Tuesday, October 19, 2010

dairy-free: what to avoid

When I was told I needed to drop all dairy from my diet, including any "hidden" dairy, the first thing I did was hopped online to research what I couldn't eat. There are many sites out there that are extremely helpful, and I'll post some links to those later on. What I found to be most immediately helpful was a list of ingredients to avoid.

Some of these ingredients are pretty obvious.
  • milk (duh)
  • butter
  • condensed milk
  • milk fat
  • skim milk
  • whey
  • evaporated milk
  • buttermilk
  • sour cream
  • cottage cheese
  • cheese
  • cream cheese
  • lactose
  • half and half
  • curds
  • nougat
Really, if it sounds like it's milk-based, you have to stay away from it. Some companies are great about putting allergens in bold in their ingredient list. Some will even list them below the ingredients in bold in a separate list. But others make you search for the allergens among a mixture of other stuff. Others still will list other allergens such as wheat and nuts, but then forget to list milk, even though butter or some such is in the ingredient list.

So the obvious ingredients can be easy to avoid. However, more hidden forms of dairy make eating dairy-free much more difficult. Casein (and other forms such as sodium caseinate and calcium caseinate) is pure milk protein, which is exactly what you want to avoid. It often shows up in high-protein foods like energy bars or protein powders. However, it can also appear in deli meats, cheeses, and other random foods.

Honestly, you have to read the labels of everything you buy. I've found milk in most breads and many kinds of deli meats, sauces, cookies, prepacked meals, and candy.

You can find more information about what foods to avoid at Kellymom and The Fussy Baby Site.

Next time, I'll start posting about what I DO eat on a daily basis. Because, really, if you're going dairy-free, you still gotta eat, right? And if you're a cheese and milk lover like me, it can be difficult to keep from going crazy.

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