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modern grocery store with gluten free and dairy free foods on the outer isles

Help for Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Living

  blog post author icon   blog post published date icon   05/24/20

Cooking  Detoxification Support  Disease  Nutrition  Weight Loss  

Eliminating or minimizing Gluten and Dairy from your diet isn't necessary for everyone but some certainly benefit from making these lifestyle changes. Regardless, we all benefit from eating more natural, whole foods and less processed foods. Learn more about gluten-free and dairy-free nutrition options and take advantage of the educational resources, shopping list, and recipes.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Shopping List

Stock your pantry and refrigerator with these fresh and healthy gluten-free and dairy-free foods. This is a great grocery list to start if you want to eat healthy, but you should always be sure they fit your specific health needs. You also want to be sure that they are eaten fresh, organic, and unprocessed if possible.

When in doubt, use THE 150-YEAR RULE: If it wasn't around 150 years ago, you shouldn't eat it!

If your great-grandfather didn't eat it, you should probably consider not eating it.
Grocery Shopping List
Item Item
Almonds Honey
Avocados Hummus
Bananas Kalamata Olives
Brown Rice Lemon Juice
Carrots Onions
Celery Pears
Chicken Breasts Pistachios
Coconut & Safflower Oil Plain Greek Yogurt
Ezekiel Bread Raisins/ Craisins
Flank Steak Romaine Lettuce
Fresh Salsa Scallions
Garbanzo Beans Spinach
Ginger Root Sweet Potatoes
Gluten Free Melba Rounds Tomatoes
Gluten Free Pretzels Tortillas Gluten Free Variety
Grapes Vinegar
Green Beans White Northern Beans
Green Peppers Whole Chicken
Ground Turkey

Why Are These Foods So Special?

These foods were chosen because they have special properties like:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Phytonutrients
  • Carotenoids
  • Antioxidants
  • Fiber
  • Flavonoids
  • Resveratrol
  • Good Fats
  • Probiotics
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties

For those of you who ARE NOT sensitive to gluten and dairy, try this more traditional, but healthy whole foods shopping list.

And no, it's not more expensive to eat healthy.

woman grocery shopping for gluten-free and dairy-free foods using smartphone
Bring a shopping list, and don't shop when hungry.

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Recipes

Our Healthy Living Whole Foods Recipes have lots of gluten-free and dairy-free options. Use the online search tools to find exactly what you are looking for. You can check the "Gluten" and/or "Dairy" Food Sensitivity boxes to see only those types of recipes. Enjoy and share what you like with your family and friends!

Is Buying Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free More Expensive?

Buying gluten-free and dairy-free can be more expensive in some instances -- however, you may be paying it forward to avoid future health expenses. The price of gluten- and dairy-free foods today, while slightly more expensive than their allergenic or sensitivity-inducing counterparts, has declined over the past few years. This is due to the replacement of common foods containing gluten, like bread, pasta, and milk substitutes, like almond milk. However, opting for gluten-free and dairy-free lifestyles can prevent and ameliorate many potential health conditions, making it more cost-effective for individuals with allergies and sensitivities over the long term.

How to Shop for Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Foods

Shopping for gluten-free and dairy-free foods may not be as difficult as you think. Not only are many of the foundational foods we eat gluten-free and dairy-free but products marketed to other groups, such as vegans, also guarantee the absence of milk-based ingredients! Further, shopping gluten and dairy-free fits well within the recommendations for many other proposed healthy eating habits, such as shopping the perimeter of the store or buying more whole foods with fewer ingredients. So grab your pen and paper or pull up the notes on your phone, and let's get started!

Raw and Unprocessed

First, try to buy raw and unprocessed foods to cook from scratch yourself. Doing this lets you control and eliminate many unnecessary additives in your food and become more aware of the ingredients you ingest. Raw and unprocessed foods often have fewer ingredients in them as opposed to their cooked and processed counterparts. The culmination of a diet based on processed foods, each with many of their own additives, not only contributes to you ingesting foods that are not necessary to your diet or health but also opens more opportunities to expose yourself to gluten or dairy-contaminated foods.

Naturally Gluten-Free

Plenty of naturally gluten-free foods may have sat right under your nose. One great thing about many gluten-free substitutes in our diets is that they can often be bought in bulk and have a long shelf life! Natural, gluten-free foods like quinoa, millet, and teff in bulk at a reduced price can help you stock up on these healthier ingredients and always be prepared (avoiding impulse or convenience buys). Many other foods are also gluten-free, like fruits, vegetables, and meats! Speaking of which...

Foundational Foods

Fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, nuts, and rice are naturally gluten- and dairy-free. Not only are these foods the foundation of our well-balanced diet, but they are also gluten and dairy-sensitivity-approved! Buy them while in season and save the remainder in the pantry or freezer to stay cost-effective. These foods are foundational for a reason, and investing more into these food groups can help you to avoid the oversaturated carb-loaded (and often gluten and dairy-filled) diet so common in the U.S., aiding your health and wellness journey as well as respecting the foods your body likes and dislikes.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein commonly found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale, which acts as a glue to help food maintain its shape. This glue-like property gives bases like dough elasticity and the ability to rise during baking. There are two main proteins in gluten: glutenin and gliadin, and gliadin is responsible for most of the negative health effects of gluten. However, gluten does not necessarily affect all people negatively. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no data to support the prevalent association of gluten with heart disease data is suggesting that gluten avoidance in those who are not sensitive or allergic is correlated with increased heart disease risks.1

Common Foods that Contain Gluten

Gluten is present in many foods common to the typical American diet today due to the over-saturation of carbs like bread and pasta in many of our community and convenience meals. Some of these foods include:

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Pastries and Sweets
  • Beer

Why Go Gluten Free?

Gluten has been a big target for the dietary and wellness media for a few years, but who is at risk and should avoid gluten-containing products? Should everyone? Two main groups are negatively affected by gluten: those with Celiac Disease and those with Non-Celiac gluten sensitivity.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder and the most severe form of gluten intolerance, affecting approximately 1% of the population. As an autoimmune disorder, the body attacks itself, specifically ingested gluten, which damages the gut lining, causing nutrient deficiencies, anemia, and severe digestive issues.

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Those who face issues of gluten sensitivity but do not test positive for Celiac disease are part of a group known as non-Celiac gluten sensitivity. Research is limited in the number of individuals affected, but estimates consider up to 13% of the population could fall within this group. Symptoms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity include diarrhea, stomach pain, tiredness, bloating, and depression. Non-Celiac gluten sensitivity is not yet fully explored, but it is hypothesized that some individuals who fall into this category may suffer gluten sensitivity symptoms due to other causes and/or conditions.

Gluten-Free Alternatives

  • Meat
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

What is Dairy-Free?

Dairy-free diet is free from milk-based ingredients, including casein, whey, lactose, and milk fat. Eggs are not included in dairy-free diets and are allowed. Dairy-free diets cater well to those negatively affected by dairy consumption, allergy, or sensitivity. Symptoms can be triggered by small or large intakes of dairy, depending on the individual.

Common Foods that Contain Dairy

  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt
  • Cream
  • Ice Cream

Health Benefits of Dairy

Milk and dairy foods in moderation can be healthy for the larger population without related allergies or sensitivities. For these individuals, milk and dairy foods can be a source of calcium, vitamin D, other proteins and essential nutrients.2 Further, the American Heart Association recommends 2-3 servings of fat-free or low-fat milk for adults and children and 3-4 servings for teenagers and older adults per day.3 However, for those who cannot consume dairy-based products, the alternatives can still provide many of these benefits, which can also be provided through dietary supplements or more diversity in the diet.

Why Dairy-Free

There are several reasons why an individual may choose to go dairy-free, whether due to allergy and sensitivity or other factors, such as avoiding allergens and sensitivities, decreasing high insulin levels, and reducing inflammation.

Milk Allergies and Sensitivities

Milk allergies and sensitivities can cause mild to severe adverse symptoms after ingesting the dairy, including bloating, diarrhea, and excess flatulence. If you suffer from these symptoms, changing to a dairy-free diet may be a way to improve these effects, as well as improve digestion.4

Groups Most at Risk for Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is the most common sensitivity to dairy, specifically the lactose enzyme, which the body cannot digest. Several common risk factors can help you gauge how at-risk you are, including: 4

  • Increasing Age
  • Ethnicity (people of African, Asian, Hispanic, and American Indian descent)
  • Premature birth
  • Diseases affecting the small intestine (Celiac and Chron's)

Decrease Insulin Levels

If you suffer from raised insulin levels, dairy-free diets may help lower them, as dairy products have been shown to raise insulin levels, with studies demonstrating a relationship between dairy consumption and insulin resistance.5

Decrease Inflammation

Inflammation has, in some cases, been attributed to dairy consumption. Replacing dairy foods with dairy-free substitutes may be a way to help decrease the inflammation, as dairy is high in saturated fats -- plentiful in cheese and dairy products -- which are known to cause inflammation.6

Dairy-Free Alternatives

To all of the above-mentioned foods that contain dairy, all are available in non-dairy options, primarily consisting of almond, oat, coconut, and soy milk bases. Milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, cream, and ice cream, among other dairy foods, can be produced with non-dairy milk, making them largely acceptable to those plagued by dairy allergies and sensitivities.

The Bottom Line

Dairy and gluten are not necessarily the evil enemy proposed by today's media; however, the concerns surrounding them are not entirely fictional, and there are many whose health conditions do correlate with adverse effects from dairy and gluten. Understanding the risk factors, getting checked by your doctor, and developing a means of shopping to appease your body's nutritional desires is a critical steps on your wellness journey. Learning about these ingredients and developing the appropriate habits and lifestyle choices can be affordable and simple with a little research and motivation, and we wish you luck on your journey.


headshot of Jay Todtenbier 2018

Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.

Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.

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