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10 Ideas for Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Meals

We are six weeks into doing a gluten-free (GF), dairy-free diet with hopes of it addressing health concerns for three out of the four of us in the family. Several doctors had recommended this to me as part of an anti-inflammatory diet after V was born and my pelvic instability was so intense that walking, sleeping, moving, really anything and everything was difficult. I had enough going on between new baby, work, and extreme pain, and many medical appointments that overhauling our family's eating seemed impossible. So, we shelved the idea. Fast-forward to now. As we've been looking at ways to address V's eczema, both our holistically-practicing medical doctor and our chiropractor suggested that V cut gluten, dairy (or at least pasteurized dairy), melon, oranges, berries, and juices. After a month of planning time, we were finally ready to do it.

The first week was the hardest, as 2.5 year old V had some major behavior and sleep disturbances that might have been some sort of withdrawal or might have been normal 2-year-old stuff.  He also had the most dramatic benefit—his eczema cleared up rapidly, at least until we stupidly tried a new soap that caused a major flare-up. His healing from the flare has been much quicker than normal, though. But, he still does get new patches of dry, itchy skin.

My chronic pain has been better in some ways and unchanged in others. For the past year-and-a-half, I've been waking up every morning with knee pain. This has mostly cleared up since the diet change. While I do have pain related to certain activities, the chronic inflammation went down. I also have less day-to-day pain in my lower back with the changes. That said, the real test is the surge of relaxin that happens each month based on my cycle. This time, I ended up with lightly sprained ankle along with the normal pelvic instability and low-back pain. But, it did heal in one lightning-fast week. Four weeks later, I ended up re-spraining the same ankle. Ugh! 

What else? Losing weight was not a goal for the diet change, but I did notice that my body dropped a few pounds and slid me under my pre-kids weight. Hooray for a chance to bust out some of those old favorite clothes I'd lodged in the attic. 

Dave has not noticed any changes with his contact dermatitis or gut. Baby E is just along for the ride. His biggest health issues have been reflux, which he has aged beyond, and cradle cap which remains. But, we know that sometimes the benefit of this kind of diet change can take 2-3 months. If nothing else, V and I appreciate the solidarity.

The biggest surprise to me was that we were able to do this without living in misery or resorting to loads of expensive packaged specialty foods. The kids have adapted well, and Dave even learned to make GF bread with our long-favorite Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day method.

Here’s the shakedown of what we've been eating.


Paleo Granola Bars These are hearty, amazing, and smell like pumpkin pie

Potato and Sausage Egg Scramble We aren't doing Paleo, so potatoes are still in for us. We used potatoes we harvested ourselves from our community supported agriculural (CSA) farm. They are so fresh and delicious! As I've shared previously, we used our frozen eggs for this.

Gluten-Free OatmeaI like mine with some maple syrup, vanilla, and dairy-free chocolate chips. The boys like theirs mixed with applesauce and raisins or frozen pineapple.

Apple Pie Cinnamon Smoothie What can I say besides yum?


Buffalo Chicken “Pasta” We'll save ourselves $10 and make the mayo with a mild olive oil next time rather than avocado oil.

Squash Latkes We used almond flour in place of the wheat flour and topped these yummies with aoli. Our kids love these every single time!

Leek Potato Soup This was so creamy, I didn't even miss the cream.

Slow Cooker Tacos Al PastoThese tasted great in a wrap made of lettuce

TexMex Crockpot Carnitas We tried some GF-tortillas, but ended up preferring lettuce wraps. We also made "nachos" with corn chips, carnitas, beans, hummus, and guacamole

Artichoke Lemon Pesto Chicken Pasta We elected GF pasta instead of spaghetti squash that night.

We look forward to seeing what another month or so of this diet brings, though Dave and I are beginning to struggle with missing some of our favorite foods and coping at gatherings that have our old favorites.  The most humorous moment is probably when my employer generously provided a pizza lunch from Dominoes and thoughtfully ordered some gluten free pies. I took several pieces into a quiet room, removed the pepperoni, peeled off the cheese and trashed it, put the the pepperoni back down on the saucy crust, and then rejoined my coworkers to chow down. The slices were manhandled but delicious.

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