Getting Started GF & DF
This is your own journey to living happily gluten and dairy-free. Laura Friendly can help you enjoy each step along the way. Whether you are learning to prepare new recipes for yourself or serve something unexpectedly delicious for someone special, Laura Friendly has answers to the most frequently asked questions for eating, entertaining and embracing a life that’s gluten and dairy-free. If you don’t see it covered here, please post your question to Laura Friendly.
What is gluten-free?
Gluten is the protein found in grains such as: barley, rye, spelt and wheat (durum, farro, kamut, semolina). Anyone with Celiac’s disease or a gluten intolerance should avoid products containing these grains.
Many people who are gluten-free may also avoid oats. Most commercial oats are processed in wheat/gluten facilities and therefore can contain gluten.
note: You can purchase gluten-free oats.
What is wheat-free?
Someone who is wheat-free cannot have products made with white or whole wheat flours. However, they can consume barley and rye grains, if there is no cross-contamination with wheat. Not all wheat-free products are gluten-free, but all gluten-free products are wheat-free.
What is dairy-free?
A dairy-free diet is free of all products that come from milk (cow, goat or sheep). This includes items such as: butter, cheese, chocolate (milk chocolate and sometimes dark, always read labels), cream, curd, dry/powdered milk, ghee, ice cream, milk, milk solids, sherbet, whey, yogurt.
note: a dairy-free diet does not exclude eggs… eggs are not a milk product. ;)
What is lactose-free?
Lactose is the sugar found in milk. Some people do not possess the ability to break down this sugar in their intestines. A lactose-free diet can vary greatly from person to person. Some people can tolerate yogurt and hard cheeses for example, but some cannot. Others may find they are able to tolerate goat and/or sheep products. (Goat/sheep milk protein molecules are sized differently than cow’s milk, they contain less lactose than cow’s milk, and they only have trace amounts of the protein called casein.) Some may even find taking a lactase enzyme replacement prior to ingesting dairy will relieve any symptoms.
What is casein-free?
Casein is the protein found in milk. Someone avoiding casein would have a casein “allergy” and would have serious reactions when consuming milk products such as anaphylaxis, swollen lips or hives. A casein-free diet avoids all foods that contain milk or milk products. Other ingredients to avoid are: calcium casein, casein hydrolysate, magnesium casein, potassium casein, rennet casein, sodium casein, cheese, yogurt, milk, pudding, butter, butter flavoring, butter fat, lactalbumin, lactoalbumin phosphate, lactaglobulin, lactose, margarine, nondairy creamers, whey, whey hydrolysate. Here is a link for more information: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/casein-allergy-overview
What is the difference between Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity?
A person with Celiac Disease “must” not eat food containing gluten. When they do eat gluten-rich foods, they experience an immune reaction in their small intestines. This reaction causes damage to the inner surface of their small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients, which can lead to malnutrition and weight loss. Other side effects may include: diarrhea, stomachache, abdominal pain, and bloating. Here is a link for more information: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/celiac-disease/DS00319
A person with Gluten Sensitivity may experience side effects similar to a person with Celiac Disease such as: gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue and headaches. The big difference is that their small intestine does not experience an immune reaction that would lead to malnutrition. So basically, a person with gluten intolerance “should” not eat foods that contain gluten.
What foods are dairy-free?
When choosing dairy-free ingredients, always read the labels very carefully.
Here are a handful of dairy substitutes:
milk: almond, coconut, rice, soy milk
yogurt: almond, coconut, rice, soy yogurts
ice cream: soy, rice, hemp, coconut or sorbet (made from fruit, sugar, water)
chocolate: many dark chocolates are dairy-free (just be sure to read the labels), carob chips
creamer: coconut or soy creamer
buttermilk: add 1 tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of plain almond, coconut, rice, soy milk and let it sit for 5 minutes (to sour)
dry milk powder: use an equal amount of coconut, potato, rice, or soy milk powder
butter: vegan margarines or oils such as soy
heavy cream: mix 1/2 cup rice or soy milk with 1/2 cup mild oil (like canola), or the thick cream from a can of full fat coconut milk.
half-and-half: full fat coconut milk (in the can)
light cream: mix 3/4 cup rice or soy milk with 1/4 cup mild oil (like canola)
evaporated milk: coconut milk (full fat), this has a strong coconut flavor
sweetened evaporated milk: Cream of Coconut, not to be confused with coconut cream, has a strong coconut flavor.
What foods are gluten-free?
When choosing gluten-free ingredients, always read the labels very carefully.
Here are a handful of gluten substitutes:
flour tortillas or chips: 100% corn tortillas, taco shells or corn chips
wheat pasta: 100% corn pasta, quinoa pasta, brown and white rice pasta or rice noodles, 100% buckwheat soba noodles
beer: gluten-free beer made from rice, sorghum or non-gluten grain, gluten-free hard cider
flour: amaranth, buckwheat, coconut, corn, cornmeal, polenta, rice (white or brown), quinoa, millet, sorghum, gluten-free oats, teff, nut meals (almond, pecan, etc.), garbanzo, chick pea, tapioca, potato starch/flour, arrowroot, cornstarch (gluten-free)
soy sauce: gluten-free soy sauce
What foods should I avoid?
- Foods that contain flour: bleached white flour, whole wheat, cracked wheat, barley, semolina, spelt, rye are not gluten-free.
- Foods that contain: breadcrumbs, breaded coatings, baked goods, flour dredging, bread (croutons, bagels, croissants, pitas), flour tortillas or wraps, pizza crust, graham crackers, granola, cereal, wheat germ, wheat berries, cookies, pie crust, crackers, pretzels are not gluten-free.
- Semolina, spelt and whole wheat pasta, couscous, are not gluten-free.
- Beer or ale is not gluten-free.
- Processed meats (deli, brats, sausage, hot dogs) may not be gluten-free.
- Malt vinegar, malt flavorings and barley malt are not gluten-free.
- Soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salad dressings, broth or bouillon, some brown rice syrups, dessert syrups, chocolates may not be gluten-free.
Where is hidden gluten?
Always read the labels of: gravy, broth, bouillon, soy sauce, tamari, marinades, sauces, salad dressings, condiments, vegetable starch or vegetable protein, gelatinized starch, modified food starch, Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, cured meats, sausage, hot dogs, vegan hot dogs, sausages and burgers, imitation crab meat, spice blends, dry mustard, soups, natural flavoring, tomato paste, sweeteners, confectioner’s and brown sugar, beverages, flavored coffees, herbal teas, nuts, jerky, yogurts, Panko (Japanese bread crumbs), chocolate and chocolate chips, cocoa, flavored vinegars, cooking wines, flavored liqueurs (caramel coloring), wine coolers, some ice cream and frozen desserts, Communion Hosts. Always read labels. Call the manufacturer.
Items to check in your bathroom: Toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, makeup, lipstick, lip-liner, lip-gloss, cosmetics, etc., lotion, sunscreen, medications (check with your pharmacist). Note: very few people have reactions to gluten on the skin, but it’s important to lookout for products that are ingested or used on lips (like lipstick) because you maybe eating gluten without knowing it.
Where can I find a gluten and dairy-free menu?
Here are a couple of great links to restaurant chains that offer gluten-free menu options:
Where should I go for more information on gluten and dairy-free?
Can I drink hard liquor?
Alcohol is something of a debate among celiac’s. Most authorities say that drinking distilled alcoholic beverages is safe for people with celiac disease, because distillation is said to remove all gluten protein from the alcohol, rendering it gluten-free. As always, I would use your personal discernment. Only you know if your body will tolerate. Please use your best judgment. Here is a link for more information: http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/copingwiththediet/a/AlcoholicDrinks.htm
Copyright © Laura Friendly | All Rights Reserved. Photos and content on this site are copyrighted by Laura Friendly (unless otherwise noted). The Laura Friendly blog is written and based on personal experiences and personal opinions on food. It does not represent the opinions of others unless stated. The information on this site is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician. And don’t forget to smile! :)