If I had a dollar for everytime someone has asked me how to go “Dairy Free” in the past few years I would have a down deposit for a beach home! Since this has been the most popular question friends and family have asked me I decided to do a quick blog post about this.
Why go DAIRY FREE? Do you have an inflammatory disease or disorder such as asthma, allergies, stomach problems, GERD, acid reflux, eczema, acne, Crohn’s, Celiac, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or Fibromyalgia? These are just a few of the inflammatory disorders that may benefit from going dairy free (and gluten free is the other hugely inflammatory food). Can you sometimes tolerate certain dairy products and not others (like ice cream & cream soups)? Chances are there is inflammation in your body that is being exasperated by the foods you eat. Commit to doing DAIRY FREE (and for those of you that have extreme inflammation do GLUTEN FREE TOO) for 6 weeks and see how you feel and watch the changes in your body. For me my asthma was 80% reduced on day 3 of going dairy free. By week 6 I had ZERO spring allergies!! Keep notes along the way and watch and pay attention to your body changes!!
CHOOSE YOUR DAIRY REPLACEMENTS:
- Choose what dairy substitute is right for you such as Coconut Milk, Almond Milk, Cashew Milk, Rice Milk or Soy Milk (I recommend staying away from SOY as well during this 6 weeks as well as corn products). I prefer SILK brand COCONUT MILK (unsweetened). I have nut & soy allergies so coconut or rice milk for me.
- Choose your butter replacement: I prefer Earth Balance Soy Free (red top). It comes in spreadable tub as well as sticks for baking. NOTE: The red top one does have “annatto” in it too —which my youngest child cannot have and it causes asthma for him.
- Yogurts: Stay away from ALL milk-based yogurts or anything and everything that has any mammal milk (goat, sheep, cow, etc). I love DAIYA yogurts which are thick and creamy –comes in some great flavors. I also love “So Delicious” brand coconut milk yogurt, which is a little thinner. We use the So Delicious ones in smoothies as well as mixing with fruit and granola.
- Coffee Creamer: For those of you that love your morning coffee and love “clouds in your coffee,” So Delicious” makes an amazing Coconut Creamer in 3 flavors (plain, french vanilla, and hazelnut). There are also Almond Creamers out there as well.
- Dairy Free Cheeses: I have not found any that I like, although they are out there (Daiya makes some). I typically just alter my recipes and find a way around the cheese. For example, on pizza night, I have more fun with sauteed veggies on my homemade pita-pizzas (spinach,peppers, mushrooms) with my fav “Don Peppinos Pizza Sauce.”
- Anytime milk is called for in a recipe, use your milk alternative from #1 above.
- Anytime butter is called for in a recipe, use either your butter alternative from #2 above OR I also use coconut oil (the firm/packed type that resembles lard).
- For pies and other baked goods that call for cream, I have had much success with canned coconut cream because is a bit thicker.
- Is GOAT CHEESE dairy free? I say yes! While some people tolerate goat’s cheese better than other cow’s milk, if you are going dairy free you need to stay away from all “mammal milk.”
- Can I just have a little creamer in my coffee in the am? NO! If you are doing dairy free and want to reap the full benefits of lessening your body inflammation, you have to commit to 100% dairy free. It’s only 6 WEEKS to test this out!
- Can I have cooked dairy? NO! cooked dairy is still dairy!
- Can I have WHEY? NO! This is dairy as well (although less lactose).
- Does coconut milk taste like coconut? I don’t think it does. It doesn’t taste great by itself but it does taste great in all other recipes or WITH cereal/etc.
- Isn’t Coconut considered a tree nut if you are allergic to tree nuts? Coconut is not a botanical nut. The FDA classifies it as a fruit even though they recognize coconut as a tree nut (how confusing). I am allergic to tree nuts and I am 100% fine with all things coconut. While allergic reactions to coconut can occur, most people who are allergic to tree nuts can safely eat coconut.
- If dairy is causing inflammation in my body does that mean I’m allergic to it and I can go to the doctor and do a “skin test” to test if I’m allergic to dairy? SKIN PRICK TESTS WILL NOT SHOW YOU ALL OF YOUR ALLERGIES/SENSITIVITIES!! I have found that the skin test will show some foods I have no issues with, and exclude others that I know to be very sensitive to. My skin test never once showed a dairy allergy, which I now know has been the cause of my allergies & asthma for 38 years! In my lifetime I have had over a dozen skin prick allergy tests and never has it shown dairy as any issue. It is possible that you are still having a sensitivity to dairy even if it doesn’t show up on your skin test—I’m living proof –AND lots of people say this about the skin tests. There is no test out there to tell you 100% of your sensitivities. I have found that I’m my own best detective when it comes to figuring out my food sensitivities. Most likely dairy will not show up on your skin test either unless you are truly allergic to it. Dairy now causes me an asthma attack within 3-4 hours after I ingest it – and then during Spring allergy season it will flare up all my terrible allergy symptoms. I also find it takes about 1-2 days for my system to get back to normal after I accidentally ingest dairy. IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT SKIN ALLERGY TESTING: This can be a great baseline for your food allergies and very important to get in some cases, especially in the case of severe food allergies, to be under the care of a physician. However, keep in mind that you may have additional food sensitivities in your body that don’t show up on that skin test.
For more questions or to share your own story about your own discoveries going dairy-free, please feel free to contact me through Facebook or leaving a message on this post. Please keep in mind that I’m NOT A DOCTOR. Just a lady with food allergies trying to share my journey, the hope of helping someone else out there 🙂
Peace, Love & God Bless!