It has been a year since I was first diagnosed with a cows milk allergy. At first I was relieved – finally I had a reason why I always felt sick, why my stomach was so bloated, why I was in so much pain. Then the panic set in. My allergy was the highest level it could be, so even the slightest bit of dairy from now on was going to hurt.
It took from September right up until the new year for the dairy to work its way out of my system, but there was a time in those first few weeks of the new year (when quite frankly I was ready to give up and go back to eating what I felt like – stomach pain be damned!) that the pain suddenly stopped. That I felt healthy again and I stopped looking like a pregnant lady.
The hardest part for me has been finding a good solution for my sweet tooth. As the name suggests, I love my sugar. In particular, I love my chocolate. It is the thing I run to after a bad day and the one thing I crave.
So here is my guide to surviving chocolate cravings: allergy style.
Freedom Foods Chocolate Blitz Cookies:
These are like biting into really dry, icky cookies. They don’t have much flavour – good or bad, but the texture is really off. And for all its claims of being dairy free – it has a disclaimer that says that while THEY don’t put dairy into it, they do buy their dairy free chocolate from a source that may have contamination issues. Dairy free fail.
On the whole I would rate most of Freedom Foods products quite bad. Just because I can’t eat dairy, doesn’t mean I don’t like flavour.
Sweet William Dairy Free Chocolate:
This is quite a good chocolate alternative – it has the creaminess of real chocolate and the taste is spot on. It is surprisingly not my number one chocolate alternative but it is available at the supermarket, and the easiest option to find. I find though it doesn’t work as well in cooking as other brands.
LEDA Nutrition Choc Chip Cookies:
These are pretty much free of all allergens and you know what? They taste like a REAL cookie. They are crunchy, chocolatey and the only difference between that and the packets of cookies available in the biscuit aisle is that these have a little bit of coconut in them.
LEDA Nutrition Choculence:
I call these my fake tim tams. I am extremely mad at my local Woolworths because we are coming up to two weeks now with no fake tim tams in sight, and well that doesn’t make for a happy Sugar Junkie! Now, nothing compares to a real Tim Tam, but this is kind of like eating the Homebrand version. Chocolate wise it hits the spot, but I doubt you could do a Tim Tam Slam with these. They also have a mint slice version which is very nice.
Kinnerton luxury dark chocolate:
I rate this as my top choice for allergy free chocolates. This tastes like regular dark chocolate, although perhaps a touch harder when you bite into it. It cooks fantastically well. It is very rich and nobody can tell that it is not real chocolate.
Now, those who grew up Milo drinkers may hate the suggestion of AktaVite, but my Dad was big on this alternative and now I always make sure to have a can of this in our pantry as it is a great chocolate craving breaker. Also, I found the switch over to soy milk quite difficult (I used to love my milk!) and so having this to flavour the soy milk helped me get used to it. Milo is definitely not dairy free but NesQuik is, although they sometimes have warnings on their labels about cross contamination with milk.
My biggest advice for chocolate loving allergy sufferers is to avoid the healthchocolate options that nutritionists give you. They are powdery, gross and not at all a real substitute for chocolate. It tastes nothing like the real thing and there is no convincing yourself otherwise.
If anyone has any other chocolate suggestions for me, I would love to hear them!