The results are in... Dairy is out! Through our trial elimination with dairy, we did discover that the kids appear to do better without dairy. I have to admit that I feel better as well. My son wanted meatloaf and mashed potatoes for his birthday dinner last week, so I made a trial batch of dairy-free meatloaf and mashed potatoes. My dad and his wife also came over for dinner, so I had a good set of taste testers. Let's just say that my dad is not exactly adventurous with food. I didn't tell him that the dinner was both gluten and dairy free until after the fact. He admitted that he didn't notice any difference. Success! I made my Quinoa Meatloaf with Silk Original Coconut Milk instead of milk. For the mashed potatoes, I simply substituted Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread with Flaxseed Oil for the butter and coconut milk for the milk. While coconut milk does a slight coconut favor, it was not noticeable in either dish.
So why coconut milk? There are several milk substitutes available including soy, rice, almond, and coconut. We chose to primarily use coconut milk because of it's antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties that can boost the immune system. Check out the Health Benefits of Coconut Milk. This is definitely a plus when you have a family with sensitive tummies and a host of other allergies that weaken their immune systems. I cook with the original flavor and the kid's drink the vanilla flavor. While soy milk does provide more protein along with the calcium, it also has many adverse health affects so I try to avoid it. Almond milk may be an OK option too, but my kids wouldn't drink it. I try to use rice milk in moderation because of it's high sugar content.