Dairy substitutes

One of my readers asked me for advice on what is the one food ingredient to avoid because her baby’s eczema seems to be flaring up more. She suspected that food may be the culprit. My recommendation was : DAIRY(cow’s milk) – simply because it is the most common allergenic food. One of the common cow’s milk protein intolerance or allergy symptom is skin rash. However, because she is exclusively breastfeeding, it means that she has to avoid cow’s milk and all by products ie. yogurt, cheese, cake. She was surprised because she thought cutting it out from her diet meant to be as simple as not drinking milk, and other type of food will not have any effect.

Dr. Jillian Cole, a naturopathic physician has adviced that one of the top natural treatments for eczema is to eliminate dairy for a period of time to observe for improvement. He has seen wonderful improvements in children with eczema and eliminating dairy products for a period of time or chronic acne being significantly reduced by switching over to a whole foods diet.

If you don’t know how or where to start, you can read further below on how I manage to cut off dairy from my diet for 1 whole month, and slowly easing into it to check for reaction. It requires some planning and stocking up.

What are the cow milk substitutes that I can drink?

  • Rice milk, Oat milk and Soy milk are some common substitutes that are easily available from the supermarket. They are generally sold in UHT 1 L. The texture of the milk may be quite diluted and not as creamy as cow’s milk, but I find the chocolate flavoured ones quite delicious.
  • Fresh soy milk from Mr. Bean or food court/shops which are freshly made are definitely better tasting than the fresh soy milk from the supermarket. Supermarket’s fresh soy milk has additional additives which makes it taste a little different from fresh soy milk.
  • At home, I keep a can of oat milk beverage. I would recommend Dr. Oatcare. Dr OatCare is a nutritious blend of natural ingredients consisting of Montana Embryo Oats™, 17 organic seeds, 9 mixed nuts, seaweed derived calcium and flaxseed oil, all are natural ingredients from U.S.A.  It can be consumed by itself or mixed with cereal as the base milk. 

What can I do to ensure I have sufficient calcium in my diet?

  • There are many other alternative food which are good source of calcium. Here are some common food source of calcium :
    • Calcium fortified soy milk or rice milk
    • Sardines
    • Salmon
    • Soybeans
    • Oatmeal
    • Fish filet
    • Cabbage
    • Almond
  • If you take calcium supplement, ensure you do not exceed the daily recommended dosage, both in diet and supplement combine.

    I loved my ice cream, cheese and cakes, what can I indulge in now?

    It’s time to discover new food!

  • For ice cream, you can opt for soy ice cream. Mr. Bean sells soft serve soy ice cream in a cone or cup.
  • If you use to sprinkle cheese on your pasta, try almond flakes or pine nuts instead.
  • I use to love my cakes for tea time. Now, I buy nyonya kuih instead as they are made from coconut milk. Bengawan Solo has a good variety.


I love my daily cup of coffee/tea, any other way to enjoy them?

  • If you take coffee from Starbucks/Coffee Bean, they typically will have the soy milk option. When I feel like indulging in coffee, I go to Cedele and request for soy milk instead of cow’s milk.
  • I personally don’t like soy milk in tea. For tea, I rather drink them plain with a little honey/raw sugar.
  • Try other warm drink like honey citron or honey lemon if you need to join your colleagues for your ‘kopi’ sessions at Wang cafe.

There you go! Hope my tips above can make your transition into eliminating dairy in your diet easier. Typically you need to eliminate for at least 12 weeks(3 months) for all the traces of dairy to be fully flushed out from your system so that you can really know if it does make a difference. If you feel better or symptoms improve, then you can opt to eliminate it totally for even longer or slowly introduce in the future when all your rashes are gone.


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