With the end of summer comes the promise of crunchy leaves and chilly air. What better way to warm up on an autumn walk than with a gloriously decadent flask of hot chocolate? It’s one of our beloved cold weather drinks but, if you have certain intolerances, a mugful might not leave you with that warm and fuzzy feeling.
So, how can we recreate this delicious drink in a Free From friendly fashion?
What are the key ingredients of a hot chocolate?
Depending on the type of hot chocolate, most blends include a mix of cocoa and sugar, made with milk and sometimes also containing milk powder. Flavoured hot chocolates may also contain ingredients like mint, orange essence or even chili.
Going for the full works? An extra indulgent cup can also feature a squirt of dairy cream and a few chewy marshmallows.
Unsurprisingly then, this dairy-heavy drink poses a few problems for those of use with an intolerance to cows’ milk. The double, or even triple hit of dairy in the milk, mix and cream can put a lot of stress on a sensitive tummy.
What are the signs of a food intolerance?
Food intolerances, which can occur when your body’s immune system mistakes a food protein as a threat, releasing antibodies to fight it, can cause a host of inflammation.
The symptoms of food intolerances can vary in type and severity. Some of the common problems people can experience include bloating and IBS, skin rashes, eczema and acne, migraine or respiratory problems like rhinitis.
Deliciously dairy free
Fortunately, we have never had so much choice when it comes to dairy free alternatives. There are lots of options available on the market to experiment with. From nut-based milks like almond or hazelnut to oat, coconut, soya and even hemp, if you are avoiding cows’ milk, it’s likely one of these substitutes can help you whip up a tasty treat.
Missing that sweet swirl of cream on top? Luckily you can also get your hands on free from whipped cream alternatives in the supermarket.
Are there different types of dairy intolerance?
When it comes to food intolerance, dairy is a more complex ingredient than others. It is possible to experience similar symptoms caused by a reaction to dairy, but for different biological reasons.
Lactose intolerance involves a specific reaction to lactose – the sugar found in milk. A person with lactose intolerance can consume lacto-free dairy products.
Dairy or milk intolerance involves a reaction to casein – the protein found in milk. A person with dairy intolerance will need to avoid dairy products altogether. Lacto-free products will also trigger problems as they still contain casein.
Take control of your diet
If you are suffering with the symptoms of a food intolerance and have spoken with your GP to rule out any other serious underlying condition, it might be time to take a closer look at your diet.
Getting to the bottom of a food intolerance can be frustrating. A common recommendation is the elimination diet, where you remove one food at a time for a few weeks to see how you feel. But this process can take a long time. And, although many of us commonly react to a few different ingredients, the elimination diet is often abandoned when the first trigger food is found, leaving an incomplete picture of what’s causing the problem.
Get answers faster with Smartblood
When it comes to food intolerance testing, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable laboratory testing company.
At Smartblood, we offer a comprehensive test to help you take control of your diet quickly and discover your own trigger foods.
Our home-to-laboratory service gives you fast, accurate results that pinpoint exactly which foods you are reacting to. Tests are completed in our accredited laboratory by trained experts, with clear, easy to understand results sent to you via email within three days.
Dedicated nutritional support
Importantly, our tests include a telephone consultation with our BANT registered Nutritional Therapist. This additional support is there to help you understand your results and put a plan together to make safe, sustainable changes to optimise your diet.