Thursday, February 27, 2014

Saving Money on a Gluten-Free Diet

Is It Worth Spending More Money on Gluten-Free Food?

Yes, it is! And here is why: If you’ve been diagnosed with either celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you’ve noticed the additional expense associated with gluten-free breads, pastas and baked goods. As a clinical nutritionist, I frequently hear the complaint that gluten-free products are so much more expensive than their gluten-laden relatives. This is true.

But let’s look at the big picture. If you had a choice of buying cheaper pizza but feeling sick as a result (not to mention the long term negative health ramifications), what would be the best decision? I know that seems to make it overly simplistic, but it’s the truth.

So let’s decide that you WILL stick to your gluten-free diet and I’ll give you some helpful hints to save some money.

6 Ways to Save Money on a Gluten-Free Diet

1. Buy in bulk. If you find something you like, see if the grocery store will let you buy a case of it (at a discount) to save some money. I know Whole Foods does this, but check with your grocery store.

2. Buy online. When I find a product I enjoy, I see if they’ll sell directly to me. It’s often much less expensive than buying at the grocery store. If the amounts they’ll sell to you seem too much for you to consume in a timely manner, consider sharing with a friend or family member who’s also eating gluten-free. (And hey, if you need someone to go in with you on a product, maybe we can help you here at the clinic. We can create a little buying co-op!)

3. Bake your own “goodies” instead of buying the pre-packaged ones. Pre-prepared baked goods are very pricey. Making your own is definitely healthier and less expensive because you are providing the labor. Please remember to keep these desserts and highly refined treats to a minimum.

4. This tip may sound strange, but… keep your receipt. I frequently hear patients complain that not only was the loaf of bread they tried super expensive, but they didn’t even like it and ended up throwing half of it away. Have you ever done that? Bought something that was gluten-free or dairy-free and then you didn’t like it? Did you throw it away?

Let me tell you a little secret. This is true at Whole Foods, it’s true at Safeway, and it’s likely true wherever you shop: Hold on to your receipt and you can return pretty much anything. Why? You actually don’t need a reason beyond, “I didn’t like it.”  

Honestly. I can only speak for Whole Foods from the level of personal experience, but I did a little research and Safeway has newly launched their “Gluten Free Eating Right” line where a 100% money back guarantee is guaranteed if you’re not happy with your purchase. Don’t be shy. I do this often. I’m frequently trying new products for my personal use as well as a way to let patients know about new things. I keep my receipt and have often made returns. The stores want you to do this so that you’ll continue to experiment until you find the brands you love.

5. Start a garden. No, you won’t be growing your own gluten-free grains, but the money you save from growing your own organic vegetables can be quite a help on your overall budget. It’s fun to have your own garden and, if you’ve got a nice relationship with nearby neighbors, consider getting together and growing different vegetables that can be shared. It’s often the case that you grow more than you can possibly eat (think zucchini!) and sharing with a neighbor who is growing different crops in abundance can really save on the grocery bill.

6. Consider eating less meat. What does this have to do with saving money? The types of animal products you should be eating are very expensive. Grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chickens and wild or healthfully-fed farm-raised fish are pricey. Beans, on the other hand, are quite cheap. I noticed that when I became a vegan, my grocery bill diminished dramatically. Yes, organic vegetables can be pricey too, but not compared to the salmon I used to buy for over $20 for two people.

I have found some patients lessening their animal protein ingestion and saving money with a few meals per week that contain protein in the form of beans, whole grains, nuts and greens. These meals can be fun to make, are quite delicious, and you may notice feeling less full and better overall after eating this way. If you need some recipes, let me know!

I hope this was helpful. We want to provide whatever help you need to attain your goal of optimal health. Sometimes practical suggestions can go a long way towards that.

If your health is not at the level you desire, or you are having trouble despite being on a gluten-free diet, consider contacting us for a FREE HEALTH ANALYSIS with a doctor. 

If you don’t live locally to us, that’s fine too! Our Destination Clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally. We are here to help!

Visit us at If you have questions or need any help, I’m here for you! Call 408-733-0400.

I look forward to hearing from you.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, CFMP

IFM Certified Practitioner

Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”

Author of the eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You!”

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