There’s a lot to say about this very important subject and so I’ve decided to break it up into 2 parts. Our wonderful daughter turns 6 at the end of this year and she has more-or-less been LCHF for all of that time. I say “more-or-less” because there are large parts of her time that fall beyond our direct control, principally day-care/ school. We have found that this has been and will continue to be the most challenging aspect of trying to keep our daughter permanently “in keto”.
The Major Challenges
Let’s face it, government-supplied food, served in public facilities such as schools and hospitals is notoriously bad, I mean REALLY bad, regardless of whether it’s LCHF or not! They always use the cheapest ingredients and the carb content is almost always high. Not only that but they will also include a “healthy” dose of highly inflammatory fats such as rapeseed oil and trans-fats, usually in the form of margarine. Of course, these organisations are following official government guidelines and are simply providing the public with a so-called “balanced diet”. It is a constant battle trying to restrict our daughter’s carb intake and keep her constitutive inflammation low at all times. Further, there is no sign that this is about to change anytime soon either and so, as a concerned parent & LCHF practitioner, what is one to do?
When our daughter is with us she generally eats what we eat, including fried breakfasts every day and, like us, she isn’t hungry again until the early evening. Her dairy intake is also ZERO for reasons described below. The major problem we have found is trying to communicate to those running day-care that we wish to restrict our daughter’s carb & dairy intake. However, if you wish to restrict something in your child’s diet, you need an official doctor’s note, but try getting one saying: “please restrict this child’s carb & dairy intake on health grounds”! One can only imagine what the reaction would be if you were also to demand that her diet should include “unrestricted amounts of saturated fats”!!
As our daughter came off breast milk & went onto solids we, like most modern western parents, started to introduce cow’s milk into her diet, mainly in the interests of calcium requirements. This was just after I discovered my dairy intolerance and so I was watching closely to see what would happen with our daughter, once she started. Sure enough, almost immediately we started to notice the classic signs of allergy/ inflammation: dry itchy skin, together with red/ sore bits “downstairs”. We immediately stopped giving her dairy at home but, even though the symptoms alleviated somewhat, they were still there. The problem was that she was also getting dairy at day care..
We decided to have a chat with day-care to see if we could come to some sort of “amicable” solution that could work for both parties. Sure enough they demanded a doctor’s note and so we made an appointment with a child-care specialist. I wasn’t expecting much sympathy from them and I was right not to: according to the doctor, our child’s allergy was down to normal female infant “hygiene issues”. Just keep her clean, especially in the “downstairs regions” and all would be well. The conversation lasted for about 15 mins, not even a simple allergy test was offered! So that was that.
We told day-care what had happened and that we were still convinced that our daughter was dairy intolerant, regardless of our daughter’s so-called hygeine issues. Fortunately for us, day-care played ball and offered to cut out dairy for our daughter anyway. Delighted, we even bought some soya yoghurts especially for her so that she could have these when the other kids were having “normal” dairy yoghurts. Sure enough, within a week or so, our daughter’s symptoms gradually disappeared altogether. We also started to tell our daughter to start to refuse dairy products whenever/ wherever she was offered them.
Just to re-affirm our daughter’s dairy intolerance, this year we decided to try something else. We started to introduce small amounts of butter into her diet; small knobs served with her main meals and snacks. She liked the taste and they were a good source of fat but what about her allergy? Approximately 3 years on from that doctor’s visit, would she still exhibit signs of allergy and inflammation after eating butter? Sure enough, about 2 weeks in, the back of her hands and lower arms started to become dry and itchy, almost to the point of drawing blood when scratched. Also, her nether regions started to flare up again. Once again, when the butter was removed from her diet, all symptoms disappeared, confirming once and for all that our daughter was and continues to be dairy intolerant.
(To be contd..)