One of the most difficult parts of learning about my dairy allergy (we’re talking anything that comes from udders) was figuring out just what the heck to eat. Because, dairy. It’s in everything:
*Taco seasoning (and almost all seasonings)
*Processed meats (used as a texturing agent and not labeled). If it isn’t kosher, or specifically labeled as whey/casein-free, don’t touch it.
*Bouillon (And most pre-made stocks and broths)
* Some enriched flours (enriched with whey…whyyyyyy??)
*Almost all probiotics are grown in dairy before being extracted and combined in other foods
*Just about anything that comes in a box. Or bag. Or wrapper. Or anywhere but your own mixing bowls.
Luckily, (as you know from reading this blog the last several years…) we already ate a lot of whole foods and made most things from scratch, so we could adjust recipes and eat vegan when in doubt. But man, how do you adjust recipes? Which fake milk do you use? What replaces butter, really? Or…cheese?
It’s overwhelming to have to be constantly on guard for an ingredient that is so common. And to have to explain daily, at any meal that is not at home, that no, you’re not lactose intolerant.
No, you can’t just pop a pill (though you do have an epi pen you could use… which is not at all the same thing)
No, you really can’t just have a little bit.
No, that “non-dairy” margarine, sour cream or coffee creamer is not safe.
No, you can’t eat anything off that cutting board that someone sliced cheese on.
No, non-dairy is not the same as dairy-free.
(“Non-dairy,” like Cool Whip, Coffee Mate and Margarines are low in lactose and totally cool for lactose intolerant folks. Because that’s their customer base. However, “non dairy” products can and often do still contain whey and casein–dairy proteins– which cause the allergic reaction)
So, if you’re new to dairy-free living, first check out this blog: http://www.godairyfree.org
And then buy these products. Because nothing is worse than trying new allergy-friendly alternatives and being disgusted by them. It’s depressing and reminds you that you can’t eat cheese. So save yourself the money and hassle and just buy the good stuff from Day 1.
As always, please check the ingredients on labels before purchasing. Some items are manufactured in different facilities by region and consequently some items that are dairy-free on the West Coast are not in the South, etc. And sometimes companies change recipes…
The good stuff:
Fake Coffee Creamer: So Delicious (any flavor, really.)
Fake Cheese: Diaya. Any flavor.
The provolone is darn good. So is the cheddar. And the Jack. And the mozzarella. It doesn’t smell right, but it melts and tastes good. Just don’t eat it straight. That will be disappointing. Also, don’t even bother with the cream cheese. More on that below.
Fake Butter: Earth Balance
It comes in soy-free, too. And if not Earth Balance, then go with plain old organic coconut oil. Earth balance has a butter flavor that is very nice. Coconut oil is good for you, but lacks that butter flavor.
Fake Sour Cream: Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream .
Let’s just say it’s not a star attraction, but makes a great supporting character in tacos, etc.
Fake Milk: So Delicious Coconut Milk Original
Works perfectly, flawlessly, in baking. Thai Kitchen canned coconut milk is perfect for high-temp cooking and baking (pumpkin pie, soups). And Kirkland brand soy milk (Costco/plain flavor) is what we use to make our own ranch dressing. We use the vanilla flavor for chai lattes. Back away from the hemp, rice and almond milks. They’re gross.
Fake Cream Cheese:…
No. There is none. Sorry.
Fake Chocolate Chips: Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks
REAL chocolate (With no dairy!): Endangered Species Bug Bites
Fake Ice cream: So Delicious/Turtle Mountain.
The strawberry is a little wonky, but almost all of the other flavors are damn good.
Just, don’t. No. It’s all gross and looks like slime.
See how it is labeled casein-free? It’s safe.
ProBiotics: Good Belly.
Taco Seasoning: Old El Paso
It is the only brand we’ve found of pre-packaed taco seasoning that does not have dairy
Chicken and Beef Stocks/Broths: Kitchen Basics
It is the only brand we’ve found that does not have dairy. Of course, you can always make your own.
Chocolate Cake Mix (almost any flavor, actually): Duncan Hines.
Pre-made frosting: ditto…Duncan Hines
(oddly, even the “milk chocolate” flavors…which should terrify us for other reasons)