I contemplated going gluten free for quite a while because of health reasons, but I held off simply because I had heard of the cost associated with specialty foods. I don’t have celiac disease, but I have been found to have sensitivity to gluten making me I feel like I have the flu 24/7 with the addition of terrible migraines. You won’t ever hear me say gluten free is for everyone, but it is for me. I have tested a month without gluten and then tested it by adding a couple of items such as bread/pasta into my diet, changing nothing else about my habits and realized gluten was just not for me.
A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale. (mayoclinic.org)
Going through my pantry I gave away a lot of food to neighbors due to BOGO’s from the corner grocery store. You know the crackers and cereals. You never see BOGO vegetables do you?
Next I bought several gluten free products paying over twice as much for substitutions such as gluten free spaghetti and tortilla wraps. Secretly inside I was afraid I would be missing out on something if I didn’t have soft tacos or ziti. Well after trying some of the gluten free products, I was not satisfied with the taste and even more aggravated with fact that I felt I was wasting money that I didn’t have in my budget to throw away. It was time for a different take on gluten free living.
So here are some changes I made. My tips to be gluten free healthy on a budget:
- Preparing your own meals as much as possible will help you in several ways. You know what you are eating and you are staying on your budget.
- Eggs are great, so boil some eggs for snacks and breakfast. At less than $3.00 a carton, how can you go wrong?
- Cottage cheese and yogurt is cheap and great for breakfast and snacks. Who needs cereal? However now there are several cereals on the market that are gluten free and not expensive. But keep in mind the recall that just happened because a well known cereal that was supposed to be gluten free was found to have some gluten in it. Why take a chance if you must stay away from gluten.
- Salads- but check the dressings. Gluten tends to hide out in certain places.
- Fruits and Vegetables-carrots and celery are fantastic with Hummus. Just try it-trust me.
- Buy a rotisserie chicken for dinner and make chicken salad for lunch the next day with the leftovers.
- Forget about the tortillas! Either wrap your food in butter lettuce or eat corn (hard shell) tortillas.
- Beans /Rice / Quinoa
- Buy meats and fish in bulk or on sale whenever you can.
- I do eat a lot of peanuts/almonds and I enjoy some protein bars that are gluten free and not expensive. Even buying these in bulk from the internet really cuts down on the expenses and always gives you something to throw in your purse for those weak moments that you will have.
- One weekness I have is that sometimes I miss a little crunch in my diet so I do spend a little bit more on some crackers made of almonds (Almond Thins by Blue Diamond) and I use this for my craving of crackers cheese This is my splurge.
It may seem overwhelming at first but just do it a little at a time and your body and mind will thank you if you have any type of autoimmune disease. I began with Hashimotos Thyroiditis which developed into thyroid cancer and had to have a thyroidectomy. I find that staying away from gluten has given me a life once again.
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