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Lactose Intolerance…it could be affecting your health

Lactose Intolerance…it could be affecting your health

Lactose Intolerance affects billions of people globally, many of whom don’t even realise they are suffering from it.

Lactose Intolerance is characterised by the inability to digest food products that contain lactose; generally milk, cheese, ice-cream and butter.

People who suffer from lactose intolerance have varying degrees of symptoms; some very mild such as abdominal bloating and cramping to more severe symptoms such as stomach pain and diarrhoea. The cause of Lactose Intolerance is due to the small intestine not producing enough of the lactase enzyme needed to digest milk and milk-containing products

By simply making a few changes to your diet symptoms will quickly diminish or disappear completely. If you are suffering from symptoms such as those described above, try avoiding the main 4 culprits (milk, cheese, ice-cream and butter) as these products contain lactose in large amounts and cause the greatest discomfort amongst sufferers.

Unfortunately for some, simply avoiding these products isn’t always enough, as these products are also found in a wide variety of other foods, including pasta, baked breads, pancakes and many other common food items.

The great news is, however, with a few simple tweaks, a smooth adjustment is possible. Many lactose intolerant people are able to replace dairy milk with other forms of milk, including rice, soy or almond. These milks now come in many flavours, such as vanilla or chocolate, and low-fat varieties are also available.

You could also try the following adjustments:

Cheese – Use Soy or Rice Cheese or Goat Cheese

Ice Cream – Try Sorbets, Rice Ice Cream, Fruit Popcicles or Lactase-Enzyme containing Ice Cream

Butter – Try a margarine product with no whey ingredients

Giving up dairy or greatly reducing it from your diet may also help with maintaining or losing weight and improving your health. As with any allergies and food intolerances, if your body is reacting to dairy you may not be absorbing all the nutrients needed from the food you are digesting which ultimately leads to a sluggish and inefficient digestive system.


Article submitted by Sonya Falvo:  Real Body Enterprises guest writer for What Can I Eat


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Watch Out for these Ingredients on a Dairy Free Diet

Watch Out for these Ingredients on a Dairy Free Diet

Dairy Free

The following ingredients are or may contain cow’s milk. 

Ammonium caseinate

Hydrolysed whey

Protein hydrolysate


Ice cream

Reduced fat milk

Butter fat

Imitation milk


Butter milk


Rennet caseinate

Calcium caseinate

Lactalbumin phosphate

Skim milk powder



Sodium caseinate

Casein hydrolysate


Sour cream



Soy cheese

Cheese (all types)

Lactose free milk

Sweet whey

Condensed milk




Low lactose milk

Whey powder

Crème fraiche (fruche)

Magnesium caseinate

Whey protein concentrate

Cultured buttermilk

Malted milk

Whey protein hydrolysate


Milk (all types)

Whey solids

Delactosed whey

Milk powder


Dry milk

Milk protein


Evaporated milk

Milk solids


Fromage frais (fruche)

Non-fat milk solids



Partially hydrolysed casein


Hydrolysed casein

Partially hydrolysed whey


Hydrolysed milk protein

Potassium caseinate



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Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance

Milk and other dairy products contain a sugar or carbohydrate called lactose. Normally, the body breaks 
down lactose into its simpler components with the help of the enzyme lactase. Most mammals stop 
producing lactase when they are weaned; humans, however, continue to produce it throughout life. Without 
enough lactase, a person can have digestive problems like abdominal pain and diarrhoea. This is known 
as lactose intolerance or lactase deficiency. 

Symptoms of lactose intolerance include: 

  • Abdominal pain 
  • Abdominal swelling 
  • Flatulence 
  • Diarrhoea. 

Symptoms of lactose intolerance are often confused with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 
People with IBS are not lactose intolerant, but tend to have difficulty tolerating fat. 

Causes of lactose intolerance 

  • Lactose intolerance is largely genetically determined. Some causes include: 
  • Congenital – this is the main cause so you can blame your genes if you have less lactase than usual. 
  • Gastroenteritis – this can strip the intestines of lactase for a few weeks. 
  • Parasitic infection – this can temporarily reduce lactase levels. 
  • Iron deficiency – lack of iron in the diet can interfere with lactose digestion and absorption. 

Diagnosis methods 
Various methods may be used to diagnose lactose intolerance, including: 

  • Hydrogen breath test – this tests the amount of hydrogen that is breathed out. When lactose is fermented by bacteria in the bowel, instead of being converted by lactase, more hydrogen is produced. 
  • Elimination diet – this involves removing foods that contain lactose to see if the symptoms improve. If the symptoms reappear once the foods are reintroduced, then lactose intolerance is most likely the cause. 

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Tips for going Dairy Free

Tips for going Dairy Free

There is no need to be deprived of your favourite foods, just because you`ve gone dairy-free! 

Whether you have decided to go dairy-free for health reasons, nutritional concerns or ethical reasons, it can seem like a challenge at first – so many dishes in many cultures rely on dairy, and so many store-bought foods contain any number of dairy products. But, not to fear-it actually can be easier than you think, and, as a result, you`ll end up cooking and trying so many dishes that you may have never even thought of before! 

Here are some suggestions that can be helpful when making the change to a dairy-free diet: 
1.Learn what dairy-derived ingredients to look for when reading labels. 

Reading labels can be frustrating as there are so many foods that contain hidden dairy products. When people who are new to the dairy-free diet ask me for "tricks" when reading labels, I usually suggest that they look for products labelled "vegan," "dairy-free" or "pareve" as these will contain no dairy ingredients, whereas products labelled "non-dairy" often still contain milk proteins or other dairy-derived ingredients. 
2.Stock your pantry with dairy-free ingredient staples. 

Find a local grocer or market near you, or an online distributor that carries the products you like, and keep a small store on hand, so you`ll always have plenty of lactose-free options for you and your family. 
3.Find dairy-free substitutions for dairy products you use frequently in cooking and baking recipes. 

Whether you`re someone who prefers to make all of your dairy-free substitutions yourself or you`d rather find prepared dairy-free substitutes that you can purchase at your local store, keep the same amount on hand that you would if it were the dairy product that it`s replacing. 
4.Try some new recipes! 

We humans are stubborn when it comes to changing things as routine as diet, but changing over to a new way of eating is a great way to explore new tastes and flavours that you might not have otherwise. So try different ethnic foods or new cooking methods, and you`ll probably end up realizing that you`ve widened your options instead of reducing them! 
5. Find a few "easy" dairy-free meals and snack solutions, and make these readily available. 

Especially if you`re cooking for a dairy-free child, keeping quick and simple recipes and snacks available is important in not only eating well but also maintaining a positive relationship with food. Keeping quick meal and snack options that you enjoy on hand is an easy way to avoid feeling "deprived" of foods you love. 
Information sourced from 

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What is a Dairy Allergy or Cow`s Milk Protein Allergy?

What is a Dairy Allergy or Cow`s Milk Protein Allergy?

Both children and adults can experience adverse responses to milk. This hypersensitivity may be related to the proteins in the milk, where the individual is allergic or intolerant or they may be intolerant to the lactose component, where the individual has a lactase enzyme deficiency resulting in a lactose intolerance and hence malabsorption of this carbohydrate.

Prevalence of Cow`s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA) 

There is a 2 -3 % prevalence of Cow`s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA) in children, although it is rarely seen in adults, with only 0.7 % of atopic individuals with a positive skin prick test, however these individuals do not experience any adverse response to the consumption of cow`s milk (1). Twenty five percent of individuals with CMPA go on to develop additional food allergies. Fifteen percent of infants will carry this allergy into adulthood (1).

Development of CMPA

CMPA usually develops in the first year of life and the infant usually develops symptoms before one month of age (1). These reactions can be mediated by IgE and non-IgE immunological responses. The incidence at one year of age is 2.0 – 2.5 % (1). The symptoms of CMPA are usually present after the first or second exposure to CMP or post partum if breast feeding is delayed and an alternative Cow`s Milk (CM) formula is fed to the infant(1). CMP exposure can also occur via skin contact (kissing) and from vapours from cooking, with the latter resulting in an allergic asthma reaction (1). Breast fed infants with CMPA soon present after birth with eczema or proctocolitis or present after exposure to CM based infant formula or after consuming foods that contain CMP (1).

Cow`s Milk Proteins

There are two major protein groups in cow`s milk, with casein constituting 80% of the content and the remaining 20 % being whey. Casein is the major milk allergen and consists of five protein fractions, αs1-, αs2-, β-, κ-, and gamma casein (1). The whey fraction contains globular proteins, alpha- lactalbumin and beta-Lactoglobulin, with beta-Lactoglublin being acid-stable and is likely to remain intact after its passage through the gut, and hence has the potential to initiate an allergic reaction (1). Research performed on the milk of other mammalian species, animals who are phytogentically related, including sheep, goat, water buffalo, horse and donkey, reveals that their milk contains similar proteins to cow`s milk, with B-lactoalbumin being present in the milk of all species studied (1). This confers their allergenic potential and hence they are not suitable alternatives for breast milk (1). A2 milk is often considered as another alternative product. A2 milk is produced by cows homozygous for the A2 polymorphic variant (his→pro) at amino acid 67 of the β-casein gene (2). A difference in degradation patterns of the A1 and A2 variants is purported to lead to differences in immunological or pharmacological effects (2). β-casein is one of at least seven proteins in milk(2). The single amino-acid difference in one protein of the A2 milk is not expected to have a significant effect on A2 milk potential to initiate and allergic response, hence A2 milk is contraindicated for individuals with CMPA (2).


Cow`s Milk Protein (CMP), can induce an acute IgE mediated reaction within less than 2 hours after exposure. It can also induce a delayed reaction (> 2hours) which can be either non- IgE or a combination of IgE and non-IgE mediated response (1). The current research data relates that 58% of individuals experience an early reaction and 42% experience a delayed non-IgE mediated response(1).

CMPA usually affects two systems within the body, with 50 – 60 % affecting the Cutaneous System (Skin); 50 – 60% Gastrointestinal System; 20 – 30 % Respiratory Systems. Gastrointestinal Reflux is seen in 16 – 42 % of infants with CMPA (1). Chronic constipation is seen in 3 – 16% of children and in 30 – 55% this is related to CMPA. CMP as a cause of constipation, though for adults is only seen in a small number of individuals (1).

IgE Mediated



Gastrointestinal anaphylaxis; symptoms include vomiting, pain and or diarrhoea


Urticaria, angio-oedema, pruritus, morbilliform rashes and flushing


Acute rhinoconjunctivitis, wheezing, coughing and stridor



Mixed IgE & Non- IgE Mediated



Eosinophilic Oesophagitis, colitis, and/or proctocolitis


Atopic eczema



Non Ig E Mediated



Food protein induced enterocolitis, food protein induced protocolitis and food protein induced enteropathy syndrome


CMP – induced contact dermatitis


Food induced pulmonary haemosiderosis (Heiner`s Syndrome) (rare) – pulmonary haemosiderosis or bleeding in the lower respiratory tract.

Mechanisms Uncertain



Constipation, (association remains controversial), intestinal colic,


Excess mucous production – the snuffly child (association remains controversial, but commonly suspected by parents); Heiners Syndrome



Diagnosis of CMPA

The diagnosis of CMPA encompasses a detailed clinical history, physical examination and dependent on the type of reaction, Skin Prick Testing (SPT) or specific IgE testing (1). These assessments, in conjunction with elimination diet and challenges are the corner stones to management (1). Non-IgE mediated reactions will usually yield negative test results (1). The avoidance of CMP for at least four weeks, along with possibly patch testing are required for diagnosis of non-IgE mediated CMPA (1).

Management of CMPA

The management of CMPA encompasses the avoidance of CMP and other mammalian milks, which includes all traces of dairy that may be found in manufactured food items. It is important to be aware of the different terminology used to label CMP (1). Breast fed infants can be exposed to CMP via touch and through breast milk, hence it is paramount that the mother avoids all sources of dairy (1). Beta-lactoglobulin can be detected in breast fed babies, however it is generally tolerated by 95% of infants (1). Hypoallergenic, and elemental hypoallergenic formulas are used for Infants unable to receive breast milk (1). These products include Neocate and Elecare. Soy based products are also considered at this time. However, as there is a strong cross-reactivity between CMP and soya protein, soy products are contraindicated (1).

There are a range of alternative milks, however these products have a lower energy and protein density and have lower levels of fat soluble vitamins and minerals (1). Some of these products are supplemented with calcium and or protein enriched. Infants and mothers may require additional supplementation with respect to calcium and vitamin D. The variety of alterative products includes, rice milk, quinoa milk, oat milk, pea milk and nut milk (only if nut milks are tolerated) and coconut milk. There are a range of dairy free margarines spreads, recipes for homemade rice milk ice cream made with rice milk and rice milk cream and coconut cream. There is also a range of dairy free and soy free products produced by companies such as Well and Good, Enjoy Life and Brighterlife Wheat Free foods. A range of products can be purchased on-line at


The prognosis of CMPA is quite positive. By one year of age there is 45 – 60% remission, 66 – 75 % are in remission by the age of 2 years, 85 – 90 % by the age of 3, 92% between the age of 5 – 10 and 97% by the age of 15 (1).


1. Tanya Wright and Rosan Meyer., Dietary Management of Milk and Eggs -Food Hypersensitivity: diagnosing and managing food allergies and intolerances – edited by Isabel Skypala, Carina Venter; Wiley and Blackwell 2009, Part 2, p 117- 128.

2. William B Smith, Dery Thompson, Margaret Kummerow, Patrick Quinn, Michael S Gold., A2 milk is allergenic., MJA2004;181(10):574.

Article submitted by Julie Albrecht.

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Which is the best alternative milk for you?

Which is the best alternative milk for you?

Whether you`re allergic to milk, lactose intolerant or simply not crazy about the taste of cow`s milk, one thing`s for sure: there are now a lot of other options for you.

Dairy alternatives represent a growing market, as anyone who peruses the shelves of soy, rice and almond milks — in vanilla, chocolate and plain, non-fat, powdered, liquid and more — will tell you.

Choosing the right variety for you, however, can be a challenge, particularly if you`re new to the pseudo-milk market.

Soy Milk: Swimming in Controversy

If you want to know whether or not soy milk is good for you, it really depends on who you ask. The Food and Drug Administration has been touting the benefits of soy for a healthy heart. In 1999 they approved the health claim:

"Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease."

The claim was approved after the FDA determined that "four daily soy servings can reduce levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), the so-called "bad cholesterol" that builds up in blood vessels, by as much as 10 percent."

The American Heart Association agrees, and recommends that soy products (like soy milk) be used in a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and lean meats.

That said, Kaayla Daniel, PhD, believes soy estrogens can wreak havoc on hormones and more. She had this to say to one person on her Web site who said they got a lift from soy milk:

"Check the ingredient list on your soy milk and you`ll almost certainly find a lot of sugar. It might be named cane sugar, barley malt, rice sugar, fructose, corn syrup. Whatever, it is sugar. The most likely reason that you feel better after drinking your soy milk is that you are getting a sugar hit.

The second possibility is that the soy estrogens are stimulating your thyroid. For some people this results in a mildly hyperactive thyroid with short-term energy gain. The down side is that over the long run your thyroid may go down, sinking into hypothyroidism. That means loss of energy, cognitive decline, brain fog. In my opinion the long-term risks of soy do not justify any short-term benefit."

And then there`s the taste.

Ben Wasserstein, an associate editor at New York magazine, conducted a taste test on milk alternatives. Of the three soy milks tested, the highest average score was 3.6 (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best). Tasters compared the drinks to "chalk," "a root," and "vegetabley."

If you do opt for soy milk, most consumers recommend that you try a number of different brands before deciding on one you like (or dislike). Every brand tastes drastically different, as do flavours and varieties within brands.

Almond Milk: A Healthy Choice?

Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts you can eat. They`re rich in magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium, and calcium. Almond milk, then, may be one of the more nutritious milk alternatives on the market.

However, almonds are costly so the actual amount of almonds used in the almond milk is small; it may not be enough to give you lots of nutrition. You also need to watch out for additives and sweeteners in the milk.

A solution may be to try your own homemade variety:

Grind one-quarter cup of almonds in a coffee grinder.

Combine almonds with one cup of water and blend in a blender for two to three minutes.

Strain the liquid using a sieve, if you like.

But what about the taste?

Consumers generally find the taste of almond milk pleasing. It has a light, nutty flavour.

Rice Milk: Mostly Carbs

Rice milk is processed from brown rice and usually contains rice syrup, evaporated cane juice or some other natural sweetener. It is typically fortified with calcium or vitamin D.

Rice milk is largely a source of carbohydrates, so it`s important not to look at it (or either of the other two milk substitutes) as a nutritional replacement for milk (cow`s milk is a source of protein, fat and carbs). Rather, it should be looked at as a useful replacement for milk for taste and cooking purposes, but to get the nutrients of cow`s milk be sure you`re eating a wide variety of other foods.

And the taste? In Wasserstein`s taste test, one variety of rice milk was tested. It received an average score of 4.0. Consumers said it tasted "oaty, but not" and "plasticky."

What`s the Bottom Line?

The milk alternative you choose is up to you:

The health benefits of soy milk are highly debated. It may be good for you, or it may be harmful.

Almond milk may be healthful (but you`re probably better off just eating the almonds).

Rice milk is largely a source of carbohydrates (but it can give you something to use with your meals and baking if you like the taste).

The final decision comes down to personal preference and taste. If you can`t drink milk, but miss it in your diet, check out the different varieties out there–and be sure you`re eating a wide variety of healthy foods to go along with it.

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