Gluten Free? Dairy Free? Vegetarian? How ’bout all of the above.

Ha! You thought you could stump me. You can never stump me!

But if you’re going gluten free for the first time, you can get stumped. Or dairy-free. Or vegetarian. Pile them all together, and it’s easy to feel like there’s NOTHING YOU CAN EAT AND YOU’LL NEVER HAVE ANY FUN AGAIN.

I get it. Take a deep breath, and keep reading.

There are two important things to know:

1. You absolutely, positively, have to figure out breakfast.

2. You’re going to have to cook (and eat) your own food most of the time.

You won’t succeed by eating soy cheese, gluten-free pizza crust, and fake chicken nuggets. You’re really going to have to change your eating habits – THAT’S the secret to a “restricted” diet that feels abundant, satisfying, and full of taste explosions.

Instead of obsessing over all the delicious, cheesy goodness you can’t eat, make a list of all the foods you can eat. And be specific – don’t just write “vegetables.” Actually write out every single vegetable you can think of. Every type of grain. Every piece of fruit. Dark chocolate. Red wine.

If you only know one type of grain, start researching other grains. If you can’t imagine a morning without cereal, try out the various nut milks (unsweetened almond is my favorite) and stick with the one you like best.

When conceptualizing a meal plan, start with some favorites and see if you can substitute. Taco night: onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, rice and avocado. No meat or cheese necessary. Stir-frys are infinitely versatile and stand alone without a protein.

Spaghetti & meatballs: an example of the kind of changes you’ll have to make. You can try gluten-free pasta, or make raw “pasta” with butternut squash or zucchini.  Make marinara sauce (or buy it), and use pine nuts for extra protein, fat, and taste. You could even make fake meatballs with nuts or black beans. The result is surprisingly tasty – but it won’t taste like the spaghetti & meatballs you remember.

In some cases (like that one), you might need to let go of your old favorites and try new things. But guess what? Almost every single recipe I’ve ever shared on this blog has been gluten and dairy free:

For dishes that are gluten, dairy, AND meat free, check these out:

That concludes your March Madness Recipe Bonanza. Any requests for the next round?

Written by Damon

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