I hear you. My son is dairy allergic. We're "lucky" in a way that the South Indian food we normally cook at home doesn't contain dairy by default, except in the form of ghee (easy to replace with oil) and yogurt (which is served by itself to the side). So that part didn't require much adjustment.
But oh I hear you on trying to avoid it in anything processed! 90% of breads at the grocery store contain milk proteins. At least 70% of cereals. Try finding even a dark chocolate bar that doesn't have it, outside a health food store. Some orange juice on the market might be a valuable source of calcium for the kid, except that it also contains an additive called sodium lactylate, which by the name might be derived from milk, and nobody can tell you it's not! When you find out that the "soy" cheese they sell at the supermarket contains casein, too, that's about the point at which you'd give up and bang your head against the wall if it wasn't your son's health at stake. I'm expecting to find superfluous added dairy in our favorite hummus just about any day now. (Rolling eyes here, but still. I wouldn't really be shocked.)
Here's a few sanity-savers I've picked up along the way. (Our son is now six.)
Look for kosher symbols, which are normally found on the front of the package somewhere (if present).
A stylized "U" or "K" without a small "D" alongside it always means no dairy of any kind. The same is true if you see the word "pareve". It's a good shortcut to label-reading sometimes. (Note that the presence of a "D" doesn't automatically mean the thing contains milk. Occasionally the ingredient list is fine, and I'm guessing the food just wasn't certified to be dairy-free for some other reason, so they have to include it. But lack of a "D" always means it's ok.)
Along similar lines, try rye or pumpernickel bread. I've yet to find a single brand with added dairy.
For cereal, the Nature's Path brand has a few dairy-free options that are pretty reasonable nutritionally. There's some others, too. For the most part, though, the "healthier" cereals almost universally contain added dairy, while stuff along the range of Cheerios to Corn Flakes to Fruit Loops usually does not. Go figure. Oh well. I love my little bowl of cereal in the morning, but it's honestly no great loss otherwise. It is possible to make your own granola, if that's something that interests you. Same with trail bars, another type of snack food that can be problematic.
They have some really nice soy, almond, rice and coconut based yogurts these days, but for the most part you need to go to a healthfood store to find them. (Unlike the "milk", which you can find everywhere.)
For restaurants, by far the easiest way to handle it is just to eat at places that wouldn't be using milk products anyway. Most this means East Asian cuisine. Chinese, Japanese, Thai --- they don't use milk anyway, so you never have to worry. If you have any near you, restaurants that cater specifically to vegan/vegetarian people can also be easy: though vegetarian options there could have milk, they'd be very used to keeping it away from people who prefer not to have it. But mostly we just stick to the Asian stuff.
And it probably goes without saying, but the more whole foods you can work into your diet, the less annoying it all becomes, because then you don't even have to worry about labels.
Edit: Oh yeah, and I second/third/whatever what's been said about vegan recipes (plenty of sites online), because there are some amazing foods within that universe and none of them has any milk. And also paleo might be worth a try, for meat-containing recipes, because I think milk is not included or at least is not focused on in that way of eating either.
i'd definitely start checking out some vegan cookbooks. there are ways around dairy and if you want to have your barley risotto with a chicken breast you can do so. it's just worth it to learn the ways around dairy. when you have an allergy, you simply have to ask first. the minute you know you are going to a banquet, get the number to the person actually cooking and go over your allergy with them. it's easy to make a spicy chicken breast with no cream sauce, but not when all the chicken has already been prepped and creamed. if susie was usually the one that buys the birthday cakes, i would have provided her with the number and contact info for a local vegan baker for my birthday cake so that she wouldn't have to trouble herself about it. if your work has usual things that they do for employees, asking to be accommodated shouldn't be an issue. if subs are usually provided, asking for one to be cheeseless shouldn't be an issue. if they usually have a cheesy soup available, ask if they could get you a minestrone or a fagoli instead. look at the menu of where they get food from and ask. it's not like you're asking them to go to the crosstown sushi joint when they're getting food from downstairs. remember that it's not you being picky, it's you making sure you don't get sick from the food.
-google first. ask questions later.
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I'm Dairy Food Intolerant. I can consume small amounts (on the odd occasion) of milk, and can regularly have a good yoghurt or some hard cheese. For years I had suffered from severe abdominal pain and bloating and blamed it on other things. When I found the cause, I was quite amused that I hadn't thought of it sooner, because my Mum always said when I was a baby I was allergic to cows milk - that I would come up in blisters - LOL! I come up in blistery hives if I have too much acid fruit including apples. I just have pieces now rather than a whole one at a time, altho' that worked out well with my weight loss journey :-)
My 'cremed soups' are actually 'cremed' with potato - I puree the soup. I use Soy Milk in place of cow's milk - my grandson has Rice Milk. I often use Chicken Stock (powdered form) to enhance a 'cheese flavour' in foods - cheese sauce being a good one for this. When I mash potato I use a little low-fat dairy-free margarine and melt that by pouring in some salted water that the potato was cooked in, and then add a little soy milk. It is actually quite yummy. I went to a hotel for my BIL and SIL's wedding anniversary dinner. The only things on the menu involved lots of milk or creme. I ended up with extreme abdominal pain, and couldn't sit. I was told after 'you should have asked for something else' - it's a bit hard when you're told that THAT was all there was :-(
My little grandson has just had a food challenge with egg, after what had been a life/death problem, because the markers had reduced considerably. His teacher seemed to think that he was 'o.k.' now he can have quiche, this and that. He can ONLY eat egg if it is in baking that has been in the oven above a certain temperature and more than a certain length of time, AND that is very diluted - as in 1 egg between 12 muffins. He also has very serious allergies, life-threatening allergies to kiwifruit, all nuts and dairy of any sort. What we find really annoying is that his teacher NEEDS to be reminded to take his anapen on school outings. He is only 6yrs old. He is also allergic to sulphites, sugar, wheat, soy, acid fruit, and a few other things, but they aren't too bad now - most just cause bad eczema. When there is a birthday party in his class, my daughter takes along treats that HE can have, and when it is HIS birthday, my daughter makes some really yummy cakes that he can eat, and the other kids don't notice the difference.
I know food allergies are TOUGH! I was dairy allergic for 7 years, and now my daughter has been diagnosed as dairy allergice. I am also allergic to sulfites/sufates, I have oral allergy syndrome so I can't have certain fruits such as apples, stone fruits (peaches, plums, etc), raw tomatoes, etc. So I FULLY understand how frustrating it can be. My best advise is to look for vegan options at restaurants- you will guaranteed no dairy in the meal, you have to change how you look at food. Yes, I would LOVE bacon on my baked potato or hamburger, but I can't have both pork NOR the sulfites in it. I have "wash" my hair with just conditioner, and brush my teeth with $6 toothpaste due to the sulfites/sulfates in it.
I have a great recipe for dairy free corn chowder (with bacon! ;) ) that I can put in the spark recipes in the next few days for you, it is YUMY and no one would know it's dairy free- it's a kid favorite in our house.
One thing I read one time was a LIFESAVER for me, was that some people can tolerate parmesan cheese (not romano!). It has something to do with how it's cured, etc. I would try it a little bit to see if you react to it.
I know what you mean "oh, you are lactose intolerant" .... no... I get hives and my jaws react bad to dairy, my daughter gets stomach issues and her blood sugar drops. these are not intolerant symptoms, they are definitely allergic reactions!
I know you feel lonely, but you can find some great alternatives- use chicken broth in mashed potatoes along with light blue bonnet, use chicken gravy instead of cream of soup. Cooking this way takes a bit of creativity, but it can be accomplished!
I found out that I was allergic to whey and casein about 3 years ago now. I go back and forth between being really strict and getting so annoyed that I give in a just eat it.
You don't realize just how much dairy is in a regular diet until you can't eat it. Any no one seems to understand the difference between a dairy allergy and being lactose intolerant. And no, I CAN'T EAT YOGURT!
Some restaurants have gotten better in the last few years. However I was at a catered banquet this weekend and the menu was Cream of Mushroom soup, chicken with cream sauce and red velvet cake with the most icing I've ever seen. Even the vegetarian option was pure cheese.
I'm sorry but I'm just very annoyed some days. One year at work I was the only one that they didn't buy a birthday cake for....although I paid for everyone else's. (my new work doesn't do birthday cakes). Does anyone else have this issue?
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