Feeding the dairy/lactose intolerant

Oh dear, I think our girl has a dairy allergy. It’s certainly an undeniable sensitivity at this point, we’ll need testing to determine the degree. I use cheese as a condiment & only include milk/cream in coffee & some recipes so it would be easy for me to cut it out completely but all 3 guys in the house regularly eat a lot of it so it will be temptingly in the fridge all the time. She already likes oat milk, thank goodness, but she’s going to need lots of self control & substitutes.
I got these:

The parmesan & creme cheeze taste like beans, ew. The cheddar is ok in flavour though that texture will take some getting used to. The pudding I haven’t tried.

She knows it hurts her but it’s hard, you know? She needs support. I’d be so grateful to hear your suggestions for easy substitutes she can handle on her own. She’s 14 & makes her own breakfast & lunch, dinners some nights but mostly we eat as a family.


Oh no! Poor kiddo. Food intolerances are no fun.

I’d bet my lucky penny @MistressJennie will have some wisdom to impart!


You can buy or make non dairy yogurt (I like coconut) and nut cheeses.

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First you’ll want to figure out if it’s truly an allergy, or lactose intolerance, which are two different things. If it’s an actual allergy then she’ll need to cut out all dairy entirely. If it’s lactose intolerance, she can safely eat certain dairy foods, especially in conjunction with lactase pills like Lactaid. And she could eat Lactaid foods for that matter. (They make milk, sour cream, ice cream, etc.) Most hard cheeses, which are aged, have virtually no lactose in them. Things like aged cheddar, Parmesean, etc., while softer cheeses like Brie have a lot more lactose in them and should definitely be avoided. I love Cabot cheddar from VT, which is real cheese that is naturally lactose free. I mention this, because some people who either decide to go vegan, or who are lactose intolerant, and try to go to all vegan options, have a hard time digesting some of the fake cheese products, which can cause as much stomach upset as dairy itself.

After you figure out what the actual problem is, my first piece of advice is to not try jumping straight into fake versions of everything all at once. Try replacing dairy foods with something else entirely. For example, if you usually like sour cream on your chili, try replacing it with avocado, for that cool, creamy texture, without going straight to fake sour cream. Let your palettes forget what those dairy foods taste like, or you’ll be nothing but disappointed with the replacements. You’ll think they taste fake and chemical-ish.

Then, after you’ve been off them for a good long while, try starting with one type of food, say cream cheese. Pick a food that cream cheese really shines in, like bagels & lox, then pick up good bagels, good lox, and 2 or 3 brands of cream cheese, and test drive them. You might find you love the super expensive brand best, or that the cheapo store brand is a nearly dead ringer for what you remember. If you’re worried about ‘wasting’ the ones you don’t like, have a recipe picked out that uses that item in a larger food, like a vegan cheesecake.

I had despaired of ever finding a good fake sour cream, and tried all the big name vegan brands, that people swear by, and hated all of them. Then Kroger, the big grocery chain in our region, came out with one, and I gave it a shot, and LOVED it. It’s half the price of the fancy name brand stuff, and I use it all the time on everything, and in all kinds of recipes. It’s their 'Kroger Simple Truth Non Dairy Sour Cream '.

I’ve tried a lot of fake cheeses, and they never taste like cheese. They usually use lemon or vinegar to create a tang, which always tastes like lemon or vinegar and not like cheese at all. But I did finally find a good one: Treeline Nut Cheese, makes a soft French Style cheese, that is AMAZING. IT reminds me of Alouette. (Not sure if you have that brand in Canada, but it’s a soft cheese, the texture of a whipped cream cheese, that is flavored with things like garlic & herbs.) While I’ve found a few okay fake cream cheeses, I don’t bother with them at all and use the Treeline French style in place of it with bagels.


Thank you so much Jennie. My poor girl, she’s really suffering. There’s a kid in the friend group who’s dairy and gluten free so at least she won’t be alone in this. We’ll get her tested as soon as possible and ask my parents to bring some things across the border from Kroger to try. She finds it hard to resist cheese especially, the rest she is ok without thank goodness.

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Oooh I sympathize! My body is giving up on processing dairy at the worst times so I’ve been working to really avoid it as much as I can or fall back on the lactaid pills when I just gotta have pizza or whatever.

One thing I’ve found as a decent replacement, for parmesan cheese on pasta particularly, is a simple recipe of ground nuts (I use almonds but its up to the chef), salt, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast. I can give more precise measurements if that sounds interesting. I can’t say it tastes like Parmesan but the replacement gives a good texture and taste to pasta that was missing before.

Nutritional yeast itself is a big part of lots of cheese replacement sauces and whatnot. I don’t really like it much on it’s own, but mixed in with other ingredients on food is an interesting substitute.


I love nutritional yeast on popcorn, it’s super tasty. It is an essential ingredient in cashew cheese sauces but she says eww to cashews so… yes, pls, I would like your parm recipe to try. Thank you!


You’ve had some great advice already! If it’s just lactose intolerance it’ll be easier to manage since lactose free dairy products is still on the table (either naturally lactose free, or with the sugar pre digested). Also easier since there’s usually a tolerance limit for dairy where a certain amount is fine to eat. She just have to find the limit and use it wisely for what’s worth to eat for her.

My nephew has a milk protein allergy that he’s had since birth. People keep trying to give him lactose free stuff since lactose intolerance is more common. Fun. The good thing is that he’s starting to grow out of this allergy. He can tolerate small amounts of dairy if it’s in cooked food. When he was tiny they had to cut out all dairy.

I also want to mention IBS since that can be triggered by lactose. However, it can have many other triggers, like beans. So if it’s IBS, some of the substitutes might not work.

I have yet to come across a vegan cheese that doesn’t taste like sadness. I do love tofu as it’s own food item, especially fried or deep fried versions. Soygurts and soy puddings can also be very tasty.

What does she normally eat for breakfast? It might be easier to suggest alternatives with that in mind?

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My friend is dairy intolerant but is able to eat goats cheese. That might be an option, but not everyone likes goats cheese.


Here’s the measurements:

  • 1/4 cup Almonds, (the recipe says blanched but I just use them ready to go from the store) (or other nuts of choice)
  • 1 tbsp Nutrional Yeast Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp coarse celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse about 10 - 20 times until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Be careful not to over-blend or you may end up with nut butter.

I use regular salt myself, which is fine too.


I have issues with dairy and both my DILs are allergic.

Canadian Superstore has PC Lactose Free sour cream which you’d never know wasn’t the normal thing and it’s never bothered my stomach. They also have lactose free cheese, The tofu dessert you show, comes in banana and mango which are, in my opinion, much tastier than the almond.

Almond chocolate milk taste the same as real chocolate milk, one DIL prefers oat milk to almond milk and the other is able to use lactose free milk.

There are many lactose and/or dairy free frozen treats too.

One of the hardest things about lactose intolerance or dairy allergies is dessert. Especially when you are out somewhere, or with a group of other people. A birthday party full of cake, which people keep insisting you eat, even when you explain you’re intolerant, making you feel like a jerk when you refuse. Or everyone in the group spontaneously deciding you all need to go out for ice cream, then your friends half-heartedly feeling guilty for eating it when you’re sitting there with just a cup of water. (The awful baby shower I went to where I was told lunch would be served, so I didn’t eat, only to get there to find it was at an ice cream shop, and all the lunch foods included dairy. Every. Single. One. So the only thing I could eat, was some gummy candy.)

My best advice on that front is to have some great recipes in your back pocket, that you can whip up to take to events to share with the group. Especially if they can’t tell they are vegan or dairy free. Then you always know there’s something safe for you to eat, and you can impress people when you tell them it’s non-dairy or vegan after they rave about it. And for ice cream joints, researching all the places in your area, so you know who offers non-dairy stuff.

Here’s my go-to party recipe: Alton Brown’s Moo-Less Chocolate Pie (Here’s the same recipe in metric.) It’s divine. Creamy and chocolatey and decadent, the way a classic chocolate cream pie is, but a bit more grown up with the semi-sweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate if you like!), just look for a dairy free version.

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I know you mentioned not liking the taste of beans, but this is another great party recipe. When you fill it with tons lemon zest and juice, and lots of fresh herbs like parsley and chives, it’s delicious, and no one at my picky family’s reunion had any idea they were eating a vegan dip.

Lemon & Herb White Bean Dip

Pizza is the other difficult group food. Everyone assumes they can order a stack of pizzas for a large group and it will feed everyone. When you’re sitting there with just a breadstick, you feel left out, and your host feels guilty. Look into your local pizza joints, and see who carries dairy free cheese if you’re allergic, or who will customize your pizza with less cheese for you if your intolerant. The big chains often let you choose half or less cheese, but the 16 year old building the pizzas in the kitchen don’t always notice that on the order and you end up with a cheese bomb. Smaller mom & pop shops are more likely to get your order right.

Daiya mozzarella is the best I’ve tried so far, but it’s not perfect. BUT, I have noticed that it’s better when it’s paired with better ingredients. There’s a hippy pizza chain here in the South called Mellow Mushroom that has daiya cheese, (along with tempeh and tofu, etc), and I’ve noticed that the daiya tastes so much better on hand tossed dough, cooked in a fancy wood fired oven, with amazing homemade sauce, etc. But putting the same daiya on a mediocre store bought crust, and cooking in a home oven, leads to mediocre pizza.

I love beans & we eat lots of hummus, I’ll try that recipe for her.
Rob makes bready things regularly, excellent crust & sauce. I’ll pick up some daiya mozz & see how she likes it. My mom will be great about this over the summer, she loves shopping, lol.

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P.S. @Abbeeroad, I totally should have found a way to take you to Mellow Mushroom when you were down here. It’s totally your kinda vibe. They only open locations in existing buildings, (rather than build new duplicate chain locations), and theme that space to what it used to be. The one in Bowling Green was formerly a Sears Auto Repair center, so they kept the giant garage bay doors, so they could all be opened on nice days. The one here in Franklin was opened in a former bank, so they kept the very old wooden partition between the bank tellers and the lobby. Now when you looked towards where the tellers were, you can see the kitchen staff working. And they painted a mural of Aretha FRANKLIN, and the ‘Bank Notes’, aka, the Founding Fathers that appear on our money, as her backup band. Oh and they turned the former bank vault into a walk in cooler. Beyond that, their mascot is a stoned looking mushroom, and everything is tie dyed. So. Much. Tie Dye.

Edit: it looks like there is one in Downtown Nash, on Broadway. Next time work brings you down here, that’s where we’ll have to go!

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I have actually been to a Mellow Mushroom before! There’s one in Myrtle Beach. But you can’t go wrong with tie dye and pizza. :heart: :pizza:

PS - I might be there again in Sept! It’s a popular destination!

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Poor kiddo! My dad became lactose intolerant in the late 80’s when it was much harder to find milk free food and twice as bad that he worked food service at pizza, Mexican and burger restaurants… here are a few things he did:

Lactaid all the time (this option is not for everyone as it might be the other milk protein you’re allergic to casein ) in pill form

Use the Lactaid milk that is now sold too but also same protein issue…

Orange juice instead of milk on cereal - there is now a cereal especially for this!

Switched to sorbet from ice cream

Nondairy creamer can be subbed for milk sometimes but as above, if it casein you’re allergic to this doesn’t work

Back in the day, for him and my baby brother, was to fore go milk products. Dad is vegan now and there are tons more options these days. He did have to get adjusted to the new flavor profiles of the vegan cheese/dairy substitute options bit it works after awhile.

Thanks :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:
She tried all 3 of the products I picked up & finds them tolerable if not delicious. So far, so good!


I’ve discovered that I love unsweetened macadamia milk. Never really cared for almond milk or coconut milk on cereal, but the macadamia milk makes it possible for me to eat cereal again, and I’m loving it!

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