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How to Survive Being Gluten AND Dairy Free

Learning that I was allergic to both gluten and dairy (among other things) was quite tragic. As somebody whose favorite foods included macaroni and cheese, pizza, and lemon bars, I was at a loss for how I could survive with a new diet. Gluten and dairy were staples in my diet, and they were in foods I would have never guessed they would be (dairy in bread, dried meats, frozen vegetables, and gluten in soy sauce, salad dressings, French fries, and alcohol were some of the most surprising to me).

I knew that the only way for me to get through this lifestyle change was to give myself a replacement for many of my favorite foods as well as to find new foods to be excited about. Here is how I did it!

1. Regular Pizza → Gluten- and Dairy-Free Pizza

Pizza was definitely a big worry for me. It was a very social food for me and my friends, and a common drunchie that I couldn’t quite let go of. I thought I would never experience the same joy as taking the first bite of a slice of pizza until I went to Woodstock’s and got their gluten-free pizza with vegan cheese, which — to my surprise — was just as good as the real thing!


Woodstock’s gluten-free crust and vegan cheese pizza (plus add toppings — my faves are pepperoni, spinach, and olives)

Blaze’s BYO gluten-free crust and vegan cheese pizza (plus add as many toppings as possible)

2. Cow’s Milk → Rice Milk

I know that everybody has been on the almond milk train for a while now, but I have to say that rice milk trumps almond milk on all counts. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I just have to throw it out there! Use it with cereal, in smoothies, to make hot cocoa, or just drink it straight up!


Rice Dream Original Enriched Rice Milk

3. Pasta → Brown Rice & Quinoa Pasta

There are a million pasta replacements for those who are gluten-free, but my favorites are Trader Joe’s brown rice and quinoa fusilli pasta and Tolerant Food’s red lentil pasta, which packs in the protein!


Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Fusilli (also comes as spaghetti)

Tolerant Food’s Organic Red Lentil Pasta

4. Ice Cream → Coconut Ice Cream and Sorbets

Ice cream can be a tricky one to replace, as cream isn’t the easiest food to mimic. But I’ve found that the best dairy-free ice creams are made with coconut. Other than that, sorbet is a great stand-in for ice cream, and you can find loads of options all over town. Ben & Jerry’s has amazing dairy-free ice creams, but they are usually not gluten-free, so look out for that!


Trader Joe’s Chocolate or Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream

Icekrimski Cafe’s sorbets (next to the Varsity movie theater in downtown Davis, on Second Street)

5. Milk Chocolate → Rice Milk Chocolate

I was completely floored by how good rice milk chocolate was, and I want everybody and anybody who doesn’t eat dairy to try it!!


Enjoy Life’s Ricemilk Chocolate Bars

6. Soy Sauce → Coconut Aminos

Literally tastes the same!


Coconut Secret’s Organic Raw Coconut Aminos

7. Everything → Potatoes

Potatoes definitely rule my world. I eat them almost every day in either a scramble, tacos, or really anything at all. Growing up, I thought potatoes were really bad for you, so I limited my consumption of them. Now, as a gluten-free gal, I see the value in potatoes — they are a great base for dishes, taste amazing, can be cooked in various ways, and are a good source of carbs.


Trader Joe’s Organic Potato Medley

There’s so much more that goes into a significant lifestyle change like going gluten- and dairy-free, but these replacements are a good start. Finding the foods that make you just as happy as the ones you loved before will get you through it (mine are potato scrambles, tacos, and huge salads).

Believe me, once you are a month or so in, you will never again think of cheese or bread or whatever your weakness is. So, get to the grocery store and start discovering the world that is gluten- and dairy-free!

Hadley is a fourth year at UC Davis, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Professional Writing and Human Rights. She is a mental health advocate and the Vice President of Event Planning for the Pi Beta Phi sorority. She loves to play soccer, paint, and watch The Office. She is planning on pursuing a career in writing and editing, and hopes to work for a magazine after graduating.
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