Going Gluten and Dairy Free {Tips From a Mom Who Misses Pizza}

I love how gluten firmly binds everything yet remains pillowy and moist. I adore the rich creaminess of versatile dairy.  But we cannot be together! No! It is FORBIDDEN. It is TABOO…. Yes I am talking to the block of Havarti in my fridge as I place my hand over my forehead and fling shut the fridge door. 

I went gluten and dairy free in November 2012 to help alleviate my breastfed baby’s reflux (and it helped). While we navigate this weaning scenario I am already planning my comeback meal(s).I hope to soon be reunited with these dubious foods for a culinary rendezvous that will end with me smiling and unresponsive in a food coma. 

So I’m just beginning this GF DF excursion, I’m not a pro by any means. I am always learning by trial and error, but here are some tips that I hope will help you if you are going gluten and dairy free….

unsubscribe from pinterest foodporn boards
Seriously, these pins are like the seductive cage dancers enticing you to stay for an extra plate of chicken wings against all over your better judgment. Save yourself from getting HANGRY and click unfollow on that ooey gooey fluffy gluten-clad, dairy-filled board.  



Learn the ingredient names

Learn all the ingredients to look for to ensure the product is GF and DF. For instance, did you know there is gluten in soy sauce? Don’t worry; there is a great gluten-free alternative.  
Gluten Free: Ingredients to Avoid (A friend also lent me a book called ‘Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide’, which is handy and purse-sized)

Dairy Free*: Ingredients to Avoid

* There is a difference between being lactose free and being casein free, read here


Look for gluten free certification





Get some simple substitutes

Learn some everyday substitutions (e.g. lettuce for buns, quinoa for oatmeal – more GF subs here and DF subs here). Then stock the pantry, here are some ideas of substitutes to be on the look out for:

Soy Sauce (gluten free)
Worcestershire Sauce (gluten free)
Butter (vegan)
Milk (vegan)
Flours (gluten free, all purpose)
Yogurt (dairy free)
Sour Cream (dairy free) <- check out oh she glows cashew cream as a replacement!

Breads/Buns (gluten free)

Write a list of meals in your repertoire

Having a routine with shopping and cooking is a real time saver. You have to start at square one again. So make a list of regular family meals and note the ones that are GF and DF. Then note the ones that could be GF and DF with simple substitutions or forgoing an extra (e.g. cheese on pasta). Try to re-imagine your food, fillings you love in a sandwich or wrap could go on a bed of lettuce or rice.   Keep this as your master list for meal planning. 


Research and Cyber Stalk

All of my inspiration comes from hours of me browsing the net and salivating on my keyboard when everyone is in bed. It usually ends in me mind-punching Pinterest, eating some potato chips and pickles and adding a few new hopeful recipes to the meal plan.
Pinterest is a great place for ideas, there are also stellar blogs out there and of course you could make use of the instagram hashtags or kick it old school and phone a friend who may have some ideas.
Check out my Pinterest Board for an ever-expanding list of GF and DF meals and snacks (and see my notes in the comments, where I track my reviews of the recipes I have tried).
Also check out YUMMLY. This is a recipe database that allows you to specify ingredients you want to include or exclude aaaaannnd you can tick off the food allergies you have!

Plan it out

Make a menu plan. Include the GF DF snacks and meals as well as any meals for non-GF DF members of the family. You aren’t bound to the plan but at least you can have everything on hand and do some advanced prep where possible. I like to spend a few hours before hubby returns to work making salads, muffins, batter, etc. I may not always get the full meal made, but there are always potato chips and pickles to fall back on. Meal planning saves time and money, here’s some ways I like to get er done, via PAPER or PLASTIC!


Come prepared

When you are travelling, staying at someone’s place, eating out, etc., make sure you BYOF.  Keep extra muffins in the freezer to pull out for trips. Keep a bag handy filled with nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, Thai House peanut noodles, potato chips, pickles, etc. You don’t want to be ‘that guest’ with a list of culinary demands so bring your own and maybe enough to share so your friends and family can see that living without doesn’t mean you are living with less. 

Trial and error

Nothing makes me lose my ish like putting my limited time and effort into a new exciting recipe with all these special ingredients – and to have the meal completely flop (especially when you are rounding the bend from hungry to hangry).  Then there are those victories where you make something everyone around the table loves and you smile when they joke ‘I can’t believe it’s not gluten’.


Keep all your receipts

If you have proper documentation you may be able to write off the extra cost of eating gluten free

All of the above info is for information only and not to replace the recommendations of medical professionals.  If your intolerance is severe you may also wish to check out the tips on this site


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