I asked my dairy-free friend Kerri Lawrey-Jones to be a guest blogger on RockAHealthyLifestyle, so she may share with you all she knows about living dairy-free.

Kerri currently lives in Arizona and is a wife and a mother of three.  She eats very few animal products in general and lives entirely dairy-free.

When Kerri was a child, she was burdened with terrible eczema, constant congestion, and exercise-induced asthma.  She was given allergy shots in both arms for years and was prescribed a multitude of topical and oral medications, but experienced very little improvement. By the age of 12, she and her doctor’s simply resolved themselves to the fact that she would be burdened with these ailments for life.

However, in 2004, at 32 years old, her second child was born and he suffered from extreme colic and digestive issues.  His Pediatrician wanted to prescribe medications, but due to her experience as a child she knew medications were likely not the answer.  Unhappy with her Pediatrician’s advice, she began to research colic and digestive issues.  To her amazement, she found article after article about food intolerance and its impact on people, especially infants.  Kerri later mentioned this finding to her lactation consultant who promptly recommended an elimination diet because she agreed that her son may be suffering from foods present within her breastmilk.  Within three weeks of Kerri instituting the Dr. Sears elimination diet, her son’s colic and digestive issues disappeared and, to her surprise, hers did, as well.  After years of suffering, she finally learned that she was also intolerant to cow’s milk protein.  This life-changing realization would mark the beginning of Kerri’s journey to learn and understand the power of food as sustenance and as medicine.

Through this blog, she hopes to hold your hand through your own food challenges and help you build a new love of food that is free from harm. Food can not only nourish, it can heal.


What to Avoid When Going Dairy Free – 12/29/2011

Are you feeling sluggish and fatigued?  Do you have eczema, asthma, and/or or acid reflux?  Do you experience bouts of diarrhea and/or constipation?  Have you noticed an increase in these symptoms following a meal with a dairy as an ingredient?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, eliminating dairy from your diet may be what is needed to improve your health.  Unfortunately, for some people it is not just lactose you are intolerant to, but the milk protein itself.  If that is the case, there are not digestive aids for those who are milk-protein sensitive, which means that your only option is to eliminate dairy from your diet in its entirety.

To be successful in permanently eliminating any food, you need to be armed with the proper knowledge and tools, so you are equipped to ride the wave of change.  Change is hard for everyone, but a permanent change to one’s diet is arguably one of the hardest things a person can do.  The good news is, knowing the ingredients to avoid and learning to make recipes that do not require dairy (there are so many great dairy replacements), you will be well on your way to a dairy-free life and a healthier more vital YOU!

To get started, below is a list of dairy ingredients and dairy-containing foods.  Though this list may not be exhaustive because the food industry changes ingredients (think preservatives) rapidly, it is certainly a reliable list that covers a broad range of dairy ingredients that should be thorough enough to ensure improved health.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  It takes 2-4 weeks for your body to rid itself of cow’s milk protein, so as with anything, give it ample time to work and ensure you avoid everything dairy while in the elimination phase.  Even the smallest amount can hinder your dairy-cleansing process.

There are the most obvious and commonly known ingredients (remember if it has the name in it, it is off limits, i.e. milk fat, butter oil, etc.):

  • Butter (including artificial butter flavor)
  • Milk & Cream (including sour cream)
  • Yogurt & Custard
  • Cheese & Curds
  • Lactose (lactose-free is NOT milk-protein free, which is what many people cannot tolerate)
  • Whey (in any form)

Then the not so obvious or commonly known ingredients:

  • Casein
  • Casseinates (ammonia, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium)
  • Ghee
  • Goat’s Milk (may contain some dairy ingredients.  It is also important to note that goat’s milk protein, cow’s milk protein and soy milk protein are very similar in chemistry, so some dairy intolerant people may be intolerant to soy milk and/or goats milk, as well.)
  • Hydrolysates (casein, milk, whey)
  • Kefir
  • Koumiss
  • Lactalbumins
  • Lactoglobulin
  • Lactulose
  • Nougat
  • Paneer
  • Rennet Casein

There are also some foods that “may” contain dairy ingredients, so ALWAYS check the label:

  • Chocolate
  • “Artificial or Natural flavoring” (caramel color is known for having dairy ingredients)
  • High Protein flour
  • Hot Dogs
  • Lunch/Deli Meat (ensure that the deli does not use the same slicers for cheese and meat as the cheese can cross contaminate)
  • Simplesse
  • Sausage
  • Starter Distillate
  • Kosher foods (boxes labeled with “Parve”, “Pareve” and/or a circled “U” are the ONLY foods that are certified dairy free)

And, some final words of caution…

1)      If you purchase a “soy” or “veggie” food, do not assume it is dairy-free.  These foods are largely marketed to vegetarian’s not food-allergic persons.  Play it safe and READ EVERY LABEL.

2)      Dairy-based preservatives are often used in meats, so do not assume your ground beef is dairy-free.  If you are highly sensitive, you will want to check with the butcher to verify that your meat is free of preservatives and is ground and cut in areas not used for cheese and other meats that are known to use dairy preservatives.  Your BEST bet is to ALWAYS buy your meat, poultry or fish from sources that are known to treat animals humanely, are organically fed, and are not processed with chemicals such as bleach and water mixtures, added hormones, arsenic (found in chicken), or any other toxin.