Food Allergy Awareness Month – Dairy Allergy & Intolerance

Maria Hicks  Health Solutions Coach

Maria Hicks
Health Solutions Coach

Continuing with our Food Allergy Awareness Month topic – this week’s blog is dedicated to dairy allergy & intolerance. Again, I am personally intolerant to dairy and I will share my best tips for avoiding & substituting dairy.

But, first let’s talk a little about a milk allergy and a milk intolerance.

According to Mayo Clinic….

 It’s important to differentiate a true milk allergy from milk intolerance or lactose intolerance. Unlike a milk allergy, intolerance doesn’t involve the immune system. Milk intolerance causes different symptoms and requires different treatment from a true milk allergy. Common signs and symptoms of milk protein or lactose intolerance include digestive problems, such as bloating, gas or diarrhea, after consuming milk or products containing milk.”

Immediately after consuming milk, signs and symptoms of a milk allergy might include:

  • Hives
  • Wheezing
  • Vomiting

Signs and symptoms that may take more time to develop include:

  • Loose stools, which may contain blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy skin rash, often around the mouth

Rarely, milk allergy can cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that can narrow the airways and block breathing.

  • Constriction of airways, including a swollen throat
  • Facial flushing
  • Itching
  • Shock, with a marked drop in blood pressure


Best tips for dealing with a dairy allergy or intolerance:

  • Read all food labels!  Look for BOLD lettering on the ingredient list for “dairy”
  • Use almond, coconut, rice, oat or hemp milks (they taste great on cereal!)
  • Avoid whey, lactose, cheeses, yogurts, ice creams & cream sauces
  • Besides avoiding obvious dairy products, look for hidden dairy in: salad dressings, sauces, crackers, chips, cookies, some bread, cereals, some canned foods, powdered mixes
  • Try a 14-21 MED (modified elimination diet) and take out dairy and all hidden dairy sources, keep a food journal and see if you feel better
  • If you regularly suffer from gas & bloating after eating, I suggest trying an MED diet and avoid dairy for 2-3 weeks
  • Worried about calcium?  Eat Kale and other green leafy veggies & beans (all of which have calcium!) and/or fortified orange juice & supplements