Let me set some clear expectations for the following statement: it falls squarely within the realm of First World Problems and I am being a tad overdramatic as per usual and it pales in comparison to this but SOMETHING TERRIBLE HAS HAPPENED.
This Terrible Thing is a dairy allergy. Of odd proportions. For months, I’ve been noticing some symptoms every time I consume cow’s milk/yogurt/feta/fresh mozzarella (though aged cheeses seem to be kosher): tiny blisters and itching and peeling on two (sometimes three) of my fingers and mild eczema-like rashes on the inside of my elbows.
At first, I thought the rashes on my fingers were due to excessive moisture on my hands from washing dishes, but when the inner elbow rashes showed up, I knew it had to be something more. Eczema runs in my family (though it never affected me as a kid, and it’s bewildering to have it show up now) and my suspicion is that I gave myself this allergy due to overenthusiastic consumption of Greek yogurt a few years ago. It was during a phase when I was convinced I wasn’t getting enough protein, and I compensated by eating a LOT of yogurt. I’d eat it at least twice a day (for breakfast and a snack), and occasionally for dinner or dessert. Aside from yogurt, I was a fairly moderate consumer of dairy: I grew up drinking 1% milk, but switched to almond milk almost six years ago when I became pescetarian. Since then, I’ve mostly eaten dairy in the form of moderate pizza/taco/pasta consumption and whatever dairy ended up in whatever pastry I was making or buying.
Looking back, I should have known better than to eat one food group so excessively, but yogurt is kind of a classic staple in the single lady life. Easy to make (open the container), easy to eat, protein- and calcium-packed. It was an easy weapon to fulfill what I thought were my increased protein needs. I had no idea that excessively eating one food could give you a food allergy until I read Felicia’s eloquent discussion of her avocado allergy (really, her entire journey of overhauling her diet is fascinating and worth a read) and in doing research since then, I’ve come across more and more anecdotes about similar occurrences.
In the midst of figuring out what the heck is going on with my fingers/dairy consumption/elbows, I met the lovely, bubbly Lisa of Maple and Love (a Houston-based custom bakery that makes the MOST beautiful and delectable treats!) who told me about her allergy to a certain milk protein. Intolerance to this particular protein can’t be determined through blood tests, so a dairy tolerance challenge (like this) is recommended instead. This kind of elimination test makes sense to me, so I’m embarking on a dairy-free challenge for the next few weeks (and probably years, if we’re being realistic).
All of this to say: this is why my recipes will be dairy-free for the foreseeable future (though I will leave up recipes like this cheesecake and these pancakes because I still think they’re great for those who can consume dairy).
Also: if you have any wisdom on this topic, please share! Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever had similar symptoms? Were you able to overcome a food allergy?
The silver lining to this is that pancakes are still well within my eating realm. To celebrate going dairy-free from now on, I updated this basic vegan pancake recipe (turns out you don’t need flax!) for these very simple, satisfying pancakes. They’re not going to win any attractiveness awards, but anything stuffed with peanut butter…cannot be bad. Plus, I think whole wheat pancakes are not only virtuous, but super tasty. These aren’t really revolutionary, just a fun way to eat pancakes (and leftovers make for a great little on-the-go package in the morning if you toss a couple in a pan to reheat while you brush your hair and dance around to Sia…or whatever wakes YOU up…).
Whole Wheat Stuffed Pancakes (vegan)
- 3/4 cup almond milk + 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon optional
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- For filling:
- 1 banana sliced thinly (or: sliced strawberries, mango, blueberries, chocolate chips, WHATEVER YOU WANT)
- your choice of nut butters jams, or other spreads
- Combine the almond milk and vinegar and let sit. Whisk together all dry ingredients. Gently stir in the almond milk mixture, olive oil and vanilla until a lumpy batter forms. You can add additional water or milk at this point for thinner pancakes (I prefer thick ones).
- Lightly grease a medium frying pan over medium heat. Drop a heaping tablespoon of batter into the preheated pan (batter should sizzle), then press a couple slices of banana in the center. Dollop a heaping quarter teaspoon of nut butter, jam, or both on top of the banana, then top with another banana slice, and then enough batter to just cover the filling. Let cook until you can easily slide a spatula underneath the pancake (about 2 minutes), then flip and cook until the other side is browned. Serve hot! Leftovers taste best reheated on the stovetop.
Did you try this recipe?Tag @thepancakeprincess on Instagram!
Villa de Patos kindly sent me some Maguey Sap to sample (pictured in above photos). It’s a unique, minimally processed alternative sweetener that offers prebiotic dairy fiber! I used it on top of these pancakes and thought it was a nice, milder option to maple syrup or agave.
Kayle (The Cooking Actress)
oh no!! you poor thing 🙁 luckily you’re amazing and there are tons of dairy free options! These pancakes are a delicious example!
The pancakes look so good! Food allergies are no fun. Good luck with your new diet!
I knoww thanks so much lady!!
Christine | Vermilion Roots
I don’t take dairy either. It gives me problems I can’t put my finger on. But I love yogurt and would sometimes allow myself Greek yogurt. I just hope there’s better non-dairy yogurt in the market! Any recommendations? 🙂
Ahh, I wish I had some recommendations to give you but sadly, I haven’t done nearly enough experimenting. We will have to keep each other posted! 😉
Shikha @ Shikha la Mode
That’s so crazy! I always thought dairy allergies were somewhat genetic? I guess not. I eat a boatload of Greek yogurt too, ahhhhh.
Could be, my dad is lactose-intolerant, but I’d never showed any signs of having issues with dairy until about a year ago. Crossing my fingers you don’t have any of these whack genes!!
Natasha @ The Cake Merchant
Oh no! That is a challenge, but I’m sure you’ll come up with many amazing dairy free pancake recipes like this one. I love the idea of a thick fluffy pancake stuffed with peanut butter!
Aww thanks Natasha! Omg this is the perfect excuse to give all your beautiful amazing vegan layer cakes a whirl now!!
Oh my! Thank you for sharing – what a challenging and surprising thing to have happen, but it’s great that you figured out what it was. And I have to say, if there’s anyone who I’m sure can adapt and still create beautiful food, it’s you! Looking forward to seeing all the creative adaptations you come up with, like these amazing pancakes!
Jess, thank you so much!!! Your sweet comment totally brightened my day. I can only hope I’ll be as creative as you in the kitchen 😉 <333
janet @ the taste space
Sorry to hear about the weird lactose reactions. I never really liked cheese or yogurt, so that was easy to give up once vegan. Milk was harder for me but now I don’t even use the non-dairy milks that often. I am sure you will be creative and find other fun things. You might enjoy trying to make your own cultured vegan cheese (ie. Homemade Vegan Pantry, Artisan Vegan Cheese, etc). While not cultured, this is a very easy sub for nacho cheese made with cashews: https://tastespace.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/raw-burrito-collard-wrap-filled-with-jicama-sprouts-and-a-nacho-cashew-spread/
Interesting! I’d love to graduate to using non-dairy milk less–it’s getting super pricey at the store. And thanks for the ideas! You’re getting me totally excited about vegan cheese and I’m putting your nacho cheese on my list!!!
Oh crap!! I’m sorry you have to deal with this, but I’m glad to see you’re coping so deliciously! Gorg pics, as always, and the recipe sounds delicious!!
Aww thanks so much lady!! That’s such high praise coming from you <33 Honestly, one of the worst things about this dairy free thing is looking at delicious recipes like that RIDICULOUS sundae you just posted and realizing I really shouldn't try making it...making one of your recipes has been on my to-do for months!!
These look sooooooo good! I love all of your recipes – pancakes are delicious and yours are just divine. I can’t wait to try these!
Thanks for sharing – keep it coming! 🙂
Love love love,
Thanks so much Haley! You are just the best 🙂 Hope you like these!! <3
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
Stuffing pancakes is a fabulous idea! These sound so awesome!
Kim @ Adventures in a New(ish) City
Oh no!! I’m so sorry to hear this. Allergies really are the funniest things (in the most un-funny way possible). When I turned 25, I all of a sudden woke up one day with a shellfish allergy. I was all, eating oysters on the beach one week (and by beach I mean the bar downstairs), and the next week, my face was blown up to the size of Texas from a dumb scallop. So weird. I feel ya – It’s bizarre and frustrating.
However with your positive attitude and EXCEPTIONAL creativity, I am excited to see new adventurous options coming our way with your recipes! Like this one – Umm, peanut butter stuffed pancakes, are you kidding me right now? They look and sound incredible!!
If you ever need an unofficial taste tester for any of the new recipes, you know where to find me. 😉
Sarah from Soymilk + Honey
So sorry to hear about the rash and possible allergy. This kind of stuff is no fun. I used to love milk as a kid – I drank tons of it. Until I hit high school and started having a ton of stomach issues. I’ve been (mostly) dairy free since then. The one thing I’ve found that really helped is Digestive Enzymes. I like the Rainbow Light brand: http://fw.to/ShQxAGY I’ve found that I can pretty well tolerate diary-heavy food (ice cream is the big one) as long as I take one of these guys. Good luck narrowing down what’s going on!
I never had the rashes on my hands–just on the undersides of my arms, and as my condition worsened, on my legs. What started as rashes turned into full-blown raised hives at the height of my illness and my doctor actually had to prescribe steroids to bring them down. However, he told me that everyone reacts differently, and although he’s a gut specialist and a GP, the science is still not keeping pace. For example, he’s never seen a case like mine where I had residual, active hives for two months AFTER I stopped eating gluten and dairy, meaning my case was pretty severe.
A few years before last is when I started to notice the hives. They were exacerbated by heat and were a constant. They’re gone now, thankfully, If you have any questions, shoot me a note 🙂
Sarah | Well and Full
STUFFED PANCAKES?! Where have these been all my life?? 😉
And about the food allergy…. I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance when I was five. Subsequently, I’ve spent my whole life getting used to a dairy-free diet (I STILL prefer pizza with the cheese scraped off). But I think that’s really testament to the fact that the human body can get used to almost anything. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss cheese sometimes, but as an ethical vegan it’s a lot easier to give it up if you know where it comes from. But if I may be so bold to make a recommendation, I would definitely try out Nacheez… it’s made from cashews but is sooooo good. You can get it at amazon:
Ooh thanks Sarah! I’m definitely welcoming all dairy-free recos at the moment. And YES! One of the main things that kept me from becoming vegan back in the day was my love of cheese! I still think it would be hard for me to give up eggs and fish, but I think you’re def right about ethics making it easier to give certain foods up. Now let me get to scraping that cheese off my pizza…
Sarah from Soymilk + Honey
As another lactose-intolerant kid (and another Sarah oddly enough)..I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried any of the new nut-based cheeses? http://www.kite-hill.com/ I haven’t seen them but I’ve been super curious.
Karen @ The Food Charlatan
Noooo!! 1st world problems are haaard. I hope you find in time that you can at least tolerate some cheese. But in the meantime eat allll these pancakes because DANG.
YOU UNDERSTAND MEE. Thanks Karen <33 In the meantime, eat all the cheese for me!!
Courtney | Fork to Belly
Nooo! Not dairy! I have a cousin who just found out she’s mildly allergic to strawberries, which is hard for her because the loves them. She says she’ll still have a few despite the itchy/tingly feeling in her mouth! On the plus side, there are so many alternatives to dairy products now. Hopefully even a little dairy won’t hurt 🙂
Oh my gosh that would be AWFUL! I’m glad she’s not deathly allergic to them! And yes, you’re right about all the dairy alternatives–I think this will actually be a really interesting challenge! Like your cousin, I can eat dairy…I just get some not-so-fun side effects so yep, I think a teensy bit of dairy may still be in my future 😉
Oh no! I know EXACTLY what you’re going through and I had those bumps for years (it didn’t dawn on me until recently how long I’ve had them–I just attributed them to other issues, i.e. heat rashes, eczema, etc). What I have learned (and again, this is from my own experience) that I’m able to incorporate gluten and dairy back into my diet–after abstaining for a year and repairing my gut with the help of my primary care doc and nutritionist–in SMALL doses. I’ve also been reading a lot of preliminary studies on allergies (the science is still not concrete, as food–and how we react/adapt to it–changes faster than science), and I’ve seen everything from therapies to medicine that can help alleviate allergies.
This was a particularly good read: http://stanmed.stanford.edu/2014fall/i-can-eat-it.html?src=longreads
INTERESTING! Thank you so much, Felicia! I’ve only skimmed that article so far, but I’m excited to get into it in-depth later. Also–did you get bumps on your elbows or fingers or both? Interesting that you attributed them to heat rashes at times because I’ve definitely noticed that summer has exacerbated my issues.