Eliminating products that contain gluten and dairy from your daily diet can be challenging, since wheat (the primary gluten-containing grain) and milk make up a significant part of the foods many people eat.
These resources should help you figure out what foods are always safe, and what foods you’ll need to double-check before consuming. Plus, you’ll find links to gluten-free dairy-free cookbooks and other resources to help you with your diet.
Types of Dairy Sensitivity
Lactose intolerance is a common side effect of celiac disease. So it’s not surprising that in addition to avoiding gluten, many people with celiac also avoid milk products. Other people may avoid dairy products along with gluten because of dairy allergies. Some adopt a vegan or Paleo diet for health or lifestyle reasons and steer clear of dairy.
If you’re new to the idea of a gluten-free dairy-free diet, it will help to know the following terms:
- Lactose intolerance: Lactose is a type of sugar that is present in milk. People with lactose intolerance do not digest this sugar well and become uncomfortable after eating dairy products. Symptoms can include nausea, cramps, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Lactose intolerance is not life-threatening. People with newly-diagnosed celiac disease often are lactose-intolerant, but this frequently improves once they’ve been following the gluten-free diet for a while.
- Milk allergy: A true milk allergy is an immune reaction to casein and/or whey protein. Casein is found in the curd of the milk. Whey is the liquid part that remains after the milk has curdled. As with gluten, sources of these proteins can be obvious (such as milk, cheese, and yogurt) or hidden (for example: in processed foods such as “vegetarian” cheeses, “vegetarian” meats, cereals, and bread). Allergies to these proteins can cause hives, eczema, chronic congestion, and diarrhea. In extreme cases, milk allergies can be life-threatening.
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Foods and Recipes
Vegetarian and Vegan: A list of gluten-free vegetarian and vegan food is very helpful for spotting appropriate items. Vegan lists will also be dairy-free as well as gluten-free, while a vegetarian list may include dairy.
Milk: Fortunately for those who are both gluten-free and dairy-free, there are numerous safe milk alternatives:
- Gluten-Free Soy Milk: You can find soy milk that is certified gluten-free to the level of less than 20 parts per million (ppm), including many popular brands. However, it may be very difficult to find any that are certified to less than 10 ppm.
- Gluten-Free Almond Milk and Other Nut Milks: These types of milk substitutes are also widely available and may be preferred by people who want to avoid soy. Some brands are certified gluten-free.
Pizza: Pizza usually has the double whammy of gluten from the crust and dairy from the cheese. If you don’t want to give up this convenience food, there are several gluten-free dairy-free frozen pizzas on the market. These include those from Amy’s Kitchen, Bold Organics, Ian’s, and Whole Foods 365.
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Cookbooks and Guides
When you’re gluten-free and dairy-free, many processed foods are off-limits, and so you’ll be doing a lot more cooking. Here are some good resources.
The Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Kitchen by Denise Jardine
Author Denise Jardine shows you how to make favorites like pizza, French toast, ice cream and brownies without gluten or dairy. The Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Kitchen offers more than 150 gluten-free, dairy-free recipes that also lessen or eliminate refined oils and sweeteners. Many of the recipes also are egg-free, soy-free and/or nut-free, for those living with those allergies.
Gluten-Free/Casein-Free Grocery Shopping Guide
This guide includes more than 23,000 food items that are gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, and milk-free. It covers major brands that you’ll find in supermarkets in the U.S. It’s available from publisher Cecelia’s Marketplace, which also publishes gluten-free and gluten/casein/soy-free product guides.
It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow
Celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow offers mainly (but not entirely) vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free recipes in her collection, prepared with her friend (and chef) Julia Turshen. It’s All Good isn’t the perfect gluten-free dairy-free recipe collection, but it contains some interesting recipes you might enjoy trying.
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Websites
Many parents of children with autism report that their children benefit from avoiding gluten and casein, even though most medical studies have not found a significant benefit. These parents of children with autism are responsible for many of the gluten-free dairy-free resources on the internet, which include:
- The Official GFCF Diet Support Group Website. Since 1999, this website has been a free resource for any parent who needs support implementing a gluten-free/casein-free diet. It’s mainly directed at the parents of autistic children, but it’s helpful for anyone following a gluten-free, dairy-free diet.
- Lunch Ideas for Kids on GFCF diet. Dana, the mom of an autistic child, has compiled a list of ideas for take-along lunches.
- Eating Without Casein: A Practical Primer for People with Allergies to Milk. Beth Kevles has compiled a variety of issues related to milk allergies.