Posted by: Kara @ The Foodie Dietitian | August 13, 2010

Dairy-free and doing ok!

I decided to go dairy-free a couple weeks back for two reasons. #1. I have irritable bowel syndrome (or so they told me) and I have an inkling that dairy exacerbates my symptoms. #2 (and this was the final straw).  My allergies have been out of control this summer and I’ve heard from some alternative health practicioners that dairy intake can be associated with allergies. So I’m doing a little experiment here. I’m a little over two weeks in but no real noticeable change in symptoms yet.

What have I been eating on my dairy-free kick? What products have I been using? Well, let me tell ya!

Strawberry-banana protein smoothie: frozen strawberries and banana with rice milk and brown rice protein powder (delish!)

Vegan pizza: I bought frozen whole-wheat dough from Whole Foods, let it thaw overnight in the fridge, and rolled it out the next day. I covered it with pizza sauce and topped it off with eggplant from the farmer’s market, some basil, and mozzarella flavored rice shreds (aka cheese)!

The cheese actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It melts nicely (although it browns a bit quicker) and tastes like good old cheese! I mean it didn’t taste 100% like milky-mozzarella but it definitely did the job for me. I just had a little bit of an uh-oh moment as I checked out the ingredients of rice shreds. They actually contain casein, which is a MILK protein. Oh, no! Maybe I haven’t been as dairy free as I thought. It’s a good thing I don’t have a true food allergy to milk. That’s why it is so important to double-check the ingredients label if you have a food allergy. Don’t assume like I did; I thought I would be safe with a rice-based product!

Not-so-creamy garlic shrimp pasta: I had some frozen shrimp that had been in the freezer for a while so I decided it was time to put it to use. I found a really yummy recipe on eating well for a creamy garlic shrimp pasta. I was kind of bummed when I remembered I couldn’t use the yogurt it called for. But then I thought you know what, I’ll make my own dairy free version of the pasta! So I did a little improv in the kitchen, something that is a big step for me, since I’m a big recipe follower being a novice cook and all. I made my own little sauce using garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and white wine. I cooked it in a sauce pan letting it come to a boil for a few minutes before mixing it with the pasta. The dish turned out fantastic, loved the asparagus and red pepper, added some real color to the dish!

Oh and Im a big fan of parmesean cheese on my pasta so to my rescue was parmesean cheese flavored rice grated topping . But guess what, another fail! This topping does contain casein as well as other milk-based ingredients. So if you are vegan beware, however, if you are lactose-intolerant, stock up! These products are lactose free but NOT dairy-free. See even a (soon-to-be) registered dietitian can make mistakes sometimes!

Caramelized tofu, sauteed kale, and brown rice: naturally dairy-free, no substitutions needed! The tofu recipe came from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. Definitely one of my new favorite tofu recipes! So crispy and sweet! The kale recipe came from Eating Well. It was my first time making kale and I really enjoyed it! It was a farmer’s market purchase which made it all the better! Kale is a great source of vitamin A & C as well as calcium and fiber! woo hoo! love me some dark green leafy veggies. Then I microwaved some easy-peasy frozen ready to go brown rice.

 Tofutti marry me dream bars for dessert! Now I swear these babies are milk free! And let me tell you, they are delicious! I’ve tried rice dream ice cream before and it never did it for me. But these dream bars really tasted like ice cream. Marry me bars? The answer: I do.

Adora dark chocolate calcium supplement to get my calcium! The dark chocolate version does not contain milk as an ingredient but those with severe milk allergies should avoid because it is processed on the same equipment as the milk chocolate. This is a delicious and sweet way to get in your calcium. Only 30 calories each, one piece contains 500mg calcium and 250 IU vitamin D. For adult men and women (19-50 yrs), the recommended daily amount of calcium is 1000mg. So pop two of these chocolates, and you got yourself a daily dose of calcium!

I’ll keep you posted on my dairy-free experiment (now that I’ve hopefully cut out all the not-so-usual suspects) and down the line will definitely blog about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and my story in more detail.

Peace, love, and dairy-free food,


Is your diet dairy-free? Are there any products that you like using?



  1. I’m dairy free! And when I do have some dairy, my seasonal allergies are terrible and I just feel all around BAD (but have also been lactose intolerant most of my life). Daiya cheese is totally vegan with no casein and it tastes amazing! You can find it at Whole Foods.

    • Wow, that’s really interesting that you have noticed a difference in your allergies when eliminating dairy! I’m lactose intolerant too and have a good idea of which dairy products affect me the most . A few years back, a ND (naturopathic medicine) had me eliminate wheat and dairy from diet and I really noticed a change in my allergies and overall energy! Unfortunately, we never got to the phase where we tested my symptoms against different foods. But I would love to do a full elimination diet and find out what I truly react to! It’s just finding the time and motivation to do it! Thanks for the suggestion on daiya cheese. I actually bought some after my discovery about rice cheese. I thought it was pretty good, might take me a little getting used it to though 🙂

  2. It looks like your doing a great job. 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: