A couple of months ago, we realized the Squish is allergic to milk and so I started eliminating it from my diet so that he wont be exposed through my breastmilk. I had had a vague idea of how dependent our culture is on milk before, but it became clear to me quickly that eliminating milk was a lot harder than I realized. Before, I read labels quickly for the calories and to check that it didn’t have things like MSG or high levels of sugar/corn syrup. Now I am checking for that and for milk and have been shocked to realize even some basic marinara sauces contain milk. Thank heavens for the little line after the ingredients that reads “Contains: milk, eggs, soy, etc…”, which makes it much harder to mistakenly grab something that might cause the Squish discomfort. I am so thankful that his allergy so far seems only to be to milk and not to things like nuts, eggs, or soy. We have it pretty easy compared to many allergy sufferers. Here are a few items I have found that have help me miss consuming milk in my diet a bit less. Some are little indulgences that keep me from smacking my husband when he offers me ice cream or cookies that he has forgotten I can’t have right now. Others are more practical foods that let me keep our family meal plan stocked with goober-favorites like quesadillas and hubby-favorites like pizza without sitting there feeling left out and bitter towards breastfeeding.
1. Almond Dream Bites– These are little ice cream bites coated in chocolate and made with almond milk. They are so good that I would eat them even if I wasn’t dairy free. I’ve only tried the chocolate favor, but they also have vanilla. I originally bought a carton of So Delicious coconut milk ice cream and was really disappointed with its icy, watery texture, so when I found the almond milk bites I was very happy that they were the perfect, creamy texture I love.
2. Theo Chocolate bars– Another indulgence, but these are perfect for when you have an irresistible chocolate craving and I find I crave chocolate less if I keep it in the house (that very well might make me a bit odd). I really like the peppermint dark chocolate or the orange or the salted almond or… okay, I haven’t met a Theo bar I haven’t liked.
3. Daiya shredded cheese– This “cheese” honestly isn’t great, but it is tolerable in small quantity and when it is melted with some beans in a quesadilla, it does taste pretty good and has the right texture. I prefer the Go Veggie brand but that one is just lactose-free and the small amount of milk protein in it still causes the Squish some issues. The Daiya shredded cheese is far, far superior to their cheddar-cheese wedge which is supposedly slice-able but is more like trying to slice Velveeta, with the flavor tasting processed and fake.
4. Almond milk– This is a staple that we keep around in the house, mostly for cooking, as a replacement for milk in recipes and on cereal. I have never been a big milk drinker, but having almond milk in the house means we don’t miss out on Saturday pancake breakfast.
5. Earth Balance Spread– Another staple that lets us cut out butter from recipes. Butter is one of those ingredients that I cut out at home, but I don’t stress about when eating out. The Squish seems fine with trace amounts of milk, so eliminating butter at home has mainly been a consistency thing to keep me watching how we are cooking and checking labels.
I’m still pretty new to the dairy-free world. I recently found dairy-free yogurt and a few dairy-free frozen pizzas at our local grocery story that I am going to try. What are your favorite dairy-free brands or foods? Any favorite recipes to share?