Living Without Dairy: Part I

Regardless of how you’ve come to live a dairy free life, the change can be overwhelming.  Everywhere you look there is milk, butter, cheese, cream, etc….  You might think that it’s easy to spot the dairy culprit, but too often it’s a sneaky little bugger.  This is one of the reasons why I make as much at home as possible.  I can control what goes into my food and I know that my equipment is clean.  You still have to be careful when purchasing food items.
At the grocery store there are some key things to look for.  There are the obvious ones: milk, butter, cheese, cream, and yogurt.  Some of the less obvious culprits:
·      milk powder
·      whey
·      casein
·      caseinate
·      lactic acid
·      lactose
·      galactose
·      recaldent (found in some Trident chewing gum and is milk derived)
·      caramel coloring (may be derived from lactose. If there is any doubt, then avoid it.)
·      high protein or protein enriched foods (i.e. wheat) (often from a milk source)
·      “natural ingredients” may contain dairy products or dairy by-products
Beware that you can find casein/caseinate in many non-dairy products.
Kosher symbols are a tool that can help you determine of the item you want to buy is safe to eat.  Usually these symbols can be found near the product’s name, though sometimes it is found farther down on the front of the package. First look for “K” or “U”.  This will tell you if the item is Kosher or not.  If you see “D” or “DE”, then the item was produced on equipment that is also used to produce items that contain dairy and is therefore contaminated.  “Pareve” or “Parve” means that the product contains no diary, diary by-products or meat, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that there are trace particles of dairy.  If you see the symbol “P”, that just means Passover.
Food products are not the only place where you can come in contact with dairy.  Be careful when taking vitamins and other supplements and make sure to check the ingredients.  Unfortunately, lactose is a common binder in prescription medications. Lactose will be listed in the inactive ingredients.  I have had to take a couple of prescriptions to a compounding pharmacy.  If possible, they will make your prescription lactose free.