How to Go Dairy Free

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.

Milk

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.

Butter

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!

Bread

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!

Cookies/Cakes

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.

Chocolate

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.

Cheese

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!

Ice Cream

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!

Frozen Foods

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.

Dining out

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.

Cautions

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!

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Comments

  1. Hey Amanda!
    Thanks for sharing. You know we are gluten free, related to my daughter having Celiac’s Disease. I just came across this video this week on there being gluten proteins in the milk, which I thought was interesting. Thanks for all these substitutes, as we may be having to remove dairy from the diet as well.
    http://www.glutenfreesociety.org/gluten-free-society-blog/devil-in-the-milk-damage-from-corn-gluten/
    I know you have a lot of gluten free followers this may be helpful.

    • It is funny you should say that. My son asked me this morning if there was Wheat in his drink, and I said, “no”. His response shocked me. Well, cows eat wheat, and then they make milk, so isn’t there Wheat in my milk. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for!

      We limit his milk anyway, but we are switching everyone to completely dairy free now. It just causes too many issues. I try not to post my thoughts on the stuff, but I don’t think it is healthy for anyone after all I have read.

  2. Suzanne says:

    Great post! I have a 7 y/o with a peanut allergy. A lot of people don’t realize that you have to read every label, every time. In the last six months, my 5 y/o has been miserable with nausea, reflux and stomach pain. We have been to Vanderbilt Gastroenterologists who really have been no help. Next week, I am taking her to the allergist that diagnosed my other daughter. I just want to know what is making her feel so bad.

  3. Amanda,

    I have dealt with this too with my 4 yr old. We also use silk & many of the other things you mentioned. Thanks so much for this great, informative post!

    I just thought I’d add a couple of things we use that are dairy free. Parkay in the blue squeeze bottle has no milk/whey in it. Also Publix Carries So Delicious brand Ice cream sandwiches & Ice Cream. It tastes just like ice cream!!

    Anyway..Great Post!

  4. Hi Amanda! My daughter Alyssa is also allergic to dairy products, and we’ve been living as a dairy-free family for the last two years (and loving it!) So I just thought I’d share a few of our family’s favorites. All are completely dairy, casein, whey, and trans-fat free!

    So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverages (Allyssa likes these even better than Silk!)
    So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt and Kefir (A delicious way to make sure everyone gets a healthy dose of probiotics. And they both in come in chocolate. Need I say more?)
    Earth Balance Buttery Spread (Has no trans fats and tastes verrry buttery)
    Purely Decadent and So Delicious Coconut Milk ice cream (By far, the creamiest dairy-free ice cream on Earth! And again, no trans fats.)
    Vegan Gourmet Cream Cheese and Sour Cream Alternatives (The best I’ve found)
    Soyattoo Whipped Cream (Comes in both rice and soy varieties, and in spray can or in a box you whip up yourself. I prefer the one in the box.)
    Daiya Vegan Cheeses (Their mozzarella and cheddar styles are very good on pizza, in burritos, and for making grilled cheese sammies. Very meltable.)

    Hope that helps!

    • Very interesting Judy! I will look into the whipped cream!

      I have heard a lot about the daiya Vegan cheese, but haven’t tried it yet! Guess it is on the to buy list!

      Thanks for the added list of goodies!

  5. I am wondering about this. Our son had major issues with cow’s milk. Since eating yogurt, which is all he eats now, he has had nothing but problems with eczema and skin rashes. No asthma yet, thank goodness. Once he starts eating normal foods, then I will be cutting his milk and yogurt consumptions back. But for now, they are what he lives on, poor kid.

    I also had to avoid milk and products made with milk protein when he was a baby. I wanted to breast feed him, and going milk free was the only way to do it. Here are a two websites that I loved and saved:
    http://www.peta.org/accidentallyVegan/
    http://www.godairyfree.org/

    I hope this helps other people too!

  6. I second the Daiya vegan cheese (http://www.daiyafoods.com/). I am vegetarian and my husband is vegan so we keep a vegan household. I’ve tried plenty of cheese substitutes and this is the best I’ve ever had. It’s super yummy and it melts just like dairy cheese.

  7. Wow – thank you for all this helpful info! My daughter is nursing and she has a dairy and soy protein intolerance. I am curious about the dairy free cream cheese from publix – do you know what it is called? Thanks!

  8. Thank you so much for this. My almost 2 y/o is dairy intolerant. Now that she is starting to eat w/ the rest of us it is challenging to adjust our family meals to accomodate. I had sicovered many of these tips but I like how you laid it out, makes things feel so much more manageable. I am so excited to find out crecsent rolls are dairy free!!!! I never checked them, I just assumed the weren’t. Another tip I have discovered, coconut oil is a good dairy free sub for butter if you don’t want so much trans fat as shortening and margerine have. It is not rediculously expensive and it is close to the consistency of butter (as opposed to other oils) I use it in anything that calls for 1/3 C of butter or less. (I also use it to replace part of the shortening when larger amounts of butter are called for)

    I really love your recipes!

  9. Thank you so much for this information!!! I have one question: when you make cakes from a box, what do you substitute in place of the eggs to avoid the dairy? Thanks!!!

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