Sit down, grab a cup of coffee, this post is a little long, but informative.
My daughter was about 6 months old, and like every new mom I was anxious for her to try new foods. So, we started her on yogurt, maybe a taste of ice cream here or there. About the 3rd time she has a dairy product she vomited severely! This continued with even the smallest amounts of Dairy. She could lick a fudgesicle and be sick for hours. The doctor said it was too rare to be a full blown allergy. It was most likely intolerance.
This went on for years. When she started Kindergarten we were happy to see that her allergy had seemingly gone away. So, she went crazy with ice cream, chocolate milk, cheese; all of the foods she missed out on. Then we discovered that her allergy had taken a different form. She was sick a lot; she developed asthma, skin rashes, and blood sugar problems. We had her tested and she was severely allergic to milk. The doctor said a food allergy never truly disappears. It is with you for life. So much for outgrowing an allergy.
So, we have adjusted. All of her symptoms have gone away. It has become second nature for things to be dairy free in my house. My kids are very good about knowing what they are allergic to, and what they shouldn’t eat. They don’t cheat, and I am so proud of them for that. Here are some great dairy free tricks I have learned.
We have adjusted to Soy milk. I know everyone is different and some prefer Rice milk, or other alternatives. Soy Milk works best for us. The kids drink Vanilla Silk Soy. That is their favorite. For cooking and baking I buy the plain Silk Soy milk. If I am baking a cake or cookie I use the Vanilla Soy milk it gives it a great flavor.
In baked goods I substitute Butter Flavored Crisco. This gives me the best results! We also use Fleishman’s margarine; it is the only margarine (besides specialty) that doesn’t contain milk protein. The margarine works great for mashed potatoes, toast, and more!
I have to check labels carefully on a lot of things. Bread is one of them. Store brand bread seems to be dairy free for the most part. I buy Publix white bread, and buns. If you look at the labels brand names all contain dairy. I also, make my own rolls, and bread sometimes. Oh, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls are Dairy Free! This was a big find this last year! She loves pigs in a blanket!
Baked goods can be difficult. We pretty much avoid any store bought baked goods. We did learn that Oreos are dairy free and haven’t looked back since ;). I love to bake so it isn’t a problem for me to make our own Dairy free goodies. There are some cake mixes that are dairy free. Check some Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker Boxes. You have to hunt, but they are available.
Never underestimate the power of chocolate in a girl’s life! This is an important thing. Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips are dairy free! I use them in all of my baking! I also use cocoa powder to make things like brownies, and chocolate icing.
We have yet to find a delicious Dairy Free Cheese. We did order this powder called CHREESE. It is available through Amazon. It is great for mac and cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Publix sells a Dairy free Cream cheese, which is a new big hit at my house. My daughter loves it on her bagels in the morning!
This is something that my daughter misses. She has found that she love Tofutti Ice Cream, and she loves Whole Fruit Sorbet. Both are dairy free and a perfect alternative for her!
There are certain frozen foods like Chicken Nuggets and fish sticks that contain dairy. Tyson Chicken nuggets are Dairy Free, and Mrs. Paul’s Fish Sticks are Dairy Free. These are our two go to brands if I purchase premade. I have gotten where I just make my own Chicken Nuggets and Fish Fingers. That way all of my children can eat them.
It is very hard to eat out when you have a food allergy. Luckily restaurants are becoming more conscious of this and are marking items on their menu. They will even tell you what items contain dairy. It is important to research restaurants before you go out. I have found this to be the best tool! To know where we can go and what we can order before we leave. There is nothing more disappointing than getting to a restaurant only to find out you can’t eat anything there.
When going Dairy free, be careful to read labels! You would be surprised the thing that dairy turns up in! Check popcorn, candies, baked goods, really anything processed! I have a huge list of Dairy Free recipes here on A Few Short Cuts. If the recipe has Dairy in it, I will tell you how to remove it or substitute another ingredient.
I understand how difficult it can be to cook for a family member with allergies. It is very hard to go out to eat, eat at friends’ homes, etc. It just takes some planning, and understanding. People are willing to work with you to make your life easier. You just have to be knowledgeable and ask.
If you have any questions about Dairy Free cooking or anything regarding Dairy allergies that I may be able to help with just leave a comment or shoot me an email! I hope this post helps some of you out that are struggling with allergies!