100% Food Elimination: Dairy

To eliminate dairy from your diet, be sure to consider obvious sources (e.g. milk) as well as other common more hidden sources (this is where careful food label-reading comes in). The following is a list of things to avoid completely:

  • Milk, Cream, Half-and-Half (includes even a little bit in tea or coffee)
  • Butter (including ghee)
  • Yogurt or Kefir
  • Sour Cream
  • Creamy salad dressings (e.g. blue cheese, ranch, thousand island) and many others containing cheese. Use vinaigrette (e.g. oil and vinegar) alternatives
  • Creamy sauces (that a restaurant may put on fish, chicken, steak or other foods). Ask for just olive oil and lemon on things like chicken or fish.
  • Creamy soups or chowders—focus instead on broth-based ones that don’t include cheese of any kind. If you’re uncertain at a restaurant, *ask* if it’s dairy-free or not.
  • Cottage cheese and cream cheese
  • Most muffins, scones, cookies, cake
  • Definitely puddings, custards and related desserts (crème brulee, key lime pie, lemon meringue pie)
  • Nougat (in most candy bars)
  • Ice cream
  • All cheeses (includes those from cow or goat milk). Be mindful of where cheese may lurk in common American dishes (e.g. pizza, lasagna, spaghetti, tacos, chips, meatballs)
  • Restaurant dishes or processed foods that might surprise you (e.g. meatloaf, scrambled eggs, sauces, soups, hot dogs, doughnuts, pastries, pancakes, mashed potatoes, chocolate)

Though commonly confused with dairy foods, the following are fine to eat for dairy elimination: Eggs and all egg derivatives, Cocoa Butter/Powder, coconut foods including ‘cream of coconut’, cream of tartar, malt liquor, malt vinegar, malted barley, shea butter, all nut butters, and some calcium additives (Calcium Propionate, Carbonate, Citrate, or Phosphate).

In general, avoid any processed food ingredient that includes the words milk, butter, whey, casein, or lacto in any way. Many foods use preservatives or additives for texture that include dairy. This means you will need to avoid most baked goods unless they are specifically labeled dairy-free.

To help you be diligent in your elimination, here are some particular ingredients to be sure to avoid:

Ammonium Caseinate, Calcium Caseinate, Casein Caseinate, (in general) Curds, Delactosed Whey,Demineralized Whey, Goat Milk, Hydrolyzed Casein, Hydrolyzed Milk Protein, Iron Caseinate, Potassium Caseinate, Recaldent, Rennet Casein, Sodium Caseinate,Whey (Powder, Protein Concentrate, Protein Hydrolysate), Zinc Caseinate, Lactulose, Magnesium Caseinate, Malted Milk, Lactalbumin, Lactoferrin, Lactoglobulin, Lactose, Whey.

Adapted from Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-FreeLiving by Alisa Marie Fleming and GoDairyFree.org

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