Thursday, April 9, 2009

New mom primer for dairy elimination 102- Eating out

So now your kitchen is stocked, but you have a lunch date with your best friend tomorrow. Where and what can you eat?

I suppose I should start with a disclaimer. Don't take my word for everything. I would never purposefully point you toward a dish with hidden dairy, but ingredients at restaurants have been known to change from time to time and today's dairy free hamburger bun could be tomorrow's epi-pen experience, should a supplier/recipe change. Double check me. I am providing links (when I can) for a reason!

My first advice is to inform the waitress you have an allergy. Some restaurants have an allergy chart that a manager will bring to your table. Regardless, the waitress needs to know so that she can inform the cooks.

I will start with standards for almost any restaurant. Out on a fancy date? The restaurant you picked does not have an allergy menu? Order a nice steak! Be very explicit that you want no butter on the steak. Sides can be tricky. You safest bet is a vegetable/potato with no butter, but that isn't exactly delicious. You can resolve this by either BYOfB(fake butter) or asking for a cup of salsa/ketchup/dairy free vinaigrette or vinegar and oil. If you are getting a potato be sure you request that the potato was not baked with butter in the foil.

A little lower in price would be a plain hamburger or plain chicken breast with no bun. Same options for sides. I would love to tell you that fries are usually safe, but I can't. Between seasoning salt and weird flavor enhancers and preservatives your best bet is to probably avoid them unless the restaurant brings you the bag they came in and you can read the ingredients label. There is also the issue of cross-contamination if a restaurant fries cheese and fries in the same fryer. Whether or not this bothers you would depend on how allergic your child is.

Lets move onto specifics... I am not listing every last thing that is dairy free, and as I said previously please double check for yourself! Below please find a short list of chain restaurants that provide allergy info online.

McDonald's- Hamburger (with bun), Apple Dippers (no sauce), Chicken Selects, side salad, balsamic vinaigrette. Note: fries have dairy!

Burger King
- Whopper (no mayo for you egg folks!), Chicken fries, normal fries, onion rings, BBQ sauce, French toast sticks, syrup, hash browns.

Taco Bell- Spicy Chx soft taco, hard or soft shell w/ no cheese, cinnamon twists.

Culvers- Chicken Strips, Fries, Sweet and Sour Sauce, lemon ice.

Subway- Quite a bit. White and Wheat are both dairy free. Almost all plain meats are good. No cheese of course.

Papa Johns- Original crust pizza with veggies, pepperoni, and bacon.

Panera Bread- Smoked Turkey Breast Sandwich on Country, Low-fat Veg Black Bean, Low-fat Garden Veg Soup.

Chilis- Honey BBQ Ribs, Black beans, veggies with no butter. We go to Chilis a lot because they seem to have an awareness of food allergies that a lot of other restaurants don't. YMMV of course.

A good rule of thumb is when in doubt, don't eat it. Don't assume.

I will be honest, eating out dairy free is not always the most delicious experience in the world. Your table mates will likely not copy your order. However, even if it is something you only do rarely it is a good skill to have in your toolbox.

If you have any favorites I have missed post them!

Friday, April 3, 2009

New mom primer for dairy elimination 101

So you have to cut dairy? That sucks. Big ones.

Give yourself a day or two to sulk and whine, but then realize that it really isn't all that bad.

The good news is if dairy is bothering your nursing baby, once you eliminate dairy from your diet you should see a dramatic change in your baby's happiness/health. Happy baby = happy momma. So let's think of that, not gooey delicious grilled che...

Ooops sorry.

Moving on.

I have only done this for about a year, so I am not the expert that some people are, but I do have a good amount of experience under my belt and I would like to share it with you.

First things first, newbie. You are going to have to get into the habit of label reading pretty darn quick. After recent legislation, allergy information must be printed on food labels. This can be done in 2 ways. Examples of both types of labels can be found here (#10). Be careful! Most companies label at the end, but the ones that label with parenthesis can be easy to mistake as allergy free if all you do is look to the end of a ingredient list.

Next, here is a list of everyday foods that you can consider as part of your diet. Some of these I have already blogged about, but some since you are new, you probably haven't poked around here too much.

Fruit and Veggie- Duh. Pretty much all are good to go as long as they are plain. Be careful for bagged frozen veggies with any type of sauce, or some veggie soups that may use milk to enhance flavor.

Salad Dressings- This one will make me think because we are egg free also so I will have to separate the allergens in my head. Ranch is pretty much always out, although Annie's Organic makes a dairy free version. Anything "creamy" is pretty much out including most Caesar. Anything French, Asian, or Vinaigrette has a higher likelihood of being dairy free, but like anything check your labels.

Bread- This is tricky. Do you love HFCS or not? We usually get Arnold whole wheat white bread. They have a couple other variations that are dairy free also. You can also invest in a bread machine. Beware, the majority of bread has milk so if you just go in with a cart full of kids thinking you will just read labels you will be standing in that bread aisle forever and your kids will have opened 2 boxes of cereal and dropped a glass jar of olives on the floor.

If you don't mind HFCS your cheapest option is Kroger brand white or wheat bread.

Both Arnold and Kroger make dairy free hot dog and hamburger buns.

Cereal- Hot cereals like hard cut oats and oatmeal as good to go as long as they are plain. Some flavored ones are some aren't your brand and label may vary. Cold cereals have a pretty decent selection also. Cheerios, Corn, Rice, and Wheat Chex, Frosted Miniwheats, Alpha-bits, Cinnamon Life, Pops, and I am sure many many other are dairy free. These are the just the kinds my husband has had around the house over the last year. (I keep a virtually dairy free kitchen.) Honey Bunches of Oats has dairy, as do the recent yogurt covered cereals. I am sure there are others on both sides of the dairy coin, but these are the ones I have checked out.

Meat- Anything single ingredient? Once again, probably don't need to tell you, but it's okay. A bit trickier is the deli meat section. I do not buy from the deli. They cut meat and cheese on the same cutter. Cheese pretty much sticks to everything and this is not in my comfort zone. If your baby just has a mild intolerance, though, you might not need to be so selective.

For deli meat we like Hormel Natural Deli Meats. The ham has lactic acid, but it is specifically not from milk. It also has the benefit of having no nitrates so it is just better for you in general.

Cheese- Sorry. There is no alternative I like. I am picky though. Dairy free brands/products I have tried and hated are: Toffuti, Vegan Gourmet, and nutritional yeast. All gross. Vegan Gourmet melts, but it is but rubbery and grainy at the same time. Not worth the calories in my book. Go ahead and try them though, maybe you will like them better then I. Beware Veggie Slices. They are not dairy free.

Candy- Pretty much anything gummy is okay. Starbursts, Skittles, and LifeSavers are A-okay also. I posted about chocolate here. Simple Harvest chocolate chunk granola bars are dairy free and don't make you feel like quite as bad a pig as if you eat a whole dark chocolate bar.

Butter- For straight butter your toast replacement, I use either Smart Balance Light or Earth Balance Spread. The water content in these are different then in regular butter or margarine so I wouldn't recommend them for baking. For occasional baking I use Fleischmann's Unsalted Margarine (green package).

Cream Cheese/ Sour Cream- Obviously the original versions of these are out. Tofutti makes a pretty decent replacement for sour cream. I can use it as a condiment on tacos no problem. It also works well in baking or cooking. The cream cheese is not so delicious plain, but it works ok as a replacement in some baking or cooking. (Not cheese cake I have heard.)

Ice cream- As with most things, the tastiest alternatives are not fake ice cream, but frozen desserts that are supposed to be dairy free. My favorite "ice cream" replacer is either Mango or Raspberry Sorbet by Häagen-Dazs. I am not a fan of most of the rice or soy milk ice creams. I have tried most common brands. The only one I like is Tofutti's Wildberry flavor. Rice and soy knock offs usually lack a creaminess that make the replacement not worth it too me. Go ahead and try them though! A lot of people must like them or there wouldn't be so many varieties. Warning for those allergic to eggs also, Häagen-Dazs Chocolate Sorbet contains eggs.

Yogurt- I am admittedly not a yogurt fan so I don't have a lot of help for you in this area. More of a warning. There are a lot of soy yogurts out there, but like soy cheese the majority contain some sort of dairy. I guess they were more aiming for teh lactose intolerant when they developed the products. There are a few vegan soy yogurts, but since I have never seen them at stores I regularily shop at I have not tried them. I hear Trader Joes and Whole Foods both carry them though.

Random Junk- And here is where I post random snacky junk you can eat. Warning I am sure it chocked full of HFCS and trans fat. Should you be feeling over deprived, however, you are free to have a nibble. Most plain potato chips, Pringles light bbq chips, plain baked lays, plain baked tostitos, tortilla chips, Oreos, Newman-Os, a bunch of 100 calorie pack cookies, Ritz Crackers, Premium Crackers, Hummus (not junk but crackers made me think of it), Popsicles, and a lot of other things. You can sift though a general list here.

I could probably keep going for a while, but I will stop there.

Look on the bright side, some people say that dairy free is one of the healthiest ways to eat! (They probably aren't scarfing Oreos and Fritos though.) You will probably be cutting out quite a bit of saturated fat.

If someone asks you if you are getting enough calcium, you can either tell them to mind their own business or tell them how you supplement your diet to get enough in. A list of foods containing calcium can be found here. An adult should shoot for around 1000 mg a day. I take a Target brand dairy free chewable gummy calcium supplement as an insurance policy.

Congrats. If you have made it through this post you are ready to go start your first grocery list and start making your way in the big, wide, dairy free world.

Now go forth and make some milk protein free breast milk!

My daughter is not lactose intolerant

I am going to use my bully pulpit to educate a bit now.

If a baby has an allergy or sensitivity to dairy if is almost never due to lactose intolerance. Lactose is a sugar found in milk. All milk. That includes breast milk. Lactose intolerant people lack an enzyme necessary to breakdown lactose. It is possible for a baby to be lactose intolerant, but this is extremely rare. This would amount to the baby being unable to digest all milk including breast milk. 100 years ago these babies would have died. No amount of cow milk that is removed from a mother's diet would resolve the intolerance. The only option for the very few babies this effects would be elemental formula.

When milk is an issue for an infant it is almost always due to an allergy or intolerance to milk protein. There are over 20 different proteins in milk. Lactoglobulin has been accepted as the major allergen in cow's milk protein intolerance, but any milk protein can potentially cause a reaction to someone allergic to dairy. A milk allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly sees the milk protein as something the body should fight off. Intolerance is similar, only there is typically an irritation involved not a full blown immune response.

So, when your Great Aunt Milly says the allergy must have come from her side because she has a hard time digesting cheese you can smile and nod, but know, yourself, that the two issues are totally separate.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Really really good cookies

I haven't been posting for a while because I really haven't been cooking or baking. Embarrassing to admit as that is. I have been busy with school stuff, and it seems like someone in our house has been sick every week last month.

We have been living off of sandwiches, spaghetti w/jarred sauce, tacos, hot dogs, hashbrown/sausage skillet, and pan fried chicken with Italian dressing for about a month. Boring, but at least all but the hotdogs are homemade. Nothing I think you all probably need the recipe for though. :P

Last weekend, however, I got a bug in my hind quarters to bake cookies. My son is now at an age where he likes to help. So I thought it would be a fun project for us.

I decided to try a new recipe and it was really really good. Definately a keeper.

It is adapted from Vegan with a Vengence

Chocolate Thumprint Cookies

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup soymilk
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used maple becuase I was out.)
1/2 tsp almond extract
2/3 cup sugar
Jam or Peanut butter

Preheat to 350

1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda.

2. In a large bowl mix together all the wet ingredients (except the jam) plus the sugar. Add the dry to the wet and mix well.

3. With damp hands, roll 1 Tbsp of dough into a ball and press between your palms into a disk then place on the cookie sheet. If your batter is still too wet to do this add enough flour so that this can be done.

4. Bake the cookies for 5 minutes and then remove them from the oven.

5. Press your thumb in the middle of each to make an indent (careful, it's a little hot) and place 1/4 tsp of jam or peanut butter into each indentation.

6. Pop them back into the oven for 6 minutes and viola! Let them sit for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Do not eat these right away!!! The jam or peanut butter gets really hot! Not that I would tried to eat one straight out of the oven or anything.

The jam ones of these I made tasted like little rasberry brownie bites. The peanut butter ones were also very good.