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Friday, 23 January 2015

Ditching Dairy - Remember Check EVERYTHING!

I'm really annoyed with myself, rule one of ditching dairy school is to check EVERYTHING before it passes your lips, don't make assumptions and check everything! The past few days we've cleared the fridge, cupboards (bar the baking cupboard that's tonight's job) and have switched to dairy free spread, a mix of almond, soya, oat and coconut milk and made sure we checked the back of packets with a magnifying glass, literally!

A couple of hours ago hubby sent me an email with the photo above, he drinks black coffee at work and uses sweetener, we go for Stevia based sweeteners, I don't have sweetened coffee, haven't for over 30 years now, sweet coffee makes me heave, but I do add sweetener to tea and herb teas. The sweeteners are kept on top of the coffee jar and to be honest it didn't occur to me that they may contain something that we can't have :( Lesson learnt!

In a pack of Aldi Stevia Sweeteners the first ingredient in the list is LACTOSE :oO I was mortified, hubby said he started to cough not long after drinking his lactose laced sweetened brew, he'd had no dairy for 24 hours up until that point. That may be a coincidence, but one of the reasons for trying dairy free for him is he's had a cough and throat irritation since he was a child and the doctors say there is nothing wrong with him. We've discovered it could be caused by dairy... The avoidance of all dairy and the reduction/loss of the cough will prove it once and for all I guess.

Appalled by the fact that  our sweetener contained lactose I embarked on a journey to find a lactose free sweetener in tablet form. I came up empty, unless you count Splenda and with its sucralose content, which I'm reluctant to consume for a variety of reasons, if not for the fact that the FDA in America has ruled that the chemical compound sucralose although not in itself toxic, it is an unnatural product that is a highly-processed chemical artificial sweetener, that can be said for most artificial sweeteners, but Splenda uses chlorine to make the sucralose that gives it its intense sweetness. It's also just been downgraded in the USA from "safe" to "caution" after an Italian animal study linked sucralose to a higher risk of developing leukemia. So Splenda isn't the sweetener choice for me.

I did a little research this morning and found a list of what are considered to be safe 'sugars' : - Dextrose, glucose, glucose syrup, lactose which is a no, no for me, maltose, maltodextrin and maltodextrose. Interestingly they cite honey, golden syrup, sucrose, maple syrup and other sweeteners I'd class as 'natural sugars' as being unsafe! An area for further research methinks! I looked around and found astonishingly that every tablet sweetener contained lactose or a milk derived sugar and an assortment of other ingredients from anti-caking agents to things that began to sound like I needed to go back to school to take chemistry!

I was on the verge of giving up when my gut told me to look at alternative forms of sweetner and I began to investigate granule sweeteners and low and behold I discovered that Tesco make a lactose free granular sweetener which contains just 2 ingredients Maltodextrin one of the 'good' sugars' and 2% Steviol Glycoside, so its got the good stuff in, although some people will argue it isn't that good being a sugar substitute. But for us, for now we've found a solution to lactose containing sweeteners and that makes me happy. For those interested its sold in Tesco in a jar as Tesco Stevia Sweetener, sadly they they don't do a tablet version. A valuable lesson was learnt, nothing should escape the dairy free check and I'll be more careful and observant in the future and will remember to check EVERYTHING!

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Thanks for your comments on my cards and posts, they are very much appreciated, I'll get back to you as soon as I can if a reply is required. Hugs - Debs x