As we continue this dairy and gluten free experiment with our youngest daughter, the honeymoon is wearing off and reality is setting in. I can personally attest, as an adult with food restrictions, how very hard it can be sometimes to watch those around you eating foods you love and crave, and how devastating it feels to be unable to partake. I can only imagine how it must feel to a child so I’m doing my best to make it as easy on her as possible.
Of course she’s not living on this list of foods. Our meals are mostly comprised of meat, eggs and veggies, and my kids eat a ton of fruit. But while we prefer to feed her real, whole foods when we can, we are so very thankful for the plethora of dairy and gluten free food products that are available. Sometimes I make use of them for convenience sake, and other times I feel that giving her a treat is the least I can do when she’s missing out on so much. I’ve been doing my best to keep the house stocked so we have lots of options. My grocery bill is groaning in protest, but the kids are thrilled!
After you all gave me your suggestions, I made a list and went shopping. It was such a relief that we didn’t have to go thru a bunch of trial and error to find the good stuff.
It’s important to me not to give our kids too much soy, as there’s been some evidence that suggests that the isoflavones in soy can interfere with your endocrine system and hormone balance which may reduce fertility in women and contribute to premature puberty. Of course mainstream health experts deny this, or don’t think we eat enough soy to be concerned, but I don’t see a need to test the theory. Therefore, it’s my goal to find dairy replacements that are not soy based. I’m happy to say that it hasn’t been as hard as I’d feared, thanks to the many coconut and almond based dairy-like products on the market these days.
I figured I’d compile a list of our favorites because it might help others who find themselves in the same dairy and gluten free boat. These are our personal favorites, and I’d love more suggestions if you have them!!
1. Glutino Pretzels
My friend actually discovered these and we’ve been enjoying them for several months. They have such a great taste and texture that even people who are not gluten and dairy free enjoy these pretzels! Set them out at a party, and watch them go. Glutino recently sent me a generous box with several bags of pretzels to enjoy, and you should have seen my kids. You’d have thought it was Christmas!
I’ve long been a fan of Udi’s — even before I started working with them as a Community Leader. They have a lot of great gluten-free products, but not all are dairy free. Their bread, however, is! My daughter loves their bread and she used to ask for it before she had to start eating gluten and dairy free, so this was an easy one for us!
This is one of those foods that I would have scoffed at a month ago. GROSS. Who would eat that? If you can’t have the real thing, why bother? Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Someone suggested this product when I asked for suggestions, and I am so thankful. It has been a life saver on several occasions. We take it along when we go to a friend’s house for dinner, sometimes I cook it and put it in a thermos in her lunchbox, and I can send it with her on a playdate. I’m sure it’s not the most well rounded meal, but she loves it and it takes some of the sting out of not being able to have “real” mac and cheese. It’s made with rice pasta and Daiya cheese (see #4).
4. Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
I was told by several people that Daiya is the only dairy-free cheese that actually melts. I bought a bag of the cheddar-style shreds today and hope to give them a try in her eggs. I know that it isn’t the most nutritious thing I can feed her, but for a treat every once in a while, I don’t mind it too much. I hope that at some point she will be able to tolerate raw cheddar. It is suggested as one of the first types of dairy to reintroduce, so I’m looking forward to that experiment!
These cookies are a yummy treat that she can enjoy in her lunchbox, and they’re great to send with her when she’s going to a friend’s house so she can have a fun snack.
I feel pretty good about giving her coconut milk products by So Delicious. From what I understand, coconut milk is the most nourishing dairy replacement (better than soy or almond). She loves these!
7. I also buy her the So Delicious Mint Chip Frozen Dessert (aka “ice cream”)
8. And the So Delicious Raspberry Cultured Coconut Milk (aka “yogurt”)
This was recommended to me, and we love it. I don’t use it often, but if you want the taste of butter on toast, it will do the job nicely. When I’m cooking, I use lard or olive oil or bacon grease . . . cuz that’s how I roll. (I also avoid canola products and other vegetable oils. I realize they are in some of these products, and I’m okay with that, but I don’t use them in my kitchen.)
I sound like a real party, don’t I!? Heh.
She likes this on her granola on the mornings that she doesn’t eat eggs.
There are more, but these are the products that have really been a life saver for us! I’m open to more suggestions. Lunches are particularly challenging.
If you want to chat about gluten free living, feel free to join me tomorrow at 12 noon EST for a Live Chat over on the Udi’s Gluten Free Community where we will be discussing our favorite rituals, recipes, and traditions surrounding springtime and Easter.