I am back to share with you my dairy intolerance – an after effect of Celiac’s Disease. Optimistic me thought 4 years ago when I was diagnosed that I would simply steer clear of gluten and I would heal. How naive I feel about myself.
Diagnosis was thrilling. I thought I would just be able to heal my body. It never occurred to me how truly compromised my body had become until I stopped consuming gluten and focused on healing my gut. for 30 years, I had been told that I had a leaky gut, but no information on why or how to heal. It has caused me to have a very wary feeling around doctors. the inspired no confidence that they knew or cared to know what to do.
My first year was simple, get off gluten and stop the autoimmune response that had sent my joints into agony for years. I was forced to understand that I had severe reactions to even trace amounts of gluten. The standard 20ppm tolerance some people had would not work for me. I needed absolutely clean food. It took months to figure it out. As much as that seems simple, it was very hard.
Healing from Celiac’s But Still Not Ok
After year two of being clean from gluten, I was still having some digestive issues. My research taught me that it is common to develop multiple food allergies once celiac’s begins to destroy our intestines. I have an allergy to caffeine (ARGH!!) which I developed in my 20’s. After years of vitamin deficiencies, caffeine was truly my best friend. So, I had come to understand that what we consume the most of once the gut has become leaky we can become allergic to. Nice, right?
I have never had much love for milk. I could drink skim milk if it was cold, but I did not like milk. Cheese, however, well I could probably marry cheese and be quite happy. I used cheese as a quick and easy protein along with it’s healthy saturated fats to help rebuild from the gluten damage to the brain. Cheese and Greek yogurt were part of my daily intake. So some days I felt like I had an issue with dairy, and some days I did not. As time went on, the reactions got greater. I realized after time that my body was no longer creating the lactase needed to digest lactose – which is in all dairy – but in different amounts.
Definite Dairy Intolerance Confusion
Greek yogurt and cottage cheese (my mainstays) have low lactose, so caused me less issues. Straight milk and cheese however were issues. Watering eyes, nasal congestion, horrific bloating, intestinal discomfort and severe nausea for hours were the less offensive of the issues I suffered from on the bad days. Did I mention the headaches? No? There were lots of headaches.
A simple Approach to Dairy Intolerance
I originally thought with a simple dairy intolerance, I could just take lactase supplements and all would be well. Did I mention how naive I am? Lactase helps with very small intakes – like a sauce with a little milk in it. For full on dairy, I have learned the best way to go is to stop it all together. If I have a wrap sandwich, with even two extra thin slices of cheese and 4 lactose tablets, my eyes stream tears for three or four days. Just not worth it. If I try to eat a piece of pizza with 5 lactose tablets, I will bloat and have a headache, incredible abdominal pain for several days, my eyes will run for many days. I won’t mention what it does to my trips to the bathroom. It is not pretty.
So, my dairy intolerance got pretty depressing. Even butter caused me huge amounts of issues. To cope with the issues, I did what I usually do, I researched. I tried many of the vegan cheese and butters (holy god, whose idea were these products). Now, I can say unequivocally, that Field Roast’s Chao makes some amazing cheese. It does not taste like what we are familiar with, but it is like a wonderfully mild European cheese. It melts, it tastes good. I am a happy girl, but it has absolutely no protein. I ate cheese to get my protein in each day, so switching a protein for a starch makes no sense to me.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
In my research I found some amazing people out there doing some astounding things. First, I found cheese loving Thomas in France who is working amazingly hard to get standard tastes and textures into his vegan cheeses. You can find Thomas on the Full of Plants Website, or my other hero, Chef Jana Pinheiro on her amazing vegan website. It is Chef Jana with her soy milk ricotta that truly taught & inspired me. It’s been wonderful to have learned so much from these two bloggers. Their wisdom is spurring me on to try to make actual cheese using basic cheese making recipes to create protein based non dairy cheeses.
Butter First, The World Later
I started with butter. I needed a butter to cook with, and I tried Miyoko’s butter and loved it. However, at the store near me, it was selling for (I kid you not) $10.29 for eight ounces. It was hard, but I made it last a month. It had been so long since I had touched anything so good, I could have eaten it all. I knew I could not afford that much money for vegan butter. After a couple of bad tries with recipes (why do people put so much weird stuff in their recipes?) but I worked enough with things, that I knew it would actually need some form of cream to work correctly. So I began to search for a recipe. Search term: cashew cream vegan butter recipe. At the time, even though I had purchased Miyoko’s, I did not grasp that it was made from cultured cream.
I ended up back on Thomas’s full of plants website to blog article where he had created a phenomenal vegan cultured butter recipe (which I will share soon on this site) which is just superb! I have started making it in large batches so that we have it no matter what we do (it goes amazingly well in our chocolate glaze and you would never know that glaze is vegan!) we have enough vegan butter. Can’t wait to try it for a vegan/dairy free buttercream frosting.
Putting Protein in our Non Dairy Dairy
So, why write all this down? I have a daughter & business partner with a dairy allergies, and I myself have a dairy intolerance. I share this because in addition to gluten free baked goods and mixes, we are going where I always knew we would go, gluten free, dairy free and vegan options. Keep in mind, if it comes out of my kitchen, my bakery, it has to taste fantastic with no hint of weird tastes or textures. In other words, I run it past my genius mother who doesn’t eat dairy free.
Check back to see what we are up to as we add our vegan butters and protein based cheese to our products. Goodness Life is a Trip!