The Ultimate Guide On How to Go Dairy and Gluten Free (2024)

Giving up on dairy and gluten has become common among the health-conscious population. People suffering from lactose intolerance or dairy intolerance must stay away from dairy products. On the other hand, gluten can be harmful if you have Celiac disease or symptoms of gluten intolerance.

Many fitness enthusiasts actively avoid milk products and ingredients with wheat, rye, or barley, even if they don't have allergies. The common reasons are better digestion and faster weight loss. It may also lead to a significant improvement in their energy and mood.

You need to be careful about the hidden dairy and gluten content in various products that you may consume on a daily basis. Keep reading to know how to go dairy and gluten free.

Key Takeaways

  • Many people have health conditions that need them to quit dairy and gluten.
  • Gluten and dairy are hidden in various processed and packaged foods.
  • It is essential to plan well in advance for a dairy-free and gluten-free diet.

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Foods to Avoid on a Dairy and Gluten-Free Diet

The Ultimate Guide On How to Go Dairy and Gluten Free (1)

If you want to switch to a dairy-free and gluten-free diet, you must avoid certain foods and beverages. Let's take a look at them.

Dairy-Free Diet - Foods to Avoid

Irrespective of your reason to go dairy-free, here’s a list of dairy products and foods with dairy elements:

  • Milk (whole/low fat/skim)
  • Cheese (e.g., Swiss cheese, mozzarella, cheddar, paneer, etc.)
  • Cream
  • Butter and Ghee (clarified butter)
  • Curd and Yogurt
  • Condensed Milk
  • Milk Powder/Creamer
  • Buttermilk

Related: What Is Dairy-free Cheese Made of? The Key Ingredients

These products may be more difficult to avoid as they are used in various popular foods, recipes, and dairy alternatives. Here are a few examples of foods that may contain dairy:

Food TypeExample
BeveragesE.g. - Milkshake, Eggnog, Hot Cocoa, Caffe Latte, Whey Protein Shake, etc.
BreadE.g. - Pancake, Waffle, Biscuit, Donuts, French Toast, etc.
Popular DessertsE.g. - Cake, Custard, Pudding, Cookies, Ice Cream, Pie, Cheese Cake, etc.
Exotic Milk Desserts (especially from regions with high dairy production, like India)E.g. - Flan, Kulfi, Baklava, Blancmanger, Panna Cotta, Purin, etc.
Egg DishesE.g. - Scrambled Eggs, Creamed Eggs, Frittata, etc.
Popular Meals and SnacksE.g. - White Sauce Pasta, Mac and Cheese, Pizza, Vegetable Au Gratin, etc.
Condiments (especially Keto-friendly salad dressings)E.g. - Nacho Sauce, Ranch Dressing, Caesar Salad Dressing, etc.
SoupsE.g. - Chowder, French Onion Soup, Bisque, etc.

Also, avoid packaged food with the following ingredients:

  1. Casein
  2. Caseinates
  3. Hydrolysates
  4. Lactalbumin
  5. Lactalbumin Phosphate
  6. Lactoglobulin
  7. Lactoferrin
  8. Lactose
  9. Lactulose
  10. Milk Derivatives/Solids
  11. Nisin
  12. Nougat
  13. Recaldent
  14. Whey

Gluten-Free Diet - Foods to Avoid

Gluten is present in wheat, barley, and rye. So you must avoid every food that contains these three grains or their derivatives in any form. Here’s a list of gluten-based foods

Grain IngredientsE.g. - Flour, Bulgur, Farina, Spelt, Durum, Farro, Kamut, Einkorn, Triplicate, etc.
Food ItemsE.g. - Spaghetti, Macaroni, Lasagne, Chow Mein, Ramen, etc.
BreadE.g. - Regular Bread, Pancakes, Waffles, Biscuit, Donuts, Pizza Base, etc.
DessertsE.g. - Cake, Cookies, Pie, Pastry, Brownies, etc.
Sauce/BaseE.g. - Pizza/Pasta Sauce, Thickened Gravy, Stock, Au Jus, etc.
Cooking IngredientsE.g. - Bread Crumbs, Coatings, Food, Colors, Thickeners, Flavoring Agents, etc.
AlcoholE.g. - Beer, Ale, Lager, Malt Beverages, Dessert Wine, etc.
Packaged/Ready-to-Eat FoodsE.g. - Noodles, Soup, etc.
CondimentsE.g. - Nacho Cheese, Salad Dressings, Ketchup, etc.
Processed MeatsE.g. - Hot Dog, Smoked Sausage, Canned Fish, etc.

Related: What Cereals Are Gluten Free? From Oatmeal to Cornflakes

It is to be noted that gluten is a hidden ingredient in many foods. These include some highly unlikely items, like sausages, spice mixes, etc. You should either purchase foods that carry the “Gluten Free” label or avoid items with the following gluten-derived ingredients:

  • Dextrin
  • Hordeum Vulgare
  • Hydrolyzed Protein (e.g., HPP, HVP)
  • Maltodextrin
  • Modified Starch
  • Secale Cereale
  • Triticale
  • Triticum Spelta
  • Triticum Vulgare

Dairy and Gluten Alternative Foods for a Healthy Diet

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If you quit gluten and dairy products, make sure to include certain fruits, vegetables, proteins, and complex carbohydrates to replace the nutrients. They are as follows:

List of Dairy Replacements:

Dairy products are rich in protein, calcium, vitamin B, and vitamin D. Plus, they are used in various recipes. Here are some replacements you should incorporate:

  • Soy Products
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Legumes and Whole Grains
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Meat and Poultry
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Plant-Based Fats
  • Fortified Foods
  • Dairy Replacements Made from Soy, Nuts, Seeds, Legumes, Whole Grains, and
  • Other Plant-Sources:
  1. Nut/Soy Milk
  2. Vegan Cheese
  3. Vegan Cream/Yogurt
  4. Nut Butter
  5. Tofu… etc.

List of Gluten Replacements:

Gluten grains contain complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vitamin B, magnesium, and iron. They are used in various recipes as a volumizer, leavening agent, binding agent, coating, texturizer, etc., and are also present in additives. You can replace gluten with the following:

  1. Flour or starch from non-gluten sources (as flour, thickener, binder, etc.), like:
  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat
  • Cassava
  • Chickpea/gram
  • Corn
  • Guar gum
  • Lentils
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Peas
  • Potato/sweet potato
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Soy
  • Tapioca flour
  • Water chestnut
  • Xanthan gum
  1. Vegetables for pizza base, bread, cake, etc., like:
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Carrot
  • Squash
  • Sweet potato
  1. Pasta, noodles, wraps, pastries, baked goods, sweet treats made of naturally gluten-free ingredients, as above
  2. Shirataki noodles
  3. Distilled alcohol (e.g., rum, vodka, whiskey, etc.)
  4. Gluten-removed beer

Best Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Brands

Many packaged foods have dairy in them - and it might not be easy for you to detect them. In addition, almost any packaged food you pick up contains gluten. So you have to be particularly careful about picking the right products for your new diet plan.

Any food, beverage, or ingredient with the “gluten-free” label, i.e., containing less than 20 ppm gluten is okay to be consumed. Any plant-derived food is naturally free from dairy. To ensure that you’re on a strictly dairy-free and gluten-free diet, here’s a list of brands that you can shop for:

  1. Aidells - Sausages (except products with cheese)
  2. Bob’s Red Mill - Flour, nutritional yeast, baking soda, rolled oats, farina, etc.
  3. Brooksmade Gourmet Foods - Ketchup, sauce, marinade, etc.
  4. Canyon Bakehouse - Bread
  5. Carlsberg CELIA Dark - De-glutenized beer
  6. Earthbound Farm - Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables
  7. Enjoy Life Foods - Snacks, sweet treats, breakfast cereals, etc.
  8. Fit Butters - Nut Butter
  9. Italian Food Online - Pasta
  10. Livwell - Pasta Sauce
  11. Katz Gluten Free - Pot pies, muffins, pastries (in the vegan category)
  12. Kite Hill - Cream, yogurt, cheese, etc. (pastas are not gluten-free)
  13. King Arthur Baking Company - Flour
  14. Kraft Heinz - Candies, cereals, sauces, etc. (trusted brand with allergen details)
  15. Nature Path: Cereals, granola, etc. (check label for dairy content disclaimer)
  16. So Delicious Dairy Free - Milk, cheese, yogurt (check label for frozen desserts)
  17. Bard’s Beer - Sorghum beer
  18. Namaste Foods - Mixes for cookies, cakes, bread, brownie, waffle, etc.
  19. Vega - Protein shakes, electrolytes, energizers, etc.
  20. Vegan Life Nutrition - Micronutrient supplements

Here are a few other gluten-free brands for you.

Tips to Start and Maintain A Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Diet

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If you are used to cooking with and eating gluten and dairy, it might seem like a challenge. Getting started is always the hardest part when it comes to any dietary or lifestyle change. But a little bit of planning and determination can get you through easily.

Here are some strategies that you can follow to ensure that you don’t fall off the gluten-free and dairy-free wagon:

Educate Yourself

Eliminating gluten and dairy products from your diet can be overwhelming at first. Start by learning more about them. That way, you’ll know how to avoid the obvious and the hidden sources of gluten and dairy. You can refer to our list above to learn more.

Clean Out Your Pantry and Refrigerator

Once you have an idea of what’s considered gluten-free and dairy-free, start cleaning your pantry and fridge. Be ruthless and remove everything that doesn’t fit the criteria - or seems iffy. Read the labels and resist the temptation to eat your favorite snack.

Shift to Whole Foods

Packaged and processed foods likely have more hidden gluten and dairy than you can initially detect. Mother Nature provides plenty of whole food options - fresh nuts, vegetables, non-gluten grains, legumes, meat, eggs, etc. Include these in your diet.

Research Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Brands

If you can't give up packaged or processed food, do thorough research to find the best gluten-free and dairy-free brands. It's best to go for brands that are certified. Their products and facilities are tested to prove that they're safe. Check out the brands above.

Make a Shopping List

Shopping right is an elementary factor for starting and continuing your life without gluten and dairy. Be prepared with a list of products you want, be it whole foods or items from certified brands. Roaming from aisle to aisle and searching for products won’t help.

Plan and Prep Meals

Shopping for the right products goes hand in hand with making a gluten- and dairy-free meal plan. Think about what you want to eat for the rest of the week. Follow this plan to shop for groceries and prep meals accordingly. Here’s a video to help you with meal prep.

Explain Your Food Preferences While Eating Out

When eating at a restaurant, ask the server to help you find options on the menu that have no gluten or dairy. That includes everything from butter to breadcrumb topping. The same goes for when socializing with friends and family and accepting dinner invitations.

Carry Some Food While Traveling

During trips, hikes, long drives, etc., it's a good idea to carry your own food. Having a stock of nuts, granola, chips, etc., can help you keep food cravings at bay. Research gluten-free and dairy-free eateries in your destination well in advance for longer trips.

Don’t Be Shy or Weak

‌You may face resistance from everyone when you ditch dairy and gluten. But don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t feel embarrassed to say no when in doubt. You have to be firm with people - and the voice in your head - telling you that one meal won’t hurt.

Focus on Healthy Options and Nutrient Intake

Many people focus so much on what they can't eat that the diet becomes challenging. Besides eliminating dairy and gluten, pay attention to all the healthy and delicious foods you can eat. Also, incorporate vitamins and micronutrient supplements into your diet.

Consult an Expert

Remember that the sources of dairy and gluten are loaded with many macronutrients and micronutrients. So, it is important that you consult your doctor and nutritionist to ensure that cutting out these two food groups happens in a healthy, wholesome way.

Related: What Candy Is Gluten-Free? The Complete Guide

Potential Health Benefits of a Dairy and Gluten-Free Diet

Some people quit dairy due to allergies - or to avoid carbohydrates or cholesterol-raising elements. Others stay away from dairy products due to concerns about animal rights or mistreatment of the environment and animals during farming.

On the other hand, people with Celiac disease, gluten/wheat allergies, and gluten ataxia are medically required to stay away from gluten. Besides, cutting out gluten automatically means less processed food, which improves overall health.

Here are the health benefits of going dairy-free and gluten-free:

Health Benefits of a Dairy-Free Diet

  • Improved stomach health with reduced bloating, gas, and digestive tract issues
  • Faster weight loss and easier weight management
  • Clearer skin with less blackheads, whiteheads, acne, etc.
  • Less inflammation of joints, thyroid gland, etc.
  • Boost in energy levels
  • Stability of mood

Health Benefits of Gluten-Free Diet

  • Improved digestion with less bloating, constipation, diarrhea, etc.
  • Higher energy levels and reduced lethargy
  • Reduced brain fog and focus
  • Decreased stomach inflammation
  • Better mood and mental health
  • Disappearance of other food allergies
  • Drop in body weight

Related: How Much Dairy per Day Is Good for You?

How to Go Dairy and Gluten Free: FAQs

Q: How do you make a gluten and dairy free meal plan?

A: To make a meal plan free from gluten and dairy, you must figure out the best foods to replace these. Many nutritious foods you eat have dairy and gluten. So look for substitutes that provide the micronutrients and macronutrients you may lose.

Q: Where can you find dairy and gluten free recipes?

A: Many online resources offer dairy and gluten free recipes. You can find vegan and gluten-free recipes on blogs like The Pretty Bee. Downloading the PDF of a few recipes, like the Cotter Crunch meal plan, is a good idea. You can also buy a cookbook like The Everything Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Cookbook.

Q: What are the pros and cons of gluten and dairy-free diet plans?

A: A gluten and dairy free diet is a must if you have dairy and/or gluten allergies, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, etc. If you don’t have these, a restrictive diet may lead you to choose healthy, fresh foods. But breaking the habit of eating these can be hard. Plus, you may lose out on any nutrients.

Q: How do you eat gluten and dairy-free at a restaurant?

A: Wondering how to eat gluten and dairy-free at a restaurant? Ask the server if they have a special menu with such options. If they don’t, request them to walk you through the items on their regular menu. Pick foods like salads, lean proteins, etc., and avoid gravy items, desserts, etc.

Q: How do you go gluten and dairy free for PCOS?

A: To switch to a gluten-free and dairy-free diet, replace all dairy products with plant-based substitutes, preferably fortified ones - and skip all items with wheat, rye, barley, and their derivatives. You should note that there’s no solid evidence that such a diet has a direct impact on PCOS.

Q: Is there a gluten and dairy-free food list?

A: A shopping list of gluten and dairy-free foods can make the job of switching to such a restrictive diet easy. Here’s a downloadable list of gluten-free and dairy-free foods to help you while you shop for the right food items when you cook at home - or indulge in some quick snacks.

Q: Where can you find a no gluten, no dairy, no sugar diet shopping list?

A: An elimination diet that cuts out dairy, gluten, and sugar can set you on an incredibly healthy journey. Here’s a shopping list for you. It’s dairy-free. And since it’s also keto-friendly, it has no sugar or carb sources, including wheat, barley, rye, and their derivatives.

Q: How do I transition to gluten and dairy-free?

A: The best starting step to transition to a gluten and dairy-free diet is to shift to a whole food diet. Doing so will help you avoid hidden dairy and gluten often present in processed foods. While buying packaged foods, always check the label to know the ingredients.

Q: Will I lose weight if I cut out gluten and dairy?

A: Yes, you may experience some weight loss as a consequence of cutting out gluten and dairy. That’s because such an elimination diet is usually based on healthy, fresh, whole foods. When you reduce the consumption of packaged and processed foods, weight management becomes easy.

Q: What are the symptoms of gluten and dairy intolerance?

A: Although dairy and gluten intolerance are two unrelated health conditions, they often present many similar symptoms. Some of the shared signs and symptoms of the two conditions include bloating, cramps, acid reflux, leaky gut syndrome, skin issues, diarrhea, nausea etc.

Related: Does Dairy Cause Acne: Truth or Myth?


There is no scientific evidence that a gluten-free diet is always wholesome and healthy. On the other hand, some studies show that dairy consumption can pose some health risks. Both are to be strictly avoided when you have allergies.

But many people who aren't medically required to avoid gluten or dairy eliminate these from their diet - and see improved health. So, consult an expert before cutting out gluten and dairy to ensure your new diet includes calcium, protein, and other nutrients.


The Ultimate Guide On How to Go Dairy and Gluten Free (2024)
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