Egg and Dairy Replacements

Dear Doctor,

Would you consider liquid egg substitute healthy? I’m trying to find alternatives for eggs and dairy in my son’s diet.

Sharon

 

Dear Sharon,

My answer to your question depends on why you are trying to find alternatives to eggs and dairy for your son’s diet. Since I don’t have that answer, I will give you a couple of “if” scenarios.

If you are removing these items because of a food sensitivity that was found on testing or because your son is on the spectrum, and if you are talking about a product such as Egg Beaters, then no, this substitute for eggs will not work for you. In general, the liquid egg substitutes are not “unhealthy” they just won’t work as replacements to eggs because they still contain the protein components that folks with sensitivities react to.

One of the alternatives to eggs that will work is a product called EnerG Egg Replacer, available at most health food stores and online at the links at the end of this posting. Other than that product, you can often replace eggs in baking with applesauce (use organic) or some other fruit-sauce like pear sauce. EnerG Egg Replacer cannot really be used to make dishes such as scrambled eggs or quiche, but it does work well in baking as I mentioned. Ground flaxseed is my personal favorite for baking cookies, brownies and quickbreads that do not contain fruit-sauces or pumpkin puree. To make a ground flax egg substitute (1 to 1 usually) use one level teaspoon of ground flaxseed and 2.5 tablespoons of water. Let it rest for 5 minutes and mix into batter.

Dairy replacements are much easier. Again, if you are trying to find substitutions due to the reasons I listed above, then my suggestions would include items like Almond Milk or Rice milk. I would look for the Original, unsweetened versions. My patients find success in transitioning their children onto new products by using a few simple strategies. First, replace one item at a time and once the new foods have become part of the dietary routine, do the next one. Second, do it slowly. For instance, when working with the dairy, try mixing your dairy substitute 1/2 to 1/2 with what he normally drinks. You can, over a period of a couple of weeks, add more and more of the substitute. He will get used to it and accept it no problem over time. For baking, both of those milk substitutes work very well, no changes to recipes needed. For cheese, I guide patients into using Galaxy Foods vegan cheeses. These are often available at health food stores and I have also included a link for online purchasing.

Depending on why you are replacing these items, I should mention digestive enzymes. Many molecules can be similar to egg and dairy proteins and can trigger similar reactions in the body as the eggs and dairy do. So, quite frequently, we recommend adding digestive enzymes at mealtime to help the body breakdown these similar proteins. Of course, I would encourage you to discuss the most appropriate treatment strategy with your doctor, but it is something quite frequently done. This does not mean the digestive enzymes should be used along with egg and dairy – it is a double protective strategy to use enzymes along with removing the foods, again, depending on why you are removing these items.

And last, when you take a child off eggs and dairy you must monitor protein, calcium and Vitamin D intake, especially if eggs were a main source of protein. Beans and nut butters can often serve as a source of protein and there are a lot of foods that supply Calcium and Vitamin D as well as many great supplements. It is very important to be aware and monitor the intake of all vitamins and nutrients, but especially these when removing dairy and eggs.

Thanks for the great question and good luck.

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