Finding an alternative to dairy is not easy
I have a son who is dairy intolerant and at one time, the only real alternative was soya milk. Although he has that when we go out to a coffee shop or restaurant (because that’s usually all they offer), I don’t give him it at home. Soya contains phytoestrogens, which mimic the hormone oestrogen. Taken as a supplement by women of menopausal age, when oestrogen levels are low, it does not sit well with me to give anything containing phytoestrogens to my boy. Although the evidence to back up the effects of phytoestrogens on male fertility is weak, I would rather not take the risk.
So, what to do?
My son didn’t like almond milk, but he loved rice milk and I thought this would make a great alternative to soya, especially as you can buy it with added calcium. However, the risk of arsenic poisoning from rice products is so high, even the Food Standards Agency recommend that you don’t give rice milk to young children.
Thank goodness for Koko Dairy Free
When I discovered a dairy free alternative to milk that doesn’t contain soya or rice, I breathed a sigh of relief, especially as they have one with added calcium too. The milk is fresh and light, with a subtle flavour and can be used as a straight forward substitute to dairy.
The milk is available in 1 litres cartons, or packs of three 250ml individual cartons with straws, perfect for lunch boxes. Flavours include strawberry and chocolate and I recently utilised some to make this delicious alternative to ice-cream:
I confess to not buying the flavoured milks very often, so it’s a real treat when I do cave (usually when I have someone ‘helping’ me do the shopping!). I use the plain milk when I make porridge. This apple, pear and cinnamon one is a real hit in our house and has got us through the colder months:
Dairy free spread
Last year, when I went to the Allergy and Free From Show in London, I discovered Koko Dairy Free were just launching an alternative spread. Of course, I snapped some up and couldn’t wait to try it. I’d tried using coconut oil as an alternative to butter in baking and found the results very different. Using a margarine is the next best thing to butter, but then you have the additional factor of using hydrogenated fats to worry about.
Margarine is made by pumping hydrogen into oil to harden it. That’s hydrogenation and there are concerns over the health risks of consumption. Butter, used in moderation, is a much safer option, but what do you do if you can’t eat it?
I contacted Koko Dairy Free when I got home from the Allergy Show to find out how they make their spread and this was the response I received:
We don’t use any hydrogenated oils or hydrogenation processes in the production of Koko Dairy Free spread. The hardness of the product comes from two of the oils which are naturally hard under refrigeration, but which soften at room temperature. These are the coconut oil, and palm oil (from certified sustainable sources). They are simply blended with rape seed oil and sunflower oil in carefully chosen proportions to achieve the desired consistency under refrigeration and room temperatures.
Another sigh of relief breathed and another tick for Koko products. I can safely say that this spread works well in baking. I used it recently in this apple slice:
A new offering
It’s amazing what excites me these days, but I did genuinely jump up and down when I saw Koko have brought out a range of yoghurts. Again, the alternative is mainly soya-based, with the only other coconut yoghurt on the market being expensive.
Sold in packs of two 125ml pots, the yoghurts come in strawberry, raspberry, coconut and lemon and peach and passion fruit flavours. You can also get a larger, 500g pot of plain yoghurt. Again, the coconut flavour is subtle and the consistency is smooth and similar to that of ordinary yoghurt, as oppose to the thicker, Greek style. More importantly, from my son’s point of view, the fruit flavours are great and there are no ‘bits’.
I would like to thank Koko Dairy Free for sending us some of their lovely products to try. The opinions expressed in this review are that of my own and my son’s.
All I’d like to say to finish is can you make cheese?