This article originally appeared in the Winter 2003 edition of Celiac.com's Journal of Gluten-Sensitivity.
Celiac.com 01/27/2012 - Wheat is the most popular grain in the United States and is found in a multitude of products. We are taught from young that milk helps our bones grow strong. So what do people do who cannot safely consume these products? They eat very well!
“No Gluten” means avoiding all wheat, rye, barley, malt, kamut, spelt, triticale, graham flour, and contaminated oats. But that won’t stop anyone who loves chocolate chip cookies from finding an alternative way to make them! On a gluten-free diet, combinations of substitute flours are used (see Table 1).
Once you have the magic combination of gluten-free flours, add a little more flavoring, a little more leavening, and voila! You have wonderful chocolate chip cookies!
But how do you make those cookies if you are also allergic to dairy products? Do not despair. There are viable alternatives to all ingredients. Allergies to dairy products may be a reaction to the lactose in dairy products (the natural sugar in milk), to casein (milk protein), or to both.
Lactose is often used in breads, cakes, cereals, cooking mixes, prepared meats and fish, and in soups. Tuna fish often contains sulfites and has lactose in the broth. It is even found in some medications. Read labels constantly for hidden lactose. Some lactose-sensitive people may tolerate un-pasteurized yogurt because yogurt cultures produce the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose into a simpler, more readily-digestible form. This also applies to buttermilk and some cheeses.
Casein is the protein found in milk. Fortunately, cow’s milk is one of the easier ingredients to substitute in cooking; use equal amounts of soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, water, or fruit juices. Read labels—beware of products labeled “Dairy Free”, like Cool Whip, which often contain casein (milk protein). Some non-dairy cheese substitutes made from soybeans and almonds may still contain casein to give them a more authentic texture. Casein is also used as a binder in products like hot dogs, pepperoni, salami and sausage. Milk protein increases production of mucus-aggravating conditions, such as asthma, bronchitis and sinusitis. It acts as an irritant to our immune systems, contributing to allergies and autoimmune diseases.
Let’s get back to our chocolate chip cookies. What do we use instead of the butter and milk? Here are some substitutions that I often use:
Eureka! You have successfully converted your chocolate chip recipe! Eat and enjoy! The important thing to remember is that there are always good, viable substitutions available. The more diet restrictions you have, the more innovative you have to be with your cooking. There is almost nothing you cannot eat—you just have to learn to make it a little differently—enjoy!