I really react to is dairy, so if I'm not reacting to the rest of it, do I really need to eliminate it? And if I do try, what's going to happen when my family revolts?
Personal anecdotes from people who have survived and thrived despite food restrictions would be much appreciated. Hopefully they'll help give me some motivation to follow my doctor's orders.