Easy Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping

Today we kick off the first day of 30 Days to Easy Gluten-Free Living.  You are in for a treat this month as 30 different bloggers will share tips and treats all to make sure you know that it really can be easy living gluten free.  To check out the complete schedule visit HERE.  Tomorrow jump over to The Daily Dietribe where Iris will give you tips on Your First Day Living Gluten Free.  Remember this event lasts all month but it travels from blog to blog.

Grocery shopping is something I find people either like or they don’t.  For me it’s a lot of fun.  When I see so many fresh fruits, vegetables, meats  and seafood my head starts to spin with meal ideas.  But let’s back up to the first day I went grocery shopping when I found out that I was divorcing gluten and it was out of my life for good.  I say divorce because we all have a relationship with food.  For me this was a bad one.

My brain was still very foggy and I had a hard time sequencing tasks.  I even would get done shopping and not remember how to get home.  Gluten had really done a bad number on my body.  So when I went shopping I just went with no plan in mind and no idea what I was going to buy.  All I could remember was being told that gluten was in everything.  Quite frankly I was scared to death.  I think that first trip I was there for 3.5 to 4 hours.  Wandering around and reading every label on every product I could find was exhausting.  The ones that said gluten free on the label I tossed into the cart to try.

This was how I started my path to living gluten free.  I would make meals from the boxes of gluten free foods and frozen items.  I’d spend hours at the grocery store looking for what would be safe to eat with no thought of what would be good for me to eat.  I don’t think I’m alone with this type of start to living gluten free.

So here I was trying to heal my body from the effects of gluten and I was not giving it very much help.  See most of the products in boxes don’t have a lot of nutritional value.  They do have a lot of calories which really didn’t help the situation.  But what my body needed was good solid nutrients from real food.  I needed to be eating foods that would calm the inflammation, heal the damage and strengthen my body so it was healthy.

It never occurred to me that I could buy fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood and they were naturally gluten free.  I was wrongly told that gluten was in everything.  What they meant to say was that gluten is most often found in processed foods, not everything.  Wheat, barley, rye and oats from cross contamination are the foods that contain gluten.  That is not what I would call everything.  But foods with ingredient labels must be read carefully to make sure they have not added it in.

My nutritionist then told me to eat single ingredient foods.  Well my foggy brain took that to mean eat only one food at a time.  For instance eat only asparagus or only onion or only potato.  Those items don’t have ingredients labels because they are ingredients.

I think we need to be really careful in what we tell people and how we explain things, especially to those who have been sick for so long and finally find out the cause is gluten.  We need a little extra TLC and a confirmation that we understand what is being shared.

So today I’d like to share with you some tips with explanations on how to make your grocery shopping trips fast, easy and fun.

Make a menu for the week. Once you get used to doing this it will take you as long as 10 minutes to make it.  Try to make a menu with recipes that use whole foods.  Those single ingredient foods, real foods, or whatever you like to call them.  Organic fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, wild caught seafood, nuts, beans, coconut oil, Sea salt and items like that.

Make a list for the grocery store by using that menu. See what ingredients you need to make those meals that you don’t hava on hand and add them to your list.

Organize your shopping list.  Some like alphabetical, by category, or by the way the store is arranged.  You can even create a template with those headings and use it each time you make your shopping list.

Keep your list handy. Keep this template or whatever you write your grocery list on in the kitchen.  This way when you use the last of something that is a staple write it on the list so you can restock your pantry on your next trip.

Keep it fresh to keep it fast.  The more foods you have on your list that are fresh, which are on the outside isles of a grocery store, the faster you time will go at the store.

Beat the crowds. Try to pick a day or couple of different days and times to go shopping that is not as crowded.  This will help get you through the check out faster and it’s easier to get personalized service.

I hope you try out one or more of these suggestions and enjoy your easy shopping time at the grocery store.  Just remember the best tip to make shopping easy is to stick to the outer sides of the grocery store where the naturally gluten-free food can be found.   If you have any great tips to add to these lease share.

Have fun this month with the 30 Days to Easy Gluten-Free Living.

Monday May 2nd    me ,  The WHOLE Gang sharing Grocery Shopping Tips

Tuesday May 3rd  Iris from The Daily Dietribe sharing on Your First Day Living Gluten Free

Wednesday May 4th  Heather from Gluten-Free Cat sharing Smoothing the GF Transition with Smoothies

Thursday May 5th  Alta from Tasty Eats at Home sharing Convenience Foods

Friday May 6th  Elana from Elana’s Pantry sharing Quick and Easy Gluten Free Power Bars

Saturday May 7th  Cheryl from Gluten Free Goodness sharing Easy Meals

Sunday May 8th  Megan from Food Sensitivity Journal sharing Gluten Free Baking Undone:  Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Monday May 9th  Amy from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free sharing Quick & Simply Cooking

Tuesday May 10th  Ricki from Diet, Dessert and Dogs sharing Gluten Free Baking Tips

Wednesday May 11th      Ellen from Gluten-Free Diva sharing Travel Tips

Thursaday May 12th     Kim from Cook It Allergy Free sharing

Friday May 13th     Melissa from Gluten Free For Good sharing Gluten-Free Food Rules

Saturday May 14th  Brittany from Real Sustenance sharing Healthy Allergy-Free Quick Bread with easy flavor variations.

Sunday May 15th  Nicola from g-free Mom sharing Kids Lunch Boxes

Monday May 16th     Wendy from Celiacs in the House sharing Fast Food for Teens

Tuesday May 17th     Shirley from gluten free easily sharing Your Pantry is the Key to Being GFE

Wednesday May 18th     Nancy from  The Sensitive Pantry sharing BBQ and Picnic tips and Recipe

Thursday May 19th    Heidi from Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom sharing tips for getting kids to eat healthy, real-food snacks!

Friday May 20th  Silvana from Silvana’s Kitchen sharing

Saturday May 21st  Maggie from She Let Them Eat Cake sharing

Sunday May 22nd  Sea from Book of Yum sharing Gluten Free Vegetarian Burritos

Monday May 23rd     Tia from Glugle Gluten-Free sharing

Tuesday May 24th    Alisa from Alisa Cooks and Go Dairy Free sharing Wrap it Up-Thinking Outside the Bun

Wednesday May 25th  Hallie from Daily Bites sharing Keys to Colorful Cooking

Thursday May 26th     Carol from Simply…Gluten-Free sharing

Friday May 27th   AndreaAnna from Life as a Plate sharing Tips on Traveling on Day Trips with Kids

Saturday May 28th  Zoe from Z’s Cup of Tea sharing

Sunday May 29th  Kelly from The Spunky Coconut sharing

Monday May 30th  Jess from ATX Gluten-Free sharing 1 Meal 3 Ways, Jazzing up Leftovers

Tuesday May 31st  Naomi from Straight into Bed, Cakefree and Dried sharing





29 Responses to Easy Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping

  1. Shirley @ gfe May 2, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Great post, Diane. 🙂 Sharing your "evolution" on grocery shopping for gluten-free eating can really help others to skip over those overwhelming weeks of thinking that one has to only eat foods with a "gluten-free" label. And you're so right that both eating the naturally gluten-free foods and planning makes shopping a breeze as well as so much healthier and more economical, too. I'm so looking forward to this entire series!


    • Diane Eblin May 2, 2011 at 11:02 am #

      Thank you Shirley. I do hope people can skip the problems I had and created for myself. I think our bodies and minds need a little extra TLC from both ourselves and those helping us. I know being on the other side I don't always remember what it was like trying to figure it all out with a foggy muddled mind. Now when I forget things I can blame it on the dog. 🙂

      I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone shares too!

  2. tastyeatsathome May 2, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Great article, Diane. When I went gluten-free, I was already somewhat familiar with the lifestyle, as my dad was diagnosed with celiac disease when I was about 14 or so. I still had a steep learning curve, to be sure, but nowhere as overwhelming as you describe (and as so many others I know have endured). I can only imagine how traumatizing that can be at first! These are great tips.

  3. Ricki May 2, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Great tips, Diane. Thanks! And I know that these would actually be useful for many kinds of shoppers, not just GF ones. 🙂

    • Diane Eblin May 4, 2011 at 8:50 am #

      Ricki thank you. I like your point. I think that is so true and that really living gluten free is not all the different than the rest of the ways of eating. It can really feel alienating sometimes but if we stick to the real foods, well we're just like everyone else. Well almost.

  4. Kim-Cook It AF May 2, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    This is a great post, Diane! I think that people would not feel so overwhelmed if they followed your ideas. I forget sometimes what it felt like in the beginning and I was still trying to navigate the gf grocery stores. This is great advice and some that I had wished I had had 6 years ago!! Off to share it now! xo

    • Diane Eblin May 4, 2011 at 8:48 am #

      Kim you and me both. I think it would have been even better if someone had come with me on that first trip too. That's one thing I'll be offering my clients. I forgot to add in one more tip, train your kids how to shop so you can send them!

  5. Stephanie May 2, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    Excellent article, and I'm excited to see what everyone shares for the event!

    • Diane Eblin May 4, 2011 at 8:46 am #

      Thank you Stephanie. I hope you found something useful and I hope you'll read on to the other contributors daily.

  6. Iris May 3, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    I really liked this post, Diane. To be honest, it gives me something to think about for when I'm counseling clients. Going gluten-free can be overwhelming, and for someone who might not be in the best place mentally and physically, basic and clear guidelines are necessary.

    • Diane Eblin May 4, 2011 at 8:45 am #

      For me it's easy to forget what it was like in the beginning. It is key as we talk with clients that we help them through changes especially if they are dealing with the fog.

  7. Wendy May 3, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    A great start to the series, Diane.

    • Diane Eblin May 4, 2011 at 8:44 am #

      Thank you Wendy! I can't wait to see what everyone shares.

  8. Laura May 3, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    Thanks for this post! I can so TOTALLY identify with the gluten induced foggy brain and your 1st experience with shopping! It’s so great to see someone else put it into words!

    • Diane Eblin May 4, 2011 at 8:43 am #

      Thank you Laura. I'm glad that part has past for me.

  9. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat May 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Grocery shopping can be so overwhelming! Your simplifying tips could be helpful for the gf and gluten-eaters alike! I like using my lists app on my iPhone. I’ve typed in all the items I buy and just tap a check mark when I need to buy an item. As I’m shopping, I uncheck each item and end with a full cart, all unchecked boxes, and peace of mind!

    • Diane Eblin May 4, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

      Heather you are wonderful! I love that idea. OK which list apps are you using and can the list be sorted? I like the unchecking too so you can see if you missed anything. Brilliant!

  10. Gluten Intolerance May 9, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    I’m very thankful to have this information about the blog. And these 30 days of blogging, discussing and sharing tips about gluten will actually help out divorcing with gluten. Thanks Iris for being one to help.

  11. benefits of coconut May 10, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Hello I am always researching for ways to become healthier by using coconuts, I appreciate your blog post! I wish I would have known about coconuts sooner! This is actually really good info!

  12. Tia @ Glugle GF May 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    Well, I tried to leave a comment days ago, but my iPad wouldn't let me. I finally have my computer running, so…This is great. I wish I would have had this post 6 years ago when I bought any and everything that said gluten-free at Whole Foods. Even stuff I didn't normally eat. Grocery shopping is already overwhelming sometimes. Finding out you can't eat anything you normally do makes it crazy. This post will help calm people down and make them realize it IS manageable. Even fun, as they explore new choices.

  13. ineedapedicure.com May 17, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Really excellent post! Exactly what I experienced after diagnosis. I hope newly diagnosed folks find this info; it'll give them a great head start.

  14. Fiona May 29, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    I'm not celiac that I know of, but I have discovered that my body doesn't like wheat (rye seems fine?). When I finally found out what was making me feel awful, I was cautiously grateful. I didn't eat badly, but it's an imposition to cut wheat. Doing so forced me to cook a lot more for myself and I have discovered so much wonderful food that I probably wouldn't have without cutting out wheat. I am so happy that I had this "imposition" because it's caused me to learn what real food is, what it tastes like and what real health is all about.

    • Diane Eblin May 30, 2011 at 10:33 am #

      Fiona that is how I felt too. For me finding out about gluten and rice forced me not to go to the gf boxes of food and eat real food. Eating real food sure can make the body feel better! Thank you so much for sharing.

  15. jubilanthope June 3, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    I find shopping for packaged meats like frozen fish, turkey(butterball or some other brand) hamburger patties and probably others i can't think of at the moment hard to shop for. Any tips for this kind of stuff. Gluten comes in with so many names. I have a book that lists alot of terms used for gluten but the one that gets me most of the time is artificial flavoring or spices. How do we know these things do not contain gluten. I want to buy a big turkey and cook it but have no idea which one is ok.

    • Diane Eblin June 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

      You are right. The more you need to read the harder it is and the longer it takes to shop. Here is what I do when buying meats. I go to the butcher and ask for organic. I also buy from farms. If those are not options buy things in the closest form from which it came. So a chuck roast is less money and you can ask the butcher to grind it for you. Get organic or kosher chicken or turkey that says no hormones or antibiotics. You don't want any poultry with anything injected. Just the poultry. Stay as far away from any artificial flavorings or spices as possible. You can add your own and have it taste the way you want. If you need ideas on how to do that let me know. You can search on my blog for recipes according to ingredients.

  16. foods have gluten December 25, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    Very great post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I’ve really loved browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  17. Jaimie February 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    Wow, this post is just what I need. I've just been diagnosed with IBS and put on a low-fodmap diet with is gluten-free, dairy-free, bean/legume-free as well as eliminating some sugars from fruits and vegetables. It's only temporary (the diet that is) but it's helping and I ended up spending a fortune at the grocery store. I look forward to reading the rest of this series as well as your site for more great ideas as I do think I may be gluten free forever. Thanks so much for posting all this!

    • Diane Eblin February 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

      Jaimie so glad you found us. How temporary is your diet and why is it only temporary? If you find you feel better and are healthier, will you go back?

  18. Fatcat March 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Good points here.