There are many different degrees of dairy-free, just as there are many different reasons for people to avoid dairy products. The most common problems are with lactose (milk sugar), and/or milk protein. Many who are lactose intolerant can use lactose-free milk products with little or no undesirable effects. Those allergic or sensitive to the proteins in milk do not do well with milk products, even if they are lactose free. Some people on dairy-free diets find they can tolerate butter since there is very little milk protein in it; others cannot tolerate it at all. Similarly, some dairy free people can tolerate milk products from animals other than cows; they will use goat, sheep and water buffalo yogurt, milk and cheeses. If you are new to this diet, you may want to be quite strict at least for the first few months. It is also helpful to read up on it, a few good sites are:
Living dairy-free means finding a whole new set of products to fill in for the products you’ve been using, possibly your entire life. This process will require lots of trial and error as it’s mostly a matter of taste. What I found was the longer I was dairy-free, the better the dairy-free products began to taste. Initially I found most of the soy milk, yogurt, margarine, and cheeses pretty repulsive, but now I enjoy some of them but others are still not for me.
Label reading will be one of your primary occupations until you’ve found the products that work for you. One of the shortcuts I’ve found very helpful is to look for the word “parve” on packages. “Parve” is a term used to describe kosher foods that have neither meat nor milk products in them. In a kosher home you cannot eat meat and milk products at the same meal therefore products are labelled with a “D” for dairy or “parve” to indicate non-dairy. Parve does not necessarily mean vegetarian (even though it indicates no meat) – as fish and eggs (but not poultry) is considered parve. As a dairy-free person, the word “parve” is dear to my heart because when I see it on a packaged product I know I don’t have to read the ingredient list as it will definitely not contain dairy. Recipes listed in the “parve” catagory are not just dairy-free – as every recipe on this site will be dairy-free – but also don’t contain any meat products either.
I hope you enjoy my blog and these recipes