I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the same conversation over and over again.
Me: “Does this have gluten or wheat in it?”
Other person: “No, I don’t think so. Do you really follow that whole gluten-free thing that’s going around?”
Me: “Yes, and it’s not going around. I have food sensitivities and I get sick and feel terrible if I eat gluten or dairy.”
Other person: “Oh wow, so what CAN you actually eat?”
Me: “Quite a few things actually. In fact you’d probably be surprised at what I can still enjoy!”
The hardest part about eating a gluten-free and dairy-free diet is learning to cope with what you can’t eat while focusing in on what you can. It took me a very long time to not feel so easily frustrated and down when considering all the foods I’m missing out on – cinnamon rolls, “real” pancakes, garlic bread and pasta – the list goes on and on.
As I’ve grown accustomed to this new way of life (because that’s what major diet changes are – a change in lifestyle), I’ve come to realize that instead of thinking about all the things I can’t eat any longer, I now pay more attention to what I can eat. This way of approaching a gluten-free dairy-free lifestyle makes my life so much easier. It’s more of a glass half-full mentality instead of a glass half-empty one.
One of the easiest ways I’ve found to keep a positive attitude about my food limitations is by keeping a well-stocked pantry of foods that I can eat with my food sensitivities – that don’t make me feel deprived all the time.
Can you imagine living in a house where 90% of the food isn’t for you? It’s really no fun having a kitchen full of food you can’t eat – and yes, I’ve been there.
My secret weapon?
These days, we order a LOT of our non-perishable pantry foods from Amazon Prime to save time hunting for things that at my local grocery store. In my previous life (ahem, before moving from a major metro area and having a kid), I’d be able to go to a health food store and scour the aisles looking for new foods and products to try. But time is more suited to in-and-out and stick to the list visits.
Plus we’ve managed to get the most out of our Amazon Prime membershipand we get a number of things regularly through their “Subscribe & Save” service. It’s awesome – we add a lot of our regular items to our cart and put in how often we want to receive them. Then every 6 or 8 weeks – or whatever interval we need it – it just shows up in a big box on our front porch.
It seems like magic, but it’s really just another way to keep this gluten-free dairy-free diet and lifestyle consistent for me.
>> If you want to give Amazon Prime a try, click here to get a completely free and complimentary 30-day trial. I truly do swear by this service. Two-day shipping has been a life-changer – but Subscribe & Save is like a god-send.
That said, I do often have gluten and dairy-laden foods sitting around my house since my husband and son still eat both regularly, but I do my best to avoid these foods since I know they don’t make me feel my absolute best. I’d rather pass by the cheese crackers than eat them and be left with a week-long headache. Those crackers just aren’t that important to me.
If you’re looking to stock your gluten-free dairy-free pantry, here’s a list of some of the foods that I keep on hand or on rotation in my kitchen. These foods allow me to whip up tons of meals that are full of nutritional value and stay away from a lot of the processed “gluten-free” or “dairy-free” packaged foods that are less nutrient-dense and often leave you feeling hungry too quickly after eating.
UPDATE: This post and list has been updated as of January 2017 to reflect my more current lifestyle as a mom who doesn’t have a million hours to cook from scratch anymore. Eat as best you can as close to nature as you can – but of course, be real. No one cooks from scratch every meal of every day. At least I don’t.
- brown rice – we also LOVE these packaged rice mixes for quick dinners
- kasha (buckwheat)
- quick-cooking, steel cut or rolled oats (choose “gluten-free” oats to avoid cross-contamination)
- popcorn– we also use this for movie night
- wild rice
- arborio rice
- black beans
- chickpeas(aka garbanzo beans)
- cannellini (aka white beans)
- great northern
- split peas
Note: dry beans are the most nutrient dense and the most bang for your buck, but canned beans are much more convenient. When using canned beans, be sure to drain and rinse the extra liquid from the beans before using in your recipes. I like this brand of canned beans.
Nuts & seeds
- pine nuts
- pumpkin seeds
- sunflower seeds
- chia seeds
- flax seed meal (also can be stored in the fridge)
- sesame seeds
- peanut butter
- almond butter
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- gluten-free chicken stock
- gluten-free vegetable broth or stock
- diced tomatoes
- tomato paste
- tomato sauce
- marinara/spaghetti sauce
- tamari gluten-free soy sauce
- barbecue sauce
- chunk-light tuna
- canned chicken
- canned beans (multiple varieties as indicated above)
- Gluten-free brown rice or quinoa pasta. I also like this brand.
- Gluten-free rice noodles for Asian style cooking
- Gluten-free sandwich bread
- Gluten-free crackers
- Gluten-free corn tortilla chips
- Fruit & nut bars (Kind bars and Lara Bars are popular in my house)
- Your favorite gluten-free flour blend
- Gluten-free pancake mix (this brand is my favorite)
- Gluten-free dairy-free chocolate chips
- Gluten-free yeast
- Almond flour
- Brown rice flour
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Gluten-free vanilla extract
- Gluten-free almond extract
- Arrowroot powder
- Cacao powder
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
- Coconut palm sugar
- Brown rice syrup
- Maple syrup
- Dried fruits (dates, cranberries, cherries, apricots, etc. Whatever you like best)
I really like this brand for all the spices I can get my hands on. I love the glass bottles and how they look so neatly lined up on my pantry shelf.
- Sea Salt
- Kosher salt
- Peppercorns for fresh grinding
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Italian Seasoning
- Bay leaves
- Cayenne pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Curry powder
- Chinese five spice powder
- Chili powder
- Ground ginger
- Smoked paprika
- Mustard powder
Oils & Vinegars
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Sesame oil
- Toasted sesame oil
- Sunflower oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Red wine vinegar
- White wine vinegar
Do you eat a gluten-free dairy-free diet? What pantry staples are in your kitchen that didn’t make it to my list?
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