You’d be surprised how many “dairy-free” and “lactose-free” foods contain the milk protein casein. In this post, I will showcase a few that I have found and tell you which of my favorite stores is the biggest single culprit (ugh).

People avoid dairy for numerous reasons: they can’t digest the sugar (lactose), the protein(s) (ex: casein) causes inflammation, and following a vegan diet are definitely the top three. The protein-inflammation reason is near and dear to my heart, though, and that will be the focus of this article.

Dairy proteins, namely casein, are inflammatory and are a very common food sensitivity. Heck, that’s what much of Colin Campbell’s (author of the China Study) work was on. And while Campbell’s work was flawed, to say the least, the fact does remain that casein (particularly in large doses) can be quite inflammatory. If you throw in sub-par digestion, leaky gut, or autoimmunity into the puzzle, you’ve got yourself some serious inflammation on your hands.

I am one of many who avoids casein for autoimmune/gut/inflammation reasons. I am always on the hunt for good dairy-free alternatives, and I’m always skeptical when I find them. “Is this actually FULLY dairy-free (casein-free)?” and “Will this taste like melted garbage bags?” are high on my initial list of questions when evaluating a new product.

Casein is commonly found in:

  • “Lactose-free” items

  • Cheese replacements

  • “Non-dairy” coffee creamer (including Coffee-mate and those little ones every diner leaves on the table)

Biggest Single Store Culprit:

Trader Joe’s

Casein shouldn’t be found in*:

  • “Dairy-free” items

  • “Vegan” items

*Always check anyway!

Below are a few examples that I’ve found. I will update this post periodically as I think to document others.

TJs Almond milk Mozzarella Style Shreds: Contains Casein

TJ’s Soy Cheese Blend (Shredded): Contains Casein

TJ’s Soy Slices: Contains Casein

TJ’s Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds: Does NOT Contain Casein!

Here’s a guide to dairy reactions, how to best avoid dairy, and products that don’t taste like melted garbage bags:

Best of luck navigating the allergen-fueled world,

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