Living a gluten and dairy free lifestyle (NOT BY CHOICE)

Where it began!

I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease back in 2003 and had only just started high school. I was very sick and spent 4-5 months being told I was a hypochondriac by many doctors. Eventually I was diagnosed and it felt like the best day of my life!

I found out I could no longer tolerate dairy in 2012. I was getting sick in the stomach after eating breakfast of a morning as I would use milk and whey protein in a smoothie. Then it kept getting worse with anything I ate that contained dairy – good reason to avoid eating it.

Being told you can’t eat gluten in high school was hard, there was tuck-shop every day that I couldn’t really eat anything except for drinks, chocolate or ice-creams, the food that I wasn’t a huge fan of anyways. I always had to have a packed lunch that was so different to everyone else’s and if there were any school excursions or events where food was provided the caterers had to try and find something that I could eat. Back then gluten free wasn’t well known and even the supermarket shelves didn’t have a lot on them. It didn’t take long for me to learn what I had to avoid and what I could eat safety.

Times have definitely changed and today I see gluten free in most places which is awesome for those of us that are Coeliac or suffer from a gluten or wheat intolerance. Dairy on the other hand was a much more well-known intolerance, there were plenty of dairy free milks to choose from. I did find dairy harder to adjust to as I found it difficult giving up cheese and yoghurt initially, and dining out at restaurants was a little more difficult being gluten and dairy free. Still to this day I find dairy difficult, however you just have to keeping moving forward.


  • Nutritionally avoiding gluten and dairy and eating a wholefood diet reframing from refined foods is a good thing, as you have less inflammation in the body and therefore have a stronger immune system, hormones are well balanced, you handle stress better, better mental capacity and attention span and you sleep well.
  • You have to be more creative generally to mix food up and keep variety, you learn how to make vegetables, salad and meat taste better.
  • Sometimes it is cheaper to eat a wholefood diet.
  • Save money in terms of not getting sick as often, therefore not taking much time of work or needing to get to doctor appointments.


  • Some people think I am just being fussy by choosing to avoid gluten! Therefore the number of times I have got sick out at a restaurant or had to turn away meals is ridiculous. I often have to quiz people quite a lot to ensure the meal will be gluten free (i.e. hot chips may be gluten free as they make them themselves but then you find out they are cooked in the same oil as deep fried food, yet you are still told they are gluten free).
  • I am dairy free, therefore I cannot have food products that are lactose free as they still contain dairy and make me sick. Some people are lactose free which is fine and can tolerate these products.
  • Sometimes when you dine out there really isn’t many options and some places just don’t want to have to deal with you or make anything gluten and dairy free which is fine and why I avoid eating out at some places.

While I am happy now eating a gluten and dairy free lifestyle it has taken some time to get the hang of. I do encourage anyone else who is finding it difficult to let me know as I definitely have some helpful tips and suggestions for you.

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