In a Nutshell
Our recipes, diet, health, wellness and fitness blogazine, where we bring you weekly advice, ideas and inspiration for living a healthier lifestyle and your NutraMilk processor.
By Florencia Tagliavini, The NutraMilk Nutritionist
Milk is the most common food that causes allergy in infants and young children and one of eight foods that are responsible for 90% of childhood allergies. The other seven are eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, shellfish, and wheat. It affects about 2%-3% of those younger than 3 years old. Many kids outgrow it, but some remain allergic for a lifetime. Even breastfed babies could have this allergy as a mother who drinks cow's milk can transfer the alpha S1-casein and whey protein to her child through her breast-milk.
What is a milk allergy?
A milk allergy is an immune reaction to one of the many proteins in animal milk. It's most often caused by the alpha S1-casein protein in cow's milk. It is sometimes confused with lactose intolerance because they often share symptoms. However, lactose intolerance is completely different from a milk allergy, it occurs when a person lacks the enzyme (lactase) to metabolize lactose - a milk sugar - in the intestines.
Symptoms: some symptoms include - wheezing, stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes/hives and itchy, watery, or swollen eyes.
If you suspect your child could have a milk allergy, it's important to speak with your pediatrician and or dietitian to help guide you in finding the best alternative for your child. For infants (under 1 year old), unless they are breastfed, it's crucial that they consume a hypoallergenic formula that delivers all necessary nutrients for growth and development. Children over 1 year old can obtain nutrients from other alternative milks as well as other foods.
What alternative options exist?
First, we must understand why it's recommended that kids drink milk. Dairy milk provides a convenient source of energy, protein (8 grams per serving), fat, calcium and vitamin A and D.
Replacing cow's milk with one of the plant-based milks and assuming it's fulfilling the nutritional requirements could lead to health complications in the long run. We want to make sure we get the nutrients that are commonly obtained from dairy from an alternative milk or other food sources.
Image by Gina Michele
Let's take a look at some of the common alternatives being used
**See chart below for a nutritional comparison of the different milks.
The problem with these alternative commercial milks is that they are full of additives to flavor and preserve them as well as added sugars and sodium. They are not natural sources of calcium and vitamin A or D, so they have to are fortified.
So, why not make your own milks at home and fortify them yourselves? Now with the NutraMilk it's hassle free and fast. You avoid the preservatives and added sugars- you have complete control of the ingredients you add; you can find a good quality vitamin an or mineral powder supplement and fortify the milk; and change it up when you want, flavoring milks differently or changing the nut, seed or grain to get variety of nutrients in your child's diet.
There are other plant-based milks to explore that have not become popular yet - you may not find them in the grocery isle but now with the NutraMilk, you can easily make:
Pumpkin seed milk: Has 6.8 g of protein per serving. It's similar in calories to whole dairy milk. A good source of iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, copper and antioxidants.
Some kids who are allergic to dairy milk could be allergic to other foods. By switching to one of theses alternative milks, you could be trading one allergic reaction for another. Tree nuts such as almonds (along with walnuts, cashews, and pecans) are at the top of the list of allergy offenders. In addition, nearly half of people allergic to peanuts are allergic to tree nuts. Of course, this is not always the case and many kids are simply just allergic to cow´s milk so you have to explore.
Where else can we get the nutrients that dairy milk provides
Just a few examples:
If your child has a dairy allergy or you simply want to avoid dairy for other reasons, there are different options to replace the nutrients that dairy provides in our traditional diet. The NutraMilk gives us access to easily make new alternative, healthy plant-based milks that offer important nutrients and can also be fortified with the missing nutrients (calcium, vitamin A, D) if desired. These nutrients can also be obtained from other food sources as listed above. It's a good idea to consult with your pediatrician and/or dietitian to make sure your child is eating a healthy and balanced diet for optimum growth and development.