cleaning up our diet

Well Christmas has been and gone, we’ve been on our summer holiday to byron bay which was so relaxing and beautiful and I will write a blog post as it’s great for a family holiday (even with the traffic and backpackers) and we had the best house that sleeps 10. Anyway so I’m a bit behind with blog posts but the one thing I was determined to do this year was clean up our diets and get back on track. I thought I’d share where we’re at, what we’ve tried and what the end diet is going to look like. I am sharing in case you need a bit more motivation to clean up things at your house. It’s hard – on holidays we were eating pizza, ice cream and chips and now we’re eating meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, rice and fruit. It’s been a big adjustment after our holiday and Christmas excesses but the benefits can already be seen.


So for two weeks most of the family have been eating foods free of gluten, dairy, soy and corn. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen and I’ve also had lots of kids coming up to me asking for food because they can’t just reach for a packet of biscuits.  I did a big clearout of the pantry and fridge, made a meal plan, worked out breakfasts and snacks and hoped for the best.

My goal is to try a diet free of grains and sugar as these seem to be the foods causing us problems.

How we did it

  • cleared out the pantry and fridge and restock with allowed foods – we didn’t do a lot of throwing out as things were eaten but I just didn’t restock them
  • have groceries and fresh fruit and veg delivered to you so you don’t need to go to the shops and be tempted. I also need to avoid the grocery shopping with little kids until we’re further along the diet.
  • have a game plan – you need breakfast, lunches and dinners sorted and in your head or written out as you’ll be making everything
  • switch the most favourite foods with an alternative – so toast is now gluten free bread but we’re moving to eggs for breakfast. Instead of ice cream or a sweet dessert from a tub we’re making our own fruit sorbet in the thermomix with frozen fruit and a bit of fresh banana to make it smooth
  • be strict – there have been some tears from my bread addict who just wants to eat toast all day but he is my pickiest eater and had a date and nut ball this week which was a big achievement. If you have any kids with a very restrictive diet then this is a great time to introduce more foods into their diet but it will take some time and patience.
  • We use a 3 mouthful rule for the picky eater – they need to try 3 mouthfuls and then you’ll take the plate away.
  • Go for variety so that kids don’t get stuck on one replacement (eg gluten free bread or crackers). If you have lots of fruit and a few different options at dinner then you can avoid this.
  • have a little note book and write out what was eaten each day and what you noticed. Make sure you write down why you want to try the diet and what are the worst things you are seeing now (eg reactions, picky eaters, bad habits, bad behaviours, allergies etc).
  • in the early days it’s ok to slip up
  • collect some great cookbooks that can help you – my favourites are Against All Grain and anything by Quirky Cooking because they have family favourites and kid friendly foods and easily available ingredients. The library has lots of books to chose from and blogs are full of recipes so you don’t need to spend any money here.
  • don’t replace everything with packaged food – there are no gluten free or dairy free packaged foods in the house except for plain rice crackers which my kids love but they are down to sharing 1 pack a day.
  • if you do have really picky eaters try mini sausages or meatballs (you can make these yourself just with meat – I steam mine in the varoma). Everyone seems to love these and I love the cleavers range that you can pick up at the supermarket.
  • use your slowcooker for dinner – this week we’ve had every dinner out of the slowcooker and it means that dinner is ready by late afternoon and instead of kids wanting snacks they are having a little bit of dinner which tides them over. It also means it’s kept hot for when dad comes in later. Today I’ve got leftover chicken from yesterday and the chicken stock with lots of vegetables for a chicken and vegetable soup with sorbet for dessert
  • organic fruit and veg and more expensive meat are definitely more expensive for the grocery budget but we haven’t had any takeaway or snack foods and our grocery budget has no prepackaged foods which get gobbled up so fast in this house.
  • lots of water to drink too!
  • a multivitamin if you’re not already taking one and same for the kids too. We will look at certain supplements later on when we are back to the paed but for now just a multivitamin each morning.


What have we been eating?

Breakfasts are usually gluten free toast with avocado or vegemite (remember we are moving away from this but this is our transitioning breakfast) or eggs. Lunches have been a grain like rice or quinoa with some protein like tuna/chicken/meat and some veg. Dinners have been something more hearty like chicken and veg, meatballs in sauce, roast, soups, casseroles, stir fries (beef and rice noodle was a winner with tamari and lots of vegetables, Quirky cooking’s singapore noodles is a winner for your pickiest eaters). Snacks have been fruit, frittata, rice crackers, date and nut balls, a scoop of frozen fruit whizzed up in the thermomix and leftovers.

So has it been worth all the effort? Absolutely. We’ve also started ABA therapy 3 times and a week so the timing is perfect. For our little girl and the main reason we are doing this it’s been amazing – we have had so many new conversations, a big sense of humour and retelling me things that have happened, lots of back and forth chatting, better behaviour (still lots to work on but better) and my little boys are eating more foods and breaking up with some of their favourite foods that they needed to. At the same time I’ve been able to see that there are more foods causing issues that we will need to look at too.

If you still need more convincing then read the GAPS book (we won’t do the GAPS diet strictly but its the book that puts all the pieces together especially if you have health problems of your own), Nourishing Meals, Against All Grain, the latest book by Quirky Cooking,  anything that is paleo or SCD based. I have some gluten free recipes here and dairy free recipes are here.

I’ll report back in another 2 weeks with how we are going……………….


  1. Hi Corrie, Glad to see you back posting again. I love what you write and enjoy watching your family grow. Just a little word of caution regarding removing all Dairy from your kids diet. My son has been allergic to diary his whole life(15 years now) and therefore can’t have it however, due to his condition I understand the impact removing this can have. Dairy is a huge way kids get calcium into their bodies. They need this to grow healthy strong bones. You will not know the outcome of excluding it from their diet until it is too late and you can no longer do anything about it. I understand that some kids don’t tolerate it for a variety of reasons however excluding it as a ‘healthy’ alternative isn’t actually healthy. I have had to have my son on Calcium supplements due to his condition (even though the supplement is no where near as good as the real thing) to try to ensure his bones are not compromised once he is an adult. Just a little warning.

    • I’d second that warning and recommend seeing a dietitian with experience in low gluten and dairy diets for kids. They may be missing out on some other nutrients needed for their growing bodies- a healthy diet that is low in gluten and dairy is achievable (and it certainly does sound like it is benefitting your family) but it does need to be planned out pretty carefully to ensure all nutrient needs are met. If you have an NDIS plan you may be able to get funding to cover this. Just my two cents worth as a mum and dietitian 😄

    • Hi,
      I actually think our body doesn’t require dairy.
      I’ve been following a vegan plant based diet for a couple of months and body is better then ever. Dairy had me bloated, more mucous.
      GP also mentioned to just give kids more greens to replace iron, calcium.
      We stock up on brown rice,plain crackers, fruit, veg.lots of potato, sweet potato.

      • yes I have a bit of milk in my coffee for breakfast and that’s me done, calcium levels all fine but I do take a good multivitamin made by thorne. None of my kids like drinking milk and I think they get it from me:)

  2. We are doing the same thing over Jan, Corrie. 2 of my children has ASD and ADHD and we find their behaviour improves with diet changes. I wondered if you had found skinnymixers? Her blog has some great recipes that don’t need a lot of changes to be dairy and grain free.

  3. Hi Corrie
    Good on you. After being dairy & gluten free for a year myself as an adult, I can appreciate how much of a challenge going low gluten & dairy would be for your entire family! Eating out is particularly challenging when both dairy & gluten intolerant. Many times my option is hot chips, which isn’t awesome!
    Anyway, my fav recipe book for family cooking is this one
    I nearly didn’t buy it because it makes no mention of gluten-dairy free. But when I flipped through I noticed 90% of the recipes were ones I could eat. Now it’s my go-to book for low sugar/gluten & dairy free.
    This one is also really good:

    And you may also like this one:

  4. Have u tried coconut yoghurt? Nudie brand or coyo? We r not on a restricted diet but I found it was good for my ‘limited dairy’ family 😊

  5. I have been trying to put us on a more whole food diet. Wholegrains and fresh food. Mr3 hasnt noticed yet haha

  6. Meredith Donkin says:

    We’re in a similar space (although for epilepsy reasons though for three of our kiddos.) I’ve found this post incredibly encouraging! Will be praying for you while I’m praying for me! Big hugs, Meredith xo

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