As a breastfeeding mom, I had to eliminate dairy from my diet because my daughter was colicky and had bad spit up. A lot of people tend to mistaken dairy sensitivity with lactose intolerance. I am going to briefly explain the science. Lactose intolerance is when a person has an intolerance (different than allergy) to the milk sugar (lactose), this is caused by the lack of the enzyme lactase, which is responsible for breaking down the sugar. Without lactase present, a lot of GI issues can arise. On the other hand, when someone is allergic/sensitive/intolerant to dairy, it is due to the proteins in the milk (casein and whey). Allergies can be life threatening, while sensitivities and intolerances are not, but they can still cause extreme discomfort and gastrointestinal upset, it is important to understand the difference. (You can visit the AAAI for more information on dairy allergy here). Lactose free products still contain milk proteins, making these products not suitable for those with dairy allergies. It is important to read the labels, as packaging can be deceiving. Cheddar cheese (specifically Cabot) is lactose free but it contains milk proteins. I have also noticed several almond cheese contain casein (which will not be suitable for those following a dairy-free diet). It is SO important to read the ingredient list!! I can’t stress this enough!
But I digress.
I LOVE dairy, especially cheese!! So eliminating dairy from my diet was difficult at first. I refused to try any cheese substitutions, because they can’t compare. Then I came across Heidi Ho Chia Cheeze. I tried it cold and I wasn’t a fan, so I heated it up and fell in love! It’s similar to cheez whiz/ queso/ cheese dip but actually pretty healthy!!! I found it at Sprouts for $5.99, a little steep but so worth it! This stuff is so good, I bought it quite a few times. I had it with raw broccoli and other veggies as a dip, pita chips, I even melted it with some whole wheat elbow macaroni for some Mac n cheeze! They also make a smoky and spicy version, I haven’t tried the smoky yet but the spicy one is delicious!! I recommend this product to anyone who is trying to limit/avoid dairy but loves the creaminess of cheese dip! The only con, is the amount of sodium in this dip! It’s a little high, especially since the serving size is so small. When you compare this to cheez whiz or nacho cheese, it is a healthier choice.