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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Purging Your Intestines Not a Solution

I got a question from someone who said she had both lactose intolerance and a milk allergy. To get the milk out of her system faster she took a variety of substances including prune juice, Metamucil, and Citrucel and even, when she was desperate, magnesium citrate.

My question to you is, what is the best to take? Are they all safe considering my allergy and is prolonged use safe?

I answered:
Your question really has two different parts.

Normal use of fiber supplements like Metamucil or Citrucel is not harmful. Fiber is different from laxatives (magnesium citrate is a laxative, often used to empty the bowels as prep for a colonoscopy). Laxatives can be overused.

The other part of the question is the one you didn't ask. Is any of this effective? That answer is no. Milk protein is what causes allergic reactions and it enters your system from the small intestine. All you are doing is evacuating your large intestine faster. But by that time the reaction has already been instigated. Nothing you do after will affect it at all.

The only effective method against allergy is to not take the allergen.

I understand the logic behind this. Milk is causing you to feel sick. Getting the milk out of your system faster should make you sick for a shorter time. Makes perfect sense. Or it would if your digestive system really worked that way. Unfortunately, it doesn't.

That's true even for lactose intolerance, where we know that part of the problem comes from the bacteria that naturally live in your large intestine fermenting the lactose that reaches it. You can't flush out all the bacteria even with a laxative. Fiber only stimulates them. (I find that taking two Metamucil capsules produces twice the waste that taking one does. I take Metamucil because I have Irritible Bowel Syndrome and fiber is helpful for that.)

Don't purge. There is no aftercure for either lactose intolerance or milk protein allergy. Avoid.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Congenital LI May Occur More Frequently Than Thought

All mammals are born with the ability to drink their mother's milk. It's simple survival. Mammals who couldn't drink mother's milk died.

Humans have managed to change this deadly equation slightly. It's reasonably certain that after herding and milking started, babies who had lost their mother were given animal milk as a desperate substitute. That often worked for older infants.

A few, a very few, infants could not drink any mammal's milk at all. That's because their bodies completely lacked the ability to manufacture the lactase enzyme that would digest the lactose sugar in milk. Lactose is identical and in nearly the same percentage in all milkable animals. Substituting a different animal's milk wouldn't be any use. They had to wait until soy milk and other non-milk based formulas were invented.

Fortunately, this condition, known as congenital lactose intolerance (Congenital LI) was thought to be extremely rare. When I wrote my book, Milk Is Not for Every Body, I came across a medical journal article that stated that only 40 cases were known, total, worldwide, ever.

That estimate was probably low even at the time. Now a new report has appeared in that lively journal BMC Gastroenterology. Four novel mutations in the lactase gene (LCT) underlying congenital lactase deficiency (CLD) by Suvi Torniainen et al. (BMC Gastroenterology 2009, 9:8doi:10.1186/1471-230X-9-8) looked at the DNA in patients from several countries.

They discovered that a variety of small mutations could cause similar changes resulting in Congenital LI. Their conclusion was that:

The figures presented here suggest that CLD may be more common than previously estimated. CLD should be suspected in neonates with severe diarrhoea which starts after introduction of milk feeding. A high concentration of lactose is present in liquid faeces and may easily be identified.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

More Free-From Foods Coming to Grocery Stores

According to the news broadcasts, not only did the Peanut Corporation of America distribute peanut products contaminated with salmonella, but it did so deliberately, often redoing tests until it found a portion of a batch that was salmonella-free and passing the whole batch off as good.

With all the constant and hyperbolic mockery that people have gotten for insisting that schoolrooms, airplanes, and other public facilities be totally peanut-free, who's having the last laugh now?

Anyway, the future belongs to specialty foods, foods that are "free from" some allergen.

Hollie Shaw of The Financial Post wrote an article about "this year's Grocery Innovations Canada trade show, an annual Toronto-area exhibition of upcoming packaged foods in Canada," which I found on the StarPhoenix site.

Some specifics from the article:

The response to O' Doughs, a year-old line of gluten-free breads whose ingredients include potato, rice and chick pea flour, "has been outstanding" said Ari Wineberg, president of the North York, Ont. company.

And U. S. Natural foods giant Hain Celestial Group Inc. recently relaunched its Arrowhead Mills line of boxed pastas, cakes and cookie mixes - which had always been gluten-free - with large 'gluten free' lettering on its new packaging.

"It's a marketing opportunity," said Brian White, director of national business development at Hain Celestial Canada. "Retailers have been creating a gluten-free segment within their stores."

Major producers have also been treading gradually into the hypo-allergenic food space, although the smaller food producers note many of the larger corporations use preservatives or neglect to label other major food allergens properly such, milk, eggs, soy, or sulphites.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cheese Is Always Dairy

A dairy-free dip that contains real-milk cheese as the first ingredient? That's an oxymoron. And a potentially deadly mistake.

Unfortunately, I found it in a recipe published in the Everett Washington Herald titled Jazzed-up wings can be started in advance.

The original Anchor Bar Buffalo wings used a hot sauce to dip them in. Hot sauce isn't for everybody and so the most common alternative I've seen is a bleu cheese dipping sauce, although Roquefort or Gorgonzola is also used.

All those cheeses are real cheeses. I've never even seen a true milk lactose-free cheese in those flavors and for sure there can never be any dairy-free Roquefort cheese.

And yet, the sauce recipe given in the article calls for Roquefort cheese, traditionally a sheep's milk blue-style cheese like the other two I've mentioned. The recipe comes from Terry Traub, author of Food to Some, Poison to Others and the writer of the article, Judyrae Kruse, calls it both dairy-free and gluten-free.

I put the following comment on the article site. I hope it gets acted on.

I thought the idea of a wings dip being dairy-free and gluten-free was an interesting and exciting one. Until I read the recipe.

The first ingredient?
2 tablespoons Roquefort cheese, crumbled (sheep cheese)

Cheese is dairy. You cannot take the dairy out of cheese. You've made a dip advertised as dairy-free that could be deadly to those with serious milk protein allergies. No one with milk allergies should be eating a cheese-based dip.

Perhaps you meant lactose-free instead of dairy-free. Certainly cheese generally has lower lactose than liquid milks. But Roquefort cheese has an average of 2% lactose, about half that of liquid milk. (See this web page:

Or perhaps you're one of those under the all-too-common illusion that sheep's milk is somehow lactose-free to begin with. It is not. Sheep's milk has almost exactly the same lactose content as cow's milk and any cheese made with sheep's milk will have the same lactose content as one made with cow's milk. (See this web page:

I can guarantee the accuracy of those web pages because I wrote them myself. They are taken from information in my book Milk Is Not for Every Body: Living with Lactose Intolerance.

I don't know whether the misinformation in your article was taken from the Terry Traub book you mentioned or was mistakenly inserted. Either way, please correct your article. This is a significant error.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Two More Vegan Cookbooks

The Associated Press did an article on two recently published vegan cookbooks.

The first is by the busy and prolific Donna Klein. I've done two posts about earlier cookbooks of hers, The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Kitchen in 2007 and Vegan Italiano in 2006.

Her latest is The Tropical Vegan Kitchen

which offers 225 recipes from Africa, the Caribbean, Southeast and South Asia, and Latin America.

There is plenty to love here — Trinidad-style Curried Mashed Potatoes; Malaysian Hot-and-sour Noodles with Tofu and Baby Bok Choy; and Papaya, Jicama and Avocado Salad with Sour Orange Dressing.

Nava Atlas' Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons, a veganized version of her earlier Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons. The article called it more conventional comfort food than you'll find in Klein's book.
Atlas walks home cooks through the seasons, offering Curried Red Lentil Stew and Chickpea and Tahini Soup in fall, Taco Soup and Minestrone in winter, plus a host of offerings for the warmer months.

You'll find a macaroni and "cheese" recipe in the article at the link.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

LI Celebrity Alert: Dustin Lance Black

Ever since the film Milk opened, the headline punsters had been bombarding me with lactose puns. Yes, I take it personally. I have Google News set to dredge up every reference to lactose made by anyone in the inner solar system. When I have to wade through these jokes to get to the stuff worth sharing with you my annoyance level, normally at incendiary on a good day, goes past fission and into sun's core.

And yet, here's the extreme irony. Dustin Lance Black, the now-Oscar nominated screenwriter of Milk, has just revealed that he is, yes, lactose intolerant. He apparently made the comment at a screenwriters' panel at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

At least, I think and hope he did. Scott Feinberg posted this bit on trivia on the Los Angeles Times blogs today, but they've already pulled the link. Does that mean Black was making a joke that Feinberg fell for and had to squelch?

Let's hope not. Good irony is hard to find. And I deserve some reward for my efforts.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Gluten-Free Foods

Alison St. Sure at went to the Fancy Foods Show recently held in San Francisco and brought back reports of lots of the new gluten-free - and some lactose-free - products that will soon hit the market.

Here's a few of the more interesting ones she mentioned.

Conte’s Gluten-Free Pasta

While Conte’s Pasta isn’t new to the east coast, here in the west we hopefully will be able to find their gluten-free stuffed pastas in stores soon. Gluten-free ravioli, stuffed shells, gnocchi (also dairy-free), pierogis (there is a dairy-free flavor) and lasagna are just some of the items they make. They are a frozen product that come in a bag or, new in their product line, a microwave meal! I tasted the ravioli at the show, and it was delicious. I can’t wait to try the rest! These products are available online at the Gluten Free Mall.

Let’s Do Organic’s Gluten-Free Ice Cream Cones

It’s only January, but I can’t wait to try these new gluten-free ice cream cones from Edward & Sons’ brand. Not only are they gluten-free, but dairy-free and soy-free too. You should be able to find these now in Whole Foods.

3 Senses Gourmet's Gluten Free Chocolate Soufflé

The founder of 3 Senses Gourmet created a chocolate soufflĂ© that happens to be gluten-free. If you are a chocolate lover, this dessert is amazing — a flourless chocolate cake with molten chocolate spilling out of the center. Look for the Chocolate Souffle and the Caramel Chocolate Souffle (yum!) in the frozen section of stores on the West Coast. Note: the Chocolate Chip Brioche Bread Pudding made by this company is NOT gluten-free.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Lactofree Lactose-Free Cheese

Cheese. (Shut that bloody bouzouki up!) Everybody loves it and the vegetarian and vegan replacements are generally considered to be poor substitutes.

A few companies have long provided lactose-free true cow's milk cheese in the U.S., including Finlandia, Sorrento, and Lifetime, and Canada has Biobio. The UK, as is its wont, has lagged beyond in catering to those of us who are lactose intolerant.

That's about to change according to this email I got directly from Lactofree about their latest announcement.

For the 15% of the population who are thought to be lactose intolerant in the UK it will have been years since they last tasted real dairy cheese, which means its been years since they ate their last tasty pizza, delicious lasagne or real cheese and tomato sandwich! But now Lactofree has put the real thing back on the menu, with its newly launched hard dairy lactose free cheese, available at your local Asda or Morrisons.

Lactofree cheese is made from natural cows' milk and therefore retains that same unmistakable dairy taste. As part of cheesemaking, bacterial cultures are added to the milk to create acidity, aroma and flavour. These cultures need a source of food and this food is lactose. The bacteria uses up the lactose naturally found in the milk to give Lactofree cheese its distinct flavour. The bacteria will stop working only once all the lactose has been used up, leaving cheese that is naturally lactose free.

Lactofree cheese tastes and behaves just like normal cheese. It's versatile for cooking and perfect for all those things you've missed – pizzas, sandwiches, toasties, lasagne, jacket potatoes…

On the website you can find all the information about the cheese, and also a couple of nice recipes by celebrity chef Lesley Waters.

The cheese apparently comes in a single flavor for now. You'll just have to wait a few more years to get your hands on Venezuelan beaver cheese.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lactose-Free Milk May Help Diarrhea in Children

The British newspaper The Guardian published a health article in conjunction with the BMJ Group, the BMJ standing for nothing less than the British Medical Journal. That means the advice came with footnotes referencing the actual medical journal articles that backed up the words. Excuse me while I fan myself from the palpitations. Stuff this wonderful doesn't come across every day.

The article answered a question that most parents have to deal with at some point in their youngsters' early lives, What treatments work for diarrhoea in children?

One treatment that might work, though they hedge the answer within an inch of its life, is substituting lactose-free milk for regular milk.

There has been a lot of debate about whether babies with diarrhoea should be given formula milk that is lactose-free while they recover. Lactose-free formula milk does not have cow's milk in it. The theory is that the part of the gut that helps to digest lactose is damaged in diarrhoea so that lactose-free formula milk might be easier to digest. But lactose-free formula milk is usually recommended only in children who have had diarrhoea for a long time.

There have been some studies but the results haven't given us a clear answer about whether formula milk that is lactose-free is better than standard formula milk.

One summary of the research (a systematic review) that looked at 13 studies found that diarrhoea or dehydration was more likely to get worse in babies who had normal formula milk (about 2 in 10 babies) compared to those who had lactose-free formula milk (about 1 in 10 babies).[6] Babies on lactose-free milk got better faster (after about three and a half days) compared to those on normal formula milk (about four days).

Out of five other studies, three found that diarrhoea stopped more quickly in babies who were given lactose-free formula milk.[7] [8] [9] In the two other studies the special formula milk made no difference.[10] [11]

There don't seem to be any side effects from using lactose-free formula milk.

6. Brown KH, Peerson JM, Fontaine O. Use of nonhuman milks in the dietary management of young children with acute diarrhea: a meta-analysis of clinical trials. Pediatrics. 1994; 93: 17-27.

7. Allen UD, McLeod K, Wang EE. Cow's milk versus soy-based formula in mild and moderate diarrhea: a randomized, controlled trial. Acta Paediatrica. 1994; 83: 183-187.

8. Fayad IM, Hashem M, Husseine A, et al. Comparison of soy-based formulas with lactose and with sucrose in the treatment of acute diarrhoea in infants. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 1999; 153: 675-680.

9. Wall CR, Webster J, Quirk P, et al. The nutritional management of acute diarrhea in young infants: effect of carbohydrate ingested. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 1994; 19: 170-174.

10. Clemente YF, Tapia CC, Comino AL, et al. Lactose-free formula versus adapted formula in acute infantile diarrhea. Anales Espanola Pediatria. 1993; 39: 309-312.

11. Lozano JM, Cespedes JA. Lactose vs. lactose free regimen in children with acute diarrhoea: a randomized controlled trial. Archivos Latinoamericanos de Nutricion. 1994; 44: 6-11.

You should also note that:
Rehydration drinks (also called oral rehydration solutions) contain a mix of salts and sugar to help your body replace fluids and salts lost through diarrhoea. They do not stop the diarrhoea. But they can prevent your child getting dehydrated.

This is the safest treatment and it should be tried first.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Vegan Ice Cream Shop

Lots of vegan ice cream substitutes have entered the market. I recently wrote about Turtle Mountain's coconut milk froze dessert product line, and that's certainly not the first or only post I could mention.

But a whole shop devoted to nothing but vegan "ice creams"? That's something you won't see in too many places outside such incredibly hit depots of consumering as New York Lower East Side.

Florence Fabricant wrote about it in The New York Times.

Malcolm Stogo has a job most people would envy: he’s an ice cream consultant. Now his name is on a vegan ice cream shop in the East Village.

Rob Sedgwick, an actor, owns it with Steve Horn, a restaurateur.

Ice creams made from soy milk, nut milks and coconut milk are made by Mr. Horn according to Mr. Stogo’s formulas. The smooth, creamy, gelato-style ice creams, all sweetened with agave, come in a dozen flavors. Mango, peach and mixed berry would probably please lovers of traditional high-fat ice cream. ...

Stogo is at 159 Second Avenue (the entrance is on East 10th Street), (212) 677-2301.

Prices range up to $6.25 for a cup. Toppings are extra. Of course, if you have to ask how much it is...

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's the Brownie Decade

Food writer Lesley Chesterman wrote in the Regina Leader-Post that brownies are poised to be the hot next big dessert. Now, I love brownies. And I rarely eat them because what I love about them is their concentrated quantities of fat and sugar. And chocolate. But nothing low-cal and low-fat and healthy ever becomes the hot big dessert, so we make do.

And I guess we'll make do well, because there are brownies for everybody, even those of us with special diet needs.

Though we have yet to see an entire store devoted to the brownie (I'd bet money someone in New York has one in the planning stages), there are cookbooks devoted solely to this rich little square - a startling 32 by last count on When one such brownie book, The Brownie Lover's Bible (Whitecap, 2008), hit my desk just before Christmas, I tossed it into the "no thanks" pile but quickly retrieved it, recalling all the cupcake books I rolled my eyes at when that trend hit a decade back. I scanned the pages and found recipes ranging from the classic brownie to vegan brownies with cocoa nibs and sesame seeds. There are gluten-free brownies, dairy-free brownies, no-bake brownies, balsamic brownies, crunchy brownies, fudgy brownies, raspberry brownies, coconut brownies and, for when you're feeling a bit sluggish, triple espresso brownies.

Chesterman gives the winning recipe from a home taste test in that article. Substitute a non-dairy margarine for the butter and it's dairy and lactose-free.

I list nondairy stick margarines on the Margarines page in my Milk-Free Bookstore.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009 Such a Deal!

The site is a vast array selling multitudes of kosher foods, which of course includes many foods that are pareve (parve) or neutral. Neutral meaning they contain neither meat nor dairy and so may be eaten with any meal. (Fish does not count as meat, so vegans need to be cautious about a small proportion of pareve items.)

To get more people to turn to, the site "will pay anyone a $18 bonus for referring friends who purchase $100 or more of products on their site. The friend will also receive an 18% discount on his or her first order."

How do you do this? As the press release said:

To participate, visit, register an account and sign up for the Refer-a-Friend program. Registered users can also see their order history, re-order from past orders and receive an e-mail newsletter with specials, discounts and recipes.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

PETA Embarrasses Vegans - Again

Will PETA ever stop? December 2007. PETA News That Sounds Like a Joke. September 2008. PETA Outsillies Itself.

The latest piece of idiocy? A campaign to rename fish Sea Kittens. You see, people won't eat kittens, so if they thought of fish as kitties...

This isn't even a good joke. Want a good joke? Well, if you rename fish as sea kittens, then what you do call caviar? Sea kitten puppies!

Boycott PETA. Don't send them a penny of your money. This has to end. Do it now.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Calcium-Fortified Lettuce?

Americans don't get enough of any nutrient, except possibly fat. Calcium is one that all studies agree that Americans of all ages, from teens on up, don't get enough of. So food chemists are putting calcium into all sorts of foods. Orange juice. Breakfast cereals. Soy milk. Bread. Water.

But lettuce?

Apparently. Food scientists Sunghun Park and Mark P. Elless think lettuce is the perfect vegetable for the purpose.

A new generation of calcium-biofortified lettuce is possible. Lettuce is an attractive choice for calcium biofortification. It is rich in vitamin K, and its daily consumption significantly reduces the risk of hip fractures in women compared to women who consumed lettuce at a lower rate. Therefore, the enhancement of calcium in lettuce could provide synergistic benefits to osteoporosis prevention. A large portion of women in the United States eat lettuce daily, suggesting calcium-biofortified lettuce for the prevention of osteoporosis would be consumed by a large target audience.

How in the world do you add calcium to lettuce?
One way to alter the calcium content in fruits and vegetables is to directly engineer these foods with calcium transporters. Simplistically, this strategy can be thought of as nutrient mining (biofortification)—where the nutrient is transported from soil into the edible portions of the plant. Specifically, a potential model for increasing the calcium content in edible foods would be to engineer plant endomembrane transporters to transport more calcium. The Ca2+/H+ antiporters, termed CAX (for cation exchangers), located on the vacuolar membrane, are important for calcium sequestration. This discovery led to an engineered version of a plant Ca2+/H+ antiporter, sCAX1, which could be used for calcium biofortification.


Whatever this means, the authors say it's applicable to other vegetables as well. Skipping the supplements and getting more calcium directly from good foods might be a way out of the huge calcium hole we've dug ourselves into.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

A-Soy WIC Eligible

A press release announced the WIC eligibility of a lactose-free adult nutritional product.

A-Soy, a soy adult nutritional beverage specially formulated for people who are lactose intolerant, cow’s milk allergic, or who prefer a vegetarian diet, is now federal WIC eligible. Developed by PBM Products, LLC, A-Soy is a great-tasting source of balanced nutrition for people older than 10 years of age through life, is free of lactose, milk (animal protein), cholesterol, trans fats, and gluten.

There's also a children's pediatric version.
"A-Soy was developed based on the success and popularity of our Bright Beginnings™ Soy Pediatric Drink, which received an international award for being the top new pediatric nutritional beverage for children younger than 10 years old," said PBM CEO Paul B. Manning. "Developing a similar soy drink for adults and people older than 10 years was the next logical step."

For more information, go to their website.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Win a Free Dairy-Free Cookbook

Last week I mentioned that Alisa Fleming of put out an updated Go Dairy Free Diet & Health Journal.

That's available as a free download. Alisa has other publications but just like me she's forced to make you pay for them to provide some return for all the work, time, and cost that goes into them. We authors lead a hard life.

But wait. What if you could, you know, get her big book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, free?

Sound good? Then get on over to the No Whey Mama blog. Sarah's blog is billed as "Writings, Recipes, and Links about Parenting a Dairty-Allergic Child and Her Siblings," so it probably has a lot many of you would be interested in anyway.

But this week Sarah is holding a contest.

Alisa has very kindly agreed to a Go Dairy Free giveaway here on No Whey, Mama. So let's do it! Leave me a comment telling me why you'd like a copy of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living before 12 midnight EST on Friday, January 16, and you will be entered to win. I'll do a random drawing over the weekend and announce the winner by Monday, January 19.

It would be cool if somebody here were to win, completing the circle. Be sure to let me know if you do.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Non-Dairy Toffees

As a chocoholic myself, I love telling people about lactose-free chocolates.

My latest find is a new line of non-dairy and lactose-free toffees from Manhattan Chocolates.

What appears to be a press release was published on the New Jersey Jewish Standard.

Manhattan Chocolates, Inc., a division of Bayonne-based Kedem Food Products International, has released a new line of Toffee Crunch Mixes that are lactose-free and non-dairy. The all-natural products are free of additives and added preservatives. The product comes in two milk-like choices and three varieties of dark chocolate in stand-alone bags, boxes, and tubs. The milk-like alternatives are available in “Toffee Crunch” (cashew butter crunch) and “Toffee Crunch Mix” (containing peanuts and pretzels).

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

The World Has Gone Mad

I try. I try and try and try to educate people. But do you listen? No. Nobody listens. Some days I just want to cry.

What am I talking about?


It is called Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and is the country's best known milk chocolate.

But the bar’s makers have still felt it necessary to warn customers that it contains milk.

The latest wrapper features a logo showing a glass and a half of milk being poured into a chocolate chunk and puts milk first in a list of ingredients.

It also explains that there is 'the equivalent of three quarters of a pint of milk in every half pound of milk chocolate'.

But Cadbury is also printing warnings in capital letters in yellow boxes saying 'Contains:Milk' to alert those who are allergic to milk.

It is printing warnings on bars of Dairy Milk Whole Nut, saying: 'Contains: Nuts, milk.

Wrappers on chunks of Dairy Milk Whole Nut found in boxes of Cadbury Heroes repeat the warning 'Contains: Nuts' four times.

A company spokesman said: 'We are meeting legal requirements. We want people
to know that allergens are listed clearly.'

Moira Austin, of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, a support group for allergy sufferers, said she could understand why people would think that the 'world had gone mad'.

You don't have to tell me how careful some people need to be about protein allergies. But this goes well beyond careful. This overkill needs to be done because too many people are stupid. They need protection from themselves. How many warnings are sufficient to warn people that milk chocolate contains milk and that nuts contain nuts? Isn't four three more than is necessary?

We as consumers have the right to know what is in our foods. Companies need to properly include and label all ingredients. Companies that mistakenly include allergens in food need to recall them at once. Companies that deliberately defraud the public about the contents of their foods should be put out of business.

What's next, though? Will people get RFID chips inserted in their lips that will ping if an offending food gets too close? Will the government have to require that to save them from themselves? It's coming to that. I guarantee it.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Some Vitamin D Tests Flawed

I've been telling you over and over that you probably need more vitamin D than you've been getting. See Everybody Needs More Vitamin D for an example with links to earlier postings.

Scientific studies have "reported that low levels of the vitamin may be linked to medical conditions including certain cancers, diabetes and immune system problems," which has lead many concerned people to get their levels of vitamin D tested, up some 80% over the last year at one laboratory.

A good thing, right? Sure. Unless that laboratory's tests turn out to be faulty, giving levels of vitamin D sometimes too high and sometimes too low.

That's a huge problem recently discovered in numerous tests conducted by national testing giant Qwest Diagnostics, of Madison, N.J.

Mary Brophy Marcus reported on this for USA Today. The problem with the problem is that we have no idea of the scope of the problem.

Testing problems were linked to a small percentage of the company's labs, says Wendy Bost, a spokeswoman for Quest. The company is not making public the locations where the mistakes occurred or saying how many patients may have been affected. However, the pathology publication The Dark Report, who's [sic] current issue drew attention to the Quest case, suggests thousands of patients may have been impacted.

The inaccurate tests typically gave readings that were too high — meaning some patients who need vitamin D supplementation might not have received it — but not in all cases...

While not getting needed supplement can be a long term concern, getting too much when it's not necessary can be dangerous in extremely high doses. Fortunately, the dangerous level is around 10,000 IUs a day, while even the largest doses normally given are 1000 IU or lower.

What to do now?
[Joan Lappe, professor of nursing and medicine at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, who has conducted research in vitamin D] says concerned patients who are taking the vitamin should see their physicians and get double-checked. "If you stop taking it for a couple days or weeks it's OK and probably not going to make that much of a difference for most people," Lappe says. Though she says kids should be evaluated more carefully.

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Turtle Mountain Goes Coconut Crazy

Turtle Mountain, the makers of So Delicious, Soy Delicious, Purely Decadent, and Sweet Nothings products, has started making coconut milk versions of, well, almost everything.

It's So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt is being billed as the first in the world. It's dairy-free and soy-free.

Read the reviews they have posted.

Their Purely Decadent line has a coconut milk variety as well, and also a reviews page.

Want more? How 'bout a Coconut Milk Beverage? You'll just have to wait for that one. It doesn't hit stores until March and won't get true national distribution until the summer. The company says that it's coconut milk products are a hit and are out-selling their traditional soy products, so there may be more coconuttiness in everybody's futures.

UPDATE: The people at Turtle Mountain sent me a link to the Whole Foods Market blog, Whole Story, with an entry and comments on their coconut milk yogurt.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Anti-Milk Crowd Steps on Its Udders Again

If you've been reading this column for more than a few days, you knew that an article titled "Seven Good Reasons to Avoid Cow's Milk" was going to set me off. It was written by "Sheryl Walters, citizen journalist" - honest, that's what it says - and can be found on the site.

As always with these articles, the citizen journalist cherry picks negative studies and ignores all studies that reaches opposite conclusions. As I hope I've warned you often enough, single studies on any medical subject are rarely if ever to be taken as authoritative. Epidemiological studies, those that purport to show that a single food or nutrient has significant impact on health, are even more problematic. Isolating a single cause out of all the possible contributors toward health is extremely difficult and only the very best, largest, and longest studies have any meaningful results. This is true no matter what single factor is being studied or what conclusion is reached.

You can ignore most of what Walters writes just for this reason. It's clear she doesn't even know why what she says is wrong.

Most newspaper accounts of medical research ignore this basic fact, so your understanding of it may also be affected. A person writing an article should know better, though. And there are clues all through her seven reasons that her grasp on nutrition and diet is comical at best. Some of the best:

Milk is not the great source of calcium that most people believe it is. First of all, pasteurizing milk kills all of the nutrients, including calcium.

Pasteurizing milk does absolutely no such thing. There is as much calcium in pasteurized milk as any other. Calcium is a mineral. It can't be killed, since it was never alive.
Approximately 75 percent of the world's population is lactose intolerant, which means that they are unable to fully digest dairy. Lactase is the enzyme needed to digest lactose, and most people stop producing it around the age of 5.

Probably 75% of the world's population does have the gene that stops lactase production, true. But the decline starts at all ages. In many populations the decline does not begin until adulthood. Even most people with lactose intolerance can drink some milk products without symptoms, as shown by the huge growth in dairy in various Asian countries where the genetic levels of LI are extremely high.
People with many different healthy complaints notice a significant improvement when they avoid dairy.

I wish I had healthy complaints. Unfortunately, mine are always the opposite.

My complaints about the anti-milk crowd? Always the same.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Gas Is Good for Your Health

Whenever people say there are no stupid questions, I like to point them to the Internet. You could probably just set your browser at random and come up with a great set within the first ten minutes.

Today's example comes from an alternative medicine column - talk about easy pickings - from the Sacramento Bee. The authors are "Drs. Kay Judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden ... medical directors of Sutter's Downtown Integrative Medicine program. They have written The Complete Idiot's Guide to Secrets of Longevity."

I have great health but a loud digestive system. I have been trying to persuade my wife that there are health benefits to my digestive gases, but she does not believe me. Can you ladies shed light on this?

Admittedly, I'm pretty sure that the doctor ladies had their tongues well into their cheeks when they gave a semi-serious answer.
A recent study showed that hydrogen sulfide, the gas that is responsible for making flatulation so smelly, can also lower blood pressure.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine just published data showing that hydrogen sulfide produced in the blood vessels of mice reduced their blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels – thus preventing hypertension.

Mice that were missing the gene needed to make hydrogen sulfide had blood pressure spikes that were 20 percent higher than their normal counterparts.

What does this mean for us humans? Well, the jury's still out, but it could be that those of us who are skilled at making the stink bombs actually are protecting our hearts.

And they go on to do a good article on gas and its causes. So a point to them.

But as for letter writer Don W., let's all feel sorry for his wife.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Updated Go Dairy Free Diet and Health Journal

Alisa Fleming of the website is always doing something interesting. Today's news is that she's issuing an Updated Go Dairy Free Diet and Health Journal.

Just in time for those New Year's resolutions, the Go Dairy Free Diet & Health Journal has been updated, and is now available as a FREE download via the Go Dairy Free Ebook & Downloads Page. The Journal was originally created a few years ago in conjunction with The Dairy Free Challenge, a simple 10-day dairy elimination "test" to help identify milk sensitivities and intolerances that may be leading to unwanted symptoms (digestive distress, acne, headaches, respiratory problems, fatigue, etc.). The challenge has proven successful for many Go Dairy Free viewers. However, for those of you who are already committed to a dairy-free diet, or who have other dietary concerns, such as weight loss, chronic disease, additional food sensitivities, or general health and disease prevention, this journal is a great way to track your diet and how you feel each day.

The journal includes 2 weeks (14 days) of full page entries. Each page is divided into segments to help you track what you ate, how you felt each day (including a sizable list of symptoms with severity ratings), and any additional notes of importance. If you wish to track your diet for more than 2 weeks, the journal can be saved to your hard drive, reprinted or downloaded at any time for free.

Various types of medical tests are available to help identify food allergies and intolerances, yet many doctors continue to recommend dietary tracking and elimination diets as the "gold standard" for identifying food sensitivities. Why? For starters, it is hard to argue with your own body. Food allergy tests frequently produce both false positives and false negative, but monitoring your own symptoms in reaction to particular foods (keeping in mind that some symptoms may be delayed by as much as 48 hours) offers a more clear cut answer on the culprit. Also, elimination diets are cheap; no pile up of medical testing bills. Nonetheless, you should always speak with a physician before undergoing any change in diet, especially when a severe food allergy may be of concern.

Go to this this page for a free download.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Organic Grocery Deals

The website is a small community that is trying to connect people who are looking for special foods and the stores that carry them.

Hello Guest!

Welcome to! We are a small friendly community of people that are interested in learning more about purchasing organic foods, living healthy and being environmentally conscious. If this is your first time here please feel free to register and join this fun community. No matter if you are totally green or just want to try and incorporate a little more green into your life you will be welcomed.

It's all about taking it in baby steps and learning as we go. We want to foster important conversations about green living as well as help our members save money in their quest of going organic.

So come on in and join the fun!

Site Features
Coupon Database: Find out what new coupons are out in the stores, the Sunday Paper, online printable coupons and more!

Newsletter: Join our newsletter and have timely articals [sic] and tips on green living as well as community news delivered right to your email inbox.

Target Coupon Generator: Do you shop at Target stores? Find Target store printable coupons here and combine them with manufacture coupons for even more money savings!

Forums: We have forums on many topics from shopping at stores like Whole Foods to your local drug store. Find local info on farmers markets and co-ops, learn how to go green on everything in your life and world!

And much more!

Their forums include:
Natural and Organic Stores
These stores are largely dedicated to providing almost entirely natural and organic foods and household items.
Sub-Forums: Earthfare, Trader Joe's, Rater Joe's, Sprouts Farmers Markets, Whole Foods/Wild Oats Whole Foods

Conventional Stores with Organic and Natural Products
Here are the stores our members have requested. These stores are largely conventional, but also cater to an organic market. Don't see your favorite store listed? Request it!
Sub-Forums: Albertsons, Big Y, Kroger Companies, Meijer, Publix, Safeway Companies, Shaw's, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Superfresh, Wegmans, Drug Stores, Other Conventional Stores CVS

Big Box Stores with Organic and Natural Products
Sub-Forums: Costco, Fred Meyer, Target/SuperTarget, Walmart

Online Organic Stores
Find links to online retailers who specialize in organic and natural groceries.
Sub-Forums: Amazon, Diamond Organics,,, Online Deals and Coupon Codes

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Constipation Not Linked to Dairy Allergy in Children

The Doctor NDTV site reported on a new study on chronic constipation.

The prevalence of allergies among children with chronic constipation is not significantly different from that of the general population and an allergy to cow's milk does not seem to be involved.

In several studies, chronic constipation in children has been reported as a clinical manifestation of cow's milk allergy. Allergic proctitis - an allergic reaction causing inflammation of the rectum, which can be accompanied by a frequent urge to defecate, bloody stools and other symptoms - has been suspected, but the response to eliminating cow's milk protein from the diet has been variable.

They took this from an article in the December 2008 issue of Archives of Disease in Childhood. D. Simone et al. 93(12):1044-1047, December 2008.

Prevalence of atopy in children with chronic constipation.
Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of chronic constipation (CC) in unselected children, its association with atopy and the efficacy of a cow's milk protein (CMP) elimination diet on refractory constipation.

Study design: The study was conducted by six primary care paediatricians, serving a population of 5113 children aged from birth through to 12 years; only 2068 children were 6 months to 6 years. During a 3-month period, prevalence of CC was determined for the entire study population, ages 0-12 years. In the second part of the study, all patients aged 6 months to 6 years with CC, and age- and sex-matched controls, were evaluated for atopy and its association with CC. A questionnaire was completed including personal and family history of atopy and bowel-movement characteristics. Patients were tested for atopy by specific serum IgE and/or skin-prick tests. Constipated patients, refractory to osmotic laxatives, underwent a 4-week CMP elimination diet.

Results: 91 (1.8%) children had CC, and 69 (3.3%) of the 6 months to 6 years age group fell into the atopy study age range. All 69 constipated children (mean age 34.9 (18.0) months) and 69 controls completed the questionnaire. Twelve of the 69 constipated children (17.3%) and 13 out of the 69 control children (18.8%) had a diagnosis of atopy. Eleven out of 69 (15.9%) constipated children were refractory to constipation treatment, and three (27.3%) of these had atopy. The 4-week trial of dietary elimination did not result in improvement in any of these 11 children.

Conclusions: In our study group, prevalence of atopy among children with CC is similar to that in the general population. The level of refraction of CC does not seem to be related to cow's milk allergy.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Lactase: The Miracle Cure

Lactase. It's the enzyme that digests the milk sugar lactose. If your body stops making it, if your body merely decreases its production of lactase, undigested lactose continues to move through your digestive system.

This can have two major consequences, both bad. One is that the lactose pulls water into your intestines, the opposite of what normally occurs. Excess water in the intestines leads to diarrhea. The other is that the lactose can be fermented by bacteria that naturally live in your colon, creating the gas that you feel as cramps, bloating, and flatulence.

The cure for this? Lactase pills. The lactase enzyme, or a variant of it, can be produced by yeasts and other microbes. Some of these bacteria are found in yogurt, kefir, and other cultured milk products, and so can be introduced into your system. Or you can take a probiotic pill that contains these bacteria. That may be enough for you.

If not, take a lactase pill. Or several if necessary. They're relatively cheap and easily available, findable at all supermarkets, pharmacies and discounters. Most brands are the same, although each has slightly different composition and fillers, so they may work differently for you. If one brand doesn't work, try another before you give up on them.

I remember the days before lactase pills existed. Believe me, I never want to go back to them.

And all that intro brings me to the questions I keep getting asked.

When should I take a pill?

The best time is just before you start eating. That gives the lactase a head start to get to your intestines before the food does. The lactase works in the small intestine, just as naturally produced lactase does.

How many should I take?

As many as you need. There are no known side effects to lactase and no known overdose. Any lactase your body doesn't use gets eliminated with the rest of the waste. If one pill doesn't work, try two or three.

If two or three are good, does that mean a dozen is even better?

Probably not. You only need enough lactase to digest the amount of lactose you're having in that one meal. You have to work out through trial - and occasionally error - just how many pills will balance off how much lactose in your particular case. Even so, a dozen pills is probably overkill. There's no reason to think that you'll need that much.

What if I eat something else with lactose late in the meal?

We all get tempted by dessert at times, even if we hadn't planned on it. If you hadn't anticipated an additional lactose load, then take an extra pill.

What if I have something an hour later?

Same answer. The lactase should stay in your system for several hours. If you took enough to begin with you don't need to to keep adding more all the time. If you didn't take enough at first, then add more.

Should I take lactase with every meal?

If you extra to have lactose with every meal, then yes.

Can I give lactase to my children?

Lactase should be perfectly safe to give even small children. There are chewable pills if they have trouble swallowing pills. You can also crush the pills into their food.

What is the children's dosage?

There is no special children's dosage. Lactase is not a medication or a drug. It is a natural body enzyme that works only on lactose. If your child has an 8 ounce glass of milk, exactly the small amount of lactase is needed as if an adult had an 8 ounce glass of milk. The amount of lactase always depends on the amount of lactose to be eaten.

I think that covers the most frequent questions. If you have any be, be sure to drop a question in the comments.

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