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Oh, My Dog, These gluten-free Products Are Expensive!


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24 replies to this topic

#1 Wise

 
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Posted 03 January 2011 - 07:03 PM

Oh, oh, oh... :ph34r: In this economy, regular, so called "normal" people or non celiacs struggle trying to
make enough money for a slice of bread, but what can we say about the celiac community? Are you struggling trying to get a slice of gluten-free bread? I got a cut in my
salary for six months out of a year and my refrigerator is suffering( where I live state employees got a cut
for part of the year although soon we will see the
fat cows again). I cannot imagine for celiacs that
are unemployed how hard that should be!!! :blink:
Here where I live I can pay from $6. to $9 for a very small
personal pizza. God in heaven!!! This is more expensive than gas!!! A "normal" person pays $2.00 for a personal pizza!!! We have a disability and a lot of businesses
are taking advantage of that and that should not be happening. They cannot make profit, in base of a disability!!!
I cannot understand how rice pizza costs more when
wheat is more expensive than rice, in the market. That
does not make sense. Have you seen the Pamela's cheese cake? Oh, Lord,it is extremely expensive and not that big. Here they are selling it around $17. That is astronomical and an assault to our pockets. :o
Is there any way we can write to our senators to ask them to ask businesses not to take advantage of us when
they overcharge us for a gluten-free product? Many times we pay two to five times what non celiacs pay for their
food. That is NOT fair.
What do you think? How are you handling yourselves in this economy? Do you use, i.e. coupons for gluten-free products?
How can I get gluten-free coupons for food products through the internet? I get very sad when I think of starving people
that choose to get sick because they are too hungry. I cannot stop thinking about the homeless celiacs that
end-up in a shelter. In US people do not talk about
celiacs and shelters. Maybe in other countries celiacs
do not have so many problems trying to get gluten-free food. In Italy at least they get free gluten-free flour. I knew that in Europe people protested because of the high
costs of gluten-free products and companies heard them. :rolleyes: Now they lowered the prices of gluten-free products in Europe. Why can't we protest here in US?
I want to hear your opinions.

Wise,
diagnosed with celiac disease in 2006
DQ2, DQ8
diagnosed with osteoporosis, asthma, hypoglycemia
with multiple food intolerances
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#2 FooGirlsMom

 
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Posted 03 January 2011 - 08:24 PM

Hi there,

Yes, gluten-free foods do cost more, in some cases, than their gluteny counterparts. Very true. My husband got laid off from his good-paying corporate job end of June and I found out about the Gluten problem in early October. Now I have less time than I did before because I've been working part-time since June due to the unemployment issue to make ends meet. So I have less time and less energy (though eating gluten-free is helping with the energy now).

The trick to eating gluten-free on a budget is to eat normal food as much as you can -- fruits, vegetables, rice, meat, etc. If I shop wisely, these foods aren't too bad. It's the "extras" that are gluten substitutes - like bread, cake mixes, flour, etc. that can get pricey. My son is home on college break right now. He doesn't eat gluten-free, nor does my husband, but my daughter and I do.

I was lucky to get a super deal around T-giving for Jules' gluten-free flour blend, along with her e-cookbooks, so I use some of her recipes when I don't mind spending the time baking. Otherwise I buy Betty Crocker cake mix at a discount store for $3.17 each and order some staples like Rice & Shine (gluten-free rice grits) at a large online store with super saver shipping & 15% discount for auto-order. I do the same with Annies Mac n Cheese in the gluten-free variety (my daughter's special food), as well as, Tinkyada's pasta. Those items are pricier but I try not to serve them too many times a week.

For breakfasts we eat rice & shine, eggs & potatoes (and for a treat - Honeysuckle turkey links) etc. Lunches are usually sandwiches with leftover meat from dinner, salad, etc. I have gotten creative and found many ways to cook jasmine rice (which I can buy in a HUGE bag at Walmart for less than $15) - as a side dish, as a breakfast cereal, to make soup bulkier, etc.

I can't imagine what someone would be spending if they were eating out a lot or trying to buy convenience foods gluten-free. It would be staggering.

If a person is willing to cook 1 day a week, gluten-free can be done on a budget. "Goodies" can be cooked with cake mixes. I made the Betty Crocker carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for my family this past week and I took a bite -- yeah it was pretty delicious. Those could be frozen & wrapped for a single person to thaw at will :)

Thankfully food stamps in this country (if a person was really desperate financially) will cover many simple gluten-free foods like the ones I mentioned. So most people won't starve on a gluten-free diet even with reduced funds.

FooGirlsMom

PS...but I agree...I would like to see more stores like Walmart & other big contenders in the food market get their buying power at work & get the prices dropped on most gluten-free foods.
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When I saw this photo, I thought it truly represented my life prior to being gluten-free. It was like being rooted in place trying to survive a Category 5. Now that I am gluten-free, I feel like I just might make it :)

#3 Skylark

 
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Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:37 PM

Why do you think you need cake and bread anyway? I hardly ever buy specialty gluten-free food. It makes me feel like I'm being taken advantage of at $6-$9 for a loaf of bread. I can see the specialty flours costing a little more but not triple the price. I used to go on a Whole Foods run once a month and stock up on gluten-free food but I have decided it's a waste of money. There is plenty of other good food to eat without it. I'm just as happy cooking a pot of homemade bean soup with a chunk of cornbread or having apples with my peanut butter instead of bread. When I find something like Trader Joe's rice pasta at $1.99 for a pound, they get my business.

I cook a lot. Weekends there is always something in the crockpot or on the stove and I freeze food in portions for busy days during the week. I usually have yogurt and fruit for breakfast, or some Bob's oats, which cost a little more but a bag lasts a long time. Lunch is usually frozen soup, leftovers that were planned to taste good the next day, or a homemade frozen entree with some raw veggies. Dinner is whatever I feel like cooking that evening. I make a wide variety of naturally gluten-free food from fresh, whole ingredients like fruits, vegetables, beans, fish, meats, cheeses, and so forth and I generally eat rice, homemade corn bread, or potatoes rather than overpriced breads. If I want dessert, I have a little ice cream or a square of really good chocolate rather than specialty gluten-free cookies or cake.
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#4 Emilushka

 
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Posted 04 January 2011 - 01:10 AM

Dried beans are relatively cheap (or canned beans, if you're lazy like me). Chili is still a great option for many of us with Celiac because it's easy on our budget and high in protein and fiber.

Some tips on staying healthy: buy frozen veggies instead of fresh for recipes like chili (often cheaper, on sale, store brand, etc.), cook as much of your own food as you can, keep hard-boiled eggs on hand for a high-protein snack or great addition to salads, look for manager specials on foods that are about to expire and are therefore knocked down in price and either use or freeze them immediately (on a big package of ground beef, this can really save you money).

There are tax write-offs for gluten-free foods if you can prove how much you're paying over a gluten-containing alternative and you can prove that you have the diagnosis. See this link for more information.
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#5 mushroom

 
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Posted 04 January 2011 - 01:44 AM

Why do you think you need cake and bread anyway? I hardly ever buy specialty gluten-free food. It makes me feel like I'm being taken advantage of at $6-$9 for a loaf of bread. I can see the specialty flours costing a little more but not triple the price. I used to go on a Whole Foods run once a month and stock up on gluten-free food but I have decided it's a waste of money. There is plenty of other good food to eat without it. I'm just as happy cooking a pot of homemade bean soup with a chunk of cornbread or having apples with my peanut butter instead of bread. When I find something like Trader Joe's rice pasta at $1.99 for a pound, they get my business.

I cook a lot. Weekends there is always something in the crockpot or on the stove and I freeze food in portions for busy days during the week. I usually have yogurt and fruit for breakfast, or some Bob's oats, which cost a little more but a bag lasts a long time. Lunch is usually frozen soup, leftovers that were planned to taste good the next day, or a homemade frozen entree with some raw veggies. Dinner is whatever I feel like cooking that evening. I make a wide variety of naturally gluten-free food from fresh, whole ingredients like fruits, vegetables, beans, fish, meats, cheeses, and so forth and I generally eat rice, homemade corn bread, or potatoes rather than overpriced breads. If I want dessert, I have a little ice cream or a square of really good chocolate rather than specialty gluten-free cookies or cake.


This all sounds good and I would love to be able to do it, but for some of us the substitutes have a place when we can't do beans, can't do corn, can't do potatoes, can't do oats. can't do tomatoes - our diets do start feeling kind of constricted without the gluten substitutes. Homemade bean soup and cornbread is just a dream. There are so many of us who have to do without so much more than gluten and soy :( And so we get taken advantage of just to avoid the sheer monotony of it all. :ph34r: :)
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#6 a1956chill

 
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Posted 04 January 2011 - 02:04 AM

Thankfully I can still eat beans :D Inexpensive cuts of meat ,beans ,sweet potatoes , berries and rice make up the majority of my diet.I try to include what veggies i can tolerate but they are questionable right now :blink:

When I first went gluten free i went a little crazy with the gluten free breads ect.... but now I make black bean brownies or some other such dessert when my sweet tooth strikes. I do buy rice flour for cooking but use it rarely so the cost is not prohibitive.
Sticking to basic foods and making my own desserts is less expensive than the premade gluten free products and my home make treats taste MUCH better
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Gluten free Oct/09
Soy free Nov/10

numerous additional intolerances,, i.e. If it tries to kill me I do not eat it .
After 40+ years of misdiagnoses I was diagnosed with:
Dermatitis Herpetiformis : Positive DH biopsy...... Celiac :based on DH biopsy and diet response.

Osteoporosis before  age 50
Hashimoto's thyroiditis disease .

Diagnosed type 2 Diabetes 

Osteoarthritis

Gilbert's Syndrome , confirmed by gene testing


#7 Takala

 
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Posted 04 January 2011 - 04:30 AM

Cooking from scratch gets rid of a lot of the cost difference.

Since gluten free ingredients (flours and nut and seed meals) have to be grown and handled differently to avoid cross contamination, of course there is going to be a price difference to get food ingredients that are really gluten free. If done in a restaurant, the food also has to be handled differently away from the regular prep area, on different pans, etc. If it is a choice between being able to get a gluten free item that costs a bit more and nothing, I'll take the option of the gluten free. All the OTHER foods that can be eaten cost the same for regular people as well as celiacs - basic produce like fruits and vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, etc. Plain rice, potatoes, and beans are all inexpensive carbohydrates. Some brands of tortillas are gluten free if you check with the manufacturer, and gluten free masa corn meal can be mail ordered. By shopping carefully, (maybe a trip once a month to the place with the best prices) using mail order sometimes, buying in the larger packages and repacking in smaller ziplock bags or storage canisters, and keeping a pantry of staples, many gluten free baking supply staples can be a lot less expensive. I use nut meals, but I buy the nuts in bulk packages and grind them myself in the blender, for example - much cheaper ! I try to patronize the local health food stores or the grocery with the best gluten free aisle prices, and if they have a special on sale, I stock up, and if they have a low price on something, I tell them how much I like seeing that at the cash register when they ask "did you find everything that you were looking for ?" :)

The choices you named were not good examples of dietary staples. A person on a really strict budget isn't eating a lot of personal pan pizzas out in a restaurant, either, irregardless of gluten free status. I ate a little gluten free pan pizza for New Year's eve, and was thrilled that I had the option to actually get something out. But it was a treat. The restaurant knows us as regulars and actually did not upcharge us for the crusts even when my spouse asked "uh, we need the gluten free and that's too cheap" when we went to pay for it. Last year, we stayed home and for a New Year's treat I ate some expensive "gluten free" chips in a new brand and flavor for me, and discovered I might now be oat intolerant because I really reacted the next day, and this company didn't disclose they use oat bran in some of their items on the label. For the ridiculous price we paid for the specialty chips, I could have made something homemade that would have had a much lesser chance of cross contamination. If we want a pizza type thing, we normally would MAKE a pizza type thing - and I have been doing this for years, no, make that decades, before I started eating gluten free, because it's healthier, cheaper, and we don't live anywhere near a pizza delivery route. I don't think I would ever buy an entire cheesecake. Sometimes as for day trips, we check out a gluten free bakery that is about an hour and 15 minutes away. (Thank goodness or I'd gain weight...) This place is also not as cheap as regular bakeries, but it is very, very good stuff - I try to make my stuff half as good as this place. I know how expensive it is to bake this way, because I also have priced out the raw ingredients in bulk, and she's making it vegan as well as gluten free and soy free.

But for everyday baked goods, my attitude is, if I want it, I need to prepare it myself, and I normally do not use a pre mix. I don't know where people got the idea that actual cooking is beneath their efforts - if you can't take the time to nourish yourself properly....

and here is the biggest advantage- it's STILL CHEAPER TO EAT Gluten Free, THAN BEING CHRONICALLY ILL AND UNDIAGNOSED.

I agree that there would be a problem with people who need to eat gluten free who are depending on food pantries, shelters, ect. Awareness, education, and encouraging people to donate gluten free foods, would be a good start.
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#8 shopgirl

 
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Posted 04 January 2011 - 06:03 AM

The only gluten-free products I eat with any regularity are Chex ($2-3/box) and Larabars (10/$1). Everything else is a once in awhile treat. My food budget has actually gone down since I was diagnosed with Celiac since I'm not buying as many crackers, snacks, etc.. I'm saving money. ;)
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#9 JulieMM

 
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Posted 04 January 2011 - 07:46 PM

Hi, I agree 100% with the person that started this topic. First of all this IS a disability, it IS something that needs to be taken seriously and if other countries can be sensible about this and reduce the prices of gluten free foods, why can't the US do it? Shouldn't our government care? I understand if someone doesn't care to buy specialty gluten free products and he or she is ok with eating just fruits and vegetables, cheese, beans, rice, etc, but for some of us who have other food intolerances besides gluten, it's not that easy. We need to do something about it. The prices should be reduced, we shouldn't let them take advantage of our disease anymore and if we don't unite and make our voices be heard, this will never change. We shouldn't be punished for having celiac. And what you said about people in shelters is totally right. Just think about this folks, how would you feel if you were the ones living in a shelter, being so poor and not being able to buy anything and having to choose between fruits or vegetables that might cost $2.00 a pound or more and something like ramen noodles for less than a dollar. Also these people might not have the advantage of having a kitchen to cook meals in and must rely on "convenience" foods. How would you feel if you were in that situation?
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#10 kenlove

 
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Posted 04 January 2011 - 08:15 PM

At least we can deduct the cost to gluten-free foods from income tax -- actually the difference between gluten-free and regular foods. So the ramen that you mentioned for 25 cents a pack vrs the 6.00 noodles we can deduct 5.75== I'm not a tax person but give all my receipts to the accountant. Your right it should be much less though.

Hi, I agree 100% with the person that started this topic. First of all this IS a disability, it IS something that needs to be taken seriously and if other countries can be sensible about this and reduce the prices of gluten free foods, why can't the US do it? Shouldn't our government care? I understand if someone doesn't care to buy specialty gluten free products and he or she is ok with eating just fruits and vegetables, cheese, beans, rice, etc, but for some of us who have other food intolerances besides gluten, it's not that easy. We need to do something about it. The prices should be reduced, we shouldn't let them take advantage of our disease anymore and if we don't unite and make our voices be heard, this will never change. We shouldn't be punished for having celiac. And what you said about people in shelters is totally right. Just think about this folks, how would you feel if you were the ones living in a shelter, being so poor and not being able to buy anything and having to choose between fruits or vegetables that might cost $2.00 a pound or more and something like ramen noodles for less than a dollar. Also these people might not have the advantage of having a kitchen to cook meals in and must rely on "convenience" foods. How would you feel if you were in that situation?


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#11 cap6

 
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Posted 04 January 2011 - 09:03 PM

It is somewhat inexpensive if you stick with whole foods. It's all the darn supplements that I have to take that end up costing a fortune!
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#12 ravenwoodglass

 
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Posted 05 January 2011 - 05:48 AM

It is hard especially at first when we are still sick and have little energy to 'cook everything from scratch'. Going with whole foods helps a lot. I find having a rice cooker and crockpot and cooking in big batches helps.
While we do get a income tax deduction I personally have never been able to use it. The year before I was diagnosed we spent 17 grand on testing, meds and doctor's visits but since being diagnosed my doctor visits are a very rare occurance. To be able to deduct the cost of gluten free food in the US we need to have spent over a certain percentage of our income on gluten-free food and we need to note the cost difference for each item. If you don't itemize you can't use this and when I brought in all my slips of paper that I had spent hours computing my tax person actually laughed at me. It turned out that since I no longer had all those doctors visits and testing the cost of the gluten-free food didn't come even close to the level that would allow me to deduct them so it was a total waste of my time and energy.
However I have come to realize that I really don't spend more eating gluten free, without all the expensive 'boxed' items that I used to consume I actually spend less. I do buy a loaf of gluten-free bread a week, much cheaper for me than buying all the different flours etc to make it from scratch, and about once a month I get Kinnickinnick pizza shells. They come 4 to a box at a cost of about $9. Much cheaper than many of the other shells which I have seen which can run up to $6 for just one.
I do agree that a lot of the 'specialty items' like premade cakes and muffins are very pricey and I don't get them often. I would rather pay $3.99 for a Gluten Free Pantry mix and just make it myself if I really feel I need to have home treats.
I do wish the prices were less but the exchange for more costly 'junk food' and much less pain and medical expenses is a good trade off.
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celiac 49 years - Misdiagnosed for 45
Blood tested and repeatedly negative
Diagnosed by Allergist with elimination diet and diagnosis confirmed by GI in 2002
Misdiagnoses for 15 years were IBS-D, ataxia, migraines, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, parathesias, arthritis, livedo reticularis, hairloss, premature menopause, osteoporosis, kidney damage, diverticulosis, prediabetes and ulcers, dermatitis herpeformis
All bold resoved or went into remission with proper diagnosis of Celiac November 2002
Some residual nerve damage remains as of 2006- this has continued to resolve after eliminating soy in 2007

Mother died of celiac related cancer at 56
Twin brother died as a result of autoimmune liver destruction at age 15

Children 2 with Ulcers, GERD, Depression, , 1 with DH, 1 with severe growth stunting (male adult 5 feet)both finally diagnosed Celiac through blood testing and 1 with endo 6 months after Mom


Positive to Soy and Casien also Aug 2007

Gluten Sensitivity Gene Test Aug 2007
HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 1 0303

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 2 0303

Serologic equivalent: HLA-DQ 3,3 (Subtype 9,9)

#13 Jestgar

 
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Posted 05 January 2011 - 05:53 AM

How about if we, as a government, stop subsidizing wheat and corn, so that everyone pays the same for a loaf of bread whether it's made of rice, or tapioca, or wheat.
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#14 AzizaRivers

 
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Posted 05 January 2011 - 06:32 AM

Everyone has offered good advice. The only thing I don't think had been mentioned (though I only skimmed the thread) is that if you want to bake your own things from scratch, which is the cheapest way to have them, you can often get flours from international groceries MUCH cheaper than in a health food store. For example, I get my rice flour from an Chinese grocery and my chickpea flour from an Indian grocery. I'm sure there are more examples, too. Large quantities for small prices.

How about if we, as a government, stop subsidizing wheat and corn, so that everyone pays the same for a loaf of bread whether it's made of rice, or tapioca, or wheat.

That would be an answer I like.
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Celiac diagnosed October-November 2010 (blood test negative, biopsy inconclusive after gluten-free for 6 weeks, miraculous diet results).

October 2010: Gluten free.
November 2010: No HFCS or artificial sweeteners.
March 2011: Gradually fading out soy.

#15 Emilushka

 
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Posted 05 January 2011 - 08:52 AM

How about if we, as a government, stop subsidizing wheat and corn, so that everyone pays the same for a loaf of bread whether it's made of rice, or tapioca, or wheat.


What would we do with the wheat fields and unemployed farmers? Rice is currently mostly grown outside the USA, I think. I don't know about tapioca. We'd have a hard time competing with China's rice production and I think our economy would have some Major-League Issues.
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