The Well-Stocked Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free Kitchen

Now that you have made the decision to go gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or sugar-free, you will need to do some rearranging in your kitchen.  Once you have gotten rid of all the wheat flour, cookies, crackers, cereals, dairy products and refined sugars, here are the essentials that you want to replace them with.

Cooking and Baking Staples

Brown Rice (always buy brown rice instead of white rice, it is a whole grain and much more nutritious)

Brown Rice Pasta (a life-saver! similar in taste and consistency to wheat pasta)

Brown Rice Flour (the most useful and common wheat flour substitute)

Buckwheat Flour (even though the word “wheat” is in the title, it is completely gluten-free)

Millet Flour (the ancient grain millet has a mild flavor for baking or use to coat fish fillets when pan-frying)

Millet (very nutritious whole grain, makes a good side dish, good alternative to rice)

Amaranth Flour (has a nutty flavor, excellent in pancakes or pie crusts)

Quinoa (gluten-free grain high protein, contains all 8 amino acids, very tasty, great substitute for cous-cous)

Quinoa Flakes (instant hot breakfast cereal by Ancient Grains)

Polenta (coarsely ground cornmeal, excellent as a quick hot breakfast cereal or served with beans for a vegetarian dinner entree)

Cornstarch (although it is a highly refined corn derivative, sometimes it is necessary for baked goods such as pancakes or for those times when you need a flour substitute for thickening gravy, etc.)

Mary’s Gone Crackers brand gluten-free crackers (found in any health food store)

San-J Sesame Brown Rice Crackers (made with wheat-free Tamari)

Low Sodium Tamari Sauce (a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce, which contains wheat)

Agave Nectar (all-natural low-glycemic sweetener that tastes like honey, can be used in baking and as a substitute for sugar, honey, or maple syrup)

Olive Oil (high in Omega-3 fatty acids, use to saute meats and vegetables)

Canola Oil (mild flavored oil, use for frying pancakes, crepes, etc.)

Beans/Legumes: pinto beans, white beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, split peas, lentils, chickpeas/garbanzo beans, tofu (great source of carbohydrates, protein and fiber; great for vegetarian meals)

Vegetable Cooking Stock/Chicken Stock (great for adding flavor when cooking gluten-free grains and for use in soups)

Soy Milk or Rice Milk

Almond Cheese or Soy Cheese (sometimes contains small amounts of casein, a milk protein, so it depends on whether your dairy allergy is to the casein and how severe it is)

Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, macademias (great source of carbohydrates and protein, makes a perfect snack when you are out or on the run)

Dates (low-glycemic sweet fruit, stores well, great for use in granola or trail mix or for making date-nut pie crusts)

Clif Bar Nectar snack bars (these are raw, organic snack bars made from dates, nuts, and chocolate or other flavors – very healthy and easy to take with you)

Get to know your local health food store.  You are much more likely to be able to find these items there than at the standard supermarket.  It may be overwhelming the first time you go into one of those stores, but the more times you go the easier it will be to find what you need.  One more word of advice – avoid all the packages of gluten-free baking mixes for things like cookies, brownies, cakes, muffins, etc.   Although they are packaged for convenience, they are often full of food additives and highly refined flours and are simply expensive, tasteless versions of the stuff you shouldn’t be eating anyway.  Save it for the time when you are experiencing a severe craving for the old ways – that will usually take care of it.

Cookware and Other Essentials

Crockpot (the number one necessity for making easy meals and soups in large portions, ideal for leftovers)

Food Processor (huge timesaver, makes chopping vegetables and nuts much easier)

Stainless Steel Cookware: 1 medium and 1 large frying pan, small medium and large saucepans (Throw out your non-stick cookware!  It contains toxic chemicals called PFOAs that flake off into your food and can also be released into the air if your pan becomes too hot)

A Good Cast Iron Skillet (Once well seasoned, it becomes almost non-stick.  Great alternative to non-stick Teflon cookware – see above)

Thermos (Go to your local sporting goods store and invest in a good thermos.  It is absolutely essential for taking hot soups and leftovers from crock-pot dishes for an easy, healthy lunch when you are at work or on the go.)

Time

Although you can’t always expect to make time to prepare a 3-course dinner, at least several nights a week you will need to set aside anywhere from 15-45 minutes to make a healthy dinner.  Breakfast and lunch will take anywhere between 5-15 minutes.  If you don’t have 15 minutes in your schedule to make meals, you are probably a very stressed out person!  Now is a good time to take stock of your lifestyle and priorities and find a way to create a schedule where you have time to take care of your basic necessities.  After all, cooking is one of the most important ways to care for yourself, and it is our society’s fast-food convenience-style way of eating that led many of us to develop food allergies in the first place.  However, if time is really an issue, try setting aside some time on the weekends to make meals that you can freeze or refrigerate for during the week.

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