Anyone will tell you, making major lifestyle changes can be overwhelming at best.  So when you are trying to implement sustainable dietary change for your whole family, who all have years of ingrained habits, it is no easy feat.  How do I know?  Because I would consider myself an accidental expert in change implementation on many fronts.  More specifically, we have evolved our diet significantly with many drastic changes over the past six years.

You can read our back story here!

 If you are considering a gluten and dairy free lifestyle, you needn’t be overwhelmed.  You do need to be organised and you do need support!  But fear not, I am here to help set you up for success!

 Cassie cooking

Check out my 5 essential ‘going gluten and dairy free’ steps below…

  1. Have a strong reason why
  2. Plan, prepare, research and record
  3. Set up your kitchen
  4. Ask for support
  5. Bulk cooking and building your stock

Have a strong reason why

If you have decided to make dietary or lifestyle changes, they simply don’t happen overnight.  You need to have discipline, focus and determination.  If it is an off the cuff decision or a decision that is taken lightly, I am afraid you are setting yourself up to fall.

If this is for a medical reason, my strong recommendation is that you be guided by a Naturopath, Integrative Medical Practitioner, Nutritionist or other specialised health professional.  We are guided by a naturopath who is passionate about realistic and sustainable good health & nutrition. She also undertakes diagnostic testing to ensure that my son’s health is being managed thoroughly and uses that with his other results and current health status to negotiate with us on appropriate treatment plans.  This diet is just one aspect of the overall health plan.

Plan, prepare, research & record

Do as much research and planning as you can beforehand. Source blogs, books, recommendations and recipes.  Rather than just tagging pages or saving links, create your own little folder or book where you store these recipes.  That way you aren’t spending hours searching for that “cupcake” recipe that everyone liked!

Test and try out a variety of recipes/meals and look for seemingly simple recipes you can create with the tools you already have in your kitchen so you aren’t creating more stress for yourself.  There are some really great resources online that I love.  Look out for some of my favourite recipe’s below!

Be prepared to source new ingredients to use in your kitchen.  For some of the common ingredients see below.  Furthermore, be prepared to consume significantly more beautiful whole fresh foods, including green leafy vegetables, colourful and juicy fruits and good quality sources of vegetable and animal protein.  You needn’t miss out on quality nutrition because you are no longer consuming products that contain dairy or gluten.

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Set up your kitchen

There is no doubt you will need to make changes in the kitchen.  I recommend having a good food processor / blender.  I started out with a normal variety food processor and it worked fabulously for at least 6 months until I got a Thermomix.  Even now, with some things, I prefer to use it as I can see what is happening (one of the con’s to having a Thermomix).  I understand Vitamixes are also fabulous and at a third of the price of a Thermomix may be a good compromise.  Don’t forget a great set of digital scales, measuring cups and spoons (I like two sets), a few good mixing bowls, a good quality loaf tin & muffin tin, baking paper (saves so much time on washing up) and perhaps you would like a recipe stand/tablet holder too!  Finally, I love my little dishwashing wand – it is the best thing ever!  Saves time and piles of dishes to be done after your cooking session as you can wash as you go! Bonus!!!

Of course you will also be seeing a range of “new ingredients” that you really haven’t ever heard of before.  Some of the common and most used ingredients in our household include:

  • Almonds and Almond Meal if you don’t have a powerful enough blender to make it yourself
  • Medjool Dates
  • Chia Seeds
  • Coconut Flour
  • Tapioca / Arrowroot
  • Coconut milk / cream
  • Buckwheat groats and flour
  • Vanilla extract and/or paste (you can make this at home!!)
  • Coconut Oil
  • Cacao
  • Other nuts & seeds such as cashew’s, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) etc.
    A big range of herbs & spices such as basil, turmeric, bay leaves, quality salt, thyme, etc

My best advice is when you are planning and looking to try recipes, choose recipes that have similar ingredients so that you don’t have to buy lots of everything.  Another way is to go to a wholesaler where they sell in bulk, so you can get as much or as little as you like.

scene in portugal / island of madeira

Ask for support

Support is so important.  Make sure you share what you are doing with family and friends and some of your reasons.  You will find most people supportive but obviously won’t necessarily be prepared to change their diet, which is perfectly okay.  However, asking them not to offer foods with gluten and dairy directly to you or yours is a great way of showing support.  I know this is an area that was terribly difficult for me to broach.  As time goes on it does get easier.

For those in your family, getting them directly involved in the planning, taste testing and even cooking will set you up for much better engagement in the whole process.

Join a few Facebook groups or online forums where people share information freely and can provide some awesome tips and tricks of the trade.  It is a wonderful way to not feel so isolated or alone while making these changes.  Feel free to ask me on my Facebook page on ones I love.

Bulk cooking and building your stock

Bulk cooking is a wonderful timesaving way of setting yourself up for success.  Some recipes do take time to make and in the early days everything will take a little longer.  When you find something that works say like a “bread” or a “slice” then make sure you bulk cook it and freeze it in portions for the days ahead when you simply have no time.  For awesome detailed information on bulk cooking and preparation check out a blog did not long ago here!

Have you made big changes like this in your household?  Come on over to Facebook page and share your thoughts!

Until next time 

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