Have you ever thought about giving up gluten and dairy, but when it comes down to taking action, you fizzle out because it just seems WAY TOO HARD?
If so, you’re not alone. It can seem overwhelming enough to eliminate one food from your diet, let alone two.
Now, I’m not going to tell you that eating gluten free and dairy free is going to be a leisurely walk in the part, but I AM going to tell you that when it comes to avoiding gluten and dairy, most people make it way too hard.
You go straight for the gluten free, dairy free versions (whether you’re cooking them or buying a premade version) of your favorite gluten/dairy foods (hello pizza and lasagna).
This will send you down the road of disappointment quicker than a cheetah running a 100-meter dash.
If your favorite pizza or lasagna (or other favorite gluten and dairy food) is fresh on your mind because you binged on it the night before officially giving up dairy and gluten (no judgement from me if you did that, btw), any gluten free, dairy free version of that food (no matter how good it is) won’t taste anywhere close to the same to you and you’ll be disappointed.
Your mind will tell you “gluten free, dairy free food tastes terrible, I’ll never be able to eat this stuff” and you won’t stick with it.
Kick your favorite gluten and dairy foods to the curb for a while. Don’t worry, you will be able to eat gluten free, dairy free versions of these foods later on.
By avoiding these “favorites” for a while, you’ll avoid being really disappointed when you try a gluten free, dairy free version of those foods because your taste buds will learn to like new, different foods, and you’ll get over your cravings for those foods.
Plus, as time passes, you will “forget” (at least a little bit) what these foods tasted like before, so when you try a gluten free, dairy free version, you’ll like it much better than you would have if you try it immediately after switching to gluten free, dairy free eating.
You head for the packaged gluten free and/or dairy free foods aisle in the grocery store because certainly that will be the easiest way to cook and eat gluten free and dairy free, right? Wrong!
This is one of the quickest ways to get overwhelmed with gluten free, dairy free eating because the label reading can make your head spin.
As you may already know, both gluten and dairy are very sneaky and can hide in SO MANY foods. Unfortunately, many packaged foods that are gluten free aren’t also dairy free and vice versa.
Cook and eat fresh, whole foods that are naturally gluten free and dairy free. This is the easiest, most effective, healthiest way to eat gluten free and dairy free.
Packaged foods, whether they contain gluten and dairy or not, are more heavily processed than fresh, whole foods. I’m not saying absolutely all processed foods are bad, but most are better left on the grocery store shelf.
They often contain unnecessary additives, artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives that our bodies don’t thrive on.
In fact, many of those additives can cause further damage to the gut, which is precisely what we’re trying to heal when giving up dairy and gluten. Let’s not make the healing harder for our body!
P.S. Relying mainly on packaged foods for your gluten free, dairy free meals is also WAY more expensive than cooking fresh, whole foods.
You jump right into eating gluten free and dairy free without properly planning for what you’re actually going to cook and eat!
I know that may sound silly, to think that you’d start a new way of eating without having the right food and snacks and recipes in the house, but so many people have told me that this is the exact reason why they give up before they are able to see any positive results.
You don’t have to turn into a meal planning superstar overnight, but I want you to think through what a typical day of eating looks like for you. Then plan a few different options for foods or recipes that you can eat or cook at those times.
Make sure you have those foods or ingredients to make the recipes in the house, and even cook (or bake) a few things BEFORE you officially start eating gluten free and dairy free.
That way you’ll be prepared and you won’t feel hungry or deprived throughout the day.
Remember, this is NOT a restrictive diet unless you make it that way! There are PLENTY of really great tasting food options that you can eat when you go dairy free and gluten free.
If you’re cooking for more than just yourself, you THINK your family will NEVER eat gluten free and dairy free meals so you plan to cook two entirely separate meals, requiring more work on your part, more groceries to buy and a boat-load of frustration in the long run.
NEWS FLASH: There are TON of very common meals that are naturally gluten free and dairy free. Yes, you may have to cook them in a SLIGHTLY different way than you have in the past, but it is definitely doable to make the same meal for your whole family to eat on most nights.
Give yourself permission to prioritize your new way of eating when it comes to meal planning for your family.
Trust me when I say that it’s quite easy to make meals that are gluten free and dairy free AND family friendly at the same time.
Think through all of the meals you typically make over the course of a month. Then figure out which meals are already gluten free and dairy free and put those meals at the top of your cooking list.
Then figure out which of the other meals have side dishes or parts of the meal that usually contain dairy and/or gluten and figure out if you can easily make those parts of the meal dairy free and gluten free. (For example, for mashed potatoes, swap an unsweetened non-dairy milk for the regular milk and skip the butter or use a little refined coconut oil instead.)
Make your plan for how you’re going to make those changes (keep the changes small until you really get in the groove of cooking gluten free and dairy free) and put those meals on your cooking list under the first group.
Once you’re done with that, set aside any of your typical meals that are just too loaded down with gluten and dairy to make adjustments to for now. You may be able to come back to those recipes in the future, but leave them out of your cooking rotation for now.
Here’s another way to make meal planning easier AND keep everyone satisfied…
Make one gluten free and dairy free “base” component and add a variety of sides or other serve-alongs that you would normally put with the “base” of the meal.
For example, if your family loves cheeseburgers, go ahead and make them – just leave the cheese of your burger and instead of serving your burger in a bun, use a few stacked lettuce leaf pieces as your “bun”.
Or, if you all love spaghetti and meatballs, make sure you make a gluten free, dairy free meatball recipe and buy or make a spaghetti sauce that’s also gluten free and dairy free (both of these things are easy to do!).
Serve the meatballs and sauce with your typical pasta for your family, but make spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for yourself.
Both of these examples allows you to feel like you’re eating a very similar meal as the rest of your family AND it won’t take you much more time to make the necessary changes to these meals.
Eating gluten free and dairy free doesn’t have to be hard, overwhelming or frustrating! All it takes is a little planning, a lot of motivation, and a little know-how!
For even more tips and tricks for getting started on your gluten free and dairy free journey, grab my FREE guide below! You’ll learn some basic mindset practices (yes, these are important!) as well as a PANTRY LIST of ingredients that will make cooking gluten free and dairy free EASIER, and, finally recipe gathering tips and 16 of my favorite gluten free and dairy free recipes to get you started!