Here's the good news... If dairy is fine for you, cultured plain organic yogurt is gluten-free; try it with a dab of honey, all natural 100% fruit jam or pure maple syrup. Flavored yogurts could be trouble- especially those with added granola or flavors made with barley.
Plain, aged block cheeses are generally safe; start with a wedge of good Parmesan and aged cheddar; both are high in calcium and have zero lactose. When you are ready to branch out, fresh goat cheese is delicious; and tangy, and there are many varieties of real cheese that are safe (check labels for additives, fillers or flavorings- these are possible culprits). And despite the popular myth that blue cheese is not safe, most blue cheeses are gluten-free. Again, watch for added flavorings.
Double check "low fat" versions of dairy food for added starches or fillers that may not be gluten-free.
If- like me- your digestion cannot tolerate lactose, casein or whey (the sugar and proteins in dairy food) there are several gluten-free vegan cheese alternatives on the market crafted from rice, almonds, cashews, pea protein or soy. Always check labels for hidden ingredients (some 'lactose-free' cheeses actually contain the milk protein casein).
Luckily, many non-dairy milks now say 'Gluten-Free' right on the package. Call the company when in doubt. Try the new chilled coconut milks in a carton, or almond milk, organic non-GMO soy milk, and hemp milk.
For sandwiches think: wraps made with corn, teff or brown rice tortillas (please check on these, as some brands have tested high in gluten), lettuce wraps, rice paper wraps, and even toasted gluten-free waffles (they make fabulous grilled panini).
See my recipe for a Gluten-Free Millet-Buckwheat Wrap.
There are several gluten-free breads available with a wide variety of quality and taste. Some are sawdust awful. Some aren’t half bad. Many new offerings are cropping up. Toasting makes almost any gluten-free bearable. (And when you're ready to bake, I've got gluten-free bread recipes that are delicious.)
However, I wouldn’t jump into gluten-free bread right away.
Give your taste buds time to adjust to the newness of gluten-free flours. They are, indeed, different. They smell different and taste different. The texture is different. It takes about two weeks or so to adjust your wheat craving taste buds to the alternative charms of gluten-free grains.
Be patient. The craving for wheat will pass. I promise.
An important note on oats... Oats have been a controversial topic in the celiac community. Here’s why. Although the protein in oats is not the exact same problematic protein found in wheat, rye, barley and spelt (note: spelt is NOT gluten-free), commercial oats have been found to contain gluten, possibly due to cross contamination in the harvesting, storing and milling process.
The good news is, a few small dedicated farms have begun producing certified gluten-free oats. Bob's Red Mill now has gluten-free certified oats- look for the GF symbol on the label.
Most doctors recommend avoiding oats completely until you have healed your gut inflammation. When you are ready to try some, start slowly. Oats are high in fiber. They can be a tad gassy for some individuals. Try them in small amounts at first, once or twice a week, to give your digestion a chance to adjust to the high fiber.
Aside from the obvious forbidden foods (standard breads, breadcrumbs, rolls, muffins, bagels, donuts, croissants, cereal, pizza, fried food, pasta, beer, crackers, pretzels, cookies, cake, brownies, pie crust) I advise saying no to processed foods and mixes, fast food, junk food, snack food dusted with added flavors, packaged seasonings, soups and dressings- in other words, anything with ingredients you can barely pronounce.
It is my personal belief that limiting refined sugars and starches, soda, unhealthy saturated trans fats and low nutrient junk food will go a long way toward healing a stressed digestive system.