10 Easy Dairy and Gluten Substitutions to Try Now!

Happy June everyone!

Summer starts this month, and we're all hoping to look amazing this bathing suit season.  So if you haven't already checked out my 10 Day Summer Detox starting next Monday June 8th, take a quick look and let me know ASAP if you're interested.  I have 2 spots left and registration ends tonight!  During this detox, we'll be eating real, whole, delicious foods, but cutting out all dairy and gluten (among a few other things) for just 10 days, to get amazing results. 

Regardless of whether you will be detoxing or not, I strongly believe it's worth it to explore with cutting back on diary and gluten (check out my blogs: 5 Reasons You Should Stop Consuming Dairy and Some Truth Behind this Gluten Free Trend ), so today I wanted to share with you a few ideas to make your dairy & gluten free experimentation a bit easier.  

Here are 10 easy swaps (5 gluten and 5 dairy substitutions) that I’ve started incorporating into my regular cooking, and highly suggest you try!

1. Spaghetti Squash instead of pasta.  

This one is so easy and surprisingly delicious; probably my favorite.  Everyone for whom I’ve made my spaghetti squash recipe has loved it!  My mom even took seeds with her to Uruguay to grow her own spaghetti squash (since it’s not available there)!  

There are many delicious recipes that you can make from spaghetti squash but the most basic option is just to: cut the squash in half (you’ll need a good knife!), scoop out the seeds, drizzle generously with olive oil and sea salt, and bake in the oven for about 30-40 mins.  Then with a fork, scoop out the squash and you’ll see it just naturally comes out like spaghetti.  Mix with the sauce of your choice and it's just like a plate of pasta!

2. Raw Zucchini & Squash Noodles instead of pasta

This is also surprisingly easy and a great option for anyone.  Using a spiralizer, create thin spaghetti-like strips of zucchini and yellow squash.  I like keeping them raw especially in the summer, and then serve them with a tomato sauce made with olive oil, fresh herbs, sliced cherry tomatoes, salt & pepper.  Or you can think of it more as a salad, maybe add some more spiralized vegetables (such as carrots and daikon radish), and drizzle with a home-made dressing and fresh herbs.  

3. Round of Sweet Potato instead of bread

I love sweet potato, because it's delicious and it's filled with beneficial beta carotene- essential for healthy skin, eyes, and your immune system, and serves as a great healthy carb addition to almost any meal.  I personally love using it instead of bread for a breakfast eggs on“toast”.  Just cut a sweet potato into ½ inch rounds and bake them in the oven with a bit of coconut oil & sea salt (or boil them).  Then place one large round of cooked sweet potato, cover with a layer of sauteed spinach and/or avocado, then top off with a poached or fried egg.  Delish and of course, gluten free!

4. Baby Carrots, Celery Sticks, and Slices of Red and Green Bell Pepper instead of pita chips or crackers for dips

Great for an everyday snack with organic hummus or guacamole, and of course, for entertaining guests.

5. Quinoa or Millet porridge instead of regular oats (which contain gluten!)

Make the quinoa or millet as you normally would, but instead of salt and savory spices, add some cinnamon and maybe some dried fruits with the boiling water.  Half-way through cooking, add some almond milk and stir, so it gets a slightly mushy consistency.  Add a dash of raw honey or pure maple syrup if needed, and maybe some flax seeds, chia seeds and/or a tsp of coconut oil.  Top off with some raw nuts, chopped fruit, and enjoy your gluten & dairy free porridge!  Check out of one my recipes here. 

6. Cashew Cream instead of regular cream or any cheesy sauce

This is another of my favorites and now a staple in my cooking.  Just soak about ½ cup of raw cashews overnight (or just a minimum of 1 hour).  Place the soaked cashews in the blender with 1 cup of water, some lime, 1-2 garlic cloves, sea salt, fresh herbs (i love using basil), and blend!  You’ll get a creamy, dairy-free sauce to use on pasta, vegetables or almost anything!  I often add a tbsp of olive oil as well, but that's optional.

7. Mashed Avocado instead of cream cheese or butter

So simple and yummy.  I like to sprinkle some lime, sea salt and cayenne pepper on my mashed avocado and serve over a slice of gluten-free toast.

8. Nutritional Yeast instead of cheese

You can find nutritional yeast in the bulk section at Whole Foods and the Fresh Market.  Its great to add to any dish as you normally would parmesan cheese.  I use it to make cheesy kale chips, and they taste just as good as the store bought version (or better!)

9. Coconut yogurt or coconut kefir instead of normal yogurt

This is a great alternative to yogurt.  You can find them in Whole Foods, or try making your own!  Just requires canned coconut milk, a bit of sweetener, probiotic powder, and a thickener (you can use agar agar, a vegan alternative to gelatin, or tapioca starch).  Basic instructions for coconut yogurt: Warm 2 cups of coconut milk (full fat) on the stove until it simmers, then add 1 tsp agar agar and whisk until the mixture thickens, cool, add ½ tsp of probiotics, ½ tbsp raw honey or syrup, and mix well (or blend).  Then pour into a clean glass jar with a tight lid and let it sit outside in a warm environment for 12-24 hrs (or place in the oven at 100 degrees F).  Refrigerate a few hours, then enjoy.

10. Soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk or, my personal favorite to use with my tea, hemp milk, instead of regular cow’s milk  

These are easily found in  most health food stores, and can also be easily made.  I personally started making my own almond milk - using 1 cup of raw almonds (pre soaked), blended with 3 cups of water, a touch of salt, 1 tsp vanilla extract, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a few drops of pure stevia extract (or 1 date).  I blend until smooth, then run twice through a thin mesh strainer, or use a cheesecloth to strain. Its easy, has no preservatives, tastes delicious (but note- it will only last 2-3 days in the fridge)

These are just a few simple swaps that I tend to use on a regular basis, but there are so many more.  Once you start experimenting with vegetables, fruits and grains, you naturally become more creative, and you realize how tasty healthy meals can be.

Try experimenting with these, and please share your favorite gluten-free and dairy-free recipes!

Love and recipes,