Hidden sources of milk protein

Cow's Milk protein sourcesAvoiding milk protein for those with a severe allergic response means knowing the different names milk proteins can be labelled as. Here is the Food Allergy Network list of terms to be familiar with.

Terms to watch out for:  

Butter/ butter fat / buttermilk / Lactaid milk / Lacteeze milk (tablets or drops are ok) 

Cow’s milk / pasteurized milk / dairy / Milk formula / yoghurt / whey / ghee

Skimmed milk (and powder) / Ice Cream / MIlk solids / milk fat

Casein / sodium and calcium caseinate / Lactalbumin / lactoglobulin

Evaporated milk / Lactose free milk / formula / Cream cheese / cheese

Sour cream / milk / Curds / Kosher symbol ‘D’

In addition to these terms, hidden milk protein can also be found in the following products:

Chewing gum – look out for the term Recaldent

Toothpaste – often those that say ‘whitening’ on the tube contain hidden milk protein

Soap, liquid handwashes and shampoos – especially those that say ‘creamy’ or ‘silky’. In the Uk, beware of the ‘Dove’ range. One of our son’s sucks his finger and if he washes his hangs in a Dove product can vomit for 36 hours afterwards due to the milk protein left on his hands even after rinsing.

Vegetable Wax – some vegetables are coated in wax to make them shiny, and this may contain milk protein…opt for unwaxed ones.

Medicines – check ingredients as a good number have lactose in them, and some milk protein

Keep safe and always check the labels even if you have been buying the product for years as manufacturers can and do change their ingredients without warning.


Identifying a possible food allergy

Don’t waste your money on buying online allergy tests, says allergy specialist Dr Neil Fox.

There are really only two scientific ways to identify a food allergy: Skin prick test or blood test, both done in hospital. Eliminating all possible culprit allergens from the diet and slowly reintroducing them one by one until you find the one you’re allergic too is also highly recommended and can be done successfully at home.

See the BBC article ‘Alternative allergy test offers ‘mislead parents’ in which Dr Neil Fox, specialist Allergy Consultant in London and advisor to NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) raises the point that no evidence has been found to support the value of using complementary therapies or alternative tests.


Gluten, Dairy and Soya free Chocolate Spread

Dairy Free Chocolate Spread

Asda's Chocolate Spread

One of my goals is to spread the word of where to buy allergy-free products from mainstream places in order to make life a little easier for those of us dealing with food allergies. Not only that, but to give a review of things we try and think others might be interested in, particularly if it is very yummy! When we find something that is SO delicious we’ll shout out loud and clear!

Increasingly and thankfully there are new products coming into the market all the time and it’s important to support these in order to spread the word and drive demand hopefully resulting in wider availability and lower prices.

To that end, I’ve just been making my son Ben a ‘Cocolate Banana’ and it occurred to me that not everyone will have found Asda’s ‘Dark Chocolate Spread’ which just happens te be free from dairy, gluten and soya. The allergy advice says, ‘May contain traces of nuts and milk’. However, Ben is extremely sensitive to milk – really really sensitive, and we’ve been buying this for at least 18months and he’s always been totally fine with it.

Although it says ‘Dark Chocolate Spread’, let me assure you that it tastes just like milk chocolate which is especially good for children who are devasted by not being able to have chocolate any more…

Freezing Biscuit or Cookie Dough

It’s perfectly possible to make a large amount of biscuit or cookie dough and freeze it to use when you need it. The trick is to roll out your dough, cut out your shapes and lay them out on baking parchment on a baking tray. You can lay them touching one another (ie not spaced out like you would if you were baking them) and pop them into the freezer for 5-6 hours. This should freeze them hard. You can then put them into freezer bags without fear of the dough sticking together enabling you to take out what you need later on. When you take them out just bake them as normal but from frozen, adding maybe 8 – 10 minutes onto the cooking time. Simple!

Gluten free flour

For Coeliacs: What flours do you get on prescription? I stopped getting flours a few years ago after trying a couple and finding they weren’t as good as ‘Dove’s Farm’ gluten free flours – but they are increasingly expensive. The prescription list of gluten free flours is long, so I wondered if there are things that taste good on this list that you’d recommend?

Just diagnosed?

If you or a loved one has just been diagnosed with a food allergy and especially if it is more than one, you’re probably feeling a mixture of relief from knowing what has been making you feel so ill and rising apprehension as to the changes you are going to have to make from now on. It is utterly normal to feel highly anxious about it all, even to grieve for what you are going to lose. Just don’t panic! All these emotions are familiar to every single person affected by food allergies or Coeliac Disease – you are in good company.

So what now?

A good place to start is by considering whether you might like to cook the same food for everybody in the house or if you are happy to eat separately. I started off cooking separately which just meant I spent the majority of my free time in the kitchen to the detriment of having fun with the boys. I do still spend a lot of time there, but if I can just cook one meal for us all, I try to.

If you have Coeliac disease or are allergic to more than one thing, it may make sense to clear out a cupboard just for your food so avoiding the risk of cross contamination.

Cook up batches of food and freeze them. This is especially helpful if you have children with food allergies so that you always have something to defrost and make a quick meal with.

Read labels each and every time you go to the supermarket. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve been caught out by getting complacent about the food I’m buying only to find the manufacturer has decided to substitute maize starch for wheat starch in recipes, or added celery out of the blue. It takes longer for sure, but I’ve been responsible on several occasions for making one or more of my boys extremely poorly by not checking.

You will undoubtedly be cooking more things from raw ingredients which although takes a little longer than using a sauce from a jar for example, does mean you are eating fewer additives and is much healthier for you.

Biscuits are simple to make and can be frozen uncooked very easily, defrosted and then cooked a few at a time, enabling you to make a large batch which keeps you going for ages. I plan do do a ‘Tips and Tricks’ post soon so watch out for that.

And that’s it for today! I hope my posts help you to feel part of an online community and not alone dealing with this.

See you soon.