Gluten and dairy free lifestyles have gained popularity as individuals seek to improve their well-being and address various health concerns. Whether you’re dealing with gluten sensitivity, lactose intolerance, or simply exploring a new way of eating, making the switch can be both challenging and rewarding. I struggle with a gluten intolerance myself and these tips on how to go gluten and dairy free have been a major help along my journey.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on a product or service, and decide to purchase it, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. All recommended products and services are based on my positive experience with them. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.
How long does it take to feel better after going gluten and dairy free?
While some may experience noticeable improvements in their health within a few days, others might take a bit longer to feel the positive effects. Factors such as the severity of gluten sensitivity or dairy intolerance, overall health, and adherence to the new dietary choices play a significant role. It’s not uncommon for individuals to report increased energy levels, improved digestion, and reduced inflammation within the first few weeks.
For a more comprehensive transformation and to allow the body to fully adjust, it’s advisable to commit to the new lifestyle for at least a few months. Patience is key, as the body undergoes a healing process, and the benefits of going gluten and dairy-free may unfold gradually over time. Listening to your body, staying consistent with the dietary changes, and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals can contribute to a smoother transition and a swifter path to improved well-being.
Tips on how to go gluten and dairy free for better health.
It can be tough to take on a gluten and dairy free lifestyle. It takes a lot of time and preparation as the options you are looking for might not always be freely available. It’s a long and hard journey, but in the end it’s worth it.
1. Educate yourself first.
Before deciding to take on this complete lifestyle change, take the time to learn more about gluten and dairy, understanding where these elements hide in various food products. Learn more about ingredients you can use such as gluten-free grains, dairy substitutes, and nutrient-dense whole foods available. Making a well-informed approach minimizes the risk of unintentional consumption.
Learn to read food labels the right way, identifying potential hidden sources of gluten and dairy. Online resources, reputable books, and guidance from healthcare professionals can help you better understand and navigate this lifestyle. Learning why and how to go gluten and dairy free will be a good starting point for any health journey.
Remember, education is not just a one-time investment but an ongoing process that forms the foundation of a healthier, more informed journey.
2. Learn to read labels.
It can be very easy to accidentally consume gluten or dairy if you don’t know how to read labels correctly and take note of the ingredients you need to avoid. Learning to identify terms like gluten, wheat, barley, and dairy derivatives helps you to make informed choices and avoid hidden culprits. Keep an eye out for potential red flags such as malt, whey, and casein, which can often slip under the radar.
Many packaged foods, even those seemingly unrelated to gluten or dairy, may contain these ingredients. Remember, a few extra minutes spent reading labels can make a world of difference in preserving your health. I have often found that products I used daily contained either gluten or dairy and I have never been the wiser. Build a list of products you are now familiar with and stick to those products. If you want to add new products, make sure to read the labels carefully.
3. Make whole foods your best friend.
Choosing to take on this lifestyle has challenges of its own. One is a very limited list of foods you can and can’t eat. The good news is, this lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste. Adding a variety of whole foods is key to staying on track and eating foods you and your body will love. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, and seeds provide essential vitamins and minerals.
By focusing on the abundance of naturally gluten and dairy-free options, you can change your mindset from what I can’t eat to how can I enjoy this in a healthier way. I had to make big mental changes for this to become sustainable in my life and so can you.
4. Add gluten-free grains to your diet.
There’s a whole world of potential that opens up once you learn of gluten free grains. Swap out traditional grains like wheat, barley, and rye for nutritious alternatives such as quinoa, rice, millet, and gluten-free oats. These grains not only serve as excellent substitutes but also bring a whole new level of flavors and textures to your meals.
Experimenting with these grains not only ensures that you’re steering clear of gluten but also spices up your dishes with a nutritional boost, making your gluten and dairy free journey a flavorful and fulfilling one. And let’s not forget, there are so many gluten free options like gluten free pasta, bread and so much more available, it really opens up a world of opportunities.
5. Don’t forget about dairy free alternatives.
This was the hardest part for me. Cheese has always been my guilty pleasure and I am sure I am fully addicted too. But, I have come to love all the alternative cheeses too, you just need to try different products until you find the products you love most. The range of plant-based alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, and oat milk are great additions into your diet.
The market is brimming with dairy-free yogurts and cheeses made from sources such as almonds, cashews, and soy. Adding these alternatives to your daily routine gives you the creamy textures you crave without affecting the journey you are on.
6. Adjust recipes you love and try new ones too.
This lifestyle is all about finding recipes and foods you love that will satisfy your cravings and soul. It takes a lot of time and effort to prepare yourself for the food choices you have to make daily. Trying different recipes is the secret to making this transition enjoyable and sustainable. Experiment with gluten-free flours, alternative grains, and dairy-free substitutes to discover a world of delicious options. From hearty soups and salads to mouthwatering main courses and delectable desserts, the world of gluten and dairy-free recipes is vast and exciting.
Explore various cooking techniques, spices, and herbs to elevate the flavors of your dishes. Not only does this experimentation make your meals more satisfying, but it also ensures that you don’t feel limited by your dietary choices.
7. Join a support group.
This has been the most important part of my entire journey. Finding people who are on the same journey and who understand your battles while having advice of their own. Whether online or in-person, these communities provide a platform to share experiences, gather advice, and find encouragement from others on a similar path. Connecting with people facing similar challenges not only offers emotional support but also practical tips on navigating the challenges of a gluten and dairy free lifestyle.
From recipe recommendations to shared victories and challenges, being part of a support group creates a sense of belonging, turning what might seem like a daunting task into an empowering and shared experience. Together, you can exchange insights, celebrate successes, and find inspiration to make the gluten and dairy-free journey not just manageable, but enjoyable.
Some gluten and dairy free options you can try.
While this list is not a fully comprehensive one, these foods are just a starting point for finding new foods you love. Remember to always check product labels for hidden sources of gluten or dairy, and when in doubt, choose products that are specifically labeled as gluten-free and dairy-free.
Gluten free options.
- Rice (brown, white, wild)
- Gluten-free oats
- Corn (cornmeal, polenta)
- Gluten-free pasta (made from rice, quinoa, or chickpea flour)
- Gluten-free bread (made from rice flour, almond flour, or tapioca flour)
- Gluten-free flour blends (almond flour, coconut flour, chickpea flour)
Dairy free options.
- Almond milk
- Coconut milk
- Soy milk
- Oat milk
- Rice milk
- Hemp milk
- Cashew milk
- Dairy-free yogurt (almond, coconut, soy)
- Dairy-free cheese (nut-based or soy-based)
- Coconut cream
- Dairy-free ice cream (almond, coconut, or soy-based)
- Dairy-free butter (made from coconut oil or plant-based oils)
Gluten free snacks.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Hummus with gluten-free crackers or vegetable sticks
- Rice cakes with almond butter or avocado
- Trail mix (nuts, seeds, and dried fruits)
- Popcorn (check for gluten-free varieties)
- Gluten and dairy-free energy bars
- Guacamole with corn tortilla chips
- Vegetable chips
- Dark chocolate (check for gluten and dairy-free labels)
Adapting a gluten and dairy free lifestyle can be an amazing journey towards improved health. By following a few of these tips you’ll find that making the switch becomes not only manageable but also enjoyable.
Remember, the key lies in mindfulness, creativity, and a commitment to nourishing your body with wholesome, allergen-free choices.
Your Wellness Warrior!