Becketwood Cooperative
An Active, Independent 55+ Community of Owners in Minneapolis

Beginning a Dairy-free, Gluten-free Journey

By Tracy Gulliver, Becketwood Member

Healthy Plate Healthy Planet Series

On Wednesday afternoon I went shopping as if my life depended on it, which some might argue is stretching the truth to its limits. After coming home, I ate as though my life depended on it, and I’m sure you’d agree that food is essential to survival.

I ate what I would normally eat: meat, vegetables, fruit, etc. What’s missing from the list are dairy and wheat products. I used to pity those who had chosen to do without those food groups, but found it curious that friends said they felt so much better once they started, and continued, down the gluten-free, dairy-free path.

My shopping spree took place at the grocery store, where I read labels as if I were studying the spines of books at a library whose Dewey Decimal system included a refrigerator and freezer section. While on this nutrition field trip, I felt as though I were cramming for an exam that was scheduled to start in an hour and would take place at our kitchen table.

All of this was motivated by an intense desire to reduce my physical pain, and increase my energy level. After exhausting various forms of medicine and medical treatment that provided little relief, I saw a medical doctor who, rather than treating specific symptoms, takes a holistic approach with her patients. She is one of a growing number of physicians who emphasize the interconnectedness of body, mind, and spirit. An increasing number of doctors who recognize the benefit of integrating centuries-old medicine with modern medicine.

I’ve dabbled countless times in eating healthy food. I’ve subscribed to a CSA (an ideal way to shop locally), which expanded my vegetable repertoire and intake. I’ve supported local businesses by shopping at farmer’s markets. But I’ve never gone to the extreme of leaving dairy and wheat out of my diet—except for those three weeks in July several years ago when I begrudgingly tried to go without bread for a month. After twenty-one days of grumbling about sensory deprivation, I returned to my gluten-filled feasting. (We had just finished building our bread oven, after all.)

Between rising healthcare costs and simply wanting to feel good, I’m ready to take the plunge into a new nutritional lifestyle. Thankfully, Becketwood community members offer support for people like me who are taking tentative steps toward stocking their pantry with healthy alternatives. Friends have re-introduced me to old acquaintances like quinoa and wild rice. Hummus and kohlrabi are making a comeback in my refrigerator. Fruits and veggies are becoming a staple once more. Almond butter—or peanut butter—on celery and apples are old favorites that I’d almost forgotten.

For over forty-eight hours I’ve lived on nothing but fruit, vegetables, eggs, bacon, meat, nuts, tea and water. I see a fruit smoothie in my future. Aside from yesterday’s headache, which I attribute to carbohydrate withdrawal, I feel pretty good!

For a few months I’ve been glancing at the scheduled trips to local food co-ops, Trader Joe’s and Costco. A few times I was on the verge of signing up. If my schedule aligns with Becketwood’s, I might see you at the co-op!

Leave a Reply

  • Anonymous May 16, 2019, 4:50 pm

    Hey Traci, I’d be happy to take you with me to Seward Coop, which is a twice-weekly shop for me.

    • Susan De Vries May 16, 2019, 4:51 pm

      Forgot to sign the post—this is Susan DeVries!

  • Peggy Ryden May 18, 2019, 1:13 pm

    Hello Tracy- sounds familiar at our house only add in FODMAP. Working with a Dietitian at MNGI we identified several issues and got onto a modified diet path to wellness. The Dietitian was a lifesaver with a milk recommendation: Fairlife Milk with is triple filtered and lactose free. Made a difference in those gluten free baked goods 😁 Also, with a clinical test, found out that high fructose corn syrup added to problems- so- label, label, label reading at all grocery trips.

    Yes, shopping at Whole Foods made the journey easier.

    Take care!


  • Vanjie Bratt May 28, 2019, 3:41 pm

    Wishing you well Tracy. It works for me. Vanjie