It all started about 10 months ago. My baby would cry and cry and cry. We would do squats with him until he would fall asleep, that was usually the only way he would fall asleep. I had no clue that the answer to all my problems would lead me to become a semi-vegan.
I read up on why babies cry for no apparent reason and was kind of surprised that a baby being “colicky” isn’t a medical condition, it is a label that is placed on babies when adults can’t figure out what is wrong. Colicky = “there is no apparent reason why your baby hates life so much and cries non-stop but you aren’t bad parents don’t feel bad”. Because you do feel bad. You feel like the world is shattering, you feel like you are shattering when the crying just goes on and on and you beg for sleep time.
I felt deep down that something was wrong. It didn’t make sense to me why a baby would spend so much energy and emotions on crying so much if there wasn’t a good reason. So I researched and researched and tried to observe my baby as best as I could to figure out what was going on. A lot of people wrote that a mother when breastfeeding doesn’t really need to follow a special diet, that most things aren’t passed through the breast milk.
Coming from a medical research background I know how common it is for drugs to be passed into the milk so I was a little skeptical about that. There were some people however who gave some indication that some babies reacted when women ate certain foods. My sibling’s also had problems with dairy and other things when their children were nursing. So I started an elimination diet and found out that my nice little angel couldn’t handle me eating: anything dairy, peanut butter or other concentrated nuts (like almond butter), soy, meat (more than a little), sugar (more than a little), eggs, or chocolate. That is how I got started on a semi-vegan diet.
How I figured out what my body couldn’t handle
Two things really helped me figure out what was going on and trust myself that it was the truth. First, my siblings all went through similar things and their children all had some type of sensitivity to some foods. Second, one of the best and more trusted authors on breastfeeding (See below) wrote that if your baby is exclusively fed on breast milk the baby’s poop should never be green. She explained that doctors were schooled in a formula fed paradigm and were not properly educated on what is common for only breast fed babies. Hence, they will tell you that it is perfectly fine for a baby’s poop to be green if they drink formula.
That helped a lot! Every time our baby was “colicky” a little while later he would have green poop and I would search back and sure enough something that I thought surely didn’t have milk…had milk or some sort of dairy. When I changed my diet my baby changed. He didn’t have baby acne, he didn’t cry non-stop, he was happier, slept better, grew faster. It was glorious and all I had to do was keep to a semi-vegan diet.
But then a funny thing happened when I went off of dairy and these other things. I felt so much better. Not like oh I took my shoes off and feel better but like you had a french braid in your hair so tight it pulled back your eyes and you are now taking it out after two days feel better.
For as long as I can remember I’ve had these random problems that I wasn’t able to figure out.
- Watches and rings were impossible for me to keep on for even a couple hours.
- I couldn’t walk very long because my feet would get so hot and swollen.
- Sleeping through the night was rare because I would wake up at night with hot feet and hands.
- My hands would get so hot they would feel like they were blistering (I think I was getting little heat blisters in them) and it would hurt just to grab things or pick things up.
- My body would ache if I grazed something.
- And interestingly enough despite always being active my entire life, like non-stop active from sun up to sun down, and eating relatively good, I easily would shoot up in weight.
My Current Situation
Now I have none of those problems….unless I eat something that I shouldn’t have.
- I can walk all day long and my feet don’t bother me hardly at all.
- I sleep so much better (aside from the whole baby thing).
- I’ve dropped 80 lbs in the last 10 months, 35 pounds less than what I was before I was pregnant, and I keep going down.
- I wear a fitbit watch and only take it off to charge it. I wear my wedding ring with no problem.
My Continual Journey
It is amazing but it is still hard. I’m still trying to figure out how to cook more without those ingredients how to have good meals and good health. But it is worth it. Being semi-vegan isn’t like I thought it was going to be. I felt it was for hippies and alternative lifestyle type of people but that was far from the truth.
I don’t think that I would have known that I had a problem with dairy if it wasn’t for my experience and hard sleuthing work (dairy is in so much that you wouldn’t even think it is in). And I wouldn’t of had the determination and motivation to keep being dairy free if it wasn’t for another little human being that I was hurting if I caved in.
Religious Reasoning for a Semi-Vegan life
To be truthful, the semi-vegan diet is actually recommended by my religion. It is affectionately called: The word of wisdom. WORD. It says:
That the children may live longAnd be beautiful and strong,Tea and coffee and tobacco they despise,Drink no liquor, and they eatBut a very little meat;
They are seeking to be great and good and wise.
Jk. But part of it is:
Every herb and fruit in it’s season (with prudence and thanksgiving)Meat only in times of winter, cold, or famine (with thanksgiving)Grain in famine and excess of hunger*
These are some of the readings that helped me get to where I am today:
- The processed milk we drink is very different from what cows produce.
- The best book on breastfeeding ever by Ina May
Word of Wisdom Caveat
12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
Stopped talking about meat-now talks about grain:
14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
15 And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—