Wednesday, July 18, 2007

GF = Gluten Free

When our daughter was diagnosed as gluten-intolerant, I went to the library and checked out every book on gluten-free eating. The advice was mostly that removing gluten from your life was easy. Just replace your flour with gluten-free flour! Just buy gluten-free bread! And cereal! And pizza crusts!

But. Here's the thing. GF foods? Meh. Not so extra yummy. And also expensive. So expensive. Here's a run-down of some common items:

  • GF bread - $4.89 for teeny tiny loaf
  • GF cereal - $4.99 for small box
  • GF frozen waffles - $1.98/6 (at Wal-Mart, at least $1 more anywhere else)
  • GF single-serve pizza crusts - $7.00 for 5
  • GF pasta - $5.00/box

Okay. So, we could do some of that. And we do. But to eat like we used to, only replace our glutenous products with non-glutenous products? No way. There is NO WAY we could afford that. Also, meh, again with the bluck, so I would end up making two meals, regular and GF.

BUT. But. Did you know? There are lots of foods out there, lots and lots, that are naturally gluten free. And yummy? Like:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Quinoa (okay, I haven't tried this because $$$$)
  • Meat (People should be careful with this though, if you are EXTREMELY sensitive, you may react to what the animal ate. If that isn't enough to make you a vegetarian, well, I'll never be a vegetarian.)

Not a bad place to start, right?

Additionally, most budget cooking relies heavily on breads, pastas, etc., especially to fill in the edges. Want a cheap breakfast? Make your own pancakes! Cheap lunches? Peanut butter sandwiches! Nope, not in our house.

So, here I am, publically challenging myself to cook gluten-free for a family of four on a budget of $400 a month. A budget that, by the way, includes everything that isn't gas, gifts, or books.

I'm open to all ideas and suggestions, as long as it isn't advice on how to add up a bowling score, because DUDE, I will never figure that out, no matter how many times you explain it.

9 comments:

Kristy said...

Rice, Lentils and Beans are a goldmine! Oh, you've got my juices running! I'll be back ;-)

Jennifer said...

Quinoa = very yummy! Also couscous, which is both good and really easy/fast to make. (Really fast, like 5 minutes after water boils, it's done.) Do you have a co-op or natural foods store there? Or *somewhere* you can buy in bulk? Quinoa and couscous in bulk aren't too expensive. (In boxes? Very expensive.)

Also - eggs, tofu, oatmeal. Would flour tortillas for quesadillas work?

My SIL has Celiac and I've done the gluten free pizza crust and pancakes for her. Uh...I say skip them.

Neno said...

Ahhhh... bulk quinoa. I will definitely be looking!

Just for the record... couscous, four tortillas, and oatmeal all either contain gluten or are highly contaminated with gluten (oatmeal).

Corn tortillas work, but none of us like the taste. Tortilla chips, though? Mmmmm. ;)

Bill Albertson said...

Ack! Look out for the tortillas and chips! While most corn tortilla products are wheat free, not all of them are- always read the package until you find something that works for you. I found that Guerrero brand corn tortillas are both wheat free and REALLY cheap ($2.25 for 40 or 50 ct), so a nice bread replacement.

The real danger is in going out to the smaller Mexican restaurants, because the cooks often use the same frying oil for cooking corn chips and taco shells as wells as for making the wheat flour shells for taco salads. Also, many chefs use wheat flour instead of corn starch for their sauces. That can be really bad news if you weren't ready for that experience.

Cori said...

Hi. I have a wheat sensitivity and so look for GF foods. I have found a wonderful tasting bread that is about the same as a whole wheat loaf of bread, though I admitt the pieces are smaller. It tastes great though. It is by Food for Life. They have whole line of them. I found them at Trader Joe's and Giant has some stuff too. It is about $3.30 (where I live) I have noticed that Giant has started with a GF section. Also the Tinkyada brand of pasta is pretty good and not overly expense about $2.50 for a bag. Lundenberg makes rice crisps which are delicious. The are like tortilla chips but made of rice. They are $2.75 a bag. I also like the Diamon nut thins. They are closer to $3 for box. I think that's all for now, but I hope this helps if you have already discovered these foods.

Have you talked to your local grocery store about bringing in GF foods?

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Cindi said...

CAUTION! Couscous is made from wheat, not just contains wheat, but IS wheat. Like regular pasta, it is formed from semolina wheat flour. However, Jennifer got me thinking about using quinoa for making a GF couscous substitute... I'll have to try that.

achartley said...

Not an easy task to feed a family gf- especially on the budget you are are held to. I try to feed a three year old (with celiacs disease) and three adults on 500.00/month and our refrigerator is pretty spars by the end of the month.

Do you have room for a garden? Are there local farms by you that you can purchase bulk fruits and vegetables from? Home preserving your own condiments, pickles, jams, etc. can save you lots of money to free up funds for the more expensive gf breads, pastas, crackers, etc. Also, you know exacly what is in them.

Be careful with vinegars you may use in preserving- call the producer and double check that they are gf.

Do you have a local gf or celiac support group in your area? These folks can give you tons of food savings advise.

There are on-line groceries for gf foods. I have not tried them but there may be some savings there (especially if you can place a large order with another family or two.

achartley said...

Oh- hey, if Celiacs disease causes your daughters intolerance then you are eligible for tax deductions on the gluten free foods you must buy.

Just google "tax deductions for celiacs" and you will find all the information I know about it.

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