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Need a GF/Dairy Free (is that CF?) for Dummies Guide

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

... or something. IDK if this should be here or in Special Needs Parenting.


We may need to cut dairy and gluten out, but I'm not quite sure how severely. (I am assuming 100%, but someone please tell me if I'm wrong on that.) I would be doing it for the kids, to help with behaviors and sensory issues. Do I need to purify my kitchen and separate things the way my friends who have celiac disease do? Or is it enough to simply not give the kids anything made with gluten/dairy? (DH will not give up bagels, coffee with milk, cookies, etc. so it's not a whole-family effort.)


Is there a basic guide to what "counts" and what doesn't? (I'm thinking about the way I cook, and even something as simple as a scrambled egg would have to change since I can't use butter in the pan. Or can I?) And then there's more hidden stuff, like oats. Oats themselves don't have gluten, but I know those with allergies generally can't use products made with oats b/c they are processed on equipment dusted with wheat. So I know just enough to be dangerous, but I know I don't know it all.


And most importantly, I need help with treats and recipes. I've found a few web sites that have good ideas for meals but I'm thinking more along the lines of snacks (esp. portable and for baby/toddler) and desserts that don't require special GF flour. Even stuff like pudding, or granola bars end up not working for GF/CF so what do you make instead? (DS just discovered Rice Krispies treats but they have BUTTER. Argh!)

post #2 of 11

It really depends on your kids and how sensitive they are. Most people I know start out by just not eating it. You'll see if that makes an improvement. Many people I know can still share a kitchen and cooking equipment with gluten with no problems, but others can't. I know a couple of people who can eat regular oats, but others who need the special tested gluten free kind.


Butter has some casein in it, ghee is generally considered not to. A decent, non-GMO, not-full-of-garbage butter substitute is organic Earth Balance buttery spread. It is pretty tasty. In Rice Krispie treats, you can use that instead of butter. I just make mine with peanut butter for a fatty ingredient. Honestly, dairy is really easy to sub out of recipes, just use 1/3 cup of whatever mild liquid oil you like - safflower, sunflower, almond, canola, corn, soy, for a half cup of butter in any baked good. Non-dairy milks are commonly available and to make 'buttermilk,' just add a little vinegar to sour it.


For snacks, I carry a little jar of almonds, and a package of Corn Thins, a good dark chocolate bar, and plain dried fruit.

post #3 of 11
I would get a separate toaster for the gf items. Ghee should be avoided, because you simply don't know how much casein it contains. Check out dairy free ans vegan websites, so you can get a complete list of items with trace amounts (like apples and pears waxed with soy and dairy waxes). I think the primary reason people say this kind of diet doesn't work is because they leave in too much of the problem foods.

Make your own granola. Natural food stores may carry rice and other grain flakes that can substitute for the oats. I'm NOT talking about cereal flakes. I am talking about flattened rice, so it looks just like rolled oats! At first it was just rice, but now there's other grains, too.

Beware the non-dairy cheeses. They often contain casein. So does tuna, according to one site. There was a thread about that not long ago.

I am dairy allergic, so I know more about dairy than gluten. I've read here, on a thread or two, that even gf-free oats can cause problems for some folks.

My recommendation is to eliminate all, to see if it works. Then you can try relaxing the standards, just one thing at a time. If there's a setback, then eliminate that again.

Good luck!
post #4 of 11
I forgot to add -- make sure you read labels!!

Chocolate almost *always* contains dairy!

Look for milk, milk solids, whey, butter, ghee, clarified butter, cheese, casein, dairy protein, etc. Again, please check the dairy allergy sites. Some of these are obvious, others may not be.

Again, with the toaster, the gluten-free one should also be dairy free.

As my son is telling me, reading over my shoulder, cutting back on dairy will give you an idea of whether that will help. You can be more meticulous if you see improvement in behavior.
post #5 of 11
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

As my son is telling me, reading over my shoulder, cutting back on dairy will give you an idea of whether that will help. You can be more meticulous if you see improvement in behavior.


Yes, this is what I was trying to say ... just getting the vast majority of it out will improve things, and then you can figure out how careful your family needs to be. My friend's son stopped dropping weight and being constantly sick by just going to 'no gluten ingredients.'  It took them a couple of years to realize he needs the tested, dedicated facility special foods to really feel well.  (I am not GF, but my best friend's family is, and I feed them at least once a week, and their son is SO sensitive that I only keep GF snacks in my bagThey can eat dairy, but my family does not).


I'm dairy-intolerant, but can tolerate cross-contamination. I don't need dedicated facility stuff, just no dairy ingredients in my food. No cross contamination pretty much means only the special allergen free brands of chocolate, if you aren't so sensitive, many of the high end dark chocolates are safe - Valrhona, Guittard, Ghiradhelli, almost all of the Trader Joe's bars, Endangered Species, Equal Exchange, Dagoba, Chocolove, Justin's, Whole Foods brand.


Daiya brand non-dairy cheese is casein-free, and pretty tasty, the trick is to use it VERY sparingly as a condiment, not as a food group.

post #6 of 11
I am always looking for a non-dairy cheese I can tolerate. Unfortunately, I *am* so sensitive that it has to be a dairy free facility. And steam carrying dairy can get into my food and give me major problems. In addition, I'm soy allergic.

That cheese you mentioned, is it soy?
post #7 of 11

No, it is not! It is soy, gluten, dairy, corn, and nut free, based around non-hydrogenated fats and tapioca starch. That said, it is also really very much empty calories - fat and starch, no protein, vitamins or minerals to speak of. I sort of treat it like I would mayonnaise - a little bit to enhance the flavor of whatever I'm eating.

post #8 of 11

Oh, hey, and these: http://store.veganessentials.com/holy-cow-vegan-dark-chocolate-beans-p3613.aspx, imported from England, are made in a dedicated nut and dairy free facility, and they are pretty yummy. But they have soy lecithin in them, so they may do you no good.

post #9 of 11
No may about it for me. I'll look into the cheese, though.

We seem to have highjacked this thread, though.
Sorry about that.

If you need more info about being dairy free, I would be happy to pass along what I know. I'm sure somewhere among these moms there's someone who can help with the gluten free side. And there's probably someone who avoids both. Good luck.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the info. I feel a little bit better now that I've gone to the store. I got some corn puff cereal for snacking and I didn't realize that the rice pasta was gluten free as well. And TJ's has corn pasta, too. So on spaghetti night, I can just make a separate pot of noodles for the sensitive one and give him different sauce if need be (assuming tomatoes aren't a problem for his allergies -- that's still an unknown).


So I'm bummed that he won't be a receptacle for all the liquid whey I have in my fridge as a by-product of yogurt-making. The sensitive one is only 1 yo, and I think he would benefit from some probiotics in his diet. So two questions:


1. Anyone have a recommendation on a good source for coconut milk in large quantities, preferably with BPA-free cans? I buy it from TJ's now for $1/can but I don't think the cans are BPA-free.

2. Any tips for probiotics to use as cultures for yogurt (made from coconut milk, see above)? Right now I make it from cow's milk and use TJ's Greek yogurt for the culture, but I'm guessing I can't use that now.

post #11 of 11
I Googled 'coconut milk yogurt' and found this :


And there's more to choose from. Also, not long ago there was a thread about coconut yogurt. If I find it, I'll post it.

There's a NY company that freezes the coconut milk and ships it. I can't remember how expensive it is or what it's packaged in. I can't find it now, either. Annoying.

A note of caution. Coconut water tends to produce sudden, loose stools. I'm not as familiar with coconut milk. Just a heads up.

Back to the cheese, it contains ' vegetable glycerine ' and 'salt'. Both potentially have or are from corn, another of my allergens. Oh well, if it's not one thing, it's another.
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