Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Living Healthfully: Eating a Gluten-and-Dairy-Free Diet

I feel like a new person on the inside.

About a month ago, I severed my love affair with dairy, suspecting that it was adding to some GI issues I first started experiencing this summer after somehow contracting a parasite. (Don't ask; I don't honestly know how I got it, but I've been reassured that most of us live with many little buggers without really knowing it. My little buggers, well, they have been evicted.)

So anyway, out went the dairy and entered in its place almond milk, coconut and olive oils and some crazy, stretchy tapioca cheese-like substance that I'm not crazy about but like well enough when I want to make pizza. {Oh, pizza, why do you have to be so good and so evil?!}

While going dairy-free helped quite a bit, I still was experiencing GI issues, so a few weeks ago, at the suspicion of perhaps having developed a leaky gut during all the GI issues, I went to the next food culprit : gluten.

For my body, it was a pretty quick read: gluten is not my friend. Almost two weeks into my gluten and dairy free diet, I feel normal again. No more bloated, irritated GI tract and away with crabby wife and mommy as well.

Honestly, I feel so much better that I'm inclined to not even want to reintroduce dairy after the allotted time of gut healing has passed. Because who wants to go back to gross after feeling so good?

Been mulling a diet change of going cold turkey {mmm, you can still eat turkey!} with gluten and dairy?

Here are a few things that helped me through the first week:

* Find a friend or two who is willing to walk you through the emotional, chemical and physical changes that occur in your body and in your pantry. The support is key in knowing you can do this!

* Take a trip to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods Market and ask a crew member to brief you on dairy and gluten free options. Most staff members I've come across, especially at Whole Foods Market, have gone above and beyond to help guide me.

* Or browse Amazon for really wonderful gluten-free and dairy free foods like: Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal, apple pie Lara Bars, Bob's Red Mill gluten-free Oats, quinoa and a few other Bob's Red Mill staples that will provide whole grains in your diet without reeking havvoc on the gut.

* Find your happy place with fresh, whole foods like chicken, fish, fruits and veggies. This one is important. Whole, real foods are always better than anything processed, in my opinion!

We often snack on apples and cashews, enjoy slow-cooker chicken with Italian seasoning alongside green beans tossed with almonds and dried berries and sweet potatoes mashed with coconut oil for dinner; we feast on baked apple pie oatmeal for breakfast.

* Take a peak at some of the great foodie blogs for gluten and dairy free eating:
The Gluten-Free GoddessGluten-Free Girl and the Chef {must exchange dairy for almond milk, soy milk or rice milk}

* Find good substitutes for dairy. My favorites so far:
-almond milk in place of dairy milk {goat milk is great for the kids}
-hummus in place of cheese
-coconut oil in place of butter {you will never believe how good it is until you try it. Just do it!}
-olive oil in place of non-stick butters
-Daiya Tapioca is a good cheese-esque replacement for pizza
- coconut or almond milk ice cream in place of regular dairy ice cream

*If it's a packaged food, always double check for gluten by calling and asking if gluten is in the ingredients. Anything with wheat, bran, semolina, bulgar, spelt, tabbouli, orzo, couscous, farina, kamut and barley contains gluten. Defatted wheat germ also contains gluten, for any Standard Process supplement users.

As always, I'm happy to help, too. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

{I was not compensated or asked to talk about any of the products I mentioned. I just like them a lot!}