Being dairy free was the hardest for me. As it was the also the first food intolerance that I figured out that I was dealing with. Figuring out what contained dairy and its derivatives (Whey and Sodium Caseinate) is an uphill challenge. It is not impossible. I found this webpage that has a list of terms to look for in the ingredients list that contain dairy, may contain dairy and does not contain dairy.
I have found more so with dairy than with gluten that they like to sneak dairy and its derivatives into foods that you would not imagine had dairy in it. Like Spaghetti seasoning, Taco Seasoning, Bouillon cubes, Salad Dressings, Breads, pretty much anything in a box. Reading Labels is critical to a successful dairy free diet.
There are a lot of dairy free milk alternatives out there. There is Soy Milk, Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, Rice Milk, Hemp Milk, Oat Milk, Hazelnut Milk. Of all of these I have tried a lot but the one that stands out for me, that I love, and would have a hard time living without is the Almond Breeze Almond Coconut blend. It s a blend of Almond and Coconut milks and it is awesome. I used to soley rely on rice milk, but it was super thin, and did not work for puddings and not as well for baking. Straight almond milk was too almondy for me, and coconut milk by itself was to rich. I came across the Almond Coconut blend about a year ago (my aunt had it, and let me try it), since then I have been hooked. It has a similar consistency to regular milk, so it can be used to replace real milk in recipes. I also like the fact that the coconut milk tones down the almond flavor, while the almond milk balances out the coconut milk’s richness.
I have also found that Almond Dream/Coconut Dream ice cream is a great tasting replacement for normal ice cream.
Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips are dairy free and they are less expensive than the branded dairy free chocolate chips. They are also a name brand so you can find them pretty much in any grocery store.
The knorr vegetable bouillon cubes are dairy free, as are the Safeway brand vegetable and chicken flavor enhancers. Swanson chicken broth is safe. Pace Picante mild and medium salsa’s are safe. as are Mission tortilla chips. If you are only dairy free mission brand flour tortilla’s are dairy free.
I was reminded by a reader, for those of you who are not gluten free, but are dairy free, Oreo Cookies are dairy free, surprisingly enough. I have not had Oreos since I went Gluten Free, I was super happy when I was only doing dairy free and found out that Oreos were safe.
There are other brands and such that I know of that I have here locally, that I don’t know the equivalent of in other chain grocery store.
Your life is not over if you are finding out that you have to go dairy free. There are so many great options out there. It can be done. The learning curve is the biggest issue. The first year is the hardest.