Having a food allergy means avoiding that food completely. If you are allergic to milk like I am, you need to be extra vigilant since milk and its derivatives are found in so many foods and medications. Here are ten ways to stay safe and eat well this year:
1. Resolve to ALWAYS Read Labels — Manufacturers change ingredients often so it’s crucial to be a vigilant label reader, even for items that have been safe in the past for you to eat. Be extra careful when reading “dairy free” on an item. That does not always mean it is truly dairy free. Always read ingredient labels.
2. Resolve to Find Hidden Dairy in Foods and Meds – Dairy is often used a filler in foods and medications. It is crucial to learn where dairy is hidden. Did you know some mustards contain milk? Vitamin supplements are often filled with dairy. Many thyroid medications contain dairy fillers. You may need to use a compounding pharmacy to make sure you are not ingesting dairy through meds.
3. Resolve to Learn the Alternate Names for Milk and Dairy – Foods that contain whey and casein are filled with dairy. Milk can take on many different forms so be on the lookout for other ways to describe it including lactulose, caseinates to name a few.
4. Resolve to Limit/Avoid Use of Products Made on Shared Equipment – Many products will say they are dairy free but offer the disclaimer the item was made on shared equipment that does use milk. This opens you up to the possibility of cross contamination. I avoid all foods made on shared equipment for this reason.
5. Resolve to Try New Dairy Free Products – This may mean buying food online if your grocery store does not carry a wide selection of safe foods.
6. Resolve to Make One New Dairy Free Recipe a Week in 2016- This will help fight food boredom and open you up to the possibility of new, safe foods. Check http://www.dairyfreegina.com often for frequent updates to the recipe pages.
7. Resolve to Educate and Introduce Friends/Family to Dairy Free Deliciousness- Teach them how to make delicious, milk free items so they are not hesitant to invite you to a meal.
8. Resolve to Request Supermarkets Stock More Dairy Free Foods – Ask your local grocery store to stock brands you have come to know and love. The worst they can say is “No,” but just think if they said “Yes!”