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Is The Paleo Diet Gluten Free And Dairy Free?

  • Amy 

Does The Paleo Diet Exclude Gluten & Dairy? – Our Guide

Trying to find the right diets and foods when you have intolerances and allergies is not easy, with vegan, paleo and other diets, figuring out what is gluten and dairy friendly can be confusing. 

The paleo diet is gluten-free since it excludes most grains and legumes, it is also strictly dairy-free with no cheese and milk allowed, making it a great food plan to follow if you suffer from these intolerances.

In our guide below, we’ve discussed in further detail the difference between a paleo diet and gluten/dairy-free diets, foods containing gluten/dairy, the pros and cons of paleo diets and some food knowledge.

Let’s get into it!

What’s The Difference Between A Paleo & Gluten/Dairy Free Diet? 

If a paleo and gluten-free/dairy-free diet are essentially the same, you might be wondering what the differences are. 

We’ve listed the definitions of all diets below to help you get clarity. 

The Paleo Diet 

To begin, let’s start with the paleo diet, this diet is made up to resemble what hunters and gathers ate many years ago, avoiding most modern foods like cheese or processed options. The basic concept of this diet is to only eat whole foods, in turn, illnesses such as heart disease and obesity are reduced.

For example, food choices like eggs, meat, nuts and seeds are staples, while legumes, sweeteners and processed foods are avoided. 

Nowadays some paleo diets include dairy foods like grass-fed butter or gluten-free grains, which makes them not dairy-free, you should also understand that paleo diets aim to eat foods like our ancestors, there are many gluten free processed foods available, which is where the two diets are different.

Similarities 

  • Most dairy and gluten are avoided. 
  • Can lead to weight loss.

Differences 

  • Modern paleo diets included dairy products considered healthy. 
  • Gluten free diets still included processed foods, unlike paleo diets.

Gluten Free Diet 

Many of us do suffer from a gluten sensitivity without knowing it, but it’s mostly diagnosed in people with celiac disease or people who have severe side effects after the consumption of foods with gluten. 

A gluten free diet avoids foods with protein gluten, wheat, rye and barley, but unlike a paleo diet, it can still include gluten free junk food, therefore is different. 

Similarities 

  • Avoids grains and other gluten sources. 
  • Uses gluten free grains as a substitute.
  • Can lead to weight loss.

Difference

  • A gluten free diet can still include processed foods and is not strict about a hunter-gatherer’s food choice.

Dairy Free Diet

Dairy free diets are typically followed due to intolerances, allergies or personal preferences, like paleo foods cut out all dairy components in foods and dairy products, this includes milk or cheese and even processed foods made with milk powder.

Unlike paleo and gluten free diets, however, a dairy free diet can still include junk food, processed foods and foods with gluten. 

Similarities 

  • Cuts out dairy products like paleo foods.

Differences

  • Still includes gluten and processed foods.

Which Foods Contain Gluten? 

Even if you decide to just eat paleo-friendly foods it’s a good idea to be aware of the exact foods which have gluten so that you can be sure to avoid them.

Although paleo diets are strictly no gluten, it’s typically not for medical reasons, so you need to be more careful if you have continuous inflammation from gluten. Most foods will state on the label whether or not they are gluten free.

We’ve listed some example foods containing gluten below (as you can see most of them are processed). 

  • Some oats. 
  • Wheat, barley and rye. 
  • Beer. 
  • Cakes and pies. 
  • Crisps like tortilla chips. 
  • Pasta 
  • Chips. 
  • Cookies. 
  • Cereals. 

Which Foods Contain Dairy?

For some people, grass fed butter is now classed as paleo-friendly food, therefore we recommend checking paleo food recipes a few times if your following a dairy free diet to ensure they are really dairy free.

Typically, you’ll find that most foods will state on their label whether or not they are dairy free.

We’ve listed some common dairy products to avoid below. 

  • Whey protein. 
  • Ice cream. 
  • Cream. 
  • Milk. 
  • Butter. 
  • Cheese.

Are There Benefits To Going Paleo?

The paleo diet is becoming more and more popular with people looking for a more natural alternative to the modern diet, it often includes anti-inflammatory food and only organic animal foods to avoid any artificial ingredients, but just how good is it for our health? 

We’ve listed some advantages of following a paleo diet down below. 

  • Gives you lots of nutrients – The paleo diet is full of rich nutrient food such as veggies, fruits, nuts and seafood. 
  • Could promote weight loss – There have been many reports that people who follow a paleo diet tend to lose weight, this might be due to an accidental calorie deficit if you are used to eating more processed high-calorie foods.
  • Helps heart health – People who follow a paleo diet have been linked to having better heart health, with lower levels of blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. This is based on a limited number of studies, however.
  • Could help you live longer – Studies comparing people who followed a paleo diet to people who didn’t show that people following the paleo diet lived longer with fewer rates of mortality, this could be explained by the higher veggie and nutrients intake, however.
  • Possible benefits for people with MS – There have been some studies where MS patients have improved their quality of life by following the model of a paleo diet, with less meat and fish, however. 

What Are Downfalls Of Going Paleo?

Although there are lots of health benefits to going paleo, you should also be aware of the negatives before following this new way of eating. 

  • Very costly and time-intensive – With no processed foods, making the foods you want can be very time intensive. Choosing higher quality options such as grass fed beef also makes this lifestyle pricier. 
  • Less iodine – The paleo diet does promote switching to pink Himalayan salt rather than iodine salt, there is a small risk that this could then cause an iodine deficiency. 
  • Could have a bad impact on gut microbe – Taking out all grains and a lot of fibre sources can be bad for your gut microbe rather than beneficial.
  • Takes out food groups – For people who already follow a gluten free and dairy diet, you might be widely restricted on the foods you can eat, paleo also restricts more of these foods, avoiding processed foods.

The Best Food To Have When Paleo 

Figuring out what you can and cannot eat when starting a new diet with lots of restrictions can be overwhelming, to help you simplify what types of food you can and cannot we have listed some examples below. 

  • Wild caught fish and seafood.
  • Grass fed meat. 
  • Eggs. 
  • Fresh fruit and veg. 
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Good oils such as flaxseed, coconut and olive oil.

The Foods To Avoid When Paleo

The paleo diet as you’ve seen typically consists of a gluten-free diet, dairy free diet and lots of natural nutrient dense food. 

We’ve listed some examples of the foods to avoid when following this plan below. 

  • Refined sugar and sweeteners. 
  • Oats. 
  • Pasta. 
  • Bread. 
  • Peanut butter. 
  • Processed foods. 
  • Beans and lentils.

Our Top Paleo Gluten Free & Dairy Free Recipes 

If you’ve decided to go paleo and you’re also gluten free and dairy free, adjusting to the diet shouldn’t be too difficult since you’re already used to eating gluten-free food and non-dairy products. 

To give you some ideas of food for your new paleo diet we’ve listed some recipes for you to try out below. 

Courgette Chicken Burgers 

Ingredients 

  • 500g of minced chicken. 
  • One courgette. 
  • An onion.
  • Two chopped garlic cloves. 
  • Half a cup of celery. 
  • Two tablespoons of avocado oil. 
  • Handful of basil.

Method 

  1. Begin by grating the courgette then squeezing the excess water out, salt again then squeeze one more time. Chop the basil, celery and garlic. 
  2.  Heat your pan with a spoon of avocado oil then add in the onion and fry for around 5 minutes, next add the celery and garlic then take off the heat. 
  3. Place your chicken mince, grated courgette, basil and onion mixture into a bowl then mix with your hands and form into 4 burger patties. 
  4. Cook the burgers for around 6 minutes on each side until cooked through then serve. 

Turkey Wrap

Ingredients 

  • 500g of shredded cooked chicken. 
  • A cup of vegan tzatziki. 
  • Four large lettuce leaves or coconut wraps. 
  • Half a cup of olives. 
  • Toppings of choice like diced tomatoes and onions. 

Method 

  1. Place your wraps on a plate, sprinkle on your cooked turkey then top with the olives and tzatziki. 

Cauliflower Buddha Bowl

Ingredients 

  • One cup of cooked cauliflower rice. 
  • Bunch of kale. 
  • Cooked sweet potato. 
  • One avocado. 
  • Teaspoon of coconut oil. 
  • Half a cup of water. 
  • One diced white onion.
  • Four tablespoons of tahini. 
  • Half a lime. 
  • One garlic clove. 
  • Water to loosen.

Method

  1. Start by roasting your sweet potato for 30 minutes then heat your oil in a pan, add in the onions and kale, cooking for about ten minutes until it starts to soften.
  2. Take a bowl, place your cauliflower rice at the bottom then place your kale, sweet potato and avocado on top, drizzle the tahini sauce on top. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Gluten/Dairy Free Paleo Diets 

Can a paleo diet help with autoimmune disease? 

Paleo diets are well known to be full of beneficial anti-inflammatory ingredients, but they can also help autoimmune disease types such as IBS, MS, eczema and celiac disease.

Does white rice have gluten? 

No, most rice is typically gluten free as long as brought in its natural form, we would recommend still being cautious with rice however as not all rice-based products are gluten free depending on additional ingredients.

How do you know if you have food intolerances to gluten and dairy? 

Some symptoms of intolerances can be; bloating, nausea, acid reflux, stomach cramps and diarrhea after eating gluten and dairy products. It’s best to go to a doctor/nutritionist to get your diagnosis before confirming yourself.

What are the benefits of a grain-free diet?

Grain free diets can help with weight loss, inflammation, digestion and blood sugar levels, this differs according to different body types, however.  

What vegetable oils are paleo friendly? 

Avocado oil, coconut oil and olive oil are some of the most paleo friendly types of oil with beneficial nutrients.

What are the celiac disease symptoms?

Celiac disease can be hard to diagnose since some people do not have any symptoms, some common symptoms to look out for are; abdominal pain, wind, fatty stools and consistent diarrhoea.

The best way to figure out is by contacting your doctor and keeping a food diary to see what flares up your symptoms, you then might be asked to try out an elimination diet.

Is corn syrup paleo friendly? 

Corn syrup is not paleo, this is a very high processed sugar syrup and therefore not natural at all, the syrup is also very high in fructose which spikes blood sugar and can cause inflammation in the body.

Last Words

Overall, the Paleo diet is mostly gluten and dairy free, however, we would always double-check ingredients and recipes just in case, since the paleo diet does not include these products for preference rather than for medical reasons. 

Some paleo diets also included grass fed butter, so be cautious if you have a dairy intolerance.

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Amy Toliver

Hey'all I'm Amy, a born foodie and diagnosed with celiac disease 7 years ago. I refused to cave into tasteless, boring gulten free food and create my own! On my blog you'll find info & cool facts along with recipes, all on gluten free foods!