Pinterest Board

Hey All!

For the past few months, I have been keeping a Pinterest Board for Gluten Free and Dairy Free food ideas as well as recipes that could be easily altered to be Gluten Free and Dairy Free that sound really good.

I started this board, because I wanted to have a place to keep all the ideas of things that sound good, so that I could try them once I am able to do a lot more cooking, and having my own kitchen. With that, my plan is once I try them, and if I like it, I would share it here on my blog for you all. At the same time, I wanted to share these with you all because there are some that I may try and don’t like, that some of you will. I also would love feedback from you, my readers that if you have any Gluten and Dairy Free recipes that you love, I would love to give it a try.

Now that Fall is here, there are so many fall recipes I want to try, and share.

Education is Key

There are so many diets out there, that when I mention that I adhere to a strict Dairy and Gluten Free diet, I know I get weird looks, and often hear “You are one of those people”. There is a stigma associated with any diet where you take a food group or more out of your diet. Most of the reactions I get are from people who don’t understand it, and are uneducated about it, and believe that I am some hippy who needs my head examined. For some their diets are by choice, for moral, ethical, or other reasons. For others like myself it is because our bodies can’t process and break down certain kinds of foods.

For those who have chosen to adhere to Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo, Soy Free, Egg Free, Vegetarianism, Veganism, unprocessed foods, or another kind of diet, I am not one to judge or act like they are weird. That is their decision, and good for them for sticking with something, that is healthier.

For those of us with food intolerances and food allergies it is a whole different story. I know from experience that there is a lot of resistance (in my adhering to the diet and to education on their part) as well as a lot of misinformation, indifference, and lack of care to how food affects my body. While I don’t really care what those I know casually think about it, what bugs me the most is the lack of wanting to learn and understand what the impact of it has on me, from my own family that I live with is like. I have had to fight tooth and nail for almost 3 years, and I still get sick from their indifference.

As a whole, society still sees Gluten/Dairy/Egg/Soy intolerances as something that is not its problem, when in reality is an ever growing problem within the framework of society. My society as a whole revolves around food, and the social roles of food. I know I feel ostracized quite often for something I can’t help, and did not ask for or choose to take on. Even though the US is one of the better one for leading the way in having better tasting and a better variety of Gluten Free and Dairy Free food, it is still a challenge and struggle to find food that I can eat.

I know for myself personally, I began taking a second look at the food I was eating, during the Nutrition class I took while in college. Developing intolerances to Gluten and Dairy has since added to how closely I look at the food that I eat, and consume. In the past three years I have really started avoiding processed foods, and eating natural, organic and non GMO foods as much as possible.

I know a lot of people who don’t give food intolerances a second thought because they don’t have to deal with it 3+ times a day. That much I can understand, as I was the same way until 3 years ago. At the same time, There are those who feel that because those of us who have food intolerances or adhere to certain diets are different and “weird” we just need to shove it, even to our own expense, and to the extent of at best having an upset stomach, and spending more time than necessary in the bathroom to being sent to the hospital with a life threatening condition.

I am not saying the our society needs to jump on the band wagon of adhering to a specific diet themselves, all I am saying is that it is time that society changes to be more tolerant and understanding of those who either need to adhere to one of these “specialty diets” or chooses to for personal reasons. Why should we suffer, and be sick because others choose to be ignorant and uneducated on a growing concern. I know there are those with food intolerances who don’t like to talk about it, but if it isn’t talked about, then how is it going to get out there, and how are others going to be educated? even if you don’t have to directly deal with food intolerances, you most likely know someone who does. There is still a lot of awareness to be made and had.

I have also heard the “you can’t eat (Fill in item here), I would die if I couldn’t have (aforementioned item here)”. My general response is “Not having (Item) doesn’t really bother me anymore”, when in my head the thoughts I have are along the lines of “You learn to live without it or be sick all the time, and yes even now and again I would kill for a grilled cheese sandwich with Tillamook Cheese, sourdough bread, and butter on the outside, and real ice creme and Oreo’s for dessert, but I would rather go without that, than be in the bathroom, being sick for the next two weeks.”

I am choosing to keep this blog to help those who have food intolerances and are new to having them, as well as their families, friends, roommates, and are trying to figure out what is safe and what is not. It is also for myself so that I can share my journey, and what I have learned from having normal every day food make me sick to learning how to deal with it, and what I have found that works.

Coffee Update

I have been off of coffee for more than a month and a half now. I have definitely noticed a difference in my body. My sleep pattern has definitely evened out, and I am still having an easier time of falling asleep at night. I have also noticed that the headaches that I would quite often wake up with, and linger throughout the day have disappeared.

I don’t know if it is caffeine in general or the acid in the coffee that I have a sensitivity to, as I drink a cup of black coffee a day (Bigelow’s Vanilla Chai Spice tea), but otherwise drink water or herbal tea.

The past month and a half has been a lot easier than I thought it would. The fact that I am not working at the moment also has helped the withdrawl process and made that easier. Now that I have been off coffee I don’t have any plans to start drinking it again. Even when I was drinking coffee I was doctoring it up really good with coffee creamer (prior to dairy intolerance) and sugar (post dairy intolerance). I had a hard time drinking it straight. Just as well I went off of it.

Dairy Free Options

Being dairy free was the hardest for me. As it was the also the first food intolerance that I figured out that I was dealing with. Figuring out what contained dairy and its derivatives (Whey and Sodium Caseinate) is an uphill challenge. It is not impossible. I found this webpage that has a list of terms to look for in the ingredients list that contain dairy, may contain dairy and does not contain dairy.

I have found more so with dairy than with gluten that they like to sneak dairy and its derivatives into foods that you would not imagine had dairy in it. Like Spaghetti seasoning, Taco Seasoning, Bouillon cubes, Salad Dressings, Breads, pretty much anything in a box. Reading Labels is critical to a successful dairy free diet.

There are a lot of dairy free milk alternatives out there. There is Soy Milk, Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, Rice Milk, Hemp Milk, Oat Milk, Hazelnut Milk. Of all of these I have tried a lot but the one that stands out for me, that I love, and would have a hard time living without is the Almond Breeze Almond Coconut blend. It s a blend of Almond and Coconut milks and it is awesome. I used to soley rely on rice milk, but it was super thin, and did not work for puddings and not as well for baking. Straight almond milk was too almondy for me, and coconut milk by itself was to rich. I came across the Almond Coconut blend about a year ago (my aunt had it, and let me try it), since then I have been hooked. It has a similar consistency to regular milk, so it can be used to replace real milk in recipes. I also like the fact that the coconut milk tones down the almond flavor, while the almond milk balances out the coconut milk’s richness.

I have also found that Almond Dream/Coconut Dream ice cream is a great tasting replacement for normal ice cream.

Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips are dairy free and they are less expensive than the branded dairy free chocolate chips. They are also a name brand so you can find them pretty much in any grocery store.

The knorr vegetable bouillon cubes are dairy free, as are the Safeway brand vegetable and chicken flavor enhancers. Swanson chicken broth is safe. Pace Picante mild and medium salsa’s are safe. as are Mission tortilla chips. If you are only dairy free mission brand flour tortilla’s are dairy free.

I was reminded by a reader, for those of you who are not gluten free, but are dairy free, Oreo Cookies are dairy free, surprisingly enough. I have not had Oreos since I went Gluten Free, I was super happy when I was only doing dairy free and found out that Oreos were safe.

There are other brands and such that I know of that I have here locally, that I don’t know the equivalent of in other chain grocery store.

Your life is not over if you are finding out that you have to go dairy free. There are so many great options out there. It can be done. The learning curve is the biggest issue. The first year is the hardest.

Gluten Free Options

Here recently I wrote a post about Bob’s Red Mill, and the great Gluten Free products that they have to offer (it is like heaven for the gluten free baker, and I have yet to find anything that is Gluten Free that contains Dairy, which is good for me since I am Gluten and Dairy Free). While I am a huge fan of their products, I want to also share some of the other Gluten Free brands I have come across (some are hit and miss on the dairy issue, others are Gluten and Dairy Free).

Van’s: Their Freezer Waffles are gluten free, most of which are also Dairy, egg and nut free. They also have other products like crackers, cookies and such. Their Perfect 10 crackers are my favorite and are also dairy free. Some of their other crackers and cookies, I would definitely have to read labels on to see if they are dairy free or not, so that is one thing if you are dairy or egg free in addition to being gluten free, is to make sure that they are dairy/egg free as well.

Glutino is another good (and established) gluten free brand. For me, I still have to check labels to make sure that they are dairy free, but they do have a good variety that are also dairy free.

Arrowhead Mills – they have a decent selection of gluten free baking mixes and flours. as for being dairy free, be sure to read the labels.

Cherrybrook Kitchen – This is one of my favorites when it comes to cake, cookie, brownie an frosting mixes. All of their gluten free mixes are also dairy free.

I also use gluten free recipes for cooking/baking, as well as substituting gluten free flour and xanthan gum for regular flour.

To Those without Food Sensitivities/Intolerances/Allergies

In this post, I want to address the misconception that food intolerances and sensitives especially in adults can be cured/grown out of.

I, personally have had people tell me to keep reintroducing the foods that I know I have a sensitivy to, or that because one sensitivity is not as bad as the other that cross contamination is OK. That attitude and mindset infuriates me on so many levels. The main reasons this thinking infuriates me, is because it shows a lack of understanding and compassion on their part, as well as a lack of education, even though I talk until I am blue in the face trying to educate them, they also choose to not try to understand what I have to deal with on a daily basis. Dealing with certain people’s choice of stupidity actually puts me at great risk of getting sick than if they would turn off their judgmental “it’s all in her head” thinking and try to understand that even a little bit of dairy and gluten make me sick, and that using the measuring cups I have out for myself that are clean for your flour, when they are perfectly capable of drying off the ones they have been using, thus ensuring no cross contamination and saving me from wasting my ingredients and my food is just stupid. Telling me to take probiotics and/or just keep reintroducing the foods I know I am sensitive to, is the stupidest thing I have heard in the last almost 3 years. Not only will that make me sick at the very least, but knowingly causing more damage to my GI tract is absolutely nuts. If you are sensitive to something, don’t eat something containing what you are sensitive to, it is as simple as that.

To those who haven’t had to deal with a food sensitivity, intolerance or allergy (while different from intolerances/sensitivities avoiding foods that trigger the reaction is the same) yourself, a child, or for a significant other, or a medical professional, or had a food sensitivity that did go away while you may be trying to help, your advice is falling on deaf ears. I can almost guarantee you that the person you are giving the advice to, if they aren’t turning on heel and educating you on the reality of having a true food intolerance/sensitivity/allergy they want to so bad, and if they are not take it as either you are in a place where educating you is not appropriate, or they actually are just biting their tongue hoping that you will stop soon and let them deal with their own life, wish you would mind your own business.

Now that I am going on 3 years of having food intolerances, I am a huge advocate of  awareness, and education on those who do not have intolerances, and how your behaviors, lack of education puts those of us who have food intolerances/sensitivities/allergies at a greater risk of having an adverse reaction, just because you choose to be ignorant or uneducated. I myself did not ask to have gluten, dairy and caffeine sensitivities, they happened to me. If I had chosen to go Gluten and Dairy free without having the sensitives I would not be one to talk, but beings that I developed these sensitivities as an adult, and had at one time been the ignorant “they should get over it, and it’s all in their head” people it does bother me. I

would love nothing more to be “normal” again.Even if my body were to decide to heal itself, and be “over it”, I would still stick to my current diet, because I am of the mindset that once this has happened to me, I am not going to take a chance of the “what if”, when in reality the “What if” is not likely to happen, and this is how my life is. I have accepted that my body doesn’t tolerate Dairy, Gluten or a lot of caffeine. That is just how my life is, and that is how I am going to be living my life.

When you live with someone who has a food intolerance/sensitivity/allergy your whole system of cooking, baking, preparation, and clean up has to change and as much as it means extra work, and being a pain in the rear, it is in their best interest that when it comes to meal preparation, and kitchen sanitation that it revolves around them/ cleaning their way. While you can still eat your normal food, what ever you cooked/baked with and whatever you used for your food needs to be washed and sanitized. It needs to be either run through the dishwasher, or double washed with two different sponges in hot water, and you washing your hands in between washes.

Food Sensitivities such as those related to Dairy, Wheat & Gluten, Eggs, and a whole lot more are a serious issue for those who have them. More and more people are developing sensitivities to these foods. It is not all in our heads. Many of us wish it was, or like the common cold that we would just get over. Unfortunately for millions of Americans, certain foods make us sick, and we have to go to great lengths to keep those foods out of our bodies, in a society that is largely uneducated about these issues that ail us.

In large I am gearing this blog to those who have Dairy and Gluten Sensitives or have a child/someone living with them who has these sensitives/intolerances/allergies because that is what I am dealing with. I am doing this in part for the newbies who are just finding out, and have no idea where to start. I was there once myself. I had no one to help me. I was on my own, and still by in large am on my own figuring it all out myself. My aim is to help even one person then my mission would be complete. To help more would be amazing.

Bob’s Red Mill

Bob’s Red Mill – I love this place, it is pretty much a baker/cook’s heaven, even more so for those who are Gluten Free (and like myself who are Gluten and Dairy Free). I love that their flours are stone ground, natural and all around better for you. They have a good variety of wheat flours (whole wheat and regular), as well as the largest assortment of gluten free flours, flour mixes, and so much more that I have seen anywhere. They also carry baking aids (like baking powder, baking soda, potato starch, corn starch, yeast, xanthan gum, guar gum, and that kind of thing). They have an Aisle of rice, an aisle of beans, honey, syrup. They have an area of bulk goods, and an area of baking and cook books, and their bakery area. 

My most recent trip there was this past Friday. I needed to get more flours to make up the two flour mixes I use for baking. I love that it is a local company (for me anyway) and that all the flours and such are made in USA (their manufacturing plant is maybe a couple miles from their retail store). So it is one company that is definitely helped the economy. There is a demand for their products, which are sold in their retail store, online, and in some area grocery retailers.