IBS and Going Dairy-Free

I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. I've always had a bit of a sensitive stomach but a year an a half ago, it began to get worse. I was mis-diagnosed by several doctors and when they wouldn't take my symptoms seriously, I went online and did my own research. I went to my family doctor feeling pretty confident that I had IBS and he confirmed that I had IBS but he had very few suggestions as to how to help deal with it other then "learn to live with it". I had a prescription for a medication that could help ease some of the symptoms but it wasn't helping all the time. I was stuck with a daily stomach ache that would sometimes last all day. I tried probiotics, I switched to almond milk, and I drank chamomile tea. Each thing helped a little bit but nothing got rid of the stomach aches completely.

Two months ago, after reading a book on how to treat IBS, I completely gave up dairy. My stomach aches are 95% gone! I haven't had a "pit in my stomach" stomach ache since I gave up all forms of dairy. I still have a little stomach upset when I'm under stress but it's nothing like it was 2 months ago. It's such a relief to feel better that it makes giving up some of my favorite foods worth it. I've stopped taking all of the probiotics and I only take my prescription once or twice a month instead of several times daily.

The reason I wanted to share my tummy troubles here is that I've had to make some changes to recipes to make them dairy-free. I thought I'd share those recipes in case anyone else could benefit from them.

So, if I can't have dairy, how do I bake everyday? How do I live without butter? Here are some of my favorites....

Spreading on toast:
Earth Balance (soy-free) It's a tub butter substitute that is non-hydrogenated and doesn't contain soybean oil. (I try to avoid non-traditional soy products). I like Earth Balances taste. It melts nicely and spreads well on toast.

Earth Balance
Olive Oil

If the recipe calls for melted butter: Olive oil, melted coconut oil, or melted Earth Balance
If the recipe calls for creaming softened butter: *Lard, coconut oil, Earth Balance
If the recipe calls for milk: Almond milk or coconut milk

Frostings: *Lard (though I'm finding the taste too aggressive) or Earth Balance
I've tried coconut oil but it makes the frosting too dense

With Cereal: Almond milk (I like the original or unsweetened varieties)

*Lard: You might be surprised that I use lard but here are some of the facts about lard that most people don't know....
-Lard is a great source of Vitamin D
-Lard has less saturated fat then butter
-Lard has more mono-unsaturated fat (good fats) then Olive oil
**Just be sure that your lard comes from animals not treated with hormones and the lard is NOT hydrogenated.

Unfortunately I still haven't found a way to make Mac&Cheese dairy-free and I don't think I'll ever be able to. It was my former favorite food but luckily the longer you go without a food, the less you think about it and remember how it tastes. I'm working on dairy-free ice creams but so far have only found so-so recipes. I'll be sure to post if I find a great one.

When you see me post recipes from now on, I'll put my dairy-free substitutions in parenthesis next to the dairy item in the recipe. I'm by no means an expert on the subject... just a food-lover trying to enjoy the things I've always loved.... without a stomach ache!