A gluten-free and lactose-free diet is renowned for being restrictive, but this does not mean it has to compromise on taste or quality.  It is now easier than ever to maintain a gluten and lactose free diet and lifestyle, because today, there is a wealth of information, products and support networks easily available on-line, in bookshops or at your local community library. Food intolerances are very complex and no two people will react in the same way. However, this blog and all of my recipes within, are produced for people who are “intolerant” to gluten and lactose, not for those of you who are “allergic” to cow's milk, gluten or who have been diagnosed with coeliac disease.  If you think that you may be allergic to certain foods or may have coeliac disease, then you must seek professional, medical advice as this can potentially be very serious.

Firstly, there are no secrets! For over 15 years I have been adapting and modifying our family-friendly, budget-friendly, everyday, simple, gluten-free and lactose-free recipes. There are many 'free from' recipe books 'out there' on the market that give fancy, restaurant-style, gourmet-looking dishes, but I could never find one that I was happy with and that gave me simple, everyday, traditional recipes, for both a gluten and lactose free diet, with ingredients that were not too expensive for our budget.

I remember when my husband and I first realised that the family's intolerances to gluten and lactose were going to have a major impact, not only our budget, but on the way we sourced ingredients and prepared family meals, puddings, snacks, picnics and school packed lunches.  It felt daunting, and I knew that the time I was spending in the kitchen would have to substantially increase if we were going to eat well on this diet and stay within the family budget.

So secondly, as a mother, it became my mission to prove that “special food is still tasty food” and that we do not have to miss out on all the lovely things we were used to eating. We still have lots of fun trying out new recipes, ingredients and possibilities with food and delivering our verdicts on new ventures in the kitchen! For example, I was recently asked if I knew a dairy free alternative recipe for sweetened condensed milk. It took me a couple of weeks to develop one that we were happy with but my nine year old 'chief taster' loved every minute of the research!

In addition, the very nature of this diet is a healthy one because as a family we eat little or no processed and convenience foods, than we may have done previously! Although processed and convenience foods are not all bad for you, many are still generally energy-dense, containing higher amounts of fats, sugar and salt per gram.

In conclusion, my selection of delicious recipes will help you to see how home-made, gluten and lactose free foods are not only nutritious, but restore your faith in food being a wholly enjoyable experience! You will be able to manage this diet very well, once your knowledge of gluten and lactose containing foods has grown and your store cupboard is well stocked with the alternatives. Remain positive, be creative, embrace the challenge and remember that it is a case or what you “can eat,” not what you “can't eat!”