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How I live gluten free without spending a pretty penny on food

I am a published writer & gluten-free junky who loves cooking, giving back and raising awareness on the #1 gluten-free giveaway site, Glutenfreefrenzy.com.

Think gluten free means bland, tasteless food or expensive grocery store alternatives? Not anymore. Living gluten free on a budget is not only do-able, it can be a fantastic way to live! Here is our quick guide to living and loving the gluten-free life.

Eat like a hippie

No that doesn't mean "special" brownies. What it means is to embrace your inner Earth goddess and try to eat foods that are close to the earth and minimally processed. Enjoy fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, natural meats and cheeses, whole gluten-free grains in their pure form including quinoa, brown and black rice, certified gluten-free oats, amaranth and buckwheat to name a few. For those with a sweet tooth, try to reach for homemade goodies using raw honey or real sugar when needed. Be sure to shop the perimeter of the grocery store to avoid high-priced gluten-free junk foods. Doing this one thing alone will save you a lot of "dough."

Try meatless meals

As a nation, we are consuming a scary amount of animal products. While I don't personally think there is anything wrong with eating meat, I do think we need to eat less. Try making some delicious black bean burgers or hearty meatless chili for dinner at least one night a week. Meat can be expensive so swapping out meals with meat for vegetarian options will put some change back into your wallet.

Eat at home

Making the majority of your meals at home will save you a fortune. Plus, you will know exactly what you are eating and can control the environment your food is being prepared in. Doing this will keep your g-free tummy happy too.

Be prepared

You may not be a Boy Scout but adopting the motto of "be prepared" by making snacks and meals ahead will save you some extra moola. Grab some Mason jars and begin layering your favorite salad ingredients with the dressing and "wet" ingredients on the bottom followed by the salad on top. When you are ready to eat, just shake the jar and enjoy!

Use all of your leftovers

When you make a roast chicken for Sunday dinner, pick off all the meat you can and use it in other dishes like homemade gluten-free enchiladas, chicken stir fry and more. Once you have gotten all the meat off, boil the bones to make your own chicken broth. Gluten-free chicken broth isn't cheap so this will save you a lot of money as well as encourage you to use it in another homemade dish like chicken tortilla soup. You will also be surprised just how much more meat you can get off the chicken once you boil it down. Hey, that's another meal! You can also use leftover baked potatoes and veggies from a dinner to make a colorful breakfast hash. Serve some over-easy eggs on top and nobody will ever know it was a meal made from leftovers.

As you can see, there are so many ways to save money. The great thing is that these tips can work for anyone, whether living gluten-free or not! Check out our recently released book Gluten-Free on a Budget, which is jam packed with ideas and over 100 recipes and photos for gluten-free snacks, meals and desserts that won't break the bank. The book has received praise from the Celiac Disease Foundation, Delight Gluten Free Magazine, some of the top gluten-free bloggers and even Jilly Lagasse, daughter of famous chef Emeril Lagasse, who lives gluten-free and has written two cookbooks of her own! You can also enter to win a copy every day until mid-February through the book's blog tour.

Image: Nomadic Lass via Flickr
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