Help this vegetarian eliminate dairy..... - Mothering Forums
Nutrition and Good Eating > Help this vegetarian eliminate dairy.....
2Peaches's Avatar 2Peaches 12:41 PM 02-25-2011

I just finished reading the other thread about vegetarians starting to incorporate some meat into their diets.  I have been charged with my pediatrician to try a dairy free diet for myself and see how that affects my breastfeeding 7 month old's severe eczema.  Tricky thing is I am an ovo lacto vegetarian, who just started incorporating some fish.  I already felt like I was compromising by doing that, but I have to admit I was feeling better after adding the fish.  I am a runner, training for a half marathon, and have been struggling with depression.  What are your thoughts?  I just want to be healthy and I want my poor little one's eczema to go away already!  She scratches herself raw :(

Thank you

Sayward's Avatar Sayward 01:01 PM 02-25-2011

I'm vegan and nursing, too. How can we help you? What are you looking for?  =)

2Peaches's Avatar 2Peaches 06:57 PM 02-25-2011

Thanks!  Maybe you can tell how you have been successful nursing and sustaining yourself with your current diet?  I'm nervous that by eliminating the dairy I won't be properly eating....essentially I'll be almost a vegan I guess if I cut out the dairy, right?

bodhitree's Avatar bodhitree 08:20 PM 02-25-2011

I'm one of the veg mamas who is starting to eat meat again...but I'm also dairy-free because of my lo's food sensitivities, and she still nurses. smile.gif I guess I have a couple of suggestions for you. First, think about what you want to substitute for the dairy you're currently consuming. It's very easy to sub for milk (coconut milk, hemp milk, almond milk, etc are good--just don't sub with soy because lots of folks who can't handle dairy also can't handle soy). You can make or buy coconut yogurt as well (the recipe I use is here). The only thing that's tough is cheese, if you rely on that for a lot of your protein. There are fake cheeses, but they just aren't the same. But overall, cutting out dairy isn't that bad. Make sure you increase protein and fat from other sources, and you shouldn't have a problem.


My other suggestion is that you can always come check out the Allergies forum. There are a lot of very experienced mamas on there who can help you with your questions, and there are even some vegetarians who can share with you more about what works for them.

2Peaches's Avatar 2Peaches 10:35 PM 02-25-2011

Great advice, thank you!

Tara8272's Avatar Tara8272 11:19 AM 03-03-2011

Sorry to hear about the eczema and BF troubles with your little one.

In terms of adding fish to your diet - is it to get omega 3s? They also help with depression. I take a daily omega 3 fish oil supplement and it has really helped to combat my history of depression (in fact one doctor said it can be as effective as SSRIs for some people).


Anyway, I don't post a lot, mostly peruse the pregnancy and parenting forums - I have a toddler and one on the way - but I have been making the transition from vegetarian to vegan. I started a website with some info and my personal story.

It's at


Just make sure you check out all the non-dairy "dairy" products out there. I love coconut milk creamer in my coffee, vanilla almond milk and regular old soymilk.



2Peaches's Avatar 2Peaches 12:06 PM 03-03-2011

Thanks Tara....I do take fish oil and I believe it has helped.  Three months ago my midwife had me start on Floravital, the liquid iron supplement, which also helped my mood and increased my energy.  I do love the coconut milk creamer too!  I haven't found a great sub for cheeses though, any recs?  Thanks for taking the time to post and I will check out your website :)

Spring Lily's Avatar Spring Lily 01:40 PM 03-03-2011
I'm also lacto-ovo vegetarian, and then my twins ended up being intolerant to dairy. I was able to exclusively nurse them both while being basically vegan + eggs. So it's very possible.

It was similar to being pregnant, I focused on trying to make each thing I ate really count. I used Earth Balance instead of butter, cooked with oils, used soy or cashew milk in cooking, and learned a bigger repertoire of vegan meals. I put all the easy vegan meals that we tried onto index cards and kept them in a little booklet in the kitchen, which really helped meal planning be quick and easy. I also started buying nuts like almonds and cashews in bulk so I could snack on them. Lots of protein and healthy fats in those! My main focus was on making sure I was getting lots of protein, iron, and fats. Of course, I was nursing 2 infants, so you'll have a little more leeway. smile.gif I actually had more trouble with the sweets than with the meals. If you like chocolate, you'll be happy to know that dark chocolate has no dairy. Also, I thought the chocolate rice ice cream was better than any of the soy ice creams, in case you get a craving for that.

Cheeses: I found that it wasn't too hard to cut cheese out. You can easily make a tofu "ricotta" that works perfectly in lasagna, on pizza, and in something like a baked ziti casserole. Tons of recipes for that out there if you google, here are some: the Veganomicon one we use, and another I found. I think the nutritional yeast changes the flavor too much, so I usually skip that. The Veganomicon actually has a whole bunch of sauces and things that you can substitute for cheese. I have a vegetarian crockpot cookbook that has a vegan mac & cheese recipe that is really good.

You can try different pre-packaged soy cheeses, although I didn't find any I really liked. Just be careful that they are dairy-free because some of the soy cheese has dairy (without lactose). Be on the lookout for casein or whey, which are dairy ingredients.

I'd suggest that you start by going through your staple and favorite recipes and seeing if there is anything that you can do to change those to vegan. Then look through your favorite cookbooks for vegan recipes that you maybe haven't tried yet.

Summersquash's Avatar Summersquash 02:04 PM 03-03-2011

Not a vegetarian but have been dairy free for 2 years because of my daughter's sensitivities.  (And I run 25ish miles a week, so I know where you are coming from - you need to eat to fuel your training too.)  I hope that this helps your daughter!  At first I was really looking at dairy substitutes but after a while I found I just focus less on substitutes and just eat differently.  I feel SO much better having eliminated dairy from my diet.  


Here are some products I really like.


Daiya coconut based cheese is the best cheese substitute I have found.  It doesn't taste exactly like cheese but it is close enough where you can sprinkle a bit on and get cheese flavor.  (I make pizzas with it, make it as I normally would with whatever veggies I want and then sprinkle the Daiya on is close enough to satisfy my desire for pizza)

Earth Balance spread instead of butter

So Delicious coconut based ice creams are fantastic

Read the labels on chocolate bars and chocolate chips - lots of dark chocolate is naturally dairy free

I don't eat a lot of soy at all but Whole Soy & Co soy yogurts are really delicious.  They are less sweet and have more protein than some other yogurts I have found on the market.

Oh and I substitute guacamole for cheese or sour cream in any Mexican style food I make.  So tacos or burritos can be made with beans, rice, guacamole, salsa, tomatoes, peppers, etc.)

For snacks I eat a lot of Clif Bars, trail mix, peanut butter sandwiches, dried cherries, stuff like that.  I found that when I started cutting out dairy I was hungry a lot at the beginning so I had to really focus on making sure I was eating enough.


When doing take out, Asian food is typically pretty safely dairy free.  I also have good luck with Mexican food if I request guacamole in place of cheese and sour cream.


Good luck!  It takes a little while to get the hang of it but it gets easier and easier.  I hope your daughter feels better.

BetsyS's Avatar BetsyS 06:29 AM 03-04-2011

I'm another that is not vegetarian but dairy free because of my lo's eczema.  It made a huge difference, and his skin cleared up and stopped being itchy.  Yay!

One snack that I really like is deviled eggs or egg salad.  It satisfies my desire for something creamy and rich, without dairy. 

MSWmama's Avatar MSWmama 07:10 AM 03-04-2011

I've also had to cut out dairy, although I've always had fish and eggs. One thing I noticed is that almond milk has significantly less protein than cows milk or soy milk, so watch out for that. I found that for my LO, it was enough to cut out "straight dairy" only - milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. I've never had to worry about things like casien or whey. So it might e worth trying for a couple of weeks before you go to the strict diet, doing it step by step really helped me stick to it (first I cut out glasses of milk, then chees, etc until his symptoms improved, Instead of going all out right away).

I also started eating meat approximately 2-3 times / month. For me, the reason I'm a vegetarian is that I don't agree with how animals in this country are treated, processed, etc. So eating meat from local farmers who treat the animals more humanely was doable. I think it's very possible to meet your nutritional needs without compromising your vegetarianism, but for me, adding a small amount of humanely raised meat was acceptable.

Also try quinoa. I can't get enough of that stuff. eat.gif

Good luck mama!
catnip's Avatar catnip 12:25 PM 03-04-2011