Family and Friends – Dairy Free

Whatever the reason you need to be dairy free, from personal choice, lactose intolerance to severe allergies, it is important to be an advocate for your own and your family’s health.

If your family and friends are not familiar with a dairy free diet, you will need to educate them about your situation. If you or your child have a milk allergy, you will need to be proactive. No one wants you or your child to have an allergic reaction at their home. You will need to explain about milk allergies and what being dairy free means. You will need to stress that there is no cure for milk allergies and the only way to avoid reactions is strict avoidance of any milk products. Be patient but firm. For some, it may be a difficult transition. It may not be easy explaining to Grandma that you can’t have her Sunday lasagna anymore, even though you have eaten it all your life.

We have compiled a list of dairy foods to avoid, as well as a list of naturally dairy free foods (link) that are available to print.  Use these lists to help you explain exactly what dairy is and is not to your family and friends.

You will also need to teach them about what cross contact is and how to avoid it. Please see our information on cross contact and cross contamination. It will also be necessary to educate them on what a reaction looks like and what your reaction treatment plan entails.

Until they are comfortable with dairy free foods, try to host any family event at home or bring your own safe food. When you are hosting, make every dish dairy free. It is a great opportunity to show that dairy free food can be delicious and easy to make.

Do not be uncomfortable explaining your situation to others.  If you are going to someone’s home, ask what is on the menu, and if necessary, offer to bring a dish. Have a snack before you go and always have a backup plan. When in doubt, bring your own food with you. No one will fault you for being safe. You are dairy free for a reason and no host wants to accidentally make anyone sick.