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How to Manage A Milk Allergy

Living with a food allergy is difficult, especially when allergen ingredients are present in common foods and beverages. Being allergic to milk is one such example of this struggle, and it can be burdensome for the 30% of people with milk allergies who can’t even tolerate baked forms of milk. Because it’s such a frequently used ingredient, it can be challenging to manage your milk allergy and steer clear of it to stay safe. However, more non-dairy options and alternatives are becoming more accessible for those who can’t consume milk. Lifestyle adjustments can also be made to ensure you’re eating a balanced and safe diet. Here’s how you can manage your milk allergy:

Get calcium from other foods

Milk is a rich source of calcium, so you may be worried about not getting enough of it due to your allergy. Fortunately, Healthline’s write-up on calcium-rich foods note that many non-dairy foods can help keep your calcium at a healthy level. Incorporating calcium-rich foods into your diet can improve your overall health thanks to their extra nutrients.

Seeds provide a lot of calcium and other essential nutrients that can aid in developing a balanced diet. Poppy, chia, and sesame seeds pack a lot of calcium, protein, healthy fats, and other minerals. One tablespoon or more of these seeds can provide a significant chunk of the recommended daily calcium intake. Leafy green vegetables such as collard greens, spinach, and kale are also calcium-rich. Fish, such as sardines and canned salmon, can also give you this vital nutrient, as their bones are edible. With some research and experimentation, incorporating these ingredients into your meals can lead to a healthier and more delicious dairy-free experience.

Find milk substitutes

Plant-based milk substitutes are good alternatives for those with milk allergies, and there are various options to choose from. Popular alternatives include soy, almond, oat, and rice milk, each providing varying health benefits and nutritional value. Some consider rice milk the best substitute as it is the most hypoallergenic, as some lactose intolerant people may also have a soy and nut allergy. Moreover, rice is incredibly nutritious and easy to prepare with modern rice cookers, even when it’s not in rice milk form. The popular Cuckoo rice cooker is often lauded for its versatility; the CRP-P0609S offers multi-functionality with built-in smart programs so that users can cook white and brown rice, sushi rice, sweet rice, savory rice, GABA rice, and porridge automatically, expanding user meal options. You can also use the cooker to make soup, bake bread, heat meat, and steam vegetables, conveniently giving your diet more balance and variety.

When preparing rice milk at home, soak rice In very hot water for a few hours and drain the water into a blender. Add fresh water, salt, and more add-ins if you'd like, and blend it together for a minute. A high-quality blender like those from Vitamix can help you quickly get good results. Once done, check the sweetness and adjust the ingredients as needed.

Read food and drink labels properly

While most milk and dairy alternatives in stores typically come with non-dairy labels, they may still be made with animal proteins and contain milk products. Even if you may not react as strongly to these milk products as you would with ordinary milk, it’s safer to avoid consuming these foods or drinks. Talking to your doctor can help you determine what is safe to eat.

Labels Unwrapped’s insights on non-dairy labels highlight that manufacturers must put a parenthetical after an ingredient like sodium caseinate to indicate that it’s a milk derivative. Some brands may also warn that the food or beverage contains “traces of milk,” meaning that the product was made in a facility that prepares food and drink containing dairy. It also helps to watch out for other terms indicating the presence of milk or dairy that might trigger your allergy.

If you’re unsure if you or someone you know has a milk allergy, it’s best to undergo a food challenge under the supervision of a medical professional to confirm it. It may be frightening at first, but you can check out a firsthand experience by reading “My Failed Food Challenge” to see how it can be a relieving and insightful experience.


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