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There are three main reasons mainstream health professionals say human beings should drink a lot of milk.  The first is to get enough Vitamin D, the second is to get enough Vitamin A and the third is to get enough calcium.  Interestingly enough, dairy is not really a great source of any of these nutrients, and ingesting it can come with a whole slew of issues.

What is the Matter with the Moo Juice?

When shopping for food in the grocery store, it is important to make note of certain marketing terms.  One such term is “fortified.”  When a food product is “fortified” with any given nutrient, the food usually does not have a lot of that thing in it to begin with.  Milk is one such item.  In its natural pre-pasteurized state, it contains only trace amounts of Vitamin D.  A serving of whole variety has approximately 9 percent of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin A for an adult.  However, the reduced fat varieties contain even less Vitamin A.

Calcium is the third matter.  Most pasteurized varieties contain quite a bit of calcium.  The amount is usually around 300 micrograms per cup.  That is a good amount of calcium, but it comes with two problems.  The first is that the body needs magnesium with the calcium to digest it, and there is not usually enough magnesium to help with that process.  The second problem is that some studies have shown that this supposedly healthy liquid actually leeches calcium from the bones!  That completely negates one of the main reasons for drinking it in the first place.

Finally, for those who are trying to avoid casein for various reasons, including autism related issues to simply seeing if it is one of the sources of digestive distress, the drink contains quite a bit of casein.  There are generally six proteins in each variety of cow’s milk.  Of those six, four are casein.  That makes it terrible for a GFCF diet.

What are the Milk Alternatives?

Dairy is great for certain recipes, with cold cereals and a number of other foods.  However, because of its issues, it is often better to entertain the idea of using milk alternatives.  These are made out of several non-dairy foods, but the most common milk alternatives are:

  • Almond
  • Coconut
  • Rice
  • Soy

Two of the better types for baking and overall natural flavor are the almond and coconut varieties.  Most of these are interchangeable in every application with regular dairy.  Each variety makes great ice cream and, in the case of soy, a reasonable alternative to traditional cheese.  These are just a few of the ways to avoid moo juice while still enjoying the same recipes.

 

How can you substitute for dairy or gluten-containing items and still stay on the GFCF diet? It’s actually easier than you think for most items. Many times when I’m trying to adapt a recipe, I find I need to either find a common substitution, or create one. This can take quite a bit of time, so I thought it would be helpful to create a resource for you to refer back to easily when you are cooking. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of common dairy substitutions and a list of common gluten substitutions to help you stay true to the gluten-free, casein-free diet without getting too frustrated in the process!

Dairy Substitutions

Stick Butter – Willow Run Soybean Margarine by Shedd’s (if you can eat soy); OR, Ghee (clarified butter) : this doesn’t contain casein and yet has all the richness of butter; OR, Spectrum Organic Shortening (I use this when I need more than a few tablespoons); OR,                                 Coconut Oil (melts nicely, easy to scoop into a measuring cup).

Buttermilk – 1 cup milk alternative (unsweetened, unflavored) with 1 Tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

Milk – substitute 1:1 with milk alternatives like rice milk, soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk

Yogurt – substitute 1:1 with So Delicious coconut milk yogurt or soy-based yogurt

Cream -1/4 cup soy half-n-half, mixed with ¼ cup soy margarine, melted, and ½ c unsweetened soymilk; OR, 1 cup cream of coconut

Condensed Milk – substitute 1:1 with canned coconut milk

Gluten Substitutions –

Gluten-Free Flours –      rice, sorghum, corn, amaranth, soy, almond meal, coconut flour, quinoa flour, flaxseed flour, arrowroot,millet, buckwheat, etc.

Pastas – rice pasta, corn pasta, quinoa pasta

Cereals – items made with rice, corn, or gluten-free oats and marked “gluten-free” (watch out for extra chemicals though in some mainstream cereals!)

Breads – rice cakes, corn tortillas, gluten-free bread mixes, gluten-free crackers

Oats – look for “gluten-free” certified oats (Trader Joe’s sells them)

Rice – rice doesn’t contain gluten; if you need to avoid rice, try quinoa because it is very similar in taste/texture

(Sources of information include:  Dairy-Free Cooking; GlutenFreeWorks.)

Are there any substitutions that I missed? Have one you’d like to share? Please comment below.

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