Hi, I'd love some tips for how you shop. I'd love to order online through cheap sources, as my local health food stores can be kind of expensive. I'd love to hear people's shoppping routines. IE, how often do you mail order and from where? What online sources have the best prices? What do you still buy from the regular supermarket? How often do you visit the regular store? I need to get together some kind of routine so that I never run out of food that I can eat. But I can't quite get it together yet. Thanks.
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=7][COLOR=purple]"Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!"
Wwebby, this is a great topic! I'm still working on this one myself. I now shop every week at a health food co-op. It's a small store so it doesn't feel arduous to walk through it once a week. This way, I can stock up when there are specials. Also, the store gives a discount of 20% when you buy a case of something.
Great topic - I hope to get some new ideas myself!
This is how I started...since I didn't know what I liked, and what I didn't , I kept a piece of paper taped to my pantry door, and as I tasted new products (mixes, pastas, cereals, etc.) I would write down if they were good or not (so I wouldn't by mistake buy them again) Then, I keep a runnning list of products that I use and like alot in my purse, so when I go to different stores I can write down the price for that item and compare prices to the same item elsewhere. I also researched ordering online, both from big sites (like this one) and direct from the manufacturer. It's significantly cheaper to buy in bulk, or by the case, but you have to know you like the product, and you have to have storage for it. Also, online ordering comes with hefty shipping costs, in some cases it's by the pound, and bags of flour are heavy!
It's hard to know how much to order and what to get, especially at first, you need to know if you are going to make stuff from scratch or buy mixes...I've recently found a small health food store near me that has the cheapest prices of my favorite gluten-free products - he'll let me order by the case and he'll deliver it too (he's hoping to get a website - I'll let you know). I actually can get alot of stuff at my local supermarket - I don't buy lots of premade foods, so I mostly just buy staples (rice, veggies, meat/chicken as usual) . The special order stuff I need is the flours (rice, potato starch, almond meal, xanthan gum, etc.)
Shopping was a challenge for me too, in the beginning. I didn't know what I would like, nor what I would need. I too went from health food store to health food store shopping for choices and economical prices. Our local supermarket now carries a lot of gluten-free choices! We buy the usual gluten-free staples (flours) bi-weekly. My husband loves one brand of gluten-free pasta and occasionally a gluten-free cereal. However we buy gluten-free broths weekly! Amy's makes gluten-free frozen entrees that I indulge my husband in about once a week. Sometimes its all about a gluten-free convenience.
My experience has been that i am able to get most of what I need from my local Walmart or Safeway. I sit down each week, figure out what I want for meals, and write down all ingredients. The only ones I need to buy at a health food store are the special flours, and sometimes I can get those at Safeway. I have purchased a couple baking type things from the health food store as well, ie: soysauce or something like that, but I have been able to find everything else at Walmart. I do alot of salads with dinner, fruit and some other easy things for snacks, and breakfast can be any # of things. I buy the special flours, and mix for a bread I like, maybe 1 x/mo. To be honest, I think I am acutally spending less now. More on fruits and veggies, and less on out to eat, fast food, and conviences. Granted there is nothing like the convenience of those things, but my routine has been to be prepared with simple things, but focusing on main meals. It's been working out really good. MY family (not gluten-free), thinks it's great! Everyone is enjoying the foods. I think part of it is that I am forced to spend a little more time on planning, and much more organization. After each meal I score how much I liked it ( meaning dinners) and write it in the cook book, if I liked it and how much and how easy it was to make. I then have something to fall back on. I also try to keep a few ingredients to some of my favorite meals so that I can use those for days when the plan goes arye! It's worked out really well so far. I havn't been doing this for a LONG time, but I have not yet ordered from bulk, and I don't do alot of baking, so at this point I dont' see a need for the bulk ordering for me.
Well, it hasn't really changed much. I still stick almost exclusively to the produce section and butcher's. I don't bother with bread for myself - I take leftovers for lunch, or open-faced (and open-bottomed) sandwiches. I get rice or beans like I alwasy did, and just don't get any wheat bulgar. I also expanded what I'll get - like lentils, and split peas and a wider variety of dried fruit. I still stop by the dairy section (since I don't seem to have a problem with dairy) and get eggs (which aren't dairy, but always stored there, which always amuses me at the store) and milk and yogurt.
I usually shop at Wild Oats because I made the decision to decrease the quantity of what I might eat (or the exoticness) in exchange for supporting organic farming. They have the odder flours, but the local chain supermarket has some as well. But I don't do much baking, just stick to the simple, naturally gluten free whole foods, to keep it simple. I'll pick up a bag of millet, or a box of buckwheat, or quinoa, and some rice noodles (or quinoa pasta ;-) ) but mostly stick with the more common beans, rice, legumes, and root vegetables for my carbs.
The meat and oils/nuts/seeds are the same as ever....
I think the only big change was that I had to watch the treats - because I was more likely to buy more treats because I was just happy to find gluten-free ones than previously.
Tiffanyaka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?" Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004 Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me Bellevue, WA