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going gluten-free

It’s been nearly two weeks since Jared was diagnosed with celiac disease and I thought I would share a little bit about what we’ve learned.

First of all, the main offenders containing gluten are: wheat, barley and rye but they can hide in foods under other names like: starch, dextrose and glucose, maltodextrin, and malt extract -just to name a few.

The first couple days after the diagnosis we did a huge purge. All the foods with gluten that I figured Raeca and I would eat on our own we banished to the basement, anything I didn’t think we would eat we gave away; breaded chicken, beef stock, some cereals, crackers, etc, etc. We read every label -it is amazing what gluten is all in -did you know that some shampoos, lotions, make up and lip chap have gluten in them? Even some hand sanitizers! And then the mass of products that may contain wheat because they are processed in the same facility is another huge issue.

Once we got rid of our gluten I cleaned out every cupboard and drawer, washing all our dishes and wiping away every crumb I could find, reducing the chance of cross-contamination. We also got rid of many dishes and utensils -plastics that are cut are good places for gluten to get stuck in, so we tossed spatulas, strainers, cutting boards, loaf pans, sold our breadmaker (that one makes me sad), our toaster, the toaster oven . . .

We started looking for the gluten-free isle in grocery stores and Jared began checking his favorite chips for a gluten-free label (who am I kidding, chips and Pepsi were the first things he looked up after the doctor called to tell him -thankfully, those foods are safe πŸ™‚ ). We’ve purchased corn spaghetti, rice spaghetti, white rice flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum and a whole host of other gluten-free flours and items. Right now I’m loving the Bulk Barn for gluten-free flours and they have a pretty good supply of gluten-free pre-packaged items, though you pay an arm and a leg for them. Yesterday I even found some gluten-free mac and cheese at Safeway, hopefully Raeca will like it.

A couple days into gluten-free eating Jared was realizing that dairy was also affecting him (I guess the thing needed to absorb lactose can be damaged when someone with celiac disease eats gluten -in very un-medical terms) so we are now also trying to go as dairy-free as possible, at least for the first while. We are currently using soy milk (definitely not my favorite) and just got some Almond Breeze chocolate milk -so far a pretty good replacement, we are definitely going to try almond milk yet as well. Does anyone else have any recommendations for lactose-free milk?

I actually think Jared’s diagnosis came at a pretty good time (minus the fact that I had just gone grocery shopping and stocked up on pasta -doh!) we were both feeling stuck in a rut meal wise and completely sick of all our regular meals. One thing that you have to understand about us is: we are possibly two of the pickiest eaters I’ve ever met (with the exception of Jared’s grandpa who won’t eat pizza and eats his chocolate pie without whipped cream). Our taste buds have expanded over the last few years but it’s still pretty pathetic -like now I order spinach or lettuce on my sandwich at Subway (but still no sauce, I’m not a sauce-y person) and awhile ago Jared admitting to liking a dessert that had cream cheese in it (gasp!). So, while we don’t like a whole lot of of foods, I think we will be pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones a bit, and that’s a good thing!

I bought this Company’s Coming GF cookbook for some meal ideas and I was bit disappointed because contrary to what the cover implies, there is not a single pizza recipe in the book. Though, I have to give it some props because I made the chicken tenders from their recipe and we all agreed that they were even better than regular chicken tenders (well, except Raeca, but she hates any food that is “crunchy”, I can’t even make her actual toast for fear of it being too crunchy).

I’ve also gotten a ton of GF cookbooks out from the library. Some of which I have just glanced at and some I’ve been pouring over the pages of. I might do a bit of a review of the ones I like in a while but right now as a bit of an overview:

I’m disappointed that I’m not really a big fan of Deliciously G-Free, I’ve been a big fan of Elisabeth Hasslebeck since she was on the third season of Survivor and really wanted to like her book but my first instinct is telling me that there aren’t enough pictures in it for me to actually make most of the recipes.

The book that I have really been loving is Cooking for Isaiah, possibly for a couple of reasons, the author, Silvanna Nordone used to own an Italian bakery so she’s got to know what she’s doing, and also because her son has gluten and dairy intolerances so in order for the food to get in the book he has to like it, and I’ve already been over the fact that I have the eating tendencies of a kid so it kind of makes sense to me (and bonus: Silvana also has a blog where she shares a lot of her recipes as well).

Sorry this got so long winded! Gluten-free eating has really taken over our lives right now (it’s even in my dreams) and I thought I’d share all this information in case it is useful for anyone else. I am contemplating sharing some successful recipes we make if I can manage to figure out how to take good food photos (something I currently have zero knowledge of).

Anyone have any GF resources/cookbooks/recipes they would like to share?

with love,


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  1. Wow, isn’t it crazy where life takes us?? I’ve started praying for you and the GF change ever since I heard about Jared, I can only imagine how daunting it is. I hope he notices a difference soon. There are a surprising amount of gluten free products at Costco – I’ve been noticing more and more. We’re going without dairy for a while and buy Almond Breeze (original) and coconut milk in tetra packs at Costco too. Cheese is the hardest dairy product for us to go without! Thanks for sharing your struggles and perseverance. There are a bunch of facebook groups that have yummy looking pictures!

    1. Yeah, cheese would be so hard to live without! We are still having dairy in the house because Rae and I are still having it but I’ve now been substituting almond milk in our baking. So far I haven’t noticed a difference in the flavor for baking (as opposed to soy milk which was overwhelming). We’ll definitely be buying the pack of Almond Breeze next time we are at Costco!

  2. Wow, what a massive change for you guys! I hope you get some inspiration from all those cookbooks and stumble onto some new favourite recipes. That’s hilarious, that Jared checked out chips and Pepsi first πŸ™‚

  3. I’m sorry to hear that Jared was diagnosed with that.
    I will try to make a gluten/dairy free dessert for him at Christmas time when we are all together at grandma and grandpas!

  4. What a huge adjustment! I’m sure you’ll do fine cause you always pursue things with your whole being. πŸ™‚ I do have a waffle recipe and a cinnamon muffin recipe if you’re interested.

  5. Hi Chantel, – When it comes to gluten free and dairy free recipes, I find the best thing to do is look for recipes in ethic diets. Indian, Thai, and Mexican food are easy to find recipes where you can simply omit the dairy. Good alternatives to cow milk products (which is where the allergy is) is almond milk, goat milk, and coconut milk. Goat cheese is especially tasty if you like the flavour. If you want some recipes, let me know. A dairy and gluten free diet is standard at our house πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Brandi! We’ve been replacing dairy with Almond milk in the last few days and that’s been working really well. If you have some favorite recipes to share that would be awesome!

  6. I have a friend who stopped eating both gluten + dairy a few years ago when she realized she had sensitivities to both. after cutting it all out for two years, she was able to eat dairy again with absolutely no consequence, which was so freeing for her — I’m sure you’ve realized by now that it’s one thing to have one food sensitivity, but to try and cut out BOTH gluten and dairy leaves way fewer options!

    I would caution you + Raeca to not cut out gluten entirely from your diets. removing gluten from your diet when you’re not sensitive to it can actually cause a sensitivity! I know it stinks for Jared to watch you eating foods he’d like to eat but can’t, but I’m sure he would want you both to remain sensitivity-free! πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, I’ve heard that the dairy thing will probably be temporary, at least until his intestines are healed up. Raeca and I don’t plan on going either gluten or dairy free ourselves but we will have a gluten-free house, the chances of cross-contamination are just too great. I do plan on having snacks for Rae in the vehicle with gluten in them and totally allowing her to eat gluten items whenever we are out.

  7. The first thing I thought of for Jared was: good thing he can still have chips and pepsi! He and Mike are quite similar that way haha! I don’t know if you have tried this but Dairyland does make lactose free milk too. And there is lactose free sourcream at superstore that we often buy. I’ve had a glimpse of the gf thing becuz I have several relatives that are gf as well so my mom buys several different gf things to bake with. It sure is interesting tho all the stuff that is already out there! Thank goodness for that! Hopefully he can go back with dairy! Mike is actually getting better! He has started to eat small amounts without the lastose pills! It just seems to take the body awhile to heal itself when its been hurt so long by food it cant handle!

  8. Wow! I didn’t realize gluten is found in so many items!
    We love almond milk as my boys are sensitive (not intolerant) to dairy.
    A big change indeed but so thankful he found an answer!!!
    I love that blog by Silvana – I’m defiantly using some of her recipes πŸ™‚

    Happy cooking and happy bellies πŸ˜‰

    1. We got almond milk a few days ago and so far it has been working MUCH better than soy milk. Yes, Silvana’s blog is awesome, so many yummy recipes!

  9. Hey Chantel,
    My son is also gluten and dairy free so I’ve been cooking that way for over a year now.

    Just two things, this flour mix recipe will save your life you can use it in any sort of baking (besides yeast baking) and just substitute it in place or normal flour.

    Also, be careful of soy and oats. Both are easily cross contaminated. We avoid all soy products altogether and are sure to buy gluten free oats.

    It’s difficult at the beginning but over time you’ll adjust, as will your taste buds! Give yourself grace in those recipes that just don’t work and always have rice and potatoes on hand when you’re in a side dish pinch πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for the info Rhonda! I’ll definitely try that all purpose flour out! I’ve tried a couple different blends but haven’t substituted them into normal recipes yet.

  10. My friend who has been gluten free for six years recommends these blogs:

    Gluten free easily
    spunky coconut
    gluten free gobsmacked
    gluten free goddess

    1. Thanks Michelle, I haven’t heard of some of those before, will definitely check them out!

  11. After a time of being dairy free you may want to try introducing yogurt (sweetened with maple syrup instead of sugar) and yogurt cheese. Trader Joes has a pepper jack one that’s amazing! I use it to make pizza even!

    1. Thanks for the tips Sarah! Unfortunately my husband doesn’t really eat yogurt and we don’t have Trader Joe’s in Canada. πŸ™ I’m sure he will find something to ease back into.

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