Dairy-Free FAQs

What is lactose?
What is lactose Intolerance?
What is a dairy allergy?
Are eggs considered dairy?
If I can not tolerate cow’s milk can I drink goat’s milk instead?
I sometimes see the word Pareve or Parve on packaged foods, what does this mean?
Can I use margarine instead of butter?
If a product is labeled lactose free is it dairy-free?
Can I drink acidophilus milk?
If I am sensitive to dairy can I still have yogurt?
If I am lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy can I drink non-fat milk?
If I am lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy can I use coconut milk?
I can’t have dairy and I can’t tolerate soy, what should I do?
Is it safe to store milk alternative products such as soy, rice, almond or oat milk in the pantry?
What makes up cows milk?
Can food sensitivities or food allergies trigger a migraine headache?

What is lactose?

Lactose is a carbohydrate, also referred to as milk sugar that it is found in the milk of animals.  Return to FAQs

What is lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is not a disease, it is simply the body’s inability to the digest and metabolize some or all of the milk sugar, (lactose) found in dairy products. To digest lactose, the body produces a digestive enzyme in the gut called lactase. If the individual does not produce enough of the lactase enzyme to completely digest the lactose, the undigested portion remains in the small intestines ultimately moving into the colon where it is left to ferment. This fermentation process is what produce the gasses and symptoms associated with lactose intolerance.  Return to FAQs

What is a dairy allergy?

It is commonly believed that milk proteins, not the sugars, found in milk are the cause for a dairy allergy. Although symptoms associated with lactose intolerance are similar to that of a dairy allergy, the body’s reaction is different. A true food allergy is triggered by the immune systems hypersensitivity to the ingested food, in this case dairy proteins. There are various degrees of allergic response and over time they can intensify. People with food allergies should avoid the food and work with a physician to better understand allergies and how they are treated.  It is important to note that a person can be lactose intolerant and also develop a sensitivity to dairy proteins.   Return to FAQs

Are eggs considered dairy?

No. Although eggs are often found in or next to the dairy case, they are not the by-product of a cow and therefore are not a dairy product.  However, many people who have protein allergies to dairy and gluten may also be intolerant to the protein in eggs.  For this reason I’ve identified which recipes contain egg in my book.  Simply refer to the color coded Free of bar at the top of each recipe page and turn to page 11 to learn how to subsitute eggs in a recipe.   Return to FAQs

If I can not tolerate cow’s milk can I drink goat’s milk instead?

It is thought that goat milk is more easily digested than cow’s milk, mainly because goat’s milk does not contain the same concentrations of casein, the protein found in cow’s milk. Goat’s milk does however contain forms of casein and about the same level of lactose as found in cow’s milk.  If you are avoiding dairy products, than goat’s milk should also be avoided.   Return to FAQs

I sometimes see the word Pareve or Parve on packaged foods, what does this mean?

Pareve or Parve is a term used to identify Kosher food that do not contain either dairy or meat.  When you see the word Pareve or Parve on a product label these products are considered 100% dairy-free.  For more information on Kosher products, food alerts / mislabeled products log onto http://www.kashrut.com   Return to FAQs

Can I use margarine instead of butter?

Yes, provided the margarine is Pareve.  Please note that many margarines contain buttermilk, whey or casein, as well as Hydrogenated Fats and Trans Fatty Acids.  I have found the best all around substitute is a product called “Earth Balance” Natural Buttery Spread in a tub container or “Earth Balance” Buttery Sticks.  These products perform well in both cooking and baking, and do not contain any trans fats or hydrogenated oils, they are gluten-free, dairy-free, and Vegan.  For more information visit their web site at: www.earthbalance.net    Return to FAQs

If a product is labeled lactose free is it dairy-free?

No, not necessarily. Often the front of the product is labeled lactose free, but once you turn the package over and read the ingredients, you will find sodium caseinate or casein a milk protein. A couple of examples include; some soy or rice cheese alternatives, and sour cream alternatives.   Return to FAQs

Can I drink acidophilus milk if I am lactose intolerant?

No. Acidophilus milk is simply cows milk with the lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria added to it. It still contains the same amount of lactose and milk proteins and should be avoided.   Return to FAQs

If I have a dairy allergy condition can I eat yogurt?

No, not dairy yogurt. However, yes to several brands of soy, almond or coconut yogurt now available in health food, and specialty stores, they are 100% dairy-free, contain beneficial active cultures and taste great.  Or if you prefer turn to page 174 and learn how to make your own Nut Milk Yogurt.   Return to FAQs

If I am lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy can I drink non-fat milk?

No. The fat content of milk (whole, 2%, 1%, or non-fat) has nothing to do with reducing the amount of lactose or milk proteins in milk. Return to FAQs

If I am lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy can I use coconut milk?

Yes. Coconut milk or Coconut Beverage is Not a dairy product and adds a rich creamy texture to Asian, African, Caribbean, Indian, Pacific Islander, and Jamaican cuisines, just to name a few.  Coconut milk is high in potassium and saturated fat but its a saturated fat that is actually good for you, according to Mary Enig, fellow of the American College of Nutrition In Silver Spring, Md.  The fat in coconut milk contains Lauric and Capric acid which have powerful antiviral and antifungal proprieties.  (More information on lauric acid can be found at: www.lauric.org.)    Return to FAQs

I can’t have dairy and I can’t tolerate soy, what should I do?

Many people have difficulty digesting soy products.  Some people can tolerate soy but only if it is cooked, others only in small amounts.  There are several alternative choices available with almond, coconut beverage, rice, hemp, millet, or potato milk, each has a different flavor so try the various brands until you find one you like.  Be sure to buy the enriched varieties as they provide as much calcium and vitamins A and D as cows milk and remember to read the labels, as some brands of alternatives milks are blended with soy and some contain gluten.  Return to FAQs

Is it safe to store milk alternative products such as soy, rice, almond and oat milk in the pantry?

Yes, depending on the type of container and what area of the grocery store you purchased the product from.  Soy, almond, coconut beverage, and rice milk can now be found in several different locations in most markets, the refrigerated section and on store shelves.  A good rule of thumb is if the product is on a store shelf than it can be safely stored in the pantry.  These milk products use a special system of packaging called aseptic packaging a vacuum-packing process.  Once the container of milk is opened it must be kept in the refrigerator and will keep fresh for 7 to 10 days, just like dairy milk.  If the milk is in the refrigerated section than keep it refrigerated at all times.Return to FAQs

What makes up cows milk?

Milk is comprised of 6 primary components, Water, Carbohydrate, Fat, Protein, Vitamins, and Minerals.  Although these elements can be identified separately, milk is a very complex mixture of all of these components.

  • Water, using cows milk as an example; it is comprised of about 87% water.
  • Carbohydrate or lactose levels in cows milk (composed primarily of glucose and glactose) range from 4.7% to 5.0%.  Also know as milk sugar.
  • Milk fat is a complex mix of lipids.  The major type of lipids in milk fat is called Tiglycerides, which are composed of three fatty acids.  Milk fat is removed from milk by slowing spinning the milk, the lipids (fat) are more buoyant than the water so the fat rises to the top to form a layer of cream to be removed.
  • Proteins There are numerous proteins found in milk.  The primary group of milk proteins are called Caseins and there are four types of caseins found in cows milk.  After the milk fat is removed, spinning the rest of the milk at very high speed will separate out the casein.  Once the casein has been removed, then all of the other proteins left in the milk are considered to be whey proteins.  The primary whey proteins in cow milk are B-lactoglobulin, which accounts for about 50% and a-lactalbumin 25%, with two other minor whey proteins making up the last 25%.
  • Minerals, the primary minerals in milk are calcium and phosphorous.  These minerals are required for bone growth and development of soft tissues.  These minerals are mostly associated with casein protein.
  • Vitamins, Milk contains all the major vitamins.  The fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are found in the milk fat with limited amounts of K.  The B vitamins are found in the milk after the fat is removed.  Return to FAQs

Can food sensitivities or food allergies trigger a migraine headache?  Yes.  Food sensitivities and food chemicals are often the root cause of migraines headaches, below is a testimonial sent in from one of my dairy-free readers.  The diet she is referring to is an elimination food diet also known as provocative food testing.

  • I have suffered for over 30 years with migraine headaches. Just recently I was sent to a dietitian, was given a diet for migraines. I began this investigation one food group at a time. Dairy was the first food group. After finding that ALL dairy, even the smallest amount would cause a migraine, I have been migraine free for the past 76 days and counting. This information may be helpful to other people. Return to FAQs