If you have followed my blog for any amount of time then you know that my daughter is allergic to dairy. In this process, I have learned many things about eliminating dairy and it is not as hard as many people think.
Many people have this misconception that going without dairy means you are giving up on a lot of things. Many people also believe that people who go without dairy are vegetarians. The last misconception that many people have is that using something other than dairy milk makes things taste funny or “weird”. These are completely untrue and even though my daughter is the one who is allergic to dairy there are times that I make entire meals without using dairy.
First off, anything that calls for dairy milk in the recipe can be modified. You can use any other milk in place of dairy milk, such as soy milk, coconut milk, or almond milk. These milks actually make things taste better. Cakes come out lighter and moister, scrambled eggs come out fluffier, and mashed potatoes are creamier.
Almond butter or coconut butter are great alternatives to butter or cream cheese on your toast or bagel. Also, if this is for a toddler who is allergic to dairy, you can give them the toast or bagel without anything on it. Toddlers don’t know that we normally put butter on toast, so they don’t know the difference.
Use oil in place of butter when cooking. Many people forget that butter is actually a dairy product and can cause an allergic reaction in those who are allergic. Coconut or olive oil is an acceptable alternative to butter when cooking.
You can just forgo the cheese. You don’t have to have cheese on your sandwich. You can just eliminate the cheese, or you can use avocado in place of the cheese if you want the texture. Added bonus is that you are getting some healthy fats in there as well!
Cake and ice cream are one of the hardest things to give up if you have to eliminate dairy. Thankfully, Ben and Jerry’s recently came out with a non-dairy ice cream and there are also a lot of recipes if you just search online. I haven’t tried any of them, so I can’t tell you if they are any good, but please if you have tried them, let me know what you think. As for cake, like I mentioned before, just use a non-dairy milk in place of any milk the recipe calls for. The downside is you will have to make it from scratch because most boxed cakes contain milk products. At least now you know that your toddler who is allergic to milk can still celebrate her birthday like every other little one does: making a mess with cake!
There are plenty of places that milk can hide without you realizing it when you eat out at restaurants. Many creamy soups and thick dressings, such as ranch and thousand island, will contain milk. Oatmeal is often made with milk in restaurants. Anything sauteed in a pan, such as vegetables, will be cooked in butter, as well as many places will put butter on bread and toast it for sandwiches, such as hamburgers. Many places that cook a lot of eggs will use bagged eggs, which contain milk, for scrambled eggs or omelettes. Another place that milk tends to hide is in breadings such as what is on crispy chicken and fish.
If you know that you will be going out to eat, you can always try to look at the menu online if you know where you are going or where you might be going. Most places will have an allergy menu online for you to determine what is in the meal.
Eliminating dairy can be a challenge at first, but when you realize that it is better for your child and she feels better, it will be worth it. Eliminating dairy also gets easier over time and before you know it you will know what contains dairy and what doesn’t.
When you started eliminating dairy was it hard? How has it changed over time?