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Beginner’s Guide to Starting Gluten and Dairy Free

It took me a few months to fully adjust to the taste, texture (and price) differences between the gluten free and regular foods but now it comes second nature. I have been doing the gluten free thing for a while now.  I spent (and still spend) tons of times on forums for gluten free living as well as leafing through magazines, books and cook books as well as Pinterest boards and blogs. I did not just start this journey as a way to lose weight (I have lost, but it was a pleasant surprise when I was gearing up to gain). I started after getting the diagnosis of Hashimotos Thyroiditis and having the gluten free diet recommended in both support forums and by professionals. I did a simple four month elimination from June until November then retested gluten. The results were obvious- all my digestive problems cleared up and symptoms I didn’t realize I had went away. Those problems came back for the holidays, so on January 1 of this year, I made the switch to a fully gluten free lifestyle for life.

I was well researched by the time I committed, now it’s second nature but I still have some things I wish I had been prepared for going into it. It’s much more expensive (add in a toddler who has severe lactose intolerance- and put yourself on the lactose free diet as well- then end up having to be on it with her due to your minor intolerance getting worse) and you will end up doubling your food budget if you’re not careful. You don’t need all the replacements, but they are good to use when you’re getting used to eating gluten free.

Here is a small list of some things I consider either either essential or good to have on hand for a snack/meal (I’m a baker with a huge sweet tooth). As I’ve gotten further into getting used to the change, I have been not buying so many processed foods and baking more.

  • Several varieties of gluten free flour. Bob’s Redmill is good.  They have an all purpose flour that goes well with cakes, cookies and nearly anything else and you don’t have to mix. I did find white, brown rice and tapoica works well in a lot of baked (1/3 of each). Walmart’s generic brand gluten free all purpose, in my opinion, tastes like regular flour. I have gotten desserts mixed up using that flour.
  • Enjoy Life chocolate chips. I use the mini chips in chocolate chip cookies and mixed into my vanilla almond milk yogurt
  • Enjoy Life cookies/chocolate candy/etc- when you’re wanting chocolate candy, it’s great. They also go well with gluten free grahm crackers for s’mores.
  • Silk Almond milk vanilla yogurt- it’s a great go-to as a snack or breakfast if you don’t have time to make a proper breakfast. It’s gluten and dairy free
  • Katz makes really good gf/df doughnut holes- for when you’re craving a doughnut
  • Earth Balance makes vegan “butter” their butter spreads are both gluten free and vegan and one version is also soy free.

There are tons of resources online that can give you gluten and dairy free menu items from most restaurants and a lot have special menus now- if you ask. Thanks to gluten and dairy free being fad diets, there are more options than years ago. I personally check things on the Celiac.org support forums if I am questioning them. I’m not a member, but the boards are usually on the first page when you google any food to see if it’s gluten free.

One of the best ways to help adjust is to find good recipe books, magazines, Pinterest boards or other resources and test out recipes. Baking from scratch is the best bet- you can control what subs you use and all the ingredients. If you work a lot, a lot of people found batch cooking on a free day works wonders. You cook a large amount of food and freeze it in single portion sizes- that way you can heat it up like a microwavable meal when you’re rushed for time.

Holidays are the worst, same with family gatherings- it’s best to eat before you go.

 

Gluten Free Flours

!. Almond- Good to use while baking or breadcrumb alternative.

2. Buckwheat- Good to use for breads

3. Sorghum- Normally mixed with other flours or small amounts used due to being a heavier texture.

4. Amaranth-  use it to replace 25% or less of the regular flour in normal recipes but this flour works best mixed with other flours.

5. Arrowroot-  thickener or mixed with almond, coconut or tapioca in baked

6. Brown Rice- thicken sauces or bread foods, is often used to make noodles and combines well with other flours

7. Oat- gives a chewier texture, goes well in baked foods

8. Coconut- breads or baked desserts

9. Tapioca- thickener, mixes well with other flours

10. Cassava- Most similar to white flour, works well replacing all purpose flour

There are many more, but these are some of the easiest to find in most stores. Most grocers now carry a supply of gluten free products. You can get gf pasta almost as cheap as regular at Walmart and Aldi also has gluten free products. Around here for me, I have had more luck finding dairy free products at Kroger than anywhere else. They have Tofutti brand products. Tofutti has dairy free subs for sour cream, cream cheese and many other items.

The common items you’ll need to replace for dairy free

  1. Sour cream
  2. Whipped cream (there is a coconut whipped cream that is so much better tasting than any other whipped cream I have ever tried, it goes beautifully in flavored coffee)
  3. Milk- milks come in lots of varieties now. For baking, I prefer vanilla flavored almond and unflavored almond for anything else. My kids drink chocolate cashew, almond or soy or regular soy.
  4. There are a lot of flavored gf/df coffee creamers out now. Most of the International Delight flavored coffee creamers in stores have both the df and gf label.
  5. Cream
  6. Heavy whipping cream
  7. Evaporated milk
  8. Sweetened condensed milk
  9. Butter

There are great subs for all those items and if you need one and can’t find them, there are recipes for everything on Pinterest.

 

 

 

 

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These are a few of my favorite things

I’m wanting to step up my diet a bit more.

I have been strict gluten free for a year now, I’m almost fully dairy free but soy is my problem.

I think I’m going to fully take dairy out at home and out of home then work on soy.

Already- those homemade lattes I posted- just as good and cheaper than Starbucks doubleshots

Earth Balance instead of butter

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Silk Almond milk for baking and for my kids (and me occasionally)

I use the nonflavored and unsweetened for cooking

Enjoy Life as a snack

 

It’s delicious and dairy, soy and gluten free- full winner

and you have to have salad dressings when you eat as much salad as I do

They aren’t perfect, they do have soy but I’ll phase soy out like I did dairy. I do use replacements for sour cream and cream cheese as well and I’m really liking Daiya cheese on sandwiches.

Other than that, I bake deserts from scratch- that way I can control what is in the cookies and cake and I try to always cook my lunch for work before I go. I’ll possibly do that for my younger daughter when she starts school since she’s restricted.

I’ll be posting more of my favorite gluten/dairy and/or soy free products as well as more recipe conversions and recipes as I make them.

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Homemade Mocha Latte

I love mocha lattes from Starbucks and finally found a recipe for it a while back. It tastes just as good as the ones from there.I was able to make it Gluten/Dairy/Soy free

Fresh brewed coffee

Cocoa Powder

Sweetened Almond milk

Sugar

Brew your coffee then mix a spoon of cocoa powder, 2 spoons of sugar and add milk to your preference.

The alternative I found was to use chocolate almond milk and it works almost as well (not as good, but still good)

If you don’t need it to be dairy free, add some whipped cream on top and toss in a few df/gf/sf Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips on top.

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Day 6- your favorite recipe

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m gluten free and my 2 year old is dairy free. I have managed to find all the replacements we need for both of us and that includes a delicious gf baking flour that makes snacks that taste just like normal.

Gluten and dairy free Cowboy Cookies (oatmeal/chocolate chip) are my absolute favorites.

2 cups gf baking flour (I use Walmart generic- it’s the best I have found.)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup regular sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup crisco

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups steel cut gf oatmeal

1 cup gf/df chocolate chips (I use the Enjoy Life mini)

Preheat the oven to 350

Mix the 2 cups sugar with the crisco, add in the eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder and soda and a sprinkle of salt. Add in the oats and chocolate chips. Make small balls and grease a pan.

Bake for about 10 minutes

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Gluten and dairy free salmon pasta salad

I made this for dinner and it turned out great.
It’s a gluten and dairy free pasta salad.
I just threw it together, so I didnt measure things.

This will be an unprofessional recipe, but I made this tonight and only measure when it’s important

Gf/df pasta
2 tomatoes
1/2 package of celery
1/3 bunch of green onion
1-2 cups mayo
1 full sized shredded piece of cooked salmon (2 cans of tuna would go well as well)
Cook the salmon and boil the pasta
Shred salmon while cooking
Chop celery, tomato (chunks) and cut green onions and combine in a large bowl
Toss, add in salmon and drained noodles
Mix in mayo and serve

Cant tell you exactly how many servings it made either but it was fast and extremely easy- and my two year old had fun helping me mix.

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EDS, post 30 can your body bounce back?

I know your metabolism takes a slight hit at 30, larger hit at 35 and every 5 years or so keeps shrinking. I’m still heavier than I was pre-kids and reality is hitting me. I knew I no longer had my pre-baby body, but will I be able to go back?

I accepted the fact that pregnancy made my hips more of a problem area than they already were. I only wore a larger size (11-13 in high school) for that reason, but had an hourglass figure. When I dropped to a 14, I tried on some 17s and couldn’t get them past my hips. That was when I read that juniors and adult sizes are made different (1,3,5, etc are juniors. 2,4,6, etc are adult). Juniors are made narrow in the hips where adult jeans are made wider in the hips.

I do know that with Ehlers Danlos, collagen is affected and where it makes your skin stretchy, it seems it may be harder to just bounce back. My scars fade but they still look strange when they heal. I don’t know much else about EDS but I do have an appointment, not only with a genetic specialist, but a specialist who lives with EDS herself. But that’s in a little bit. Right now, I’ve been researching trying to find foods that can help, workouts good enough to help lose weight and tone up but also safe for Osteo and loose joints and anything else that could help me with shrinking back down.

In the past 2 years, I’m down from 220 to about 170. I’m down from a size 20 to a size 14-16. I still have 40lbs left and hoping to get down to a 6ish or 8, maybe and I have 5 years in my mind to do it. If I can get down to my goal, fix what I need to fix diet wise and perfect my ingredient reading I should be able to maintain despite my Hashimotos. I’m seeing that even thyroid isn’t as much of an excuse as people use it. I dropped 20lbs in 4 months on a good dose of thyroid medication and cutting 1 ingredient out. I’m almost 1 month back to the normal (gluten free) lifestyle and finally feeling back to how I was feeling. I just had my thyroid levels tested again and they were perfect.

Right now, I’m trying to buy less processed foods. I have quit drinking Mello Yello (but I did switch to Diet coke for the time being), I’m eating 1 grain meal a day (if that) and the rest are cooked or salad. I do need to cut condiments and I still am drinking my Starbucks double shots (1 a day), I also started to notice my sugar drops when I eat potatoes so I’m switching to sweet potatoes.

The problem is when you have multiple diagnosis’s with several recomendations for diets. Where I have obvious issues with gluten, gluten free is needed (unless I want to spend all day cramping and in the bathroom), I had the diabetic low glycemic diet recommended to me for the reactive hypoglycemia. Cutting everything that was recommended to me feels restrictive. It also makes my OCD mind feel like I’ll be depriving myself and feels like it’s a black/white situation instead of- eat this way and you’ll feel great, eat that way and feel like crap.

I’m working on disassociating food with pleasure or anything related to emotions and trying to associate it with fueling my body and nothing more. Mindfulness helps that. Taking time to savor what I eat and pay attention to it is what I’m working on. Salad tastes great, so does fruit. Sugar and snacks that are heavily processed taste like chemicals but are an addiction- I’ve read all about sugar addiction and cold turkey is the way to go with kicking it. I’ve been thinking about trying a 1 month sugar free diet to try to break it. Just not sure if I have the will power currently. I will start it at the beginning of a month this year, though. Just have to build up and do further research into it to go in armed instead of half assing it.

In my picture, I was 18. I was constantly working out but didn’t know half of what I know now. I was also healthy.

I wasn’t skinny, but I was a good 30lbs smaller than I am now.

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Well, we have the diagnosis for our 2 year old- lactose intolerant

She said we are doing all the right things and told us about the lactose chart and that lactaid milk does still have a lactose content.

I just wish she reacted like I do so we wouldn’t have to worry so much but she also told us the hard part was already done. Now, we just have to get past this picky eating phase and get her to do more than pick at her food then start playing.

I love the toddler phase… so much fun but so annoying as well. Why can’t we have one child who loves all food? On the bright side, we have 2 who love chicken and fish and they both eat salad, love fruit and moderate themselves with sweets. On the bad side- they both pick at their food more than eat and leave more unate food most of the time.

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Dairy free, gluten free, lactose free… oh my

So, my 2 year old daughter and I ate out for my birthday with the rest of the family (My parents, husband and 6 year old). We had one of the best waitresses I’ve had- to the point I thanked her.

She made sure the croutons were on the side so I could eat salad, didn’t include cheese and added the dressing on the side so she could eat. She walked us through the allergy menu and made sure the items for me were totally gluten free and the items for her were fully milk/dairy free. Neither of us had reactions after eating there (I made the mistake of trying to eat around croutons last time and spent the whole next morning hurting and in the bathroom)

I swear, though, trying to get the hang of reading labels to make sure something is truly dairy free (not just lactose free) is really adding extra time to grocery shopping and the number of times we slip and give her something we don’t realize has it is too much.

I know, just like I have learned most of the red flags for gluten, it will take time but right now, dairy and cows milk free is overwhelming.

We have her next appointment tomorrow so I’m hoping we will have an answer- cows milk, casein, allergy, intolorance or virus (unlikely since its lasted since last month). I hate playing the waiting game.

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We took my 2 year old to the ER a few weeks ago. 

We were told to keep her away from dairy and her diarrhea (reason we took her) was likely caused by a virus. Well, we took her off dairy and her diarrhea cleared up. We reintroduced it many times and the very last time my mom attempted to give her cows milk, she spit it out and didn’t want to drink it. Each time it has given her diarrhea. It’s lasted way more than 10 days (did test positive for a virus- this specific one lasts 10 days and it’s been well over that and she still gets diarrhea when she eats yogurt, most cheese, ice cream or milk. She’s also developing a taste for my gluten free snacks instead of normal. I have read picky eating can be a sign of a food intolerance. We are pretty sure lactose intolerance (I am) because the diarrhea has been a recurrent issue her whole life. We have an order to have her tested for Celiac due to my medical issues, her sisters gene and her symptoms. 

If she isn’t able to to back to cows milk, it’ll be all three of us women in the house who don’t drink it. Her older sister could easily live without dairy and I’m lactose intolerant myself. 

This is a whole lot of fun going through the tests, dealing with the diaper and trying to figure all this stuff out. Even with the medical help, it is still too long a process. 

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Random thoughts

It’s been cold for the past week. Along with the cold, my arthritis has flared. I normally ignore the flare ups and go on with my life but my spine was inflamed and I pulled a muscle. Today is in the 50s-60s and it’s my first day back down to a pain level of about 4.

The only thing I changed was going from gluten free to a normal diet. My doctor told me to ignore the celiac panel they ran about 5 months ago when I first got ready to go gluten free because that test could have been wrong and to go back on the gf diet. I’m debating going back now vs waiting until after Christmas. I know eating a normal diet with wheat (the reason I went gf- it’s much easier to find specific gf foods than wheat free) is hurting (literally- bad cramping and other digestive issues) but Christmas cookies and all that.. Not sure why it’s an issue now when back in June when my daughter’s gastro specialist first recommended to me to try it for myself and all the way up to this month, it was easy to follow. I’ve only been studying it for 4 years and almost have shopping mastered. Dairy is easier to stay away from, for me. I don’t like milk, some yogurt and cheese is ok in small amounts and I’m not huge on ice cream.

I do know my IBS is almost fully gone (99%) when I cut both out fully. My doctor told me since gluten is the main trigger, it sounds like I’m gluten intolerant and not IBS. Only thing is stress and lack of sleep are also triggers and with a toddler and a child in school, you tend to end up lacking in sleep a lot.