Transitioning to Gluten- and Dairy-free

I have seen numerous questions on various Facebook groups about transitioning to a gluten- and dairy-free diet.  I can’t comment on whether or not such a diet would be beneficial to other families, but I do know that it made a significant difference to ours.  We transitioned gradually- I replaced one gluten or dairy food with a suitable alternative, until the whole diet was gluten and dairy free.

Gluten free is much easier these days than it used to be, due to the number of packet mixes and ready-made products available in the supermarket.  Once people have a suitable bread recipe (I use this one), there are sufficient gf flour mixes, pasta etc to continue to use favourite recipes with some simple substitutions.  The convenience is appealing, though the gluten-free packaged foods often contain just as many additives as gluten products. As there are certain gf flours that I don’t tolerate well, we make our own flour mix based on these measurements.

We found dairy free to be a little more challenging.  There are many different dairy-free “milks”, few of them taste much like cow’s milk, and most are very thin- more like skim milk than full-cream.  The flavours are all very different, and we found that it was simply a case of trying several styles and brands of dairy-free milks until we found something we could work with.  Nuttelex is a good dairy-free substitute for butter/margarine, though we have used mild-flavoured oils, like rice bran oil in the past. It can cause a different texture/consistency, but we still found it acceptable. There are a number of coconut yoghurts becoming available in mainstream supermarkets.  Health food shops like Flannerys sometimes have dairy-free alternatives for cheese, sour cream etc- but most of these are either based on soy or nuts, and availability can vary.  We have decided not to use any of these products.

We can make white sauces using non-dairy milk, Nuttelex, cornflour (or another gf flour if corn isn’t tolerated)- and extra salt can make it taste a bit cheesy.  We sometimes add crushed plain crisps as a topping to pasta dishes or casseroles instead of cheese.

Most people seem to be able to convert their main meals to gfdf with few problems, but are often stuck about what to do for breakfast, baking and desserts, therefore I will focus on these areas with the recipes I upload here.

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