… The Misunderstood Egg!
It can be confusing when allergies require us to restrict our intake of certain categories of foods. Gluten is one of those confusing areas, but dairy can bring about some confusion as well. Since being gluten-free and dairy-free often seem to go hand-in-hand, I want to focus on a common misunderstanding regarding dairy, specifically eggs. Eggs are not dairy. Though someone with a dairy allergy may also be allergic to eggs, they are two separate conditions. When we are restricted by food allergies, and we need to be mindful of what is “safe” or “unsafe”, we want to be sure foods are not put on the restricted list if they don’t have to be.
Eggs are an animal by-product of chickens. Chickens are raised on farms, as are cows, sheep, and goats, which can lead to the confusion about eggs being produced on “dairy” farms. Eggs are located in the dairy section of grocery stores, which can contribute to the confusion as well. Eggs are a protein. They are not, however, considered meat. Other items in the protein category, which also are not meat, are nuts and nut butters.
Milk, another animal by-product, comes from the mammary glands of mammals, such as cows, goats, sheep, water buffalo, yaks, etc. This milk is dairy and can be processed into cheese, yogurt, ice cream, sour cream, cream cheese, and other wonderful things. These are all products to avoid if you are on a dairy-free, casein-free diet, but not if you are simply “gluten-free”.
If you have an intolerance or allergy to dairy, but not a specific egg allergy, and you’ve been avoiding eggs, they may be available for free range once again. If you are uncertain as to whether you have a specific allergy to eggs, be sure to check with your doctor before making any dietary changes. Living gluten free, or dairy free, can be limiting enough, let’s not limit it further due to fallacies.