Would it be more difficult to give up eating gluten or dairy? | Coursera Community
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Would it be more difficult to give up eating gluten or dairy?

  • 7 April 2019
  • 9 replies

  • Music Community Leader
  • 1410 replies
Many digestive issues have been found to be the result of people being sensitive to either eating food with gluten or dairy. Although there have been many substitute foods created to replace these, they rarely taste the same. An aged piece of cheese on a crusty home baked bread can’t be replaced by a chemically created or tofu cheese on a flourless bread.
I try to avoid both but definitely find myself “cheating” more with glutens. As I am writing this, I am sipping coffee and eating a piece of a delicious wood fired chocolate babka.
Which would you find harder to give up, glutens or dairy?

9 replies

Userlevel 5
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dairy will be more difficult as it is integral part of life
That’s what I would have thought, yet a recent survey amongst NYTimes readers said that 63 %of people would rather be lactose intolerant. 37% said they would rather be gluten intolerant. I guess people who rather not give up their breads and cakes, but could live without dairy. I find coconut oil an excellent substitute for butter though. Coconut milk in my coffee tastes good too.
I try to live without both, but find the gluten substitutes not as good as the dairy ones.
Thanks for your repsonse, @swaraj . How do you see dairy as an integral part of life? I guess this is how a baby lives at first?
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Hmm, that's a tricky question, @Judith. I have been through different stages of diets, giving up this and that, and I have always found them hard. 🙂

In terms of dairy, I don't eat much of it, but I do like a piece of cheese each day. 🙂 I think dairy would probably be easier to give up, but that may be because dairy has never really been a big part of our diet (especially as dad has dairy intolerance). We have also used dairy substitutes such as coconut, almond, and rice milks from time to time.

Once, we went off gluten for a while. I think dad made a flour blend out of rice, tapioca, and potato flours. It worked quite well most of the time and didn't taste too bad. However, I found it really hard when making pastry as the lack of gluten meant that the pastry would crumble and end up being like a jigsaw puzzle on the bench!

After those experiences, I am glad that I'm not intolerant to dairy or gluten, but I suppose if I were, I would make do and probably do quite well. 🙂

Do you go off gluten and lactose as a choice, or do you have an intolerance to them, @Judith?
Both, @Lillian . I have always been sensitive to dairy. My mother told me that when I was a baby she used to feed me barley water after I drank formula to stabilize my stools. They didn't have lactose free formulas then, and it was discouraged to breast feed. Things are so different now. I do love cheeses and cheesy things like pizza but would always get terrible stomach pains after I ate them. It wasn't until recently that I put it all together and realized I shouldn't eat dairy. Being lactose intolerant is a recent thing. I feel wonderful when I don't eat dairy...but how do you refuse an ice-cream on a hot summer's day?
As for glutens, I am not sensitive to them, but I know they get converted to sugar and really encourage those extra pounds so I avoid them. Of course, when it is someone's birthday or if I am invited to someone's house and they serve a pastry that they made for dessert, I will eat a small piece. It is so challenging to make cakes and pastries without regular flour, but almond flour seems to work well and tastes good too.
It is so good to hear from you. I hope you are doing well!
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Hi @Judith my daughter was intolerant to gluten, which we discovered before her first birthday. We found it was generally better to change our habits rather than simply swap out gluten-free foods for bread, cakes etc. The gluten-free foods were expensive and tasted different anyway.

We started eating many more rice and potato-based meals. Sausages were out, unless we ordered gluten-free ones from the butcher. Meat and vegetables were safe. Seafood and salad were also safe. I made some recipes with gluten-free flour, but others just didn't turn out right. I gradually learned which recipes could be adapted, substituting cornflour (from maize) or a mix of cornflour, rice flour and soy flour for wheat flour. Later, commercial gluten-free flour became available, but expensive. We tried lots of flour-free recipes such as cakes with almond meal etc.

Some sweets (candy) also have gluten in them, which we discovered after she had some at a birthday party. Her main symptom was stomach pains.

Fast-forward some years. My daughter grew up and married a man who is allergic to dairy foods, eggs and peanuts. Family gatherings now feature a range of dishes, with ingredients carefully chosen. Meat and vegetables, seafood and salad are still safe!

One surprising thing is that after having a baby, my daughter tried gluten-containing foods again and surprise! She could eat them without developing the stomach pains that dogged her throughout her early years. A blood test for celiac disease came back negative. Her husband has been diagnosed with allergies rather than intolerances (yes, there is a difference).

Having seen both gluten and dairy issues, I think the gluten one is slightly easier to manage in Australian society. Many packaged and restaurant foods contain gluten, but even more seem to have dairy products. Or is it just because I spent 20 years avoiding gluten, so I know better how to manage it?

Whatever the problem, it helps to make foods from scratch so you know exactly what is in them.

On a happy note, neither of their two children are intolerant to either gluten or dairy!
Such an interesting history you have with both gluten and dairy, @Pat B . Thanks for sharing your stories. These present such challenges, but feeling good is the motivation to dealing with them. It is like a miracle to eat something and feel good afterwards if you haven't before.
It is surprising to learn how many things have gluten in them, such as certain candies.

Simple recipes seem to be best, those that don't involve cheeses spread through them or other fancy sauces. You are so right, that cooking things yourself is the best way to go. Salads are always good, but watch those dressings! I use lemon and oil as dressing, which always taste good.

Many stores seem to have alternatives these days to both. You just have to taste them and see if they really taste good, and carefully read the ingredients to see if the substitutes are really nutritious. A yogurt alternative might taste good, but it is loaded with extra sugar and lacks the high protein of a regular yogurt, so is it worth it?

How wonderful that the children are free from these obstacles and can eat anything they want to!
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Yes, I am doing well, @Judith. How are you? I have been quite busy lately (that's why you haven't heard from me for a while).

That is so interesting about your daughter, @Pat B. My nana had a similar experience, though not with dairy. She couldn't stomach fats such as meats, butter, etc. for a long time She doesn't know what caused it, but after having one of her children, she couldn't handle them. Thirty or so years later, she went on a diet called Trim Healthy Mama. After doing this diet for a couple of months, she could actually eat meats and other fats again without having any problems at all! After a while, she found that she was losing too much weight, so she went off the diet. Then she found that she started having stomach issues again when she ate fats! It's strange, isn't it? I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation - we just don't know what it is yet. 🙂
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The human body is amazing, isn't it? I sometimes marvel at how much DOESN'T go wrong.
@Lillian , what an incredible story about your nana. If she kept a food diary, wrote down exactly what she ate and how it made her feel, she might find the answer. If she ever does, please let us know.
I am so glad you are okay, just busy. Keeping productively busy feels so good. I, too, have been busy with all my music endeavors. Stay healthy and happy! You too, @Pat B .