THE SECRETS OF THE COW CONQUERERS: more hints on hidden dairy

NON-DAIRY doesn't mean anything! It's a lie! A holdover from the days in which "dairy" just meant whole milk, this label is usually inaccurate. Read the ingredients.

DAIRY FREE and VEGAN are usually more reliable labels, but as far as I know there's no law. Read the ingredients.


1. You can always find a dairy-free version of ANYTHING somewhere. So don't despair.

2. You can always find a version of anything WITH dairy in it somewhere. So don't assume. We even found fortune cookies with whey in them the other day. Bad orange fortune cookies.

Be especially careful with these food items:

Bread and pastries -- in restaurants, ask to see packaging or find someone who knows the ingredients. Pastries almost always have butter, but if you go to your local college coffee hangout they might be able to get you a vegan one.

Margarine -- a little margarine on an egg recently gave my sweetie a two-week spell of symptoms. No kidding. This stuff usually has whey in it. Mind you, there IS safe margarine out there; they just don't use it in restaurants. See the later part of the guide.

Fake Cheese -- Yes. Cheese substitutes have casein in them nine times out of ten. I suppose they're for lactose intolerant people. But really. What a death trap! Look for the ones labeled "VEGAN".

Non-dairy creamer -- I'm sorry, Virginia, there ain't no Santa Claus, and something you've believed all your life has just been torn down. Non-dairy creamer has casein all the whey (heh heh) and I've never seen one without it, except for the refrigerated kind produced by soymilk companies.

Meat -- hot dogs, sausages and luncheon meat can have dairy in them.

Candy -- dairy is in some weeeiiiirrd things out there. Dark chocolate's one that often has milk in it when you wouldn't expect.

Dressings and sauces -- especially in restaurants, always ask.

Check everything! We've found dairy in salad dressings and sandwich fixings; we've found "Extra Butter Flavor" microwave popcorn that doesn't contain a drop of the stuff. We've found stuffing that comes in exactly the same package, except that some of the packages include 'whey' in the ingredients and some don't. (Oreos are similarly confusing.) You'll be surprised by good fortune as often as disappointed.

IN RESTAURANTS -- ASK. What are you paying those inflated meal prices for if not to get a good meal? And a meal that hurts you is not a good meal. If you tell them you have a dairy allergy, they should be careful to avoid getting dairy in your food, and solicitious to make certain you know what is there. Eating bugs won't hurt most people, but restaurants get sued when bugs wind up in the food, right? So if something that will hurt you winds up in yours, don't hesitate to ask for a new plate. The same goes for any other allergies you might have.

How do I know if dairy is the problem?

How fast will I get better? A caution to the impatient

Ingredients to look out for

More hints on hidden dairy

Replacing the cow