Outsmart Your Diet


“You’ve started a gluten-free, dairy-free diet, and you’re feeling pretty zippy. Household purchases of tissues for allergy symptoms are down, and household purchases of toilet paper for gastrointestinal regularity are up. The kids no longer complain of tummy aches and itchy rashes. Your energy level feels amazing. As long as Enjoy Life® chocolate chips and Rice Dream® are around, what is there not to love about eating this way? Why doesn’t every doctor prescribe a gluten-free, dairy-free diet? You just can’t understand it!

Enter nutrient deficiencies. Wheat products and dairy products, despite being pesky foods for the body to digest, pack huge nutrient punches. They are even vehicles for specifically added nutrients which are deficient in our diets, such as folic acid in bread and vitamin D in milk. Doctors know that an improperly implemented gluten-free, dairy-free diet is a set-up for nutritional disaster. They have nightmares of vitamin D-deficient women with broken hips and spina bifida-afflicted newborns from folic acid deficiency. Gluten-free, dairy-free diets make them cringe inside.

A poorly thought-out gluten- and dairy-free diet that relies on processed gimmick products can lead to nutritional deficits—sometimes causing problems much worse than those originally set out to be cured. None of us want that, particularly for vulnerable children. In addition, going gluten-free before an appropriate celiac disease work-up really complicates matters because celiacs should not have a speck of gluten. Please make sure to talk to your doctor about changes in your family’s diet and don’t be afraid to ask for a referral to a nutritionist to help you. This article is not intended to be medical advice but instead to raise awareness. So what are the most common deficiencies when gluten and dairy are cut out and how can they be addressed?

CALCIUM: Dairy is hands-down the easiest way to meet calcium requirements, and calcium is necessary for all of your cells to function. Although it is absolutely possible to obtain the recommended calcium intake without dairy products, it requires exceptional diligence and a willing palate. Good food sources of calcium besides dairy include kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, peas, dried figs, and bone-in canned salmon and sardines. When we eliminated dairy two and a half years ago, my kids ate just about none of those foods. Now, they will eat bites of every single one. However, it takes about three cups of cooked kale or one can of sardines to equal the 300 mg of calcium in a glass of milk or cup of yogurt—and that’s not even enough calcium for one day. My kids are good, but they aren’t that good! I work very hard to serve calcium-rich, natural foods daily, but I also choose to supplement with calcium fortified non-dairy milk and a calcium supplement. If you use a non-dairy milk (such as almond milk, rice milk, or coconut milk), be sure to shake it well because the calcium often sinks to the bottom…” (Molly Green Magazine)

If you’re on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet, you need to outsmart it so you can be tip-top healthy.  Can you guess the other nutrients besides calcium that you’d miss out on if you eliminate gluten and dairy? Can ya’?  What do you think they are?  What non-processed foods (and yes, I do consider rice milk and gluten-free English muffins to be processed) do you think you can use to bolster them?  Find out by clicking over to Molly Green On-Line where I write for the wonderful price of free.  If your fingers are broken and you can’t–or you’re just tired of being jacked around all the time by internet personalities–then take a stab in the comments, and I’m happy to share what I know in conversations there.  It won’t be laid out so nicely with great, amazing graphics, but it’ll get you the information.  And THAT–is what I care about!

Seriously, ask away.  I just want you to have the information.  Not dogma.  Not a one-sided view.  Not entrenched, inflexible opinion.  Information, pure and simple (although often quite complex 🙂 ).  And I don’t care if you get it here, in Molly Green, or anywhere else, as long as its accurate.  You never learn if you don’t ask questions.  You never learn if you think you know the answers already.

Enjoy your weekend!


15 thoughts on “Outsmart Your Diet

  1. Boundless

    re: Why doesn’t every doctor prescribe a gluten-free, dairy-free diet?

    Because their [non]training taught them that diet doesn’t matter.

    Anyone doing just Gluten Free is following a fad.
    Anyone crafting a totally healthy diet will of course be GF.
    And yes, dropping fortified grains means getting the folates and fiber from other sources.

    Dairy is another matter. “Dairy” usually means: unfermented bovine casein beta A1 dairy.

    Most people have no problem with caprine (goat) dairy. It’s just hard to find.

    People reactive to A1 diary may not be reactive to A2, but there may be only one A2 herd in North America.

    People reactive to bovine dairy may not be reactive to fermented dairy (e.g. cheese).

    A family member appears to be sensitive to unfermented bovine dairy. We’re transitioning to caprine now.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thank you, Boundless, for commenting. I have to run to a track and field event with the kids, so I can’t read the links yet. But I will.

      Yes, we were taught diet doesn’t matter, except for low fat, low “sugar,” low cholesterol. Except maybe in select cases where we need to restrict protein or oxalates or etc for SPECIFIC cases/disease states (hepatic encephalopathy, renal failure, kidney stones, etc). But definitely not for preventative medicine, in general, and NOT for autoimmune disease. Oh, geesh. I feel sick about this. I feel like a failure on this. BUT we can redeem ourselves, and I know it is changing. I’ll have to do a post hopefully soon on the most recent article in my American Family Physician journal. It is progress!

      Probably elimination of gluten is ideal. Still leaving a small window to crawl out of for myself. I eliminate gluten and recommend it for all with any issues. (This encompasses about most all people.)

      Folate and fiber are super easy to get elsewhere, eh!?

      The little brown Jersey cow gives more A2. I got some milk from her and fermented it 24 hours and just passed the mark of tolerating it. Don’t anyone try canned goat milk. That’s a “no-go.” Anyhow, lots to write on this, and my kids are begging me to leave.

      Good luck in the transition! I hope it succeeds! ~~Terri

      1. Boundless

        re: Folate and fiber are super easy to get elsewhere, eh!?

        Prebiotic fiber, yes. Folate is another matter, depending on your MHTFR status & stuff.

        re: Good luck in the [caprine] transition! I hope it succeeds!

        Failure is not an option. We’re doing it the hard way, with an actual goat herd.

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        I guess I made assumptions, as we eat a lot of broccoli and greens in our home. And drink kombucha. Punches of B vitamins, including folate.

        A goat herd! A goat herd. Very fascinating. A couple of years ago our farmer where I buy milk from had goats she couldn’t keep milked. So we took them off her hands and put them in the freezer for goat stew. I just can’t wait to hear how the goat farming goes for you. I’m going to have to do posts on related such just so you come back to say. 🙂 Have a really great weekend!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hello there! Just got my new issue of my Family Practice Journal. I can’t wait to do a post on one of its articles about diet myths. They’re totally moving in the right direction. Strange I didn’t see any articles transitioning the journal there. It just was “there” all of a sudden in this issue. But calcium recs are loosening up a bit. I don’t know if you clicked over, but another dairy nutrient missing is vitamin K2 (to help you utilize what calcium you do take in). The added vitamin D in standard milk would be absent. Also B vitamins and minerals like zinc and magnesium if people don’t switch to lots of green vegetables and some meat. This is off-topic, but I know you were out when I did some posts on the “recentish” Alzheimer’s study. I’m going to link to them here because I know you’ve asked about Alzheimer’s Disease before.

      This one is kind of general regarding the basics they did in the study:

      This one breaks it down more specifically because somebody asked a great question on the roles of methylcobalamin and CoQ10. This post is on the methylcobalamin (B12) aspect:

      And this one is on the CoQ10 aspect:

      Enjoy spring! ~~Terri

      1. All Seasons Cyclist

        Thanks for the links to the articles! I am eager to look them over (though I am leaving for the Middle East on Thursday to visit archaeological sites). I started looking at CoQ10 after my family practice doctor put me on a statin drug as a “preventive measure” (never again). The statin drugs caused enormous damage to my tendons—and that almost took me off my bike for good. Fortunately, I read a cycling blog and saw that many other cyclists had the same problem when they started statins. I stopped taking the statin drugs, and added healthy doses of CoQ10, and my tendons got back to normal in a few weeks. The sad thing is that I went through six months of physical therapy with a sport’s medicine doctor because they could not find the cause of my pain! It was just the stupid statin drugs! I still take CoQ10 for several other reasons as well.

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Are you really heading to the Middle East? Safe journeys, if so!

        It would take a lot for me to prescribe a statin now. This is why my husband says I can’t go back into practice. I can no longer follow the 100 sets of guidelines that I’m supposed to have memorized and use for diabetes, cholesterol, heart disease, hypertension, etc–so I no longer would follow “standard of care.” Which is what doctors are all measured by now. This is one reason why very few will choose to deviate. Until it’s become very, very routine and standard, they’ll have to follow the old guidelines to be “safe.”

        Don’t forget to eat your organ meats. (Insert evil, mischievous grin here.)

      3. All Seasons Cyclist

        I am heading out on Thursday for “The West Bank” of Israel (the Palestinian controlled area) to photograph ancient ruins (not the modern ruins that are so abundant in that area). A friend of mine (a retired professor of ancient history) is going to accompany me. Providing no one asks me about my politics (thus sparking an International incident) we will be back after Memorial Day.

        Eventually I am going to write an article for my blog about my experience with statin drugs—my doctor and I reached a gentlemanly agreement on the subject (he doesn’t bring up the subject of cholesterol anymore). It’s kind of funny though, he tells me that because I request treatment that is sometimes considered outside of the norm, he gets “dinged” for not following the sacred “standard of care.”

        As for the organ meats—I know I should eat them, but I’d rather die a year earlier than eat liver.

      4. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        I will pray for safe travels. We have an Israeli babysitter (more like a part of the family), and she would send us emails last summer from her visits home. I was very glad when she safely arrived back to us. But your mission sounds amazing.

        See what I mean about the guidelines and standards? Pft. Just awful. They’ll be changing eventually, I hope. Maybe.

        Now that’s a stubborn stance on liver. Safe journeys and Godspeed. ~~Terri

  2. myjourneythrume

    Excellent article Terri on such an important topic. Gluten free dairy free is not automatically healthy, it is so misunderstood. The effects are so unknown, be interesting to fast forward 5 or 10 years to see the impact. If only we could time travel! But then if we could do that we could have perhaps foreseen the impact of diet on obesity!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      No, it most definitely is not automatically healthy. But the marketing is so powerful, people tend to think that. Our obesity epidemic is heartbreaking. And people want a quick fix. After the last three years of putting diet to the test, I’m here to say that there’s no quick fix. But there’s definitely some fixes to be obtained with diligence and continued efforts. Enjoy your weekend, Jess.


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