Friday, February 24, 2012

Going Dairy Free

Dairy is one of the most common food allergens or intolerances.  For many people, simply switching to lactose free milk does not suffice.  In the past few years, I have learned that I am intolerant to the casein and the whey in the milk as well.  I never noticed my intolerances before we went dairy free, as my body simply adjusted or I thought this was normal.  Since this time, I am now fully aware of changes that occur when I do ingest milk products.  It does not take long for the bloating to come on and with enough of the dairy I will notice congestion and plugged sinuses.  I have also had areas of eczema.  For me, these typically show up on the tops or palms of my hands.

Here are a Few Common Symptoms of a Dairy Reaction in Adults
  • skin rashes, eczema
  • diarrhea
  • green, runny stool
  • bloody stool
  • vomitting
  • coughing
  • cramping
  • heartburn
  • bloating
  • gas
  • constipation
  • symptoms of a cold

Here are a Few Common Symptoms of a Dairy Reaction in Infants and Children
  • reflux
  • vomitting
  • eczema
  • cold symptoms
  • constipation
  • blood in stool
  • gas
  • spitting up

Some Tips for Going Dairy Free
  1. Try it for a few months if you are going on a trial basis. It will take awhile for the dairy to completely leave your system and for you to notice any changes.
  2. Don't be afraid to try recipes with an alternative milk.  You will be surprised that it will most often work and you may not even notice a difference.  For baking I generally stick to almond, hemp or coconut milk.  In our home we do limit the soy and I find that rice milk doesn't always work as well.  Rice milk is thinner and has more of  "water" like consistency. 
  3. Whenever possible try to make your own food as you will know exactly what is in it and won't need to worry.
  4. Check labels even of the same brand names, for example, if one version of the product is safe another might contain dairy.
  5. Check your vitamins they too may contain dairy.
Purchasing Dairy Free Foods
  • Make sure you check all labels regularly as they are subject to change
  • Watch out for ingredients such as whey powder, butter fat, casein, skim milk powder
  • Milk is often found in these foods
    • Bread
    • Cereal
    • Cereal/Protein Bars
    • Crackers
    • Baking Mixes
    • Cold Cuts and Hotdogs
    • Processed Foods
Milk Alternatives

I am very happy that there is such a wide variety of milk beverage alternatives.  As I have recently posted it is a good idea to rotate the kind of milk you drink.  Just as we are encouraged to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, this is also the case for grains and milk.  Overexposure to the same foods can increase the possibility of becoming sensitive to them. 

Breads (there are more however I don't know them as well as they also contain gluten)
Food For Life  -they have all the Ezekiel Breads
Udi -a popular gluten free bread

Chocolate Chips
Enjoy Life and President's Choice are dairy free

Daiya Cheese
I have tried a few cheese alternatives and this one is by far the best.  It melts and stretches just like dairy cheese and will work for pizza, lasagne, quesadillas etc.  I also like this product because is also gluten free, nut free and egg free.  It can be found at most major grocery stores.  Daiya cheese of course will never be a complete replacement and you will notice the change in taste but like I said it is the best one out there.

Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast found in the same family as edible mushrooms.  This yeast is grown on a mixture of sugar cane and beet molasses. There are no GMOs, sugars or preservatives.  It can be used to create a "cheesy" tasting sauce or dish.

Butter Alternatives
I love to use coconut oil whenever possible, however it can get expensive.  I am also a fan of Earth Balance, perhaps a larger fan than I realized as I found three of them in my fridge.  Earth Balance can be found in the health food section in most major grocery stores.

Worried about Calcium Intake?
These foods are very high in calcium (often higher than milk)

  • Almonds
  • Beans (Navy, chickpeas, lima pinto, black beans)
  • Broccoli
  • Bok Choy
  • Canned Salmon
  • Carrot Juice
  • Flax Seeds
  • Herring
  • Leafy green Vegetables (kale, spinach, collard greens)
  • Oats
  • Molasses
  • Okra
  • Oranges
  • Quinoa
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Tapioca (dry)

Additional Links

Check out a list of foods that didn't necessarily mean to be dairy free (vegan)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Irene for posting all of this info!