Inside: If you are considering a gluten free diet for your autistic child or you have a gluten intolerance and need to be gluten free, I would encourage you to take a look at this guide on how to eat gluten free on a budget.I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I should start Sweet B on a gluten free diet. I’ve read a few studies about the benefits of going gluten free with the suspected connection to leaky gut syndrome in autistic individuals.
There are even a few leaky gut cookbooks or gluten free cookbooks that I’ve thought about picking up to help the process. I’ll also be the first to admit that one of the main things that’s holding me back, is how to manage a gluten free diet on a budget.
Is it really necessary for you to go on a gluten free diet?
Going on a gluten-free diet is an extreme lifestyle change. It is by no means easy. You will not be able to consume the foods that you love. Any food that contains gluten or traces of it is out of the question.
Many gluten sensitive people suffer withdrawal symptoms and many quit the gluten-free diet because of the sacrifices that are required. They’d rather put up with the discomforts of gluten intolerance than give up their comfort foods.
This should never be the case because in the long run, the toll on their health and well-being will be heavy.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, you realize that most gluten-free products that are sold are much more expensive than the normal products. This is due to the extra processing time required to remove the gluten.
Of course, there is also the issue of economies of scale.
The gluten-free food market is much smaller than the market for normal food. So, everything gluten-free is produced at a higher cost which needs to be borne by those who are already suffering from gluten tolerance. Life is not fair indeed.
Yet, we must roll with the blows and make the best of a bad situation.
There are several ways you can cut your costs when living a gluten-free lifestyle. This article will offer you a few tips. You can discover more ways as you go along.
How to Eat Gluten Free on a Budget
First and foremost, a gluten-free diet should only be adopted by those who are gluten sensitive or gluten intolerant.
It is not a trend or “healthy” choice. The gluten-free diet is not like the Atkins, paleo or Mediterranean diet. It is not meant to help you live healthier. Sure, some may see a difference after switching, but this diet is usually done for medical reasons.
It’s a solution to a health problem. If your body can handle gluten, you really need not be forking out money for gluten-free foods. If you’re going low-carb or Paleo, you may also have some crossover with gluten free.
Since there are a wide variety of symptoms associated with gluten sensitivity, it would be best to go to a doctor and get a blood test done to confirm that you’re gluten sensitive. Just because you’re feeling bloated and lethargic for a few days in a row, it doesn’t mean you’re gluten sensitive.
You need to get a positive confirmation before committing to the gluten-free lifestyle. You doctor is the best person to consult.
If you are indeed gluten intolerant and you’re the only one in your family who is, don’t automatically assume that everyone in the family needs to go on a gluten-free diet. Of course, you will need to segregate your food and utensils but that’s about as far as you should go.
Making everyone in your family go on a gluten-free diet will skyrocket the food budget and not to mention, cause unnecessary hassle and irritation to the rest.
There are many foods that are gluten-free.
In fact, the best and healthiest foods are gluten-free. Dairy, meat, eggs, poultry, seafood, vegetables, fruits, rice, quinoa, etc. are all foods that have no gluten. If you adopt the Mediterranean diet and keep it gluten-free, you will have tasty food at a decent budget. It doesn’t get better than that.
Another thing you can do is make your own premade gluten-free products.
There are many premade gluten-free baking mixes sold in the market. Most are relatively costly. You could buy the ingredients separately and make your own mix at a fraction of the price. It will be cheaper and most probably, healthier.
Buying in bulk will also cut your costs.
Contact the supplier and cut out the middleman. Find out if any of your neighbors or friends are on a gluten-free diet. A few people ordering the same items at the same time could definitely get a good price from the suppliers.
These are just some of the ways you can keep your costs low. The fact of the matter is that most gluten-free products are unnecessary if you learn how to eat and season your food naturally.
Pick up tips on paleo cooking and Mediterranean style cooking. Using natural ingredients to flavor mouth-watering dishes. Once you know what to do, you may be able to spend even less than a normal person would on food. It’s all a matter of being well-informed and making wise decisions.
If you’re not ready to fully commit to a gluten free diet, consider a paleo diet first.
Should you really go on a paleo diet?
The paleo diet is often to be more costly than just being on a normal diet. In fact, this is one of the reasons many people do not get on it. However, the paleo diet does not necessarily have to be expensive. You just need to tailor it to your needs.
One of the requirements of the paleo diet is to consume organic foods and grass-fed meats. There is absolutely no doubt that these are more expensive than normal meats. So what do you do?
You just adapt the paleo diet to suit your lifestyle and budget.
There is absolutely no need to be so strict. The rules are not written in stone. Have some flexibility. You cannot afford free range eggs? No problem. Just eat normal eggs. You can’t afford grass-fed beef? Then get the normal lean cuts of beef.
These options are better than just sacrificing the eggs and getting a box of doughnuts instead. Your food choices are what really matters. That is the crux of the diet.
Consuming what is on the list only and not the foods that aren’t allowed. You may easily switch to organic foods when you have the money. Choosing to buy grass fed beef when you have money is way easier than giving up a life of eating junk food.
You are advised to get a large freezer to store your meats which you would be buying in bulk. No money for a freezer? No problem. Slowly save up for one. This is a one-time investment and will last you for years. You are also advised to buy your meats and groceries in bulk.
This usually will result in cost savings if you do your due diligence and look for the best prices.
It is often assumed that since you are buying in bulk, you’ll spend more.
This is true. However, the food will last for at least 2 weeks. So, you might only be doing grocery shopping twice a month. The difficulty arises from having enough money to spend on 2 weeks worth of grocery shopping at one go since it is a sizeable chunk of change.
Yet, this is mostly an illusion.
At the end of the month you will be spending roughly the same amount if you do your shopping every 3 days or twice a month. In fact, you’ll be spending less shopping just twice a month. So, save up till you can afford to spend on grocery shopping at one go for 2 weeks.
The chances of you actually seeing cost savings are highly propitious.
Ultimately, the paleo diet is not more expensive. It takes some adjusting to but that is only in the initial phase. Once you have money for a freezer and enough for bulk purchases, you will find that the diet is actually cheaper. Make the diet suit you and not the other way around. Adhere to the important fundamentals such as proper food choices.
The frills can wait till you have cash to do so.
Following a particular diet, whether it’s for health reasons or personal reasons, is possible on a budget. It may take some creative maneuvering on your part; but it can be done.
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Going gluten free was a shock when I did it 4 years ago. It was sad giving up my favorites, but there are tons of great gluten free products on the market and because it is so popular the prices of the products are coming down. It used to be hard to find inexpensive and tasty gf pasta but now its available in the regular pasta section in the grocery stores. The Kind bars are delicious! And they are pretty hard to find in large quantities so that link is super helpful.