This week, the US food and Drug Administration held additional sessions about the possibility of (finally) establishing a gluten-free food labeling standard.
Lately, a growing number of people are electing a gluten-free diet. Some due to health conditions such as celiac disease, and others to attempt alleviate symptoms of other conditions like ADHD and autism (it is unclear at this time of a GF diet truly resolves symptoms, but many friends swear by it).
I’ve been attempting to maintain a gluten-free diet now for two years, and let’s just say, it’s not that easy. On second thought, it can be easy, if you’re made of money. I’m not.
Something as simple as a late-night PB&J or a pizza fix can be paralyzing. I’ve seen gluten-free breads priced as high as $7 per loaf. Yes, $7! My husband buys regular whole wheat bread for the kids for $0.96 a loaf, and the loaf is twice the size of my precious GF loaves.
How to rein in the GF food costs?
There’s several strategies that might help you to keep the costs of a gluten free diet down. I’ll include holistic practical ideas first, and when those fail (because sometimes they do) I’ll include some coupons that I like.
- Follow the low-carb diets like Atkins and diabetic diets. The Atkins ones especially will avoid wheat and other grains. You can’t get your pancake fix, but you’ll be able eat mostly with confidence.
- If you must bake, mix your own flours if you can. If you can’t, don’t bother with flour mixes at the store (I once bought a bag of GF flour mix, and discovered upon better inspection of my receipt that it cost me $40.00.). The very best way that I have found to manage the flour issue is by buying GF flours online from catalog companies like Azure Standard (www.azurestandard.com). If you have a large enough order and can get on one of their delivery routes (Northwestern states only, sorry) there’s no shipping costs. If you need to bulk up your order, a 25 pound bucket of their peanut butter or cases of their BPA-free black turtle beans are fantastic, they also carry several good gluten-free pastas.
- When in doubt, use a coupon. Some of your favorite brands might offer coupons. I’ve downloaded coupons today from Udi’s bread, Crunchmaster Crackers and Garlic Jim’s. There are even entire lists of coupons for gluten-free products. List 1, List 2. Facebook “fans” and loyalty club members benefit here too, as coupons regularly make their appearances here.