If you know me, or have followed me on instagram at all, then you know that I have been dairy free since 2013. I didn’t seek out a dairy free lifestyle but was forced into such blasphemy when my firstborn baby girl had a dairy intolerance. In fact, she had a dairy, gluten, and soy intolerance which meant that, as a breastfeeding mother, I had to eliminate those things out of my diet. Now, when I first mention this to people, I inevitably hear, “oh, I couldn’t give up cheese”. I agree, but dairy is something that is so much more than just cheese, it is in EVERYTHING. After a lot of studying, and a second baby with THE SAME INTOLERANCE, I feel like I have become an expert in avoiding certain allergens. In fact, my second child had a dairy/soy intolerance, similar to my first, and a CORN allergy. If you think dairy is in everything, try avoiding corn. I couldn’t even give him certain medicines such as motrin and zyrtec. The thing is, I am not the only mother with this issue. In fact, dairy intolerances and allergies are very common. In fact, I am writing this post today because I have gotten so many questions regarding going dairy free, and I just thought it’d be easier to put it in a post I can forward to anyone who needs it. Here are some of my tips for going dairy free.
Dairy Free Tip #1 – Know Your Dairy
This seems silly, but you would be surprised how many people do not understand what dairy is. For example, when I tell a waiter that I can’t have dairy, they sometimes offer me gluten free options. I can eat wheat, I can’t have dairy, wtf? I have people say things like, “oh, that sucks you can’t have eggs”. Eggs are not dairy. They do not come from a cow and are not a milk product. I don’t even know how that’s considered dairy, but it’s a common misconception. What do you have to look for?Common dairy items include
half and half
Some uncommon and hidden forms of dairy include:
Whey – derived from milk
anything with Casein which can include sausage
milk fat and dry milk which is found in a LOT of processed foods such as pop tarts and bread
Here’s the thing, most people with a dairy allergy are not lactose intolerant, they actually cannot handle the milk protein called “casein”. You have to look for that work in ingredients in addition to the ones listed above. Many times, when a child has a dairy intolerance, they also cannot digest soy (I don’t know why) and this was true with both of my children. And lastly, goat milk is similar to dairy and can cause the same reaction in children that milk does. Some people argue this and I am sure it’s case by case, but when I gave my son goat butter, it caused some very bad gastric distress.
Dairy Free Tip #2 – Learn Substitutes
This is the hard part, so I hope by writing this, I can help eliminate the hours upon hours of reading ingredients in the grocery store. Let me tell you, having to read through every ingredient of every product you buy in a grocery store with two kids is terrible. And, I want to add that if your kid has this issue, Whole Foods is going to be your friend. Everyone always says, “oh whole paycheck, blah, blah” but for me WF gave me the purest ingredients that were easy to find and the most variety. They have a LOT of dairy free and corn free options including fun stuff like cookies, marshmallows, and ice cream. Life Savers. Here are some substitutes that worked for my family.
Butter – Earth Balance soy free spread
*Publix actually carries the tub of this but Whole Foods carries the tub as well as the sticks. I like having both because I cook with the tub, but bake with the sticks. These make pretty good substitutes for butter in baking but tastes kind of gross as a frosting. I haven’t found a good substitute for dairy free icing.
Milk – Almond Breeze Almond Milk
This is the best almond milk in my opinion. It tastes the most like almond milk. They actually carry half gallons of the original and the chocolate at Publix and Whole Foods (in the cold section). We love this, and will continue to use this even when everyone has grown out of their intolerances.
Creamer/Half and Half – See Above
yeah, that was an adjustment. I am not going to lie to you. The almond milk is not as good as the half and half, but I just didn’t have a choice. It has grown on me though, and I have found the benefits of not drinking dairy have outweighed the great taste it provides. I’ll talk about that later.
Ice Cream – Coconut Bliss
They have a chocolate peanut butter flavor that is delicious. And So Delicious has a vanilla that is really good and guess what, Whole Foods has a chocolate syrup that is dairy and corn free too!
Chocolate Bars – Whole Foods and Earth Fare have a variety of dairy free and vegan chocolate bars. The ones that worked best for me since I was also avoiding soy were the brands Alter Eco and Theo. Obviously, the ones labeled “milk chocolate” contain milk, but the dark chocolate ones are really good and dairy free. Trader Joe’s dark Chocolate bars don’t have dairy either.
Cookies – Whole Foods has vegan cookies, publix actually carries some cookies that are dairy free too. I think they are the greenwise brand.
Chocolate Chips – Enjoy Life has a variety of chocolate chips and they’re delicious
Dairy Free Tip #3 – Plan Ahead
This biggest challenge to living a dairy free lifestyle, eating out. Because waiters don’t seem to know what dairy is, you can’t trust that they say there is no dairy in it. I have found that the nicer the restaurant, the easier it is to eat dairy free. You can always ask if they have an allergy menu, because many do. What do you do with the kids though? Because it is easy to eat dairy free at Rick Erwin’s but am I going to be taking my crazy kids there to eat? No, no I am not. Here are some dairy free options in Greenville that are kid friendly:
- Red Robin – they actually have a very detailed allergy menu that they will bring to the table
- Grill Marks – they have a gluten free bun too, if you need that
- Bad Daddy’s Burgers – They also have a gluten free bun and you can get a lettuce wrap as a bun
- Five Guys – you can get a burger in a bowl and get toppings on it without the bun
- Chipotle – I ate here all the time with Ellie but not so much with Alex since corn was an issue for him
- Chick Fil A – their grilled nuggets and fries are dairy free and pretty good
- Jason’s deli – BE CAREFUL HERE BECAUSE THE SOUPS HAVE DAIRY AND SOY – that being said, they have a delicious salad bar and so I would always hit that up. It has eggs and lots of protein options
- Whole Foods – their hot bar has lots of dairy free options and their grill is really good. if you tell them you can’t have dairy, they make it happen.
- Luna Rosa – They have sorbetto which is dairy free and freaking delicious.
I’m sure there are more, but those were my go tos. I had to avoid soy as well and that made things super hard because soy is in everything including vegetable oil. Five Guys and Chick Fil A use peanut oil which worked for us because we didn’t have a peanut issue.
I hope this has been helpful. I know this doesn’t have anything to do with style or photography, but since my main client are the moms, and lots of moms have this issue, I feel like it was relevant. These are the types of posts I’d like to include more of because like I mentioned on Tuesday, I want this blog to be a resource in addition to just posting pretty pictures. Let me know if you like this type of stuff! Thanks so much for reading.