Easy Steps to a Gluten Free Diet

For over a year now, I have tried to eat a mainly gluten free diet in order to combat Lupus symptoms.  Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body) I have Cutaneous (skin) Lupus Erythematosus as well as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.  One of the symptoms I experienced was pain in my joints due to inflammation.

There are 35 diseases that can be caused by eating gluten listed in a review in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Some of these symptoms are: arthritis, ADHD, depression, anxiety, IBS, lupus, frequent headaches, fatigue, eczema, loss of muscle coordination, osteoporosis, a weakened immune system, fungal overgrowth, organ inflammation, weight loss/weight gain, and malnutrition. Gluten sensitivity also increases your risk for type 1 diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal cancers, brain disorders, autism and thyroid disease.

Are you running to your pantry yet?

It is worth your time and trouble to determine if you can live without eating gluten – both for you and your family.  There are other elements of a diet that are important too, but today – we’ll just focus on getting rid of gluten!

Last week, my husband shared that he felt better when he eat less gluten and was interested in trying to weed it out of his diet – this created some conversation on our facebook page about what to do, how to start and how you can begin the journey of eating gluten free.

Let me say, when I was first introduced to the idea of eating gluten free I thought, “No way – I could never give up my Wheat Thins (I was an avid Wheat Thin lover)”  {I did just find this recipe for some crackers that might fit my craving!}  But after some research and a trial period where I avoided gluten to see how I felt, I was convinced it was worth the trouble.  So long Wheat Thins!

It can be overwhelming if you allow it to consume you, but baby steps will get you there.  I tend to jump into things full force, and when I decided to go gluten free I was on the internet going crazy, researching, printing and filing recipes and resources.  But it isn’t really that hard and I’ve here to help you do it a bit easier!

Determine Who

Decide the approach you will take, who will participate in your family and go from there.  In our family it was only me; so it was rather easy.  I could make small changes, just not eat certain foods I was preparing and everyone else could go about their routine.

If on the other hand you have someone in your family that has Celiac disease or another complication from eating gluten, you will want to take a more aggressive approach.  What I will share here is tips on how I’ve chosen to become gluten free and how you can do it as well without breaking your family budget and increasing your stress.

Two great resources are just out too, on eating gluten free and I was so thrilled to share them with you.  You’ll want to check those out at the end of the post!

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein that can be found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats.  It can be found in things that are apparent, like a loaf of bread, but is also hidden in soup mixes, salad dressings, shampoo and more.  You can get an entire list of foods that contain gluten here:


If you are interested in seeing how not eating gluten changes the way your body feels, eliminate it from your diet for 2-4 weeks.  Get rid of 100 percent of gluten – then eat some gluten and see what happens.  In my case, I was physically ill within an hour of eating gluten. I knew my answer and now if I happen to miss an ingredient and eat gluten, I pay for it.

Products I Use

Here is a list of products that I have used, this list is not complete, but it will help get you on your way to finding replacements for those items you are eating which contain gluten.  Please note:  I still like chips, cookies and do not eat 100% healthy, so I do pick up products that aren’t necessarily “good for me”, so those products are here too!  I know I am still eating things that some of you may not be, but baby steps…..remember!

These are links to amazon – often times amazon is the cheapest place to buy specialty food items – especially with their new option for subscribe and save – when you order 5 or more items in one order for subscribe and save you receive an additional 20% discount.  I just ordered my Tide detergent – 100 FL OZ size and it cost me $9.54 – that is over a $1 less than my cheapest grocery store in my area – plus they delivered it right to my door!

It always pays to check amazon first – always!

Another note, it is no secret that gluten free products are more expensive than other products you may buy.  When you accept that, you are far ahead!  I have found I buy less junk food and we eat more whole food and thus it has not broken our budget.  I am careful to buy when things are on sale and stock up.  Replacing a lot of products you use that contain gluten and also completely getting rid of certain items and not eating them all together will save room in your budget as well.


Pamela’s Baking Mix

This is by far the best all purpose baking mix that I’ve tried.  When we make pancakes or waffles for breakfast, we use this and no one knows the difference!  You can use it for so many recipes, it keeps things easy.

Ancient Harvest Quinoa Organic Pasta Gluten Free

ancient harvest quinoa

We’ve tried several different types of gluten free pasta and this one is in my opinion the best – my family hardly knows they are not eating regular pasta.  It also comes is spaghetti too.


Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix

Such a wonderful find – this pizza crust is inexpensive and tastes great.  My kids prefer it to regular crust.  It makes Friday pizza night still a fun event at our house.

lucy's cookies

Lucy’s Cookies

This mama loves her sweet cookies with coffee – and these fit the bill.  I have purchased these packs before and it was great for the variety, and now recently was able to get some individual boxes at my grocery store.

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

When you are in the mood for homemade fresh out of the oven cookies – yum!  I also love the Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake mix and use this converted recipe I found in pinterest. I also have a gluten free recipe board.

Glutino Gluten Free Pretzels

I like to snack and pretzels are one thing that I like to have around.  I had not tried these until a friend brought them over for me for our Super Bowl party this year.  YUM!

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Cornbread Mix

You can easily replace bread with this easy cornbread mix – I will fix this when we have soup or stew for dinner and it is a hit.

Lay’s Stax Original Potato Chips Crisps

Our family use to eat Pringles, but they have wheat – so luckily these do not.  I can get them at my local store onl about $1.05 a can!

Also, I shared about my favorite Gluten Free Gingersnaps that Trader Joe’s carries too!

Resources to Make it Easier

A brand new ebook was relaased yesterday and it is available for FREE!  I’ve scanned over this and it is a great place to start with even more information on beginning a Gluten Free lifestyle.


How to Be Gluten Free

This is not a cookbook, but a few recipes are included in an appendix to get you started.

How to Be Gluten Free  is only available at the Amazon Kindle Store.  But you don’t have to own a Kindle to be able to read it. Amazon’s free reading apps allow you to read Kindle books on your computer or smart phone.

The eBook normally sells for $2.99, which is a great deal, but May 21 & 22 the book for free.


The Gluten Free Baking Mix Cookbook

You can grab this great book, written by Lynn Wall of Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures in either kindle or PDF format for only $.99 today, the regular price is $4.99.




easy homemade

Easy Homemade

I love this ebook by Mandi Ehman – I will say I am not a big “make everything from scratch” homemaker, but I am finding a few more things to make from scratch in order to keep out certain items I want to stay away from.  Her book has been a life saver!

Available on Kindle and PDF.


I have used the Gluten Free meal plan from Emeals off and on for about a year too.  This was a real help when I first started and didn’t have the energy to come up with my own recipes for dinner.  Until you get into the hang of converting recipes and substituting items, this is a real life saver!

Live Simply Meal Plan

I just discovered this great site and a free weekly meal plan is part of the blog!  I have yet to use the recipes, but it looks great and I’ve already printed several muffin recipes – she has some great tips!

There is a ton more I could cover, but I was so glad that the two resources above were released at the same time I was planning this post!  The ebook is free and is very well written.  You will be glad to get your copy!

I would love to hear how you plan to incorporate a gluten free diet in your home.  I am almost certain you won’t be sorry.  I know I am looking forward to converting my entire family over – with just a few changes and creating more awareness we can make it work!

A side note, I’ve made several changes in my life over the past year and going Gluten Free is just one, but I can tell you not only have my Lupus symptoms decreased, but my depression was lifted, my fatigue has decreased and my seasonal allergies have improved.  I know these benefits have been achieved by cutting the gluten as well as the introduction of using essential oils.  So many benefits await if you want to try! 

photo credit

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