A couple of weeks ago I shared how Doug discovered he couldn’t have milk. At first I was a little sad to let go of some of my favorite recipes. We sure do like milk, cheese and butter! It seemed daunting to try a new way of eating, but I eventually discovered new delicious recipes to try. Here are good non-dairy recipes I like, ways to substitute for milk, and more helpful tips for someone who has an allergy or intolerance to milk.
I look for recipes that normally don’t use any kinds of milk, or only require a little substituting. To me these foods taste better than trying to make a traditionally creamy sauce without cream, or cheese cake without cream cheese. There are lots of other fresh foods to try instead!
Especially in the summer, the grill is always a good choice. Try this grilled salmon with soy marinade. An easy and delicious dinner is Italian baked chicken. Doug gives this one a thumb’s up.
Look for recipes with a broth or tomato base. I love this Spicy Chicken Soup. For this recipe I omit the extra whole tomatoes and tomato soup, and of course the sour cream garnish. This soup gets Doug’s highest rating, and it freezes beautifully.
Stay clear from the recipes that include dried milk, because there are plenty of other good bread recipes to choose from. When a bread recipe calls for butter or margarine, I substitute olive oil, and it tastes exactly the same (1 Tablespoon olive oil = 1 Tablespoon butter or margarine). I use a bread machine, and I like this Cranberry Oat Bread (with a little extra cinnamon) or this Light Oat Bread.
Vegetables taste even better without heavy sauces covering up all that fresh flavor. How about a spinach salad with dried cranberries, sliced apples, and pears, tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette? Or a green salad with sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, and crumbled bacon. You could try asparagus with a tasty aioli sauce.
Snacks and Party dips:
Most party dips contain some kind of sour cream or cream cheese. Instead of taking a chance, go for the tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole.
Almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, and coconut milk are all good options for replacing milk. Among these, Doug’s favorite by far is almond milk. It tastes good, doesn’t have an aftertaste like soy milk, and doesn’t have the extra sweetener of rice milk. The cartons are shelf stable for at least six months, so when my local grocery has it on sale, I buy several cases of it and stock up. Coconut milk is rich and a good substitute for cream in baked goods. It makes the best substitute for milk in pancakes or waffles. Goat’s milk is similar to cow’s milk, so it’s not worth the risk to try it.
Prepackaged foods are hard to navigate because of the many milk ingredients that can be used as fillers and often don’t look like milk at first glance. A wallet card from FAAN can help identify common allergens while at the grocery store. Gravy mixes are trouble in a packet. Many “dairy-free” products still contain hidden milks, like how soy cheese has casein (a milk protein) so it can resemble cow’s milk cheese. Benecol is a butter-like spread that doesn’t contain milk (use it as a spread, but not for baking). Sara Lee Honey Wheat is a sandwich bread that has no hidden milk. Be sure to check the ingredient list every single time though since products can be reformulated.
Do you see that little circled U by itself on the label? That is a trademark for classifying kosher food, and it means the product is certified to be dairy-free. If it has the words Parve or Pareve, that is also dairy-free. If you see a D or DE next to the symbol, however, that indicates the food contains dairy or was made on equipment that processed dairy. (Thanks to my friend Amy Joy for the tips.)
A final note for nutrition:
It’s important to find other sources for the nutrients that milk provides. Eggs, seafood, and cod liver oil are good sources of vitamin D, which helps your body to absorb calcium. Foods with calcium include collard greens, almonds, and even molasses, among many more options. Something that significantly helped Doug was adding probiotics to his dietary supplements. Probiotics are the beneficial micro-organisms your body needs for good digestion, and eating yogurt is one way to add them. Doug couldn’t eat yogurt, but he could add probiotics in supplement form and by drinking kombucha (a fermented tea featured in the book Nourishing Traditions).
Any more tips? Share your own stories or suggestions in the comments, so we can all benefit from the experience.