"so you are allergic to gluten. No wheat, barley, rye etc etc for the rest of your life."
"woah. Are you freaking kidding me?!"
"oh and by the way I need you to stop eating dairy, eggs, beef, citrus fruits.... Etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc (not joking) for at least 6 months."
"ok. But could you do me a favor?"
Yeah that's basically how it went. I am very lucky that after my insides got all healed up (and taking like 30 medications and supplements a day), I can now eat cheese and butter. Still no milk- but honestly I prefer the substitutes. I still don't eat egg whites (high allergy there) and I've had beef once since my diagnosis almost a year ago. Who needs beef when ground Turkey is the bomb and they make turkey pastrami? If I crave a steak i'll eat one, the once a year I crave it ;) anyway....
But oh I remember thinking "what in the hell am I supposed to eat?!!" I lived on carrot sticks and apples for 2 days until I got up the courage to go looking. The gluten thing was a big enough shock on its own. Goodness sakes.
And then I found out it wasn't AS HARD as I'd thought. Still difficult, but the challenge made me want it even more. Here are my favorite products that help with substitutions. You aren't going to be eating deviled eggs or macaroni and cheese with these... But you'll be able to bake without eggs or milk and put a slice of "cheese" on your turkey burger.
You can also substitute eggs in baking with cornstarch or pureed flax seeds. But I felt like this egg sub was no fail in everything I used it in.
Let's talk about "milk" for a second. First, not all soy milks, almond milks etc are gluten free. I don't drink rice milk now because it seems a lot of them contain trace amounts of gluten. And they also found trace amounts of arsenic in rice milk. All that plus low nutrition content... No thanks.
I love almond, soy, and coconut milk. I use regular almond milk for mashed potatoes or to eat with already sugary cereal. I use vanilla soy or almond milk for baking.... Or chocolate coconut milk for chocolate baked goods. I am not a huge fan of straight drinking regular coconut milk. But I use it in a lot of Thai and Indian cooking. It's not as thick as the stuff you get in a can though so its best for soups and to thin out sauces.
"cheese." I found that the soy mozzarella was fine as long as it was melted and not the main ingredient. I used a soy milk and goat cheese mix as a sub for ricotta in my lasagna. A lot of people who can't have cows milk can have goats milk just FYI :). Give them a try- just don't expect cheddar... Keep your mind open and just see if it tastes good. The stuff pictured above is great for a slice to melt on something.
And the butter sub above is my favorite. I used it in baked goods and on toast. Easy easy. But seriously though... Toast with coconut butter will blow your mind. Simple. So yum. Dairy free.
Lastly, whole foods carries a great gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, (food free... J/k) brownie. I am so annoyed I can't remember the brand but there was only one kind. It was over in the bakery area. And it's good. Like fulfill that craving, legitimately good.
Best of luck to ya!