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Healing from Dairy Allergies – Why You Don’t Have to Live Dairy-free

I’m gonna make a guess that you know at least one person who is allergic to some form of dairy. And I am going to go a step farther and guess that at least one person in your family is allergic to some form of dairy. These days, it is no surprise to run into someone who is experiencing unpleasant symptoms of dairy-induced allergies. And, of course!, there is a form of dairy in so many things we eat. So what’s a mom (or teacher, friend, play-date coordinator, wife) to do? Did you know that you may not have to remain dairy-free for the rest of your life? Many people have experienced healing from dairy allergies…could you?

Healing from Dairy Allergies - Why You Don't Have to Live Dairy-free  #dairyfree #allergy #recipe

Some sources say that an allergy to cow’s milk is the most common food allergy in American children. I would like to suggest that this is due to the rise of formula-feeding during infancy and the use of pasteurized milk. Commercial formulas contain a pasteurized milk ingredient (except for soy-free formulas – but we’ll save that concern for another post!) that has undergone further processing. And pasteurized dairy results in a product so altered that it’s not even really milk! (source) This can cause our bodies to not know what to do with it – hence, the all-too-common allergy to casein (pronounced KAY-seen). 

One of the things I am asked about often is when I introduced dairy to the triplets. I waited till they were a year old. Now, this was a personal decision. My babies received some formula for some months while I worked to get my supply of breast milk up and all three babies breastfeeding. And, since pasteurized dairy is in most commercial formulas, I wanted to give their guts a chance to rest from whatever damage may have occurred during that time. Had they not received formula, I likely would have begun giving them raw dairy with low casein content – or with a high whey-content. Then, I would simply watch for allergic reactions. 

It is interesting to note that few people raised only on raw dairy are allergic to raw dairy! You can read why here.

Symptoms of Dairy Allergies

If you or someone you know has ever had an allergic reaction to dairy, you likely won’t forget it! However, if you’re a new mama or perhaps have never experienced the symptoms of a reaction, it might be challenging to determine the cause. 

A lactose intolerance, however, is not the same as a dairy allergy.

  • Lactose Intolerance – the digestive system lacks the right amount of enzymes needed to break down the sugar found in dairy.
  • Dairy Allergy – a problem within the immune system where the gut actually overreacts to the proteins found in dairy (casein).

If you or your child develops any of the following within a few days of consuming dairy products, you may want to see your doctor:

  • Skin reactions like hives and eczema
  • Itchy, watery, red eyes
  • Gut reactions like nausea, pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, throwing up.
  • Wheezing, coughing, or other symptoms of the airways.
  • Lips, tongue, face swelling (source)

Healing from Dairy Allergies

If you suspect you have an allergy to pasteurized dairy, your doctor may have you go through a food challenge where you will eliminate certain foods and slowly work them back in. If you experience reactions to them, you will then be able to give your body an extended period of time to heal. It would be helpful to start using various forms or probiotics during this time (we use these, kombucha, and other fermented foods) and to follow a gut healing diet (such as the GAPs diet). After a period of time, you should be able to introduce raw dairy into your diet (be sure to find dairy sourced from Jersey cows).

In the meantime, if you have an infant who is experiencing symptoms from commercial formula, rather than moving on to a soy-based formula, you may want to try this raw goat’s milk formula. The protein in goat’s milk formula is much more easily processed by the body and makes an excellent alternative (if breast milk is not an option).

And if you or your child show symptoms to pasteurized dairy, you may want to try this coconut milk while transitioning through your gut-healing. You could then progress to raw goat’s milk, and then on to raw cow’s milk. 

During your transition and healing from dairy allergies, you may find these recipes helpful – and definitely yummy!

Have you experienced healing from dairy allergies?

photo credit: michael moeller via photopin cc


  1. Unfortunately I live in a state where it is illegal to possess even a container for raw milk. I was diagnosed with dairy and casein allergy about 3 years ago now and have struggled to find a balance in eating now.

  2. My experience is that if there has been much damage from gluten and casein proteins (the protein in milk) sometimes it is much more difficult to heal. My dd has had only raw milk for some years but still now at age 15 she can not tolerate any dairy products. She is also highly gluten intolerant and although we have had her on the healing GAPS diet she still cannot tolerate any dairy except ghee. I am hopeful that in time she may heal enough to be able to at least have some homemade yogurt or kefir. All that to say that lactose intolerance is much easier to heal from than casein intolerance.

    • Jennifer, that’s so tough! And yes, I agree with you that casein intolerance/allergies are more difficult to heal from. It sounds like you guys have done an excellent job creating a healthy environment in her gut. Sometimes we just don’t have the answers. (Hugs!)

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