Some of this stuff might be a bit obvious but if you're new to allergies every bit of info helps. Take a look for our tips on what to look out for when you're dairy free.
Be it an allergy or an intolerance you know if you eat milk you're in trouble. Most people will understand the obvious things, but milk and lactose show up in all sorts of places. To avoid you, or your child, being ill you have to constantly be on the look out. I'm afraid that the days of 'just grabbing something while we're out' are gone. Research into restaurants, detailing requirements with other mums, packing lunches are now part of the daily routine.
Here are some things to watch out for:
When other people feed you or your child
Don't assume that people understand the food stuffs that are 'dairy'. I've had people know that Molly can't have milk yet put butter on her vegetables. So be clear to everyone. Avoid saying 'milk allergy' and say 'dairy allergy' and then list it:
Milk, butter, margarine, buttermilk, icecream, some sorbets, cream, fromage frais, sour cream, whipped cream, lactose, casiene, cheese (all), yoghurt, low fat yoghurt, whey, whey protein.
Remind them not to cook with butter or put butter on vegetables.
Tell them that fish fingers, chicken nuggets etc are likely to have been dipped in milk to help coat with the crumbs, that anything with a batter on it is likely to have milk in it.
Pancakes, cakes, cookies are likely to have milk so are forbidden. Sadly Jammie Dodgers are no longer milk free - there's a petition going around about it. Here's a recent article if you want to get involved http://allergymums.clone.subhub.com/articles/Make-Jammie-Dodgers-Vegan-Again
All ice lollies need checking too - some have lactose, some don't.
Watch out for milk protein in unlikely places - like fast food restaurants that plump up poor quality chicken with lactose.
Most pate's have milk - Waitrose do two nice ones that are milk/egg free (Pork and Onion, and Smooth Brussels from the Essentials Range).
Check out salad dressings before you let anyone 'dress' your salad.
So...when people stare at me goggle eyed and ask what I feed her...I list out things like any roast meat, all veg, any rice dish (no cheese), any pasta dish (no cheese), all fish - grilled or fried, bolognese, risotto (as long as no cream).
The days of prepared ready meals are now over you (if you did this before). Also you can say goodbye to a lot of kids food. Which is probably no bad thing anyway. Change your eating habits so that you're not dependant on things like pizza, lasagne, mac & cheese, 'fresh pasta' as most of the fillings are cheese. Lactose, and milk protein show up all over the place so read everything. And I mean read everything - esp crisps as milk protein is often used.
You're better off walking away from breaded chicken/fish and 'saucy' foods. Get use to grilling, baking, and tomato sauces rather than milky creamy ones. Think of it as good for your cholestrol as well as being good for your child.
Trying to recreate 'old favourites' that will not taste the same is a bit soul destroying. Go to new territory and cook recipes that are meant to be free from diary. Later, once everyone is use to it, then try substitutions and see how you go. I use Oately Cream from Holland and Barrett. It gives a good result in most things.
Meat and Poultry
Here's the odd thing - Pigs are often given milk as part of the final feed to help tenderise it. If you're really allergic then you can get a charming lactose reaction from Pork.
Read the ingredients for chicken dishes - mass produced chicken can have lactose in it as a tenderiser. So a chicken salad might not be okay.
That's it for now...will update as we go!
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Allergy UK is a great charity providing information and help for people with allergies.
Their hotline is staffed by wonderful people offering their help free of charge.
Their number is: 01322 619 898
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