Dodging dairy: handling food allergies
by Shelley Frances Deegan
Many people - particularly adults - have an allergic reaction
to milk. However, you can give up dairy products without forsaking your
f you or a loved one needs or wants to find replacements
to dairy products (e.g., milk, butter, yogurt and cheese), the following
information can help you learn more about food products available at local
health food stores. You can make this lifestyle change successfully, as
I and many others have.
When I was diagnosed 3 years ago with allergies to wheat,
gluten, dairy, yeast and sugar I thought my days of eating anything but
dry salad were over. And I certainly thought I would never have milk on
my cereal again. Thank heavens for Rice Dream - but more about that later.
I also was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,
which is why I craved sugar, caffeine and many other non-nourishing foods
& beverages. I was 25 pounds overweight and my body hurt all the time.
I realized that my health was in my hands and no one else could help me
get better. After a lengthy learning process, I founded Solutions to Food
Allergies., whose goal is to inform you about available food products. We
have done a lot of homework, so you don't have to.
I know what you're probably thinking: "I just love
my Tillamook extra sharp cheddar," or the Oscar Meyer lunch pack with
the cheese, meat and crackers. I was the same way. Fortunately, there are
some fine alternatives.
Each cheese alternative has its own distinct flavor.
Your body will thank you for making the switch. My experience regarding
the melting quality of these alternative cheeses is excellent. Try a grilled
cheese for yourself!
Tofu Rella brand (my favorite!) is made of tofu, which comes from soybeans.
It comes in Jalapeño, Cheddar and Mozzarella varieties. However,
it contains casein, a milk protein, that some folks cannot eat.
- Almond Rella brand is made with almonds and also contains casein.
It comes in several flavors. If you're allergic to soy, this is a good alternative.
- SoyaKaas brand comes only in cheddar. It also contains casein.
Try it to see if you like Tofurella or SoyaKaas better.
- Soymage brand is one of the two cheese alternatives I have
found with no casein. I have tried this brand grated on brown rice and it
was good. It is only available in cheddar, and packaged in a round tub.
- Veganrella brand also has no casein. It comes in Mexican and
Italian style; Italian style contains yeast. It also contains oats, an alternative
for those allergic to gluten (wheat).
- Rice Dream brand is my favorite milk replacement. It is made
from rice and comes in 3 flavors: original (a bit sweet), vanilla (good
for baking, on cereal, in coffee, etc.), and carob (replaces chocolate milk,
but contains a trace of barley so the gluten-intolerant should beware).
All are delicious!
- Naturally Tofu - Better than milk? brand didn't appeal to my
pallette. I found it thick, heavy and unrefreshing. But then ... you may
like thick and heavy!
- NutQuik brand is a wheat free, dairy free and lactose free.
It is an almond-based beverage and baking mix in a box. Use it to make cookies,
pancakes and waffles. (See last month's suggested grain alternatives for
replacing the wheat in pancakes, etc.)
- SoyQuik brand is a soy-based product in a box for making soy
milk and for baking. I tried this when I was first experimenting with milk
replacements, but I didn't care for the flavor.
- Goats Milk (by Meyenberg) ­p; I haven't tried this, but
I am told it has a very distinct taste.
- Solait brand is a powered soy beverage packaged in a round
- Eden Rice brand is a beverage made of rice (surprise!) and
comes in vanilla and regular. I prefer Rice Dream to this product.
- White Wave brand is a delicious soy-based yogurt. It comes
in 6 flavors. Try it for baking, in cereal, or on pancakes as a syrup replacement!
- Nancy's Soy Yogurt brand comes in several flavors and is also
very good. Nancy's also makes a milk yogurt that comes in the same packaging:
make sure you don't buy it by mistake!
I have found 3 egg replacements, other than the carton
variety in the supermarket cooler.
First, ENG brand has a product called Egg Replacer. You can't
make omelets, etc., with this, though. Tofu is the most common replacement
for egg dishes.
Second, there are several egg replacement recipes, using
oil, water and baking powder. Check out the cooking references at your health
food store or library.
Third, WonderSlim brand replaces fat and eggs!
It is made from dried plums. Use this product for baking, as it provides
more of a cake-like texture.
- "Just like shortenin' replacer" brand has 100% fruit
ingredients. (Now you'll be experimenting, too!)
Butter and margarine replacer
I found one excellent replacement: Spectrum Spread brand.
Use this exclusively because:
It doesn't melt quite like butter, but is it good!
- It is made with canola oil
- It tastes like butter
- It is non-hydrogenated
- It is delicious.
Read the labels
Read the labels of all products closely. If you're not
sure what an ingredient is, look it up in a reference book available at
the health food store or library. (Muscle test each if you know how to do
that.) Some products may have ingredients that you or a loved one may be
allergic to. Be aware of the "trace of barley" in some of these
products if you are gluten intolerant. With a little study, you'll be able
to recognize what is safe and what to avoid.
I knew nothing about dairy replacement when I decided
to heal myself. Every time I ate something that made me feel bad (like sugar,
cheese and coffee), I paid for it with abdominal cramping, stomach pain
and bloating, bad breath, bad skin, exhaustion and pain. These are symptoms
many people live with everyday. I had been one of them, but found a way
out. Share this information with others in need. Support is VITAL to success.
Shelley Frances Deegan is founder of "Solutions to Food Allergies."
They offer informational health food store tours several times per month
and "Food Police" services to support you in restocking your kitchen
with healthy foods. Individual consultations available. For more information,
please call (619) 543-0334.