Simple cooking tips for a special diet - lactose intolerance“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.” I could only imagine, people with lactose intolerance aren’t screaming for joy. It can be quite unpleasant: symptoms can include cramps, diarrhea, and nausea. In this article, I’ll discuss eating tips for those with lactose intolerance. 


Lactose-Free Milk

Sounds like an obvious one, right?  But it’s the closest milk substitute that actually tastes just like the real thing. Good news: even though, the lactose is removed, you still get the same vitamins and minerals as you would in regular milk. 

Other popular alternatives include soymilk, almond milk and rice milk. My favorite is almond milk. If you like to add a little cream to your morning coffee, give these substitutes a try.  I just discovered coconut cream on the shelves in my local store; I have not tried it yet but it sounds delicious, non? Let me know in the comments below if you have and what you thought.


 White Bean Chili

For the most part, people drink milk is to get their intake of calcium to help maintain strong and healthy bones. Luckily, both lactose-free and almond milk offers a good source of calcium. But if you’ve opted out of drinking milk (alternatives) altogether, make sure you are adding foods that are enriched with calcium. You’ll get a good dose from the following foods: white beans, collard greens, canned salmon, sardines, and dried figs. Check out this Chicken and White Bean Chili: it’s packed with protein and calcium plus it’s dairy-free. Enjoy! 

Recipe from


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups of various chilies and peppers, seeded and diced*
  • 1 pound dried Cannellini or Great Northern Beans, soaked for approximately 8 hours, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to your taste)
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder (optional, I just love the smokey flavor)
  • 7 cups chicken broth, if using store-bought, choose low sodium
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 lbs cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 cup frozen organic corn
  • 3 tablespoons non GMO masa harina or corn flour dissolved in 1/4 cup water (optional)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup goat milk yogurt or cultured sour cream (optional)
  • 1 large handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped


Once you are ready to start making the chili, heat up 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, garlic and peppers and saute for 5-7 minutes until the onions are translucent.

Add the spices, but put in very little salt at this point (salt can affect the cooking of the beans, so most of your salt once they are done cooking). Give it all a good stir and let it cook another minute or so. Add the chicken broth and the white beans. Bring to a boil. Once boiling take the heat to a medium-low and place the cover on and cook covered for 1 1/2 up to 2 1/2 hours, stirring every once in a while. You don’t want it boiling, so you may even take the temperature to low, if need be.

Beans can take much longer than that if they are older, so make sure to give yourself enough time. Dried beans can be tricky like that. You are looking for the beans to be tender and creamy but don’t boil them or overcook them and turn them into mush.

Once the beans are close to cooked but with a little bite yet, add in the shredded chicken to let it finish cooking. It will continue to shred more as it is cooking, so don’t stress about shredding it perfectly. Give the chili a quick taste at this point and add more sea salt and pepper, to taste. Allow it to finish cooking with the lid on

Baking Tips 

For most baked good recipes, it requires milk to help mix the dry ingredients nicely. A tip from WebMD, when recipe asks for buttermilk, “add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of plain milk substitute to make your own.”  Also, if the recipe askes for milk powder, you can use the same amount of coconut or soymilk powder instead. I didn’t even know that soymilk comes in a powder form, did you? 

For my birthday, I decided to bake cupcakes. My friend suggested to use coconut milk instead of milk in the recipe. The result: party favorite. Best part: the cupcakes were moist for a couple of days. I baked them on a Thursday night eventhough the party was on Saturday. No one noticed, they thought I baked them that morning. 

Cooking Tip 

It’s the season to cozy up with a nice creamy soup. Instead of preparing soups with milk or creams, use coconut milk.  Not sure about you, but I’m a fan of Thai soup.

Recipe from Elana’s Pantry


  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or coconut oil
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 8 sprigs cilantro, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 28 ounces coconut milk
  • ½ pound crimini mushrooms
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 pound chicken breasts skinless-boneless, halved lengthwise, sliced on bias, cut into ⅛ inch thick pieces
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ½ cup cilantro, minced
  • 2 serrano chilies, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


  • Warm oil in a large saucepan over medium heat
  • Add shallots and cilantro, stirring frequently until softened ?2 to 5 minutes
  • Stir in stock and coconut milk and bring to a simmer
  • Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids (shallot and cilantro)
  • Return broth to saucepan
  • Reduce heat to medium , add mushrooms and broccoli and cook until tender ?2 to 3 minutes
  • Add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink ?1 to 3 minutes
  • Combine lime juice, curry paste and fish sauce in a small bowl then stir into soup
  • Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro, chilies and scallions
  • Serve with wedges of lime

Slow Cooker at Best Buy 

Also the easiest way to make chili or soup is with a slow cooker.  Check out this one from Crock-Pot. 


An enzyme is required to help the digestive system to break down lactose. Therefore, those with lactose intolerance are faced with an enzyme deficiency.  Depending on your tolerance of discomfort when eating dairy, it might be worth look into getting enzyme pills, lactose tablets or drops. Note: Please advise a health care practitioner before taking any pills.  

Being lactose intolerant has its days, luckily there are great solutions to manage your diet. We’d love to hear from you on this issue, please comment below on ways you deal with this dietary challenge.

Leila Pejman
Leila Pejman is a producer and storyteller whose work encompasses content creation, media, social media, and communications, topped off with a passion for emerging technologies. On the domestic side, she's on a mission to create the best quinoa muffin recipe.


  1. ThePej wrote:

    “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.” I could only imagine, people with lactose intolerance aren’t screaming for joy.



    I love ice cream… but need to visit the porcelin goddess if I’m not careful.  Thick ice cream for chocolate dipped cones are the worst.


    Things I’ve done…

    • look for “sorbet”.  Sorbet uses fruit juices and lack any dairy products
    • try “gelato” or  Italian ice cream.  It uses a much lower level of “butterfat”, while I can’t comfortably eat regular ice cream.  I can digest two scoops of Gelato without becoming an IED.

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