Where is Milk Hiding?

Revealing Milk’s Alter-egos

Hey there dare takers, how’s the alternative milk challenge coming? This week we wanted to dive in a bit deeper into milk and give you a bit more information on where it may turn up. Up until now we’ve really only discussed milk as milk – the white liquid that we drink, put in our coffee or cereals or even our sauces and dishes. Going one step further, we can all identify that milk is in food items like ice cream, chocolate, yogurt or cheese. There are even other sources of milk, like goat or sheep. What we may not know is that milk is hiding all around us and in the least suspect of places.

80% of cow’s milk is comprised of the protein casein. The other 20%, whey, may be most familiar to us  since it is used in most protein powders. Casein is a slow-digesting protein while whey digests much quicker. If you are trying to avoid milk all together it’s important to read all labels, even on things such as soy cheese, to check for either of these two proteins. It can be quite deceiving and we’ve most certainly been duped a few too many times.

You may ask why one would want to avoid milk completely. One good reason would be the presence of an allergy or intolerance, which can be difficult to detect. An allergy will result in an immune response where your body will attack the milk or milk proteins as if they were a foreign body. This could result in rashes, wheezing, digestive issues and even flu-like symptoms. A milk intolerance will revolve around stomach pain, gas, diarrhea or even vomiting. These symptoms can occur anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating milk, making it difficult to determine the culprit. A casein-free diet is even implemented in cases of child autism and has shown great results especially in combination with a gluten-free diet.

Whether you suspect a milk allergy or intolerance, or are looking to avoid it for other reasons such as a vegan diet or animal welfare, pay attention to this list below.

Ingredients to Look For:
milk solids or curd
protein as an additive (is most often milk protein)
caramel coloring

Foods Where Milk May be Hiding:
non-dairy cheeses
processed or substitute meats
protein powders
fortified cereals
nutrition bars
spice mixes
canned tuna
potato chips
salad dressings
lactose free milks
baby formulas
breath mints or chewing gum
toothpaste, particularly those labeled “whitening”
medicines or vitamins

So watch out and if you feel sick after eating something, check the ingredients and you may begin to find a common denominator.