Hey y'all - so, my boy has been displaying some mighty unpleasant symptoms of what looks to me like dairy and/or gluten sensitivity. I was dairy-free in my teen years (I have an allergy, not lactose intolerant) but have since fallen off the wagon, so to speak. My kiddo, thankfully, like non-dairy milks, but I am looking for some good suggestions in transitioning to gluten/dairy free to see if it helps some of his digestive symptoms. His favorite food is (of course) macaroni and cheese (and one of mine, too!). Help!
- topicAllergiestagged by System, 8/2/12
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Trying gluten/dairy free .... tips?
Tinkyada brand pasta is my favorite GF pasta. It cooks well and holds up and I don't think there's any taste difference. I can taste the difference with some pasta but not the Tinkyada brand.
My only real tip is to spend a little more for the better brands. I find that the "cheap" brands aren't always better.
Udi's is great for breads and bagels and pizza crusts ;)
And my other big tip is go through all of your favorite foods that *seem* like they should be fine and figure out first what you CAN still have before figuring out what you can't have ;)
Thanks, all! The mac and cheese, pasta, and flour tips are helpful.
My biggest concerns are just finding good substitutions for some things (mac and cheese, Goldfish crackers, cheese, yogurt, occasional sweet treats, and PASTA - I'm Italian and could pretty much live on it!). Mostly reassurance that we won't have a sad, spartan life if I try to cut out dairy and gluten.
I think that I really need to sit down and sort out what we already eat and love that is gluten and dairy free, and then go from there.
Yeah, it can be a little difficult to find the options (and there are many!) whether you are intolerant, allergic, or just want to try something different. I have Celiac's disease, so whenever I unintentionally "fall off the wagon", it's not just a little tummy trouble. We're talking full-body agony, and I work in a Wendy's, so cross-contamination makes me have to bring lunch. We are questioning Celiac with my son and he has a mild allergic reaction to dairy, so I had to get really creative for him. He loves cheese and yogurt, and hates the one GF brand of cheeze I found. So for his mac and cheeze (1 small bowl, he's 1), I add a spoonful of unsalted tahini, a splash of tamari, and a little onion powder and salt (I get low sodium tamari and unsalted tahini, so you may not need any). I'LL eat it, and I'm a mac and cheese freak. The Amy's frozen mac n' fake cheese tastes like cardboard, btw. For my son's yogurt, I get him either WholeSoy (that one tastes like real yogurt!) or SoDelicious Coconut yogurt. I'll usually get the plain- less sugar and more options. I can actually turn that one into dairy free ranch dressing for him. Oh, and Kinikinik sells GF/ I think dairy free doughnuts and oreos, Schar sells GF cheese crackers (but not DF), and Snyders of Hanover makes a killer GF pretzel. I like getting corn or quinoa/corn hybrid pastas as those taste the closest to the norm I've found (my hubby is Italian, and almost started crying when he found out he couldn't make me pasta anymore). Of course, if I can't find it, I make my own!
We do buy udi's gf breads and keep them in the freezer, taking out slices as needed. Peanut butter and jelly is dd's favourite.
Other special things we buy for her soy yogurt (sogo? Ithink), gf granola bars (for outings) sometimes cookies or a pancake mix.
Snacks that are naturally gluten and diary free are rice cakes, certain tortilla chips, apple sauce, hummus and I'm sure many other things! Those are just our staples. Oh and we make a lot of smoothies with almond or coconut milk. Drink or freeze it in popsicle moulds
Its not that bad. I haven't found it that hard. But maybe because we didn't really care for pasta much anyway
My suggestions would be more along the lines of, hmmm, methods rather than foods? Hope it might help. :-) Both my kiddoes had to go gluten free (and lost dairy, eggs, and corn at the same time, eek!). They were 7 and 11 and absolutely devastated.
Some things that we did to help, a bit, was to do whatever we could to make food a bit more fun. We purchased Japanese bento boxes for lunches and I got tons of those little metal cookie cutters that companies make now for cake decorators who cut out fondant pieces. Found them at a craft store - flowers and animals and random shapes. Then we messed around with all sorts of foods the kids could put in. The kids got to make their meals into an art project. It really helped when they were thinking more about what food to put in their lunch because they wanted red flowers with green middles than about the fact that they couldn't put in sandwiches, you know?
We also messed around at dinner more, making it more like play, so it didn't emphasize the lost food. Like, we had Orange Night. All food and drink had to be orange. Piles of orange fruit like cantaloupe, peaches, mangoes, orange dyed mashed potatoes (with broth rather than dairy), pumpkin soup, orange juice. We went to the store and they got to hunt around for whatever orange produce they could find. Tried to make a turmeric based spice rub for the main dish, that sort of thing.
Or we had a meal theme, like faces, where you try to make a face on your plate with whatever you have in the kitchen.
If meals and food are changing for OTHER reasons, like the above, it really helped make the loss of one type of food (the gluten filled ones) less noticeable for the kids, or rather, a smaller part of the big change up. And there was fun added when gluten was lost, so there was a huge positive.
I wish I could say that this all went really well, but there have still been bad days. Days when they are sick of the foods that they always eat, or when they see other people get to eat what they no longer can. But both my kids at this point (it's been 3 years now) feel so much better on this diet that they are very active in making sure they don't eat anything off their safe list. And we still try the fun food meals whenever we're feeling a bit bummed about our food; it helps. :-)
I love your tips! My 6-year old started a gluten/dairy/corn-free diet about a month ago, and it's been a big challenge...the corn allergy makes it the most difficult. We start school next week, and I'm a little anxious about the issues that he'll face in school (in-class birthday & holiday parties, misc. treats, etc.) Do you have any tips for how to best handle those situations?
PS - if you have any suggestions for GF/DF/Corn-Free snacks - I would love any advice! Fruits and veggies get old quickly, and my son doesn't really like nuts.
Thanks so much for posting. It helps to know there are other families like us.
I think your idea of starting with a list of foods you enjoy that are already gluten and dairy free is a great one. It makes the whole thing seem less daunting, and less restrictive (look at all the yummy things we still get to enjoy!).
Watch out for gluten free breads, a number of them include milk powder or whey, so are not dairy free. Udi's was mentioned, very light sandwich bread. I think it is dairy free, but some of their products, like bagels, have dairy in them.
Tinkyada pasta!!! It's great.
Fruits and veggies, hummus or non-dairy yogurt based dips, nut butters for dipping, rice cakes, sesame rice crackers, corn or potato chips, dried fruit and nuts, deviled eggs, you can get gluten free cereals, if you do that, and bars that are like rice crispy bars. We love Thai Kitchen single noodle soup packets. Maybe there are fruits and veggies, or dried fruits that you haven't explored? Whole dried bananas, dates, dried mango, etc.
We are gluten, dairy, soy and corn free for 7-8 years depending on the item and then salicylate-free (so, oranges, berries, apples, tomatoes and so on) for about 2-1/2 years. Which automatically makes us free of a lot of other stuff. But I'm not complaining. :)
You may have already done this, but rather than focus on the stuff you can and do eat that you enjoy, why not take a good stock of what you're eating that will have to go. You might find that there are "big" things that come to mind--but there are only like 3-4 of those things. I know that when I gave up dairy, I freaked. I went out and bought all kinds of dairy-free items of stuff that I rarely even ate... ice cream, yogurt... I can't even remember it all because it's been so long, but it was silly. I really should've looked at what I was eating and then looked to replace those specific items. It would've been a lot less panic, chaos, money and time.
Another vote for Tinkyada, btw.
As for snacks, you can say that veggies and hummus get old but I find that most people I know are giving their kids crackers or whatever snack of choice over and over and over again. If you're not giving the same snacks over and over and over again, then there should be enough diversity in the snacks that you don't have to change MUCH, right? Our snacks are:
celery with peanut butter
just about any raw veggies with hummus or guacamole
dehydrated onion crackers
It's a little more expensive, but Daiya now puts out a block of dairy & soy free cheese replacement that you could cut into cheese sticks. And if you're not corn-free or salicylate-free, you could get corn chips with salsa. Actually, you could get rice chips if you're corn-free. And for that matter, Back to Nature puts out crackers that are GF plus free of some other allergens. Oh, and Larabars are always a big hit if you're not nut-free.
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