When I first went on the elimination diet & eliminated all eight top allergens from my diet (dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish) I had a hard time adjusting. There were are lot of things I couldn't have. I tried to focus on the things I could have, but in the beginning that list seemed short -- meats, fruit, vegetables and rice. I quickly learned to make the best of our new-found diet situation; it was all about exploring new foods, preparing my own food and eating whole, unprocessed foods.
The following is a list of the foods and products that made me feel like I wasn't missing out on anything at all. In fact, I got to add a bunch of news foods to my repertoire.
So Delicious coconut milk coffee creamer I was ecstatic. I think I ran to the store that same day to buy some. It tasted just like the creamer I was used to, if not better. The consistency was just what I was looking for; it's creamy and flavorful. I never run out of my vanilla coconut milk coffee creamer now; the fridge is always well stocked.
2. Zing bars: We were wandering around the market one day when I noticed a sample table. I usually avoid them, but this one caught my eye. I was so excited to find Zing bars. They are locally made. When I was first starting the big elimination I was at a loss for what to eat for protein. Before, I stuck with nuts, eggs, and dairy for most of my protein, meat to a lesser extent. On the elimination diet, I was starting to feel like I was always hungry. I was starving in the evenings between nursing all the time and the diet. The Zing bars were perfect when I needed a snack to get me through. I started out with the Chocolate Coconut Zing bar (contains almonds & coconut) and, later when I could have peanuts, I tried out the Chocolate Peanut Butter one. There is also a Cranberry Orange flavor that is dairy free too, but contains cashews. I am positive I will never look at a protein/energy bar the same way. You'll be hard up to find one that comes close to Zing bars in taste.
3. Quinoa: I had never had quinoa before going on the big elimination. Glenn had picked some up at Trader Joes a long while back and it was sitting in our cupboard. One night we were getting dinner prepared and I realized that I couldn't have the side dish Glenn had picked out (I can't remember what it was or why now). I started looking through the cupboards trying to find something I could eat as a side. I found the quinoa. I'm so glad I did. Quinoa is one of our favorite grains now. We use quinoa pasta in our favorite soup. We have two delicious side salads that we make: Greek Quinoa and Red Quinoa with Papaya & Mango Salsa and Arugala. We have quinoa for breakfast. Beanie loves it too.
4. Trader Joes Brown Rice Penne Pasta: I was sure I'd have to miss out on pasta being gluten-free. Not the case! We definitely don't have it as often as we used to, but the TJ's brown rice penne pasta is delicious. We've tried a few brands of brown rice pasta, but the TJ's one is, by far, the best. For a full review, click here.
5. Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour: I'm not a fancy baker or cook. I do like baking with Beanie and, having the dietary restrictions we do, it's often easier to make something yummy at home. Often times recipes call for a mixture of flours, but I found the easy way out -- Bob's Red Mill gluten-free all purpose baking flour. We had started using rice flour initially, but switched to the Bob's Red Mill one, which is a mix of gluten-free flours and potato starch, and are happier with the taste and texture of our baked goods. Also, must mention the xantham gum too -- really helped with the baked goods! Basically, we've liked every single Bob's Red Mill gluten-free product we've tried and there have been quite a few: vanilla cake, cornbread, brownies, and pancake mix to name a few.
Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss ice-cream was my treat when I felt like I couldn't eat anything. In the beginning of the big elimination, I felt like every time I ate it was a constant reminder of the diet. Going to the freezer and pulling out some ice-cream was something I looked forward to each evening. My two favorite flavors are the Mint Galactica (the best mint chocolate chip ice cream Glenn says he's had and he's something of a mint chocolate chip ice-cream connoisseur) and the Chocolate Peanut Butter. The Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge was the first one I had and it is so rich and tasty that just a small bit will satisfy you. Even if there's no reason for you not to have dairy ice-cream I implore you to try Coconut Bliss.
7. Rudi's gluten-free bread: Sometimes you just really want a sandwich. Or a slice of toast. Glenn found Rudi's gluten-free cinnamon raisin bread for me and I was hooked. Their multigrain bread is my favorite for sandwiches. I don't do sandwiches a lot, but when I do I definitely prefer their bread. (contains eggs -- I didn't try this until later on)
Earth Balance dairy-free soy-free spread is so good! It's great for baking, putting on toast, or (Beanie would tell you) just eating out of a spoon. I'm not kidding, just today we were making biscuits and she was so excited to put the measuring cups in the sink so she could, and I quote, "lick them all clean." She now asks for "mommy's butter" on her food too.
9. Rice Dream Rice Milk: Rice Dream rice milk became my go to drink. I don't really drink it by itself, but I always have it on hand for baking, granola, and lattes. I was so excited to get a case of it at Costco; I only have two cartons left so I hope I can find it there again soon.
There were obviously foods that, although not "required" by any stretch of the imagination, made the elimination a lot more fun. So, honorable mentions go to:
Enjoy Life chocolate chips -- Enjoy Life Foods are gluten-free and made without any of the top eight allergens
Kinnikinnick cinnamon donuts -- These are delicious with coffee.
Kinnikinnick frozen waffles -- Some mornings I don't feel like oatmeal. Or eggs. Or making pancakes. These waffles are easy to pop in the toaster and really tasty.
Udi's gluten-free double chocolate muffins -- My post Best Treat Ever pretty much sums it up.