5 Things You Should Know Before Going Gluten and Dairy Free

  1. Corn, Rice, Cauliflower, Cashews, Almond milk, Lettuce, and Nutritional Yeast are Your New Best Friends.

bread-cautionAnyone who lives a dairy and wheat-free lifestyle has learned to love these 7 ingredients, and no–not necessarily together, although that could be cool too. Corn and Rice are the grains that now replace wheat. There are corn and rice pastas, corn tortillas, rice crackers, you name it. Although honestly, don’t bother with the rice bread and other “gluten free” bread types. They are all terribly bland. They are only tolerable toasted with some butter on it. But at 6 bucks a loaf, that may not be worth it. Instead, try lettuce.  Lettuce, on the other hand, can turn into an excellent replacement for tortillas and hamburger buns or sandwich bread. Because of this delightful green leaf, I can still enjoy In & Out. Thank God for “protein style” lettuce-wrapped burgers. I’d be one depressed mama without lettuce. As for dairy replacements–cashews can be soaked and blended to a very creamy consistency and when sprinkled with Nutritional Yeast and some spices can substitute as a base for a variety of “cream” based sauces like Alfredo or sour cream that are actually pretty decent when used lightly. And almond milk is that glorious drink you can use in your cereal, coffee or tea, and shakes. Hallelujah. Life can actually continue.

  1. Plan Ahead If You Want to Be Successful.

lactose-intoleranceThis means meal-prepping and meal-planning is key. I like to use Sundays to get all my meat cooked and veggies diced up for salads and lunches. Having ready-made snacks available are also essential. Failure comes when you don’t plan. These unplanned “I’m so hungry I could eat an elephant” sort of days will inevitably lead you to wheat or dairy, guaranteed. That’s what quick food is all about–well, unless you are okay with living off hot dogs the rest of your life with no bun. As a matter of fact, you might want to buy those just in case you do have a no-plan day. All beef and kosher could help you feel a little less guilty about it when you choose that over a string cheese or a microwavable burrito as you run out the door. Failure also comes when you are going to a friend’s house and didn’t share your food sensitivities with them, or didn’t bring your own dish or snack to hold you over. When this happens, you will have to resort to eating their food, which will include wheat or dairy in it 99% of the time. I’m telling you–once you cut dairy and wheat you will realize that America is addicted to dairy and wheat. It is in everything. No wonder we are all getting so sick.

  1. Don’t Even Bother Trying Those Vegan “Cheeses” in the Vegan Section of the Grocery Store.

daiya-mac-and-cheeseI’ve tried them all and they are nasty—no matter how delicious those pictures on the cover of those Dairy Free Mac and Cheese boxes or vegan shredded cheese bags. It might be orange and gooey looking, but it tastes like melted cardboard. Blech! Just embrace marinara sauce over your pasta or better yet–garlic and olive oil sauces with a little bit of nutritional yeast flakes or mizithra (sheep cheese) sprinkled over the top. It is so much closer to the real thing, and absolutely delicious. Of course, that is if you are really more of a cow-dairy free person like myself. I suppose cardboard cheese might be necessary as you transition out of cheese on tacos, cheese on burritos, cheese on burgers and sandwiches type of lifestyle. But you will learn quickly, that your taco, burger, and burrito just taste better without it completely. I have moved past my belief that I need cheese on my nachos and taco salads to be happy by finding pleasure in other flavors like guacamole or salsa or mayonnaise and ketchup.

  1. It Will Be Hard At First, But It Gets Easier With Time

gluten-free-dairy-free-pizzaThe hard part is not really the lack of options because if you plan or jump on the Paleo bandwagon, there is a wealth of delicious recipes out there and grocery stores are catering more and more to the dairy-free, wheat-free movement. Almond milk is now even in Starbucks so you can still enjoy your lattes. The hard part is really the habit-breaking and the emotional addiction. You don’t realize how much you eat dairy and wheat until you cut out dairy and wheat. You have to rethink food completely. And if you love wheat and dairy as much as I do, you will have to mourn the loss like a death in the family. You might stop dancing for your food at first. But I promise, if you stick to it, your taste buds will change, your habits will change, and then it will be easier. There are scores of testimonies from numerous people who have taken the plunge and refused this American diet all over the web.

  1. You Will Look and Feel Amazing! 

happy-womanSay good bye to bloating, acne, belly aches, digestive problems. Say good bye to fog brain, mid-day fatigue, and even about 10 pounds of extra fat. I don’t know how I lived so long feeling miserable for food when there are so many other great foods out there that don’t leave people feeling so sick. This ultimately is what motivates me to keep on going with my lifestyle. Those days where I get lazy or give into temptation almost always leaves me hunched over in pain, passed out tired, or even depressed the day after. I regret it every time and get right back to the dairy free, wheat free lifestyle. I can’t tell you how much more energy I feel, how much lighter I feel inside, and how much better my skin looks, not to mention just not having to live every day with a belly ache. I think you will agree too.

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