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Going Gluten-FreeOctober 18, 2010

Cheese, Please!

"Hooray mozza-lella! Hooray mozza-lella!"

I never thought I'd hear one of my children gleefully cheering for any kind of cheese, but here is Pamela, my 2 year old, sitting at the dinner table and singing the praises of the gooey mozzarella on her warm slice of pizza. Her guileless enthusiasm overrides the fact that she can’t pronounce the word properly. My son’s mouth is too full of the melted delight to say anything.

We have not had dairy products in our house for many years, and there is no sign that my son Joseph, 7, will outgrow his allergy to dairy--or any of the other foods (peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, egg and soy) to which he is allergic. But we recently discovered the joy of Daiya dairy-free, vegan cheese alternative. This mozzarella-style Daiya shredded “cheese” tastes great and acts like real cheese in the way it melts when heated.

This means that make-your-own-pizza night has become a favorite dinner for both my kids. They love piling their choice of toppings, such as bacon, peppers, tomatoes and Daiya mozzarella, on their own Food for Life gluten-free, dairy-free brown rice English muffin. They happily chatter about their creations while doing a little pre-dinner taste testing of the toppings.

My apologies to Daiya, but I’ve had to make sure I constantly refer to their new cheese alternative as our "fake cheese" because I don't want Pamela to get confused about the allergy lessons I am teaching her. She is learning which foods make Joseph sick so that she can help to keep him safe. For example, when we see a big hunk of cheese in a book, she points to it and says, "Cheese makes Joseph sick." The Daiya mozzarella is such a hit that it’s worth the extra explaining on a toddler level.

Joseph is thrilled to bite into his pizza and experience the gooey feel of melted mozzarella in his mouth. Yes, it’s “fake”--but who cares? Certainly not Joseph, who’s helping himself to another slice of pizza while his sister cheers beside him.

Comments (7)

I look forward to trying this. It is so hard not being able to have cheese. Does anyone know of a cottage cheese alternative to use in a lasagna? I am not a fan of tofu so making it with tofu is not an option.

Posted by: ash | November 17, 2010 9:17 AM    Report this comment

Daiya cheese is so good! Thanks for suggesting it to people, I hope more people hear about it! I usually buy it at Whole Foods. Also agree with Tanya above, Namaste pizza crust is THE BEST, and its also sugar and yeast free! Yay!

Posted by: peacelovevegetables | November 2, 2010 12:42 PM    Report this comment

Where can you find this cheese I also just found out about being gluten,dairy.egg, peanut,soy,corn and casein intolerant, so this is great news to me , I am having a hard time not having any cheese

Posted by: LisaO | October 22, 2010 8:20 AM    Report this comment

Yes, thanks for the product suggestions. My 2 year old has the same allergies as your son Joseph, so I love reading what you have to say because it gives me some guidance.

To Hanna B, why not try food or snacks on a stick. My son just loves things like chicken on a stick, watermelon on a stick, etc. Seems like all kids find anything edible that can be put on a stick fun eating. Also, for my son's 2 year old birthday party, I tried to focus on having lots of activities for kids to do and they hardly noticed the food or snacks.

Posted by: Nora M | October 21, 2010 4:43 PM    Report this comment

I hope these products are available in Canada. I have just learned of my dairy, soy, gluten and corn allergies and am having a very limited diet right now. there is a lot to take in and consider so any help I can get especially from any of you in B. C. (so I'll be able to get the brands talked about) is much appreciated.

Posted by: Beth B | October 21, 2010 4:34 PM    Report this comment

Thanks for suggestion! Haven't tried it yet but I will check our health food store. Finding a cheese alternative for myself and my df/gf/sf/peanut,nut,strawberry, sesame/ef son has been impossible so far! As we speak I'm up to my ears trying to find good snacks for his 6th birthday party that he can eat and that his guests will actually like!

Posted by: Hanna B | October 21, 2010 10:23 AM    Report this comment

I, too, was truly excited to find Daiya cheese and discover that it actually does taste like cheese.... Yeah!! I am gluten, dairy, and soy intolerant and it's very difficult to find a really great pizza. I found a product by Namaste Foods that makes a pizza crust that's free of: gluten, wheat, soy, corn, potato, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, and casein.... It makes the best pizza crust that I have ever eaten and along with the Daiya mozzarella cheese, I can have pizza again. It's just wonderful...

Posted by: Tanya L | October 21, 2010 9:13 AM    Report this comment

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