Food Allergies/recipes

Food Allergies are complex and we've learned a little along the way that I thought we'd share in case it helps any one else.

I am constantly adding to this page so feel free to check back

We learned our boys had food allergies when they less than a year old. Initially we were concerned when we tried giving boys yogurt for the first time and they both broke out in hives. We were told to hold off a couple months since they had been born premature and try again. The boys could not tolerate regular formula even in the NICU, they had tried several different kinds but the boys kept spitting it up, and that was even when they were being tube fed. They were both prescribed reflux medications and finally switched to Neocate formula which they remained on until they were almost two years old.

We tried yogurt again at about one years old. This time we were told to only put a little bit of yogurt on their skin. Yep, broke out again. That led us to an allergist for testing. She did the skin prick testing which showed reactions to milk, eggs, nuts so we then went for blood work.

The blood work was consistent with the skin testing and showed that both boys had a class 5 milk allergy (the scale only goes up to 6). We have since avoided anything dairy, and continue to get the boys tested by the allergist every year. On their second birthday their tests came back just as high for milk, but less on the eggs and nuts. We were then allowed to give them eggs that were baked IN things. The boys will be re-tested again on their 3rd birthday and we are hoping for some improvements somewhere. I'm told that if a child begins to outgrow their milk allergy, they can eventually tolerate regular yogurts and cheese even if they can't tolerate cows milk yet. That would be such a huge deal for us. I'm imagining sharing my pizza with them already :)

We are fortunate that our boys don't really know what they are missing. As long as they can remember, they've always been on a dairy free diet. They think that soy cheese and soy milk are the "real" deal.  The same with coconut and soy ice creams. Maybe they won't even have a taste for the real stuff if/when given the option.

Anyway: here's some helpful links/info: I will keep adding to this page so check back.

This was taken from here:
I thought it was an excellent article with general information without being too overwhelming.

Dairy Allergies: What You Need to Know

By , Guide
Updated May 04, 2011

About Dairy Allergy:

Cow’s milk is the most common food allergy in American children. About 2.5 percent of children are allergic to the proteins found in dairy products. Dairy is not a major allergen for adults, and most children will develop a tolerance to milk by the time they reach school age.


If you are allergic to cow’s milk you will also need to avoid goat or sheep milk. All grazing mammals produce milk with similar proteins that can cause cross-reactions for people with dairy allergies.

Symptoms of Dairy Allergy:

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to dairy usually appear within minutes to two hours of eating dairy products or food containing dairy ingredients. Symptoms may include:
Dairy allergies may cause a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

Lactose Intolerance:

Lactose intolerance is a common sensitivity to the sugars found in milk. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, gassiness, intestinal cramping, and diarrhea. Symptoms may occur within an hour of eating dairy products, or may be delayed up to 12 hours.
Lactose intolerance is different from a classic milk allergy. If you have lactose intolerance, you should be able to tolerate milk that has had the lactose removed.
Lactose intolerance involves  the GI system only, whereas a true milk allergy is an immune system issue. 

Babies and Dairy Allergies:

Dairy allergy is the most common food allergy for children in the United States. Most children who develop a dairy allergy will do so before their first birthday. Symptoms of dairy allergy can be different for babies than for older children or adults. Infants with milk allergies may need to be fed a special hypoallergenic infant formula.

Managing Your Dairy Allergy:

Since there is no cure for dairy allergy at this time, managing your allergy involves avoiding all dairy products and being prepared for future reactions. If you have been diagnosed with a severe dairy allergy, your doctor will prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector (commonly called an Epi-Pen) that you will need to carry with you at all times.
Food allergens can lurk in surprising places – who would ever expect milk in canned tuna? You will need to learn to read ingredient labels for dairy ingredients and ask questions when you eat in restaurants.

Labeling Laws and Dairy Ingredients:

Milk is one of the eight most common food allergies in the United States, and is covered by the food allergy labeling law (FALCPA). Manufacturers must list dairy products on ingredient labels in plain English. However, you should still learn the names of dairy-based ingredients, becm because some foods will not have allergy warning labels.

Here is a comprehensive list of how to find milk ingredients although luckily most products in the stores have it listed right under the "allergy warning" section. 
COMMON DAIRY FREE SUBSTITUTES for cooking/baking: (from

  • 1 cup dairy-free soy margarine, such as Willow Run (reduce the salt in recipe by ½ t. if recipe calls for unsalted)
  • our favorite brand is Earth Balance. We use it for buttering toast, baking and cooking. There are other dairy free "butters" on the market but this is the one we've found tastes the best! 

  • 1 cup canola oil (Note: for many baked recipes, or recipes that use butter to coagulate, emulsify or stabilize, soy margarine will be the better choice. Oil works well as part of meat and vegetable dishes as well as sauces.)

    To Replace Milk:

    © 2008 Ashley Skabar, licensed to, Inc.

  • Dairy-free soy, rice, almond, or coconut milk

  • Best Non-dairy Milk Alternatives

  • Homemade Almond Milk Recipe

  • Being on a dairy free diet can get expensive. Luckily you can find a lot more store brands for things like soy milk now. 
    To Replace Buttermilk:

  • 1 cup soymilk combined with 1 T. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Allow mixture to rest in the refrigerator for five minutes so that the mixture will thicken correctly.

  • 1 cup plain soy yogurt

  • 2/3 cup soy sour cream blended with 1/3 cup unsweetened soy milk

  • To replace cheese:

  • This is one of the hardest and gave it its own article.

  • In our area, the best I've found is "daiya" shredded cheese. Unlike other soy cheeses we've tried, this one actually does a decent job at melting. We use it for the boys grilled "cheese" and macaroni and "cheese."

    To Replace Milk (Evaporated)

  • 1 cup soy coffee creamer

  • 1 cup plain soy yogurt
  • To Replace Milk (Sweetened Condensed)

  • 1 cup soymilk powder mixed with 2/3 cup sugar heated over low heat with ½ c soy coffee creamer and ½ cup soymilk. Heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth.

  • 1 cup vanilla soy ice cream, melted over low heat with 2 T soymilk powder until slightly thickened
  • To Replace Sour Cream:

    © 2008 Ashley Skabar, licensed to, Inc.

  • 1 cup soy sour cream

  • 1 cup soy yogurt mixed with 1 T. soymilk powder and salt to taste

  • 1 cup extra firm silken tofu blended or processed with 1 T. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

  • Dairy-Free Sour Cream Recipe

  • To Replace Cream (Light):

  • 1 cup dairy-free soy coffee cream

  • 1 cup soymilk mixed with ¼ cup melted dairy-free soy margarine

  • 1 cup whole coconut milk

  • 1 cup soymilk mixed with 1/4 cup soymilk powder

  • To Replace Cream (Heavy):

  • 1/4 cup soy half-n-half, mixed with ¼ cup soy margarine, melted, and ½ c unsweetened soymilk

  • 1 cup cream of coconut
  • To Replace Crème Fraiche:

  • ½ cup soy sour cream processed with ½ cup soy cream cheese

  • ½ cup plain soy yogurt processed with ½ cup soy cream cheese

  • 2/3 cup extra firm silken tofu processed with 1/3 cup soy yogurt or soy sour cream
  • To Replace Ghee:

  • 1 cup melted soy margarine

  • 1 cup canola oil

  • I'll come back and list my favorites local dairy free products for the kids --and ones you can find reliably at wegmans and local stores. 
    1.) Yummy brand (yep its a brand) 100% natural Chicken breast nuggets. They are in the frozen section. If you are allergic to dairy, its not easy finding convenient foods for your kids that don't have dairy. When you need something easy/quick, this is our go to and the kids LOVE them (mommy and daddy sneak a few too)!
    2.) Earth balance soy margarine. They now have a soy free/dairy free one that tastes just as yummy. we use it in everything that we'd normally use for butter like baking and cooking. We don't miss the butter.
    3.) Daiya "cheese"--Cheese is one of those things that is VERY hard to find a non dairy replacement. This one is the best I've found. I make the kids mac and cheese.
    4.) So delicious--We are grateful to have their soy yogurts (careful with other "soy yogurt" brands, many ALSO still have milk in them). We also love this brand of vanilla "ice cream" for the boys!
    5.) Duncan Hines cake mix--One of the few "top" brands that does not have dairy in the mix. Double check ingredient list before you buy but we usually buy the yellow or golden cake mix when we don't have time to do from scratch. 


    Oh and for those with experience/advice, please feel free to suggest any items or substitutions that are your "go to" in the comments section. I'm always looking for more :)

    I'm a library girl and hate paying for books, especially if I"m only going to read or use them once. The following are books I got out of the library, used sticky notes and renewed so much that I ended up just buying them:

    Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living
    A fabulous resource and tons of recipes/substitutions lists:

    Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids by Leslie Hammond and Lynne Marie Rominger. 
    A GREAT resource for recipes that are not difficult to make an oh so yummy!

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    I looked for a way to send you a private message but could not find one. I have 2 beautiful boys with severe food allergies as well. I wanted to share with you some of the fattening up techniques I used with my own in hopes that it could help. Send me a private message if you are interested!
    From one "failure to thrive, food allergic, reflux, asthmatic, developmentally delayed" mommy to another with hugs!