Discovering The Tasty Side of Gluten and Dairy Free

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By Melanie Fellman

The beginning of this year found me beginning a gluten, dairy, and dessert free diet.  Having eaten in this manner before I already knew the positive results which could be expected.  Results such as; waking feeling refreshed – who knew this is what one was supposed to feel in the morning, experiencing fewer (if any) headaches, a decrease in digestive issues, as well as feeling and being more energetic throughout the day.  Remembering the good that came from avoiding these foods in the past allowed me to view January with an air of excitement.

The Struggle

Now, while there are many positive effects experienced when these foods are removed from my diet, it does not occur without a struggle.  Gluten and dairy are high on my list of foods which cause enjoyment.  Foods which tantalize the taste buds.  Pizza, fettuccine, crea

my mashed potatoes, buttered bread for dipping into the yolk of eggs, cream cheese on crackers, and nearly everything else that has the word cheese attached are foods which I love, but are unfortunately loaded with gluten and dairy.  Setting aside my love for gluten and dairy is only one (of the many) difficulties associated with cutting out these foods.  Starting my new manner of eating in January also meant the Christmas season had just passed.  A season full of cookies, candies, cakes, fudge, and an assortment of many other desserts.  The more these foods are consumed, the stronger the craving for them grows.  Cutting these sweets out of the diet suddenly, after having eaten them frequently, was a struggle.

My goal was set, and plans were made. Whether enjoyable or not gluten and dairy were ushered off my plate.  Deciding to change a way of eating does not mean the cravings disappear.  They still exist, which is why it is important to discover new foods, ones which are tasty and satisfying.

Seeking and Finding

Several foods which have become my go-to snacking options include: popcorn drizzled with olive oil, homemade sweet potato chips and fries, four ingredient banana pancakes, and dehydrated fruit.

Around the two week mark my cravings for breads, cheeses, and sweets were becoming replaced with a craving for the new foods I was adding into my life.  Eating healthy can change what the body craves in a fairly short time as long as the diet is not broken.  Dried fruit became my dessert.  Pancakes went from being breakfast to a delicious snack (the smell of cinnamon made others come see what I was making).  Sweet potato chips and fries had to be limited – they were so good I could eat them nonstop.  If you care to attempt these delicious chips, follow this recipe over at Minimalist Baker.  Beware, they are addictive.  No matter how many potatoes used, they disappear, even if you decide against sharing.  Remember, you have been warned.  Fries can be made following the same recipe, the only differences are cutting the potatoes into wedges and the cooking time.  Parsley and turmeric are nice added touches.

Preparation is Key

Preparation is vital when making any change in life, true too for following a specific manner of eating.  Without one, failure is likely to occur.  Preparation can take place by looking over a restaurant’s online menu prior to going out to eat, cooking in large quantity and freezing to create single portions for quick meals, and, keeping healthy snacking options available.  Taking time to prepare makes it more likely success will be achieved.

Two dinner ideas which can be prepared and frozen as individual servings include baked chicken and soups.  Heating a few vegetables to eat with the chicken makes for a quick, tasty, and filling meal.  Sweet mashed potatoes (are you seeing the trend of sweet potatoes?) are one of my favorite choices as they are creamy and delicious without having to add butter.  Altering the sweet potato soup recipe over on Greatist is what led to my mashed potatoes.  Soups are a great meal during the colder seasons and adding a slice of gluten free bread to your menu makes it heartier.  Read Chris’ article “Salad Bar Soup” for more thoughts on eating this tasty and healthy meal.

Meeting with Success

If you are considering cutting gluten and dairy out of your diet, or, if you are changing your own eating patterns, let me encourage you that it can be done. With planning and preparation, you can stick to whatever diet you are attempting – whether it be for weight loss or improving your health. The longer you eat healthier foods, while also cutting out that which is not, the less your body will crave the unhealthy.

Sweet Potato Fries and sweet potatoes in general are a great gluten and dairy free choice

When changing your manner of eating stick with it past your first craving.  Cravings will come; however, the longer you refuse to cave, the more their appeal decreases.  Make a promise and commit for a specified amount of time, whether it is eating healthy for one meal, day, week, or month.  After you make the promise, keep your promise.

The benefits of choosing healthier foods make every sacrifice worthwhile.  Yes, a slice of chocolate cake piled high with frosting may satisfy in the moment; however, its lasting effects of weight gain, acne, and upset stomach are not worth the momentary delight.  Choosing healthier foods and eating gluten and dairy free does not mean taste must be sacrificed.  Sometimes, all that is required, is trying something different and new.

Happy Healthy Eating!

Melanie Fellman is a nurse who writes in the often crazy, yet peaceful, Michigan countryside. Join her at Melanie Fellman Writes where you will find encouragement and tips for navigating through this exciting adventure called life. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram