Born and raised in southeast Idaho, I grew up with a large garden. My dad was a farmer and my mom taught my siblings and me how to cook and preserve the food that we grew in the garden. Gardening has always been a love of mine. As a teenager, weeding was never a chore, and it also allowed me to work on my suntan (and annual sunburn as I would always forget to put on sunscreen the first time in the spring when I weeded the strawberries).
I attended BYU in Utah, and there I met and married my husband. After I received my Bachelors Degree in Finance, our first baby was born–a boy. Life was fantastic at first. I kept on eating my favorite cream of soup casseroles smothered in cheese and went out to eat a few times. Our baby, however, grew grumpier and grumpier. Diaper rashes were out of control–we bought Desitin by the tub. He was always spitting up, and eventually at about 1 month old, he started breaking out in a red rash all over his face. By the next morning the rash had spread down his neck and in the evening it covered his entire body. His skin was swollen with dry, rough, raised red dots all over. I called the nurse in the morning and she suggested I stop eating dairy since I was nursing him. She explained that some mothers who stopped eating dairy, while nursing, find that their baby’s rashes go away.
So, I gave up all dairy and the next day his skin cleared up. A few days later, I ate a frozen pot pie, not realizing that it also had dairy in it. His rash came back. I knew that dairy was the culprit.
I tried giving him soy formula. The first bottle went okay. Hours later, with the second bottle was not okay. He vomited all the formula minutes after feeding, and was rashy around his mouth again. We tried Nutramigen formula for a day, which seemed better, but not awesome and the price tag was even worse. Luckily, I had a friend who was an experienced mom and a local La Leche League leader. She gave me allergy information, and encouraged me to stick with breastfeeding and a change of my diet.
Meals took on a new meaning for a while. I still fixed my husband food with dairy, and I ate things like plain green beans and plain dry baked potatoes. Sometimes when I wanted to shake things up, I dipped bread in spaghetti sauce. My husband was okay with this arrangement since it didn’t really effect him, but for me it was horrible. I had just spent the last few years convincing him that butter was better than margarine and whipped cream was better than cool whip, and now I sat there and watched him eat it while I went without.
Now, 14 years later, we have 7 kids. All of them have had dairy allergies. I didn’t starve to death. I learned how to cook without dairy. It has been a crazy and fun journey of learning and experimentation. I started writing these recipes because I want to share them with others who might be starting a dairy-free journey of their own. The recipes are soy-free also, because I have two kids who have soy protein allergies along with dairy allergies. I try to choose ingredients that are budget-friendly and healthy because that is the way I feed my family.