Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Recipes from "The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Cooking"

Beverly Lynn Bennett and Ray Sammartano are husband and wife as well as co-authors of"The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Living as well as the recently published The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Cooking

An article by Cheryl Rade in the Eugene, OR, Register-Guard said:

After graduating from culinary school at the University of Akron, Bennett became a baker, but rapidly tired of using eggs and other dairy products in the preparation of baked goods. Shortly thereafter, she opened a natural foods restaurant and felt immediately at home.

"I could finally cook just vegetarian food," she says. "It was fun."

Bennett went on to work in health food stores (including Sundance Natural Foods in Eugene) and later, with the prompting of her husband, began a vegan chef Web site in 1999 (

That article features several complete recipes from the book, including Red Lentil Bolognese, Teriyaki Tofu Rice Noodles, Teriyaki Stir-Frying and Dipping Sauce, Mini Spinach-Mushroom Quiches, and Mochaccino-Chip Cookies.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Zeroing In On Gluten

An article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Zeroing in on Gluten, offers a good basic overview on the subject of celiac disease, the better and more modern name for gluten intolerance.

An estimated 3 million Americans have celiac disease. The medical community doesn't define celiac disease as an allergy but an autoimmune disorder in which nutrients aren't properly absorbed in the small intestine. The culprit is gluten, a variety of grain-based sticky protein found in a vast array of natural and manufactured ingredients and food products -- including wheat, barley and rye flours that provide the tender, elastic texture in that slice of bread.

It is estimated that the condition affects one in every 130 people worldwide, and it is undiagnosed in about 90 percent of Americans who have it.

Normally, nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine, which is lined with tiny fingerlike projections called villi. Villi add to the intestine's surface area, increasing its ability to absorb nutrients. But in celiac disease, gluten appears to flatten the villi and damage them, reducing the body's ability to take in nutrients properly. Inflammation of the intestine results.

Celiacs don't only suffer discomfort or serious pain when they consume gluten. The condition can lead to a wide range of symptoms and ailments, says Dr. Lori Mahajan, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital.

"When infants and children develop celiac disease, it's typically when solid foods are introduced," she says. "They can exhibit abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, bloating and gassiness. They can test positive for anemia. In older kids, there may be delayed puberty, or elevated liver enzymes, which can be misdiagnosed as hepatitis. Type 1 diabetes can occur."


In adults, common symptoms can include abdominal distention -- a "bloated" feeling -- and intestinal discomfort ranging from bouts of flatulence to chronic severe pain. Weight loss can accompany the disease because of the body's inability to absorb nutrients, and fatigue and exhaustion often result.

"If the villi have fallen off the intestinal walls, you can't easily absorb carbohydrates," Mahajan says. Milk sugars become a problem for the patient who becomes lactose intolerant, which can be misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome, she says.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lactitol - Another Nondairy "Lact"

I'm getting a rash of "lact" queries following my posts on Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate and Not all "Lact" Words Are the Same.

Lactitol is a sugar alcohol. It's similar to other sugar alcohols like sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, and maltitol. Those all may sound familiar because they are used as sugar substitutes. It's not just that sugar alcohols are mostly less sweet than sugar or have fewer calories. They don't react in the body the same way that sugar - sucrose - does and so they can be used by diabetics.

The problem with sugar alcohols is that they cause digestive complaints in many people. These may include abdominal pain, gas, and mild to severe diarrhea. Do these also sound familiar? Right. They're exactly the symptoms of lactose intolerance. They're even caused by one of the same mechanisms, the drawing of water into the intestinal tract where it is normally removed.

It's true that lactitol is made from lactose in a process called catalytic hydrogenation. Even so, the amount of lactose present in a sample of lactitol will be extremely tiny at most.

There might by a problem for the most severely allergic because a few micrograms of protein might remain in a sizable serving of lactitol.

The European Food Safety Authority has ruled:

Based on the data submitted, and assuming a lactose content in lactitol of less than 0.2% and a daily intake of lactitol of 10-20g, intolerance reactions due to lactose are unlikely since the intake of lactose would be up to 0.04g which is lower than the dose of 10g generally tolerated in lactose mal-digesters.

The applicant bases the evidence that lactitol preparations do not trigger cow’s milk allergic reactions on analytical data regarding the residual content of the two major milk proteins in lactitol preparations (up to 3.2mg/kg for casein and 9.7mg/kg for lactoglobulin). A double blind placebo controlled food challenge in five cow’s milk allergic children did not show an allergic reaction to lactitol.

Taking into account the data submitted, the Panel considers that it is unlikely that lactitol will cause adverse reactions in lactose intolerant individuals.

Further, taking into account the data submitted, the Panel considers that it is not very likely that lactitol will trigger adverse reactions in cow’s milk allergic individuals under the conditions of use specified by the applicant.

Since a kilogram is 1000 grams and a daily intake of lactitol is given as 10 grams, the amount of protein in an average daily serving of lactitol is therefore 32 micrograms of casein and 97 micrograms for lactoglobulin. These are tiny amounts except for the few individuals for whom even nanograms, 1/1000 the amount of a microgram, are of concern.

Sugar alcohols present a variety of problems and issues that are hard to sort out for any particular individual. You may see digestive complaints whether you are lactose intolerant or not, and you may be perfectly fine either way. Those far out at the end of the bell curve of reactions should probably avoid lactitol, but you'll have to test yourself to see whether any of the other sugar alcohols may affect you.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Call for More Dairy-Free Restaurant Food

Lawrence Kay, the founder of food development consultancy Foodworks in the U.K., warned that:

the number of people living with a food allergy or intolerance will reach 12m by 2010, and chefs will need to adapt their menus accordingly if they don’t want to exclude such a big share of their market.

Quoted in an article by Becky Paskin on, Kay had some simple recommendations for restaurants and pubs.
"We should be thinking of offering bread and lactose alternatives, and while I doubt that we will ever be able to guarantee that we can cater for coeliac sufferers we can provide for those simply wishing to reduce their intake," Kay commented. "We put butter and milk in mash potato to make it creamy – put olive oil in and there’s hardly any people who have an intolerance to it."

The dairy-free market in the UK has seen massive growth over the past few years, and is now worth £23m. Sales of gluten free food rose to over £47m.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Spanish Ice Cream - for Dogs, an English-language website about Spain, ran this article recently:

A company in Málaga is gearing up for the pre-Christmas launch of its first product - ice-cream for dogs.

Available in a variety of flavours, including vanilla, cream and ham, the product is the first of its type especially developed with dogs in mind.

Technical director, Miguel López, explained that, owing to the facts that dogs, especially adults, find it difficult to digest lactose, this has been mixed with the enzyme, lactase, which reduces lactose intolerance levels (which are 200 times higher in dogs than in humans) by 99%, thus making it "totally suitable for animals."

Mr López also explained that the artificial sweetener, maltitol, has been used instead of sugar to keep the calories down.

Price at around €3 euros for a half-litre

Notice anything odd about this article? The name of the company isn't mentioned. It's not in the part of the article I didn't quote. I can't find it on a Google search with any set of key words. I hope some Spanish reader discovers it and posts a comment to share it with the world.

If you live in the U.S., BTW, you're already able to buy ice cream for your dog. I wrote about Frosty Paws, maker of Ice Cream Sandwiches for Dogs way back in 2006.

Doesn't way back in 2006 seem like a weird thing to read?

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Here's How Tiny the Milk Alternative Market Is

It's great being able to walk into a supermarket or health food establishment and find shelves and sections of fairy-free and other specialty food products these days. It sure wasn't like that 30 years when I first learned I was lactose intolerant.

It's kinda hard to appreciative how good we have it today. Few of the alternatives have really great taste. Variety is limited. Most stores don't stock all the flavors. Many companies sell regionally rather than nationally. Those in live in rural areas surely have less availability than those living in large cities.

Our good fortune is relative. And precarious. Although you can't usually tell from the packages of food, the companies that are in the milk alternative industry are mostly somewhere between tiny and on-the-brink. With a recession coming on, or here, or a looming possibility, some of your favorite companies might go under.

I was reminded of this by a stock analyst's report on Lifeway Foods. I've posted about the company several times, most recently in Grab Your Own Frozen Kefir Boutique Franchise.

The analyst is dubious about the company's stock price. I have absolutely no knowledge of whether this is a good evaluation or not. I was more struck about the fuzzy chart that appears about halfway down the page, TABLE I: DAIRY AND HEALTH/FUNCTIONAL FOOD PUBLIC COMPARABLES.

If you blow it up large enough to read, you can see it contains some of the major names in the field, including Hain, Dean, and Tofutti. Dean is the largest company mentioned, and its market cap - the total value of all its stock - is about $3 billion, and that includes many conventional milk companies and products. For comparison, Kraft, the maker of Cool Whip, has a market cap of $60 billion. Nestle's makes Coffeemate and its market cap is about $150 billion.

Tofutti, which has been in the business for 30 years, with good years and bad, and makes nothing but milk alternative products, has a market cap of $12 million. That's $0.012 billion. Kraft could buy Tofutti out of the change in the vending machines at its headquarters.

I hope Tofutti lasts another 30 years, at least. But I wouldn't be a bit surprised to read that any specialty foods company is having serious problems in today's economies. We're a tiny niche market. Those are hurt first and worst.

Don't start to panic yet. But see what alternatives to the alternatives might exist for you, just in case.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Never Read Just the Headline



Children Food Allergies Soar to 18 Percent

First line of article:
Children food allergies are up 18 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The two numbers say totally different things, and the headline is so wrong that it makes for a perfect example.

What are children's food allergies up to? The article states that:
The CDC estimates that four out of every 100 children suffer from food allergies.

Four out of every 100. That's 4%. Not 18%, not even a quarter of 18%.

If there has been an 18% rise, that means food allergies went from 3.4% to 4.0%. That may be a serious rise, but it still reflects a condition limited to a small percentage of the population.

It's bugs the hell out of me that reporters and editors can't understand enough elementary school math to know when numbers are wrong. And when their ignorance frightens people I call them out on it.

Shame on you all.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate

I often need to reassure people who write me that none of the food additives found in ingredients' lists on packaged foods starting with "lact" ever contain lactose. Not any. Lactates, lactones, lactylates, lactalbumin, lactoglobulin, the whole kit and caboodle are lactose-free. The only "lact" that contains lactose is lactose.

I just did a post on one aspect of this, Not all "Lact" Words Are the Same.

It gets a little trickier for people who have to worry about milk allergies. Both lactalbumin and lactoglobulin are names of whey proteins. You want to avoid those if you have a milk allergy.

What about the other "lact"s?

I just received an email from a women who said that her son had an allergic reaction and she traced it to the hot dog buns that contained sodium stearoyl lactylate.

My Dairy or Nondairy page on my Steve Carper's Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse website has for years carried this quote from FAAN (the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) about lactylates:

"They do not contain milk protein and need not be restricted by someone avoiding milk."

The page with that information on it is still up at the FAAN site.

I didn't stop there. Perhaps new information has come along.

I looked at other authoritative sites.

The Food Allergy Initiative:
Ingredients that do not contain milk are:
Cocoabutter, coconut milk, calcium lactate, calcium stearoyl lactylate, oleoresein, cream of tartar, sodium stearoyl lactylate, and lactic acid (although lactic acid starter culture may contain milk).

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency:
Ingredients that do not contain milk protein
Calcium/sodium lactate
Calcium/sodium stearoyl lactylate
Cocoa butter
Cream of tartar

This seems to be solid. Even so, I can nitpick the information.

That very same Canadian page also claims lactate/lactose under "Other Names for Milk." Unless labeling regulations are totally different in Canada, this is false, as I posted in 2006, Lactates Not Lactose.

And that page has a note on it that reads:
These lists are not complete and may change. Food and food products purchased from other countries, through mail-order or the Internet, are not always produced using the same manufacturing and labelling standards as in Canada.

While I wouldn't expect any hot dog buns you buy in a store in the U.S. to have unregulated products from other countries in them, I can't guarantee that they don't. I think it's highly unlikely, though.

Alisa Fleming at lists lactylate and sodium stearoyl lactylate under "Surprisingly Dairy Free Ingredients." Unfortunately she lists sodium lactylate, as well as lactate, under "Definitely Dairy Ingredients." I don't understand this and I'll ask her about it directly.

[Update: She says that the sodium lactylate under Definitely Dairy Ingredients is a mistake and has been corrected on her latest lists. So that's another point away from any lactylate creating dairy symptoms.]

In fact, I can't find a single site that is scientifically trustworthy that says that lactylates might contain milk protein. You can find sites that claim this, but they never say where they get their information from. If not from the authoritative sites, then where?

Until I have better or newer information, therefore, I have to suggest to adults, or to parents who think that lactylates may have caused an allergic reaction in their children, that they should try to find a different source of the milk contamination or to consider the possibility that some other cause was the culprit.

I'm not going to be absolute on this. If you want to eliminate lactylates from your foods, go right on doing so. It's the possibility that you may be eliminating the wrong thing that worries me.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

OatsCreme - Good Product, Bad Review

Much as we hate to admit it, most milk alternative products don't live up to the originals. That's the reason that ice cream is still always ice cream. People may say they want lactose-free ice cream, but when it comes time to dip in their spoon they go for regular ice creams in all their hundreds of flavors rather than vanilla lactose-free at twice the price.

Dairy-free alternatives have even more difficulty surviving in the marketplace because they taste even less like the real thing.

Example? How about OatsCreme? Using oat flour in place of milk or soy, OatsCreme is a high fiber, dairy-free ice cream alternative that comes in vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.

Roseanne Pereira, writing for the CityPages blog in Minneapolis, is lactose intolerant. She got tempted by the OatsCreme soft swirl at a local store, and felt she had to take the plunge. Here's what happened.

I gladly handed over the $1.40, and grasping my sugar cone, took my first bite. Mmmm, cool, I thought, ice cold, refreshing. Mildly sweet, I ascertained on my second bite. Upon my third bite, I realized, I wanted no more. Was I overwhelmed by the moment or was something already not quite right? Desperately, I tried to taste the flavors separately. The chocolate seemed to have slight bit of cocoa added to it, but otherwise the two tasted relatively the same.

Something about this "dairy-free indulgence" was wrong, terribly wrong. OatsCreme was cool, but not creamy; mildly sweet, but not deliciously so. In the end, it was edible, but (gasp!) not at all tasty. Strangely, an image of a childhood art class came to mind -- a workshop where we made our own paper. The result was multi-colored, fibrous and roughly rectangular in shape, okay for a gift to parents, but not actually something anyone would ever write on. So it is with OatsCreme; it has some pleasing, familiar elements -- it looks good and is good for you -- but it's hard to imagine anyone wanting to eat it.

I don't mean to pick on OatsCreme. This reaction is all too typical from people who are lactose intolerant. Those who are dairy allergic or vegan or diabetic - OatsCreme has no added sugar - may find the swirl a rare and refreshing treat. It must sell if Pereira had been walking by it for months.

But the next time you ask why more products aren't available that are free of lactose... Well, this is the reason. They don't sell very well. They don't taste quite the same. And you don't make habits of them.

It's you. And not them.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

No Wheat? No Way! Cookbook

From the press release.

When gluten-free cook, mother and author Theresa Santandrea-Cull compiled her latest recipe book "No Wheat? No Way!" she included 10 years of research into wheat-free and dairy-free dishes and desserts. Her book, now available for download online, is an assortment of delicious recipes especially crafted without the use of dairy or wheat.

In "No Wheat? No Way!", readers learn how easy it can be to bake with gluten-free flours. Santandrea-Cull shares healthy recipes for almost any food, from pancakes to pizza. Her scrumptious treats include:

-breads, loaves, waffles
-Yorkshire pudding, tea biscuits and scones
-cakes, muffins and cinnamon buns
-pies, tarts, fruit crisps and cobbler
-lasagna, sauces…and so much more

You can also find information about Santandrea-Cull and her book at her website.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Endless Amount of Vegan Drivel

In these partisan times, I'm pleased to be able to share with you a controversy in which both sides are equally culpable, equally inane, and equally worthy of condemnation. No, don't thank me. It's all part of the service.

The culprit du jour is the new UK vegan magazine Off the Hoof, scheduled to debut November 1, which is - ta da! - World Vegan Day. quoted the editor thusly:

"We've allowed an endless amount of drivel in this magazine's first edition, nothing was censored. We are hoping it's so bad that respected ethical journalists the world over will submit articles for free so that the 2nd edition of the magazine isn't so embarrassing to the international vegan community" says the editor of Off the Hoof, vegan pub landlord Al Slurry from publishers the Yaoh hemp company, Bristol.

Embarrassing drivel I can not and will not defend. Content aimed at adults is another matter. Not everything is designed to be read by children, and not all children need to be protected from content in a magazine for adults.

And yet "a concerned mother and amateur child psychologist" -- in the U.S. that's code for self-appointed nutcase -- already has strong words for the yet-to-be-published magazine:

"There's no way children should be subjected to this kind of filth. It's full of public house gutter language and radical extremist concepts that could lead young minds astray."

The unsigned article manages to omit any reference to any content that might bear the label "radical extremist concepts". Filth is in the eye of the beholder, but as an adult there is very little content in any magazine sold at, say, a Barnes & Noble that I would consider filthy. Is there any here? You be the judge.

The editorial team at Off the Hoof have followed a typically award winning format for their ethical magazine. There is celebrity gossip about vegetarian and vegan celebrities such as Natalie Portman, Chrissie Hynde, Paul McCartney, Chris Martin, Oprah Winfrey and Victoria Beckham. There are the usual recipe features from award winning vegan chefs. Off the Hoof has travel features, new product features and a dreadful jokes page which if nothing else should inspire a fruitful letters page in the next issue. A wide range of topics are covered from cross dressing (up skirt shots) to eating disorders (sword swallowing).

It's barely possible that "sword swallowing" is an English euphemism for an activity more typically featured on porn sites than in vegan magazines, but the odds are stacked high as a pastrami sandwich against it. What upskirt shots of cross dressers have to do with veganism is also beyond me, but knickers are knickers no matter who wears them.

What we seem to have here is the dumb leading the dopey.

Slurry's plans are to be the only independent ethical vegan magazine on the racks in England, the rest of the ethical vegan mags apparently tame affairs put out by charities. No problem there. Magazines should be lively enough to be read. But once you read them, the content should be worthy of your time and attention. Will Off the Hoof ever qualify? Anyone want to make bets on the likelihood of their ever having a second issue?

If they do, I have an article for them that touches all their topics. Here's an upskirt shot of a cross dresser from a movie whose characters are lactose intolerant.

Marlon Wayans and Terry Crews in the movie White Chicks.

Now where's my controversy in the papers?

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Monday, October 20, 2008

A Plus for U.S. Health Care

Although you can easily find any desired number of articles and anecdotes from people whose lactose intolerance, dairy allergy, or other food-related ailment was not diagnosed properly for a time even here in the U.S., we need to remember that our system is still far ahead of much of the surrounding world's.

An article by Andre Bagoo in Trinidad & Tobago's Newsday shows that even the rich and powerful in other countries can hardly hope to equal the medical service that most of us can find in a neighborhood doctor's office.

Mariana Patricia Browne, 19, is the daughter of businessman Mariano Browne, who is now Minister in the Ministry of Finance. She's a scholarship student and a pre-med hopeful. And yet her experiences with the local hospital system is one of the reasons she wants to study medicine.

Another dramatic story involves her suffering from a phantom illness when she was only seven years old. At the time she would become very ill after eating, experiencing severe stomach pain. After seeing countless doctors in Trinidad – several at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex – the family was no where near solving the cause of her pain. They flew her to Washington where American doctors at a paediatric hospital diagnosed her condition: she was lactose intolerant.

Asked if, in retrospect, she is alarmed at the fact that she had to fly to America for foreign doctors to realise she was lactose intolerant, Mariana notes that the quality of the local health care system leaves a lot to be desired.

She's candid in saying that the scholarship she won, a national award called an additional scholarship, will be needed if she hopes to study at Howard University in Washington, D.C. But she also says that all the national scholarships awarded should be given on the basis of both financial need and academic accomplishment.

An accomplished young women, especially for her age. I hope she gets her dreams. I think we all benefit if those come true.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Be Free For Me - Coupons for Special Foods

Photo by John Wilcox

Kathleen Reale discovered that she had celiac disease in 1994. As with so many others of us who have to turn to a special foods diet, she became frustrated with the lack of appropriate information and variety.

As Donna Goodison wrote for The Boston Herald, Reale has now created
Her free Web site is targeting the country’s estimated 3 million celiacs and 12 million-plus people who have food allergies. It has signed more than 1,000 members since it launched last week amid Celiac Awareness Month. Reale’s goal is to have 5,000 members by the end of the year.

Those who join - which also will include online links to savings and samples as well as recipes, articles, product reviews and a blog by Reale - will receive a monthly newsletter and quarterly coupon books. Reale hopes to have offers from 48 product manufacturers, retailers and restaurants in the first book that will be sent by mail early next year.

The savings should be an enticement for prospective members, because many gluten- and allergen-free foods tend to be expensive, according to Reale. A box of gluten-free cereal can cost up to $5.50, and a loaf of gluten-free bread can be upward of $6.

There's a sign-up page at the site where you can agree to receive Reale's materials.
Free Samples & Coupons sent to your home / Newsletter
Samples & Coupons sent periodically throughout the year - direct to your home. Product Review and informative email Newsletter sent to your inbox monthly.

Receive a sample pack of a new nut free cereal and try before you buy, go ahead and buy a new kind of gluten free pasta with that $1.00 off coupon, want to try a new dairy free cookie? Sure! These are some examples of how BeFreeForMe can help you sample & save!

BeFree FreeBe
Sent periodically throughout the year to your inbox.

Emails full of tidbits and tips on gluten free and allergy free offers found online. All based upon your personalized dietary preferences.

Ask BeFreeForMe
Sent weekly to your inbox.

Got Questions? We got the answers: Whether it’s what to do to prepare for a nut free sleep-over or the secret to making a delicious gluten free turn-over. You ask and we’ll answer. BeFreeForMe will answer one of our member’s questions every week.

Free Thought
Sent Monday through Friday to your inbox.

Daily quotes and inspiration to free ourselves. Solitude, laughter, peace, or enlightenment delivered to your inbox daily.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

LI Celebrity Alert: Madonna

From the squabbling over Madonna's divorce from Guy Ritchie comes this gossipy tidbit via The New York Daily News.

Madonna's personal habits include having a live-in trainer, and going to sleep slathered in $800 cream and wrapped in plastic, according to the Mail online.

She also enforced a strict dairy-free policy in their home, and Ritchie was rarely allowed to eat meat. When he did, his wife would leave the table in disgust.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Food Allergy Alert. Get the T-Shirt.

Moms who start companies because they made products for their children's allergies and the concept took off are a thousand points of light on the landscape. Yes, I'm that old.

Here's a fun and interesting twist. Rebecca Nelson has two sons with food allergies whom she worries about. OK, nothing new there. "I've got to find a way to be sure he's safe in school," she thought. Nothing new there either.

But, as Jennifer Chapman wrote for the Aspen Newspapers, Nelson's next move was distinctly different.

She said since she can't be with her child all day at school and because parents can't rely on a two, three or four-year-old to relay their food allergies to school staff, she designed a special shirt for her child to wear to pre-school.

Nelson got busy working on the computer, designing a T-shirt that read "Food Allergy Alert." ...

That's when Nelson taught herself computer programs and created a whole line - 12 designs - of colorful T-shirts with animals, insects and other kid-friendly designs. Then came the company name, ALERT Clothing Company. ...

T-shirts start at $18.99 and sweatshirts cost $26. Percentage of sales go toward FAAN and schools' Parent-Teacher Associations.

For more information about ALERT Clothing Company, visit

A shipping and handling fee will be added to all orders.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not all "Lact" Words Are the Same

The Latin term for milk is lac lactis. Because Latin was the international language of science for many centuries, especially during the centuries that our modern vocabulary for science was developed, any white fluid, or chemical that was discovered in a white fluid, had a "lact" put into its name.

I have a page on my website, Dairy or Nondairy? The Experts Speak, that discusses many of the "lact" words that are used in foods, such as lactate, lactylate, and lactic acid. There is absolutely no lactose in any of those chemicals.

You can also find "lact", not surprisingly, in milk proteins. Lactalbumin and lactoglobulin are two members of the whey family of proteins. They have no lactose, but people with protein allergies should avoid them.

That doesn't even begin to cover the "lact" terms, but I don't discuss the rest because they are not food additives and so there's no reason even to mention them, normally.

However, people trying to protect their loved ones are rightfully suspicious of every word that comes before them.

I found this question on an Alzheimer's question site:

My wife has been having severe memory lapses, refuses to go to doctor so I have begun reading up on Alzheimer's.... Here's the question: Just found out that lactacystin is an inhibitor of proteosome activity and may therefore be related to experimentally induced Alzheimers. The chemical structure is an odd one and I have, as I've mentioned, no access to scientific literature which would help me determine why the "LACTA" in the name. Perhaps coincidentally my wife has been abusing lactase tablets during the time she has developed AZ symptoms.

Could there be any connection? Even if a long shot I' ll have her discontinue lactase and got for soy milk products, etc.

There is no connection at all. Lactacystin is a cyclic amide, which is also known as a lactam. Lactam is a shortening of lactone + amide. A lactone is a cyclic ester, a type of lactide, which is formed from dehydrated lactic acid. And lactic acid was first found in soured milk.

Neither lactase nor lactose have any chemical similarity to any of these chemicals.

Nor is it possible to abuse lactase tablets. There are no known side effects to lactase. Any unused lactase passes out of the body with other waste. So does used lactase, for that matter. Lactase is a catalyst, a substance that speeds up reactions without being consumed in them. It works in the intestines but is not absorbed by the body.

I left a brief version of this information on that Alzheimer's site. While asking the question is always good, in this particular case "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" was the cause of needless worry.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Take In Case EpiPen Holders

Need to be sure your child or loved one has an EpiPen on his or her body at all times? Don't want to take the chance that it got left behind, or stuffed in the wrong pocket of the wrong coat? TAKE IN CASE provides a variety of solutions as close as clothing.

According to the press release the company just issued,

Halloween Safety experts Kim Hartman and Maureen Cooney ... invented and produced TAKE IN CASE(TM) as a comfortable, discreet, secure, wearable sleeve-like case to be worn on the shin, thigh, upper arm by people with severe allergies who are on the go and need to have their EpiPen(R) Auto-Injectors with them at all times.

"When my son was diagnosed with food allergies, I knew it wasn't going to be easy," says TAKE IN CASE(TM) co-creator Kim Hartman. "As a mother, being vigilant about his well-being is second-nature. Making sure that he always has his EpiPen(R) Auto-Injectors and that he knows how to administer them properly is very important. TAKE IN CASE(TM) achieves two goals, it enables my son to carry his medicine in a convenient, discreet manner to movies, ball games or a friend's house and it also gives me peace of mind knowing that he's safe!"

You can check out their complete line of products at their website,

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dairy Free Truffles?

Every once in a while people ask me to host a cooking class or provide a recipe or even write a cookbook. I turn them all down, politely of course. I can follow a recipe. As a house husband I do most of the cooking. But give me a bunch of ingredients and tell me to come up with a meal and I'll give you a bunch of hot ingredients.

So I am always impressed at people who manage to rejigger recipes that would seem to absolutely unquestionably require milk products to make them work and transform them into something dairy free.

Case in point. To celebrate their National Chocolate Week, Liverpool Daily Post writer Emma Pinch wrote a feature article on Bala Croman's new chocolate business.

She manages to produce, by herself, 10,000 chocolates a month, including the ones I didn't think were possible.

Others range from curious to positively eye-watering, frequently with savory ingredients which she insists chocolate complements perfectly. "I add chocolate to chilli con carne and over roast chicken with balsamic vinegar," she says. "I'm always experimenting. We were asked to do dairy-free truffles, so we made them with water instead of cream.

"To give them creaminess, I added coconut milk. We’d had a Thai curry and I thought, lemon grass would go, and that's how we got Thai Temptations."

Coconut milk is often mentioned as a substitute for cream but it doesn't cook up in the same way so must be handled knowledgeably. I also need to add that I recommend only true coconut "milk" straight from the nut. Some Americanized varieties of coconut "milk" add actual cow's milk, rather ruining its non-dairyness.

Dairy-free truffles sound amazing. I hope my U.K. readers can indulge themselves before National Chocolate Week ends. Either that or get the celebration changed to National Chocolate Year, as is should be.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Demulen Birth Control Pills Still Lactose Free

I get asked regularly whether any birth control pills are lactose free. I know of one at the current time. Demulen.

Demulen 1/35-28

Demulen 1/35-21 and Demulen 1/35-28: Each white tablet contains 1 mg of ethynodiol diacetate and 35 mcg of ethinyl estradiol, and the inactive ingredients include calcium acetate, calcium phosphate, corn starch, hydrogenated castor oil, and povidone. Each blue tablet in the Demulen 1/35-28 package is a placebo containing no active ingredients, and the inactive ingredients include calcium sulfate, corn starch, FD&C Blue No. 1 Lake, magnesium stearate, and sucrose.

Demulen 1/50-21 and Demulen 1/50-28: Each white tablet contains 1 mg of ethynodiol diacetate and 50 mcg of ethinyl estradiol, and the inactive ingredients include calcium acetate, calcium phosphate, corn starch, hydrogenated castor oil, and povidone. Each pink tablet in the Demulen 1/50-28 package is a placebo containing no active ingredients, and the inactive ingredients include calcium sulfate, corn starch, FD&C Red No. 3, FD&C Yellow No. 6, magnesium stearate, and sucrose.

Demulen has changed formulations in the past to add lactose, but has since removed it again. I don't know why it did either, but it's a warning that if you use it you need to check and make sure that nothing gets changed again in the future.

There may be others. I know of over 50 brands of birth control pills (BCP) marketed in the U.S. I have not been able to locate the inactive ingredient information for all of them. I've searched more than a dozen major brands, though, and each of those did contain lactose.

If anybody knows of another lactose-free brand besides Demulen, please leave a comment.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gak's Snacks Now Home Free

In the almost three years since I first wrote about the company, Gak's Snacks changed its name to Home Free. A wise move, I must say.

Billing its products as "Treats You Can Trust," all the snacks are dairy, egg, peanut, and tree nut-free. They are baked in a dedicated bakery from organic ingredients.


We have taken special care in creating our delicious, cookies – they are so tasty it’s hard to believe they are Peanut free, Tree nut free, Egg free and Dairy free. They’re perfect for snacks, parties or anywhere!

Our award-winning coffee cakes are so moist and delicious, you won’t believe what’s not in them! Peanut free, Tree nut free, Egg free, Dairy free and no soy except lecithin; our cakes are also certified Organic, Vegan and Whole Grain so they are a guilt-free indulgence for children of all ages.

This cookbook makes it easy for the experienced or beginning baker to make over 100 treats with: No peanuts, No tree nuts, No eggs, and No dairy.


Our allergen-tested baking ingredients make it easy to prepare the delicious treats in the HomeFree Allergen Free Baking Cookbook. These ingredients help baked goods have great texture, even when egg-free, nut-free, wheat-free, and dairy-free.

P.O. Box 491
Windham, NH 03087-0491
Phone: 603-425-6613
Toll free: 800-552-7172

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Whig = Whey

Liberal and conservative are labels - and sometimes slurs - thrown around in the news every day. Not many people know that their use in the U.S. were greatly influenced by the parties that dominated Victorian England, the Liberals and the Conservatives. Those names developed as descriptives from two earlier parties, the Whigs and the Tories.

Those grew out of political, social, and religious divisions among the aristocracy of England and Scotland starting in the late 1600s. They grew deeper after Scotland was forced into a union with England in 1707, creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

The Whigs weren't exactly men of the people, but they gathered their strength from the countryside, the great rural estates, and opposed those who were directly supportive of the King and known as the Crown party.

Over time, the Whigs became more representative of the masses, advocating an increase in the suffrage, allowing more people - people defined as men who were white and not poor - to vote. They called for Parliament to rule the country rather than the King or Queen. They were the anti-slavery party as well. The Tories represented more control and order.

Americans knew these political fights as well as they did their own. Our modern Democratic and Republican parties have evolved to represent similar divisions in the U.S.

Something I didn't know was the origin of the term Whig. In his excellent history, How the Scots Invented the Modern World, Arthur Herman gives this explanation:

Whigg is Scots for a kind of sour milk or whey. In hard times it was the main diet of the poor and indigent; since many of the Covenanters were thought to be lower-class trash, opponents taunted them with the word. When a group of Covenanters marched on Edinburgh to present the Engagement with Charles I in 1848, it became known as the "march of the whiggamores" or "sour milk men." Whiggamore soon shortened to Whig: in John Locke's day, it referred to anyone bound and determined to have a Protestant succession, whether in Scotland or England.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

A Medical Intuitive? My Intuition Says No.

Medical science advances by slow and patient testing of thousands of people over years. Even the, results sometimes contradict each other because of the astounding multiplicity of factors that go into the diet, genetic background, lifestyle, and environment of individuals.

The absolute last thing you want is someone guessing what's good for you.

But guessing is what I read between the lines of this press release from Caroline Sutherland, who bills herself a "Medical Intuitive," a bit of New Age doublespeak that always pegs my alertometer.

Here's a sample of what I consider to be nonsense:

When looking past the correlation between food allergies and weight gain, Sutherland, who has helped over 100,000 people worldwide with her unique brand of healing, notes that hidden food allergies can crop up at various times in a person’s life, disappear just as fast, and cause a wide range of strange effects on the body.

What? It's true that allergies can disappear from young children once they grew into adolescents. All medical research tells us that adults who have allergies have them permanently. They don't come and go.

Sutherland already has a lucrative business peddling her snake oil. Don't give her any of your money.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Water Buffalo Milk Isn't Low Lactose Either

You'll be happy to know that I've managed to restrain myself from posting a correction each and every single time somebody promoting goat's milk makes the false statement that it's low in lactose. None of them ever say what their source might be, but not a single list of lactose percentages I've seen backs them up.

Here we go again. This time it's water buffalo milk.

Ben Muessig of the Brooklyn Paper had this quote in an article on organic food farmers.

"Water buffalo is lower in fat and cholesterol than beef, and the dairy is low in lactose," said Frank Abballe, whose company, Bufala di Vermont, sells buffalo mozzarella.

True, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana is traditional Italian cheese made by water buffalo milk.

Is the cheese low lactose? Could be. Most aged cheeses are, no matter the source of their milk. Mozzarella di bufala is not aged as other cheese but has an unusual manufacturing process, so I can't be sure of the lactose value in the final product.

But the milk itself? Check the link above. Another name for the water buffalo is the carabao and that is a percentage I give. I'll save you from bothering to click over. Carabao is 4.3% lactose. Cow's milk can range from 3.7 to 5.1% lactose, although most milk in the U.S. is around 5%. So water buffalo milk may be slightly lower in lactose but not significantly so. I certainly wouldn't call it a low lactose product.

Next animal, please.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

My Sweet Vegan: Cashew Crème Pear Tart

I told you about Hannah Kaminsky's book My Sweet Vegan, when it appeared last year. Kaminsky was an 18-year-old who became a teenage vegan and experimented heavily with desserts instead of drugs.

She sent out a press release today promoting her appearance on a satellite television cooking show.

Hannah Kaminksy, author of the full color dessert cookbook My Sweet Vegan, recently completed her first televised baking demonstration with Supreme Master Television. It aired internationally in early September, but the fifteen minute demo is now available to view any time. The show, entitled Baking with Hannah Kaminsky, Author of My Sweet Vegan: Cashew Crème Pear Tart, was an episode in the television series, Vegetarianism: The Noble Way of Living.

[Click here to view the program online.]

As the focus of her demonstration, Kaminsky opted to prepare the Cashew Crème Pear Tart recipe from My Sweet Vegan, due to its use of seasonal ingredients. The recipe also has broad comfort food appeal, since it was developed to be naturally egg-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free. When asked about her recipe creation process she responded "I don’t use egg replacer for most things just because I see it as a whole new craft, I’m not replacing things, I’m not taking them out, I’m just creating something from scratch."

The recipe was included in the press release, which means that reprinting it is fair use. Enjoy.
Cashew Crème Pear Tart
Recipe from the dessert cookbook My Sweet Vegan, by Hannah Kaminsky
Serves 12 to 14

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup margarine
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup

Cashew Crème:
1 1/2 cups whole, raw cashews or 1 cup cashew butter
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pear Topping:
2 firm, medium-sized pears
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sliced almonds for garnish

Preheat your oven to 325° F (160° C).

Combine the sugar, almond meal and brown rice flour in a medium bowl. Melt the margarine and pour it in, along with the brown rice syrup. Stir to coat all of the dry ingredients thoroughly, and press this mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan. Bring the crust about 1 inch up the sides of the pan, and set aside.

If using whole cashews, begin by grinding them down in your food processor. It may take 5 to 10 minutes for the cashews to begin releasing their natural oils and turn into a smooth paste, but don't stop short, as it is important that there are no lumps. Add your freshly processed cashew butter, or a store-bought version (available in many natural food stores), to your blender or food processor along with the water, maple syrup and vanilla. Process to combine. Smooth the resulting crème into your crust and set aside again.

To core and slice your pears, cut them in half lengthwise, and then cut each half into slices of about 1/8 inch thickness. There is no need to peel the pears, as the skins add extra flavor, texture and fiber. Toss the slices with the sugar and cinnamon, and arrange them on top of your cashew crème. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pears soften.

Let cool and sprinkle with sliced almonds before serving.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Chicken Milk? No, Really, Chicken Milk?

I'm thinking of having my jaw permanently dropped, just to save time.

What other response is there to the news these days? Just watching an episode of The Soup is enough to send a jaw dropping so fast and often that it can generate enough electricity to power a chicken juicer.

That is how they make chicken milk, isn't it?

Chicken milk? Do I want to even think about the concept of chicken milk, let alone try to explain it?

No. I don't. My mind doesn't want to venture anywhere near the subject.

So I'll just quote the article and then go off and scrub my brain with a power sander.

There was a time when people were only familiar with cow's milk, goat's milk, soya bean milk or buffalo's milk. So it makes quite a lot of sense when a new innovation - chicken-based milk - spurs a number of questions on this yellowish liquid substance. ...

"Chicken milk is, in fact, milk made from chicken meat," said Dr Pipop Jirapinyo, paediatrician specialising in nutrition. "It contains vitamins, minerals, as well as other nutrients necessary for the growth and development of infants. It is also a healthy choice instead of baby formula."

Dr Pipop is Thailand's first scientist who came up with the innovative idea of producing milk from chicken meat. After spending more than 10 years researching and developing the formula, his aim, he said, is to provide an affordable alternative to parents whose children are allergic to the protein in cow's milk. ...

Even though there are, apart from cow's milk, several other kinds of milk for parents to choose from, such as goat's milk, soya bean milk and hypoallergenic formulas based on partially or extensively hydrolysed protein, there are still more than 2,000 infants [born in Thailand] annually who are allergic to these kinds of milk. ...

Admittedly, chicken-based milk does not sound like a favourite, but Dr Pipop said that his new formula does not taste awful. The yellowish thick liquid looks quite similar to vanilla-flavoured milk. The chicken-based milk is a protein-rich option providing high energy and nutritional levels as milk from other sources.

So, why chicken?

"Infants are rarely allergic to chicken meat. It possesses a mysteriously unique quality. We commonly find that people are allergic to shrimp, eggs, nuts or milk, but very few people are allergic to chicken," explained the paediatrician.

Chicken's breast strips are best suited for manufacturing the milk as it contains 80 to 90 per cent of protein with very little fat. "Using chicken's breast strips to produce milk can make it easier to stabilise its high quality as we do not need to worry about fat and carbohydrates," he added.

To make milk from chicken meat, Dr Pipop said that the first step is to have the breast strips boiled and ground until smooth. Then essential nutrients for babies' growth is added to the mixture, which is frozen to -72C. After a decade of trial and error, the doctor finally came up with an effective technique to mix all components homogeneously, containing complete and standardised levels of vitamins and minerals. The milk is so smooth that it can easily be sucked through a rubber nipple.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Dairy-Free Allergic Reaction You Won't Believe

Parents go to great lengths to monitor their allergic children's foods to ensure that nothing harmful is contained therein. Stefania Paciocco's son Gabriele was known to be allergic to milk, tree nuts, peanuts and eggs. She made his cookies from scratch. So when Gabriele started to scratch his throat after cookies made with special dairy-free chocolate chips, Stefania assumed the chips were the problem. They were. But not in the way you might think.

From a fascinating article, Ten unusual allergic reactions revealed, made by ABC News.

Paciocco suspected her son was allergic to chocolate, but the boy's doctor did not initially believe it.

"Even I was skeptical," said Dr. Harvey Leo, a pediatric allergist and immunologist at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich. "Chocolate allergies are really rare," he explained, adding that most reactions to chocolate either are not true allergic reactions or they come as a result of exposure to nuts or milk in the chocolate chunks.

However, after some persistence by Paciocco, a skin test and a food challenge showed Gabriele, indeed, had the allergy.

"I was shocked because I love chocolate," said Paciocco. "And I felt bad. He can't have a chocolate bar?"

In the end, both parent and doctor agreed persistence paid off in confirming an unusual and potentially dangerous allergy.

"I don't think patients should be afraid to challenge their doctor," said Leo.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Lactose-Free Recipes from Lactofree - Desserts

Yesterday, I shared with you a number of main dish recipes from the friendly folks at Lactofree. (OK, I admit the Sweet Apple and Blackberry Pizza would be a dessert for most people. It just balanced better that way.) Today, I want to add on the true desserts that they sent out over.

Makes 12

225 g / 8 oz self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50 g / 1¾ oz caster sugar
2 medium eggs
50 ml / 2 fl. oz olive oil
200 ml / 7 fl. oz Lactofree raspberry yogurt
85 g / 3 oz raspberries
2 small bananas chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4.

2. Lightly grease 12 wells of a non- stick muffin tin.

3. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar.

4. In a measuring jug, mix together the eggs, oil and yogurt. Pour this mixture into the flour and sugar mixture and gently mix together until just combined.

5. Gently fold in the raspberries and banana chunks.

6. With a spoon, divide the mixture evenly into the prepared muffin tins.

7. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until risen and golden brown.

8. Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for a few minutes before removing.

9. Best served warm.

Makes 1 large sponge 28 cm / 11 in or 2 x 20.5 cm / 8 in sandwich tins

4 large free range eggs
275 g / 9½ oz caster sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
200 ml / 7 fl. oz olive oil + extra for greasing tin
200 ml / 7 fl. oz Lactofree
350 g / 12 oz self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, gas Mark 4.

2. Lightly oil and base line tin/s with baking parchment.

3. In a large bowl whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until really thick.

4. Gently stir in the olive oil and Lactofree.

5. Sieve over the flour and baking powder and gently fold in. Spoon into tin/tins.

6. Bake for 35-40 minutes for large sponge or 25-30 minutes for smaller sponges.

7. Allow to cool slightly, transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Split and fill with favourite filling.

Serves 2

1 large, ripe banana, peeled, chopped
115 g / 4 oz raspberries
115 g / 4 oz strawberries, hulled
200 ml / 7 fl. oz cold Lactofree
60 ml / 4 tbsp Lactofree strawberry or raspberry yogurt
4 large ice cubes

1. Place 2 large glasses in the freezer to chill.

2. Place all the ingredients into a liquidizer (reserve a few raspberries for decoration). Blend well until smooth.

3. Pour into glasses and top with a few fresh raspberries. Serve straight away.

Serves 4

1 teaspoon sunflower oil
8 5g pudding, rice washed
40 g caster sugar
750 mls Lactofree
1 vanilla pod split (optional)

For the topping

450 g plums washed halved and stoned
30 g demerera sugar

Preheat oven to 160C / 325F / Gas Mark 3. Use the oil to grease a shallow oven proof dish. Place the rice, sugar milk and vanilla pod and stir to combine.

Place in the oven until the rice pudding is golden onto, creamy and cooked (approx 2 / 2½ hours). Remove from the oven and increase the oven temp to 200C / 400F / Gas Mark 6. Lay the halved plums over the surface of the rice pudding (cut side up) and scatter over the demerera sugar. Return to the oven for a further 10 - 15 minutes or until the plums are tender and bubbling hot.

Serves 4-6

3 medium egg yolks
40 g / 1½ oz caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
600 ml / 1 pint Lactofree
10 ml / 2 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and cornflour.

2. Place the Lactofree in a pan and bring to the boil. Pour over the egg yolk mixture, stirring well.

3. Pour the mixture into a clean pan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring all the time. Reduce heat and gently simmer for 1 minute or until thickened.

4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Lactose-Free Recipes from Lactofree - Main Courses

Lactose-reduced milk was introduced into U.S. markets more than a decade ago, and lactose free milk followed a few years later when it became clear that's what the audience wanted.

The U.K. always lagged far behind the U.S. in the lactose free marketplace and it wasn't until 2006 that I had the pleasure of announcing Reduced Lactose Milk Hits the U.K.

That was my first post to mention Lactofree and I've done a number of others since, as it's apparently grown into a major product.

Recently Chris Applegate contacted me on behalf of Lactofree, asking if I would like some recipes to post here. I was happy to say yes.

Remember the usual disclaimer. I'm just passing along useful information. I'm not endorsing the recipes or the product. You can substitute other lactose free milks for Lactofree in the recipes. That's pretty much a must if you don't live in the U.K. in the first place.

And as for the question, is Lactofree really lactose free?

We make every effort possible to ensure that Lactofree products contains no lactose. We carry out rigorous scientific testing using the most accurate UKAS accredited tests available which enable us to detect lactose at the trace level of 0.03%. At this detection level our tests show that there is no lactose present in Lactofree.

Having gotten that out of the way, I'm posting three main dish or entrée recipes today. Tomorrow I'll give you a varied bunch of desserts. All measurements are in both British and American units.

You can find out much more at their website,

Serves 6

For the pastry

225 g / 8 oz plain flour + extra for rolling
55 g / 2 oz icing sugar
60 ml / 4 tbsp olive oil
1 orange, zest only
3 desert apples, quartered, cored and sliced
25 g / 1 oz caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125 g / 4½ oz blackberries

1. Sieve the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil, zest and 45 ml / 3 tbsp water. Mix together with the back of a flat bladed knife and bring together to form a soft dough, adding extra water if necessary. Wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 375F, 190C, Gas Mark 5. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.

3. Place the pastry on the lined baking tray, dust with a little flour and lightly and carefully roll out into a rough circle approx. 27 cm (11 inches) in diameter.

4. Arrange the apples over the pastry leaving a 1.3 cm / ½ in border.

5. Mix together the caster sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples.

6. Using your hands or the paper to help you, carefully pull over the edge of the pastry to form a rough crust around the outside of the tart.

7. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes then scatter over the blackberries and cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until pastry is golden and crisp. Serve with custard.

Serves 4

115 g / 4 oz plain flour
good pinch salt
2 eggs
300 ml / ½ pint Lactofree
45 ml / 3 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
115 g / 4 oz piece salami, skinned and roughly chopped into 1 cm / ½ inch pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 220C, 425F, Gas Mark 7.

2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs. Gradually mix the eggs with the flour and then slowly add the lacto free until a smooth batter is formed. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

3. Pour the olive oil into 8 of the muffin wells and place in the oven until smoking hot.

4. Season the batter with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and stir in the thyme. Pour the batter into the hot muffin wells and sprinkle over the salami. Return to the oven for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden. Serve with a spinach and watercress salad.

Serves 4

15 ml / 1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
3 tsp turmeric
3 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 small cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
4 boneless, skinless, free-range chicken breasts, cut into 5 cm /2 in chunks
115 g / 4 oz red lentils
400 ml / 14 fl. oz chicken stock
300 ml / ½ pint Lactofree
50 g / 1¾ oz creamed coconut
100 g / 3½ oz fresh spinach leaves, washed, shredded

For the tomato and chilli relish:
200 g / 7 oz baby plum tomatoes, quartered
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
pinch sugar
15 ml / 1 tbsp olive oil
squeeze lemon juice

1. Heat the oil in non-stick pan. Add the onions and cook gently for 10 minutes until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for a further minute.

2. Add the turmeric, coriander, cumin, cinnamon and bay leaves and cook for 1 minute.

3. Add the chicken and toss in the spice mix, cook for 1 minute.

4. Stir in the lentils.

5. Pour in the stock and lacto free and bring up to the boil, Stir in the coconut, turn heat down and gently simmer for 20 minute.

6. Meanwhile make the tomato salsa, simply combine all the ingredients together, season and spoon into a serving bowl.

7. Add the spinach to the chicken korma and cook for 1 minute. Season to taste.

8. Serve the chicken korma with warm chapattis and a fresh tomato and chilli relish.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Add Vitamin D to Calcium to Reduce Osteoporosis Risk, Says FDA

I've told you bluntly that You Need More Vitamin D with Your Calcium. Why? According to The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF):

The relationship between calcium absorption and vitamin D is similar to that of a locked door and a key. Vitamin D is the key that unlocks the door and allows calcium to leave the intestine and enter the bloodstream. Vitamin D also works in the kidneys to help resorb calcium that otherwise would be excreted.

I've also given you ways on Adding Vitamin D to a Nondairy Diet.

Why do I remind you of all this? Because the Food and Drug Administration announced that it has amended its advice for reducing the risk of osteoporosis by recommending the use of vitamin D along with calcium.

The FDA site is hopeless to search, so I have to fall back on this press release. It was put out by the Coca-Cola Co., which gained permission to add vitamin D to the already calcium-fortified drinks it makes, especially orange juice put out under the Minute Maid label.

Anyway, here's the deal.
The amended labeling regulation explains that vitamin D is required for the normal absorption of calcium, and authorizes the health claim: "Adequate calcium and vitamin D throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis."

"Osteoporosis is a growing public health crisis, and all Americans, men and women alike, will benefit from knowing that vitamin D along with calcium can help delay or prevent the onset of this disease," said Robert P. Heaney MD, FACP, John A. Creighton University Professor and Professor of Medicine at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. "Along with weight-bearing exercise, the most valuable intervention for maintaining bone health is an overall healthful diet that supplies adequate amounts of all nutrients such as vitamin D."

The US National Osteoporosis Foundation predicts that by 2010, about 12 million people over the age of 50 will have osteoporosis and another 40 million will have low bone mass. These numbers are expected to continue climbing. To help address this significant public health issue, the FDA developed this health claim for manufacturers to include on labels of appropriate foods and dietary supplements. The new labeling can help consumers identify products with adequate calcium and Vitamin D that can help to reduce their risk of osteoporosis.

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