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Gluten free without breaking the bank?
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Gluten free without breaking the bank?

I am going to try going gluten free to see if it alleviates any of my symptoms, but I went grocery shopping and realized it will not even be feasible to shop in the "gluten free" section without practically going bankrupt from those prices!  I know many things are naturally gluten free - can anyone help me figure out what to shop for that won't deplete my bank account (and will taste good)?  
I bought a bunch of different kinds of gluten free flours and pancake mixes, but to be honest most of them taste terrible.  I made cookies that tasted to me like garbanzo beans.  I like garbanzo beans, but not in cookie form, haha...I just want to make sure I'm eating a diet I'll be able to stick with for at least 6 weeks so I can really get a sense of whether or not going gluten free makes me feel better.  Also, since I talked my husband into this too, and he's a notoriously picky eater!
Any help anyone can give me would be awesome.  Thanks!!
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967320_tn?1333203308
I eat LOTS of potatoes - it helps that they have always been a favorite food of mine, plus they are very cheap! I also have been eating lots of dairy products like milk, eggs, cheese, and yogurt; hopefully you are not lactose intolerant. I'm not a huge fan of red meat, so I've been eating mostly chicken. For foods that I miss like pasta, we buy the rice pasta from the gluten free section and I can barely taste the difference. I have yet to find a gluten free bread that is tolerable, but hear that Udi's white bread is good, I just haven't tried it yet. Also, for snack food, Lay's Stax are natually gluten free and I am addicted! They are just like Pringles, but Pringles have gluten. Hope this helps!
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Betty Crocker now has gluten free brownie mix and chocolate chip cookie mix that is gluten free and tastes pretty good the cake mix is not good at all.  I really don't buy the gluten free specialty stuff not only because of the price but because of the fat and calories.  Chex cereal has a few cereals now that are gluten free the honey nut chex cereal is good with cereal and doesn't get soggy like the other flavors.  Gluten free specialty items are denser (especially sweet items) and are a lot more fattening than regular sweets.  I eat a lot of things that are naturally gluten free (especially starting out) fresh fruits and veges, of course fresh meats, rice, potatoes, yogurts, apple sauce, rice cakes, nuts, corn dip chips with salsa, corn tortilas, salads etc...then slowly add items because it is so overwhelming. As far as bread....since I've been diagnosed for about a year now I have just went without but I did get a bread machine for X-mas that even has a gluten free setting but haven't tackled that yet. As far as eating out if you have an Uno's they have awesome gluten free pizza and many other restuaraunts have gluten free menus: Outback Steak House (Aussie Chicken - Awesome) just google gluten free restuarants and you can pull up menus.  You can do the same for foods i.e. I googled progresso soups and got a listing of which soups are gluten free.
Good Luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
What do you typically eat? Can you give us an idea and we can switch some things for you? My husband and daughter are both quite picky even though I like pretty much everything, so going GF for me wasn't 100% easy. I have to have something they will eat too.

I find it to be quite inexpensive because I don't try to replace bread with GF stuff. I read lables and make many things myself.  
Sandwich fixings can be made and put on salad or wrapped in a romaine lettuce leaf. Some corn tortillas and corn chips are GF. Everything you typically eat with pasta can be eaten over rice. We make tacos and spaghetti over rice. We actually did that before GF too. Lots of foods can be mixed or served on baked potatoes. You can eat Lays Stax, popcorn, snacks made out of rice chex, raisins, almonds. If you like cereal you can eat rice chex. Corn flour is GF. I make cornbread muffins to eat with thick soups and chilis. Thick soups or chili can also be portioned and frozen for lunches or quick meals later. Bananas are cheap and filling for breakfast. I also make my own verson of potato pancakes or a sweet version of sweet potato pancakes. They can be frozen too so you can make a big batch and reheat later.
I eat the uncle ben's brown and wild rice when I don't have much time. (The kind that you just have to heat for 90 seconds in the microwave).

Today I had:
fried potatoes, onions, peppers and ham with scrambled eggs (I usually make a big batch for breakfasts for all of us for 2-3 days)
orange for snack
Split pea soup for lunch
yogurt for other snack
For dinner I'm making taco soup with corn chips. My husband is picky so I have to be careful with his stuff.

I have bought some specific GF products such as chocolate cake, pasta and breakfast bars because I craved them. Most stuff I haven't missed at all. I do actually feel so much better that it helps keep me honest. I'm also thankful I can have dairy. At first I ate a lot of almonds, apples and cheese until I figured everything out.
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Avatar_f_tn
When my brother was first diagnosed with celiac he ask that I run by the grocery and pick up some things just to get him till the weekend. Needless to say I went to the health food section and bought about $60 worth of grocery and it only filled maybe  a bag and a half. I found a book online from triumph dining that list regular shelf grocery. A good example is soy sauce, I think he and his wife found one at EarthFare for about $6. Great Value Soy Sauce (Wal-Mart brand) regular soy sells for less than $2 and is gluten free anyway is you stay close to source foods such as meat, fruit, and vegetables you'll be fine, it's when you get into a lot of processed foods that it gets expensive. As for the baking flours the only one we have found that works really well is one called Pamela's Backing mix. For crackers Diamond Nuts makes different flavors of Nut Thins which are better than regular crackers and sell for about $2.50 a box. Good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
FYI... Most commercially sold soy sauce contains gluten. Soy sauce is made from fermented soy and wheat. Tamari sauce is pure soy.

I'll have to try nut thins. I didn't realize Diamond made those. Thanks!

http://www.glutenfreeinfo.com/Diet/glutenfreeinfo.htm
Is another source of gf foods found in your grocery store (please note the disclaimer).
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681148_tn?1285160820
Trader Joe's has affordable brown rice.  They have less expensive rice pasta.  It's about half the price of other places.  They have wild rice and they have quinoa.  Potatoes are fine, if you aren't dealing with RA or osteo.

I am fortunate that my local grocery store with natural/bulk foods knows to use the gravity bins for the gluten free grains.  The girl that works back there has gluten issues, too, so she knows very well just how important it is not to have cross-contamination.  So, I can have the buckwheat, the kasha (toasted buckwheat), the black quinoa, the millet and the amaranth.  I also get to try different varieties of rice on occasion.  If your local Whole Foods is as careful as we need them to be, they have red quinoa.

Trader Joe's brown rice is still more affordable.  Plus, it isn't in bins that have scoops that can get cross contamination.  I do know that Trader Joe's is very careful about their gluten free products not getting cross contaminated.  Their packages of brown rice tortillas make this bold claim.  Trader Joe's is also where to buy your rice tortillas, as their store brand is far more affordable than Lundberg's.  They also sell Lundberg's for less than other stores sell it.

What I find with this variety available if the stores take proper measures to not have cross contamination is that I get to eat more variety of starches than I ever did as a kid when I didn't know I had a gluten issue.  You know, the typical American diet of white rice, white potatoes and pasta that isn't made with whole wheat.  The only one of those items that is safe is the potatoes, because the white rice is out.  Besides that, Minute Rice is appalling to me.  I'll take just brown rice and potatoes over such a poor diet any day.

When used with proper discretion, this is much more affordable than the typical lousy unhealthy American diet anyway, and it has a lot better nutrition, which we need more than other people do.  

What's really hard to keep up with is all the supplements I take.  I buy mine online, and from a very reputable company that is better for us than Nature Made is.  I have never run across any I had to return due to finding out that it had a gluten ingredient in it.  It is more affordable, but it is still hard to keep up with.
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Avatar_f_tn
Ive been on the gluten free diet for about 3 yrs now and I know about the sticker shock. I am always looking for ways to eat without breaking the bank and also trying to cook "normal" meals for the family.

I eat alot of rice, I always take a little of whatever meat I am cooking out for myself before adding whatever gluten containing ingrediants to the pot for the family. I love minute rice.

Heres an example, using rice and a store bought bag of any frozen mixed veggies you like. Minute rice is easy, 1 cup water, boil add rice, remove from heat and cover, right? try this......1 cup water, handful of whatever veggies, bring to boil, add rice(1 cup) stir in, remove from heat, cover. Finish whatever you are makin the family for dinner, add your meat to the rice when its ready, and there ya go! I use the gluten free soy sauce, or herbs to season to taste, sometimes add cheese or salsa works too.

I have only found one kind of bread that resembles real bread. made by Udi's but that is 6 bucks a loaf. I will only buy it if i have a little extra money or if i think i deserve it. I have discovered the Gluten Free gormet cookbooks by Bette Hagman, I have all of them. I have made my own bread (sfter a few failed attempts) But so far the homemade stuff is way better than anything you can buy in a store, especially fresh out of the oven... the only problem is the initial sticker shock w/ that too. But to justify it just figure out how many loaves of bread you get out of the ingrediants, compared to how many loaves you could buy individually.

I started my "diet" on the advice of a friend, on a Friday. By Sunday I felt HEALTHY!! After 3years of being sick every day I felt like a million bucks!! It was amazing.

Other things I eat......

Yogurt, mixed either w/ flax or Benefiber.
Lots of fruits and veggies, celery w/ peanut butter and raisens is a good snack
Chex gluten free cereal.. the gluten free cereals in the health food section are gross
You can use cornstarch to thicken anything, also as a crispy coating for meats or chicken
Quinoa is great altho its pricy too
Kettle brand chips are gluten free. Name brand flavored chips will sabotage you.
Starbucks chocolate chips contain wheat... found that out the hard way. but i cant afford stabucks very often, usually its a choice betwwen the udi's bread or that(lol)

I have a large family to feed and always find a way to invent something for myself..... spaghetti nights used to be hard till i discovered rice noodles, but i have to admit, I have had just sauce with a side salad a few times. Good luck hope i have helped you because i know how hard this lifestyle is
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks to all for the tips and info!
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Avatar_n_tn
I eat spaghetti sauce on string beans. I've always loved that combo even before going GF. It's yummy. That's what I brought to work for lunch today.
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541234_tn?1266678697
my shopping  oceanstate job lot store big lots store = gluten free corn pasta 1.00-1.50 a bag 1 # corn polenta jasmin rice aborio risitto rice brown rice balsamic rice, paul newman soy chips cinnamon-spicy variety bob redmill GF products buy from website in bulk, corn strach for thickner instant mash tators thickner baby rice ceral, sweet tators, white tators all veg all fruits quaker chips rice chips corn chips , fritos potatoe chips rice crackers , price chopper brand, cheeses, corn torilla shells my new bread , tortilla chips, corn chex rice chex GF , cocoa crispies , oatmeal  grits corn meal, tuns ckn turkey fish steak eggs, rice milk soy milk  ohh dollar stores have BRoth no wheat no msg 1.00 32 oz box beef ckn , soy milk ,corn tortillas save lotsa money for GF aldies  popcorn  snacks etc nuts, peanut butter jams
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259041_tn?1206486447
Most of the Kozy Shack pudding is gluten free, right now there's macaroons out, they are mostly gluten free (check labels) Utz's chips are gluten free, Yoplait yogurt, (activia might have wheat in it) the Betty Crocker gluten free  brownies mix are good,I have heard Schar bread is good too but pricey (if you really are hard pressed as to what to have for lunch.)  Dinty Moore beef stew in a can is gluten free.I have seen a good book out called gluten free shopping guide, you can take it to the store, it's small (expensive though around 25 bucks) but got great ratings.   It takes a long time to shop though if you're reading labels and this book is supposed to make it a LOT easier. Thanks for ideas, my daughter just got diagnosed.
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Hi Everyone!

I commend you on your efforts and ability to stick to a GF diet. I'm personally freaking out about it. I am lactose intolerant, but wanting to try something to finally rid of my 24/7 nausea. I've been sick, no kidding for 6 years. But  I don't vomit...although I wish I could. I do get some relief WHILE I'm physically eating... but the symptoms return within an hour afterwards. It's like I'm eating to not feel sick at my stomach.

I'm currently doing a "yeast and fungal cleanse" which is helping curb the desire for sugar. ALOT! But I still have the nausea and fatigue galore.

I went to the store and was very disappointed to find that there is not alot of labeled GF stuff. How do you really know what is really GF?? If it's gonna break my bank, then maybe I'll try the weight watchers GF diet or one of those? Has anyone tried any home-delivery diets?

Also, besides trying this diet...is there a REAL definative test that can detect whether or not you have Celiac's?

Thanks and best of health wishes to you all!
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Avatar_n_tn
Have you had a lactose test? I was also told to avoid lactose although the GI forgot to order the test. After going GF for a few weeks I could eat all cheese, yogurt and milk again. That makes GF so much easier.
You can get an enterolab test to determine if you are celiac or have gluten intolerance. You can also get an endoscope done by a GI. That will show if you have Celiac disease, but not if you are intollerant to gluten.

Progresso has a few new GF varieties. Several of the ones that say "No MSG" across the top are GF (listed on the side of the can). The chicken cheese enchilada and cream of mushroom soup are amazing.

I found it so much easier when I stopped trying to replace gluten foods and just ate something else. I made little pizzas last weekend on a slice of zucchini.

If you think you might be intollerant to gluten, just try it. You only have to try for 2 weeks to know if it makes a difference or not.  


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259041_tn?1206486447
Yes I have read that having celiac for awhile can make you lactose intolerant till you cut out gluten, then you can eat lactose again. My daughter got a printout from the nutritionist , what to avoid, what you can have. here's a site that has the good and bad list, including alcohol.
http://www.celiac.com/categories/Safe-Gluten%252dFree-Food-List-%7B47%7D-Unsafe-Foods-%26amp%3B-Ingredients/
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Thank you both so much! I had no idea about the the possibility of going back to diary! That would be so great! I was having issues and am going thru Lupus diagnosis process, but they found that I was severely Vit D deficient.... Which is awful!

I'm glad to see that there is actually a test, and not just a process of elimination. I go tomorrow to see my GP so I'll ask about that.

Thank you so much for the info!

Best wishes!
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Avatar_n_tn
You can talk to your Dr about it, but the results of the test are iffy. Most people don't show positive until they are very, very sick. If you don't get any answers about anything I recommend trying GF.

Another thing I forgot to add - when I first went GF, I made large batches of split pea soup, beef stew, wild rice casserole, borscht, and other soups. I froze them in individual containers. You can also freeze rice if you make extra. It helps a lot when you know there's always a meal for you. Most naturally GF foods don't have a long shelf life. Freezing "normal" foods made it cheaper and easier for me. I hope that helps.

I wish I would have tried going GF sooner. I never got an official diagnosis but feel completely different. If I can encourage anyone to feel this much better so quickly, I will. :)
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541234_tn?1266678697
happy to help you more, my vit D was low my VIT B12 hypo thyroid multinodular goitor, had gallbladder out,  had polyps in my gallbladder and stomach, food allergy NO MSG, no diet sugar stuff , no artificial  coloring , my body dumps... gf works best for me AVOID beef and burger,  try tuna ckn turkey fish  NO breading no greasy foods i find kendale KF farms $1. for 32 oz  broth , its GF at the dollar tree type stores, CHEAPEST broth stock up freeze soups.., cholestrol free fat free gluten free lactose free LOW cal thats my helpful hint, i am having allergys (allergies) to other NON wheat flours makes me sneeze sorgum? bean flour somthing don't like me yes i have seasonal grass mold allergys (allergies).. soy milk is 1.00 at the $1. stores i make lots soups can't freeze cream soups( cream (soy) potato ham soup)

no celiac just food intolerence,
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627145_tn?1230309226
My doctor wants me to eat vegetables, fruit, nuts (peanuts are not really nuts and should be avoided), and meats.  I eat eggs in the morning and feel so much better than if I try to eat any sort of gluten-free cereal.  The grains just don't make me feel good.  It's hard to change patterns, but for breakfast, maybe have turkey bacon and eggs and a banana or 100% fruit juice.  He highly recommends green shakes for our fast food.  I haven't tried it yet, but apparently it is made with greens like kale or spinach and some other ingredients.  I know it doesn't sound delicious, but I'm going to try it for the health and convenience.  There is a book I'm supposed to get and read.  

Unrelated to celiac disease, it was just discovered that high fructose corn syrup causes liver scarring, so read beverage labels for that, too.  
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Avatar_f_tn
oh my gosh I just started eating gluten free and it is sooo much cheaper than going to the supermarket.  I have a store called trader joe's where I live, i don't know if they are nation wide but its an organic market that caters to vegans and special dietary concerns.  It is amazing, and its so easy to identify because they have symbols showing whats vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, so on.  But it is much cheaper. I get a bag of tortilla's for taco's for 1.99 and there about 20 in a pack.  I also get these gluten free vegan soups that are very filling and they are a dollar a piece. But you should check for a store like that.  buying from the supermarket is horrible. it is soo overpriced and they only have nasty rice bread.
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I am also dairy intolerant, and the only animal i eat is egg whites and fish, so everything i buy is vegan and gluten free. here's some stuff i eat that is so good

basmati rice with thai seasoning, with grilled peppers and shrimp in a red thai curry sauce
soy yogurt and vanilla soymilk
Canned tuna with french dressing, raw onions, peppers, tomato wrapped in lettuce
I buy indian soups that are gluten and vegan free, also thai soups
peppers stuffed with rice in homemade pasta sauce
shrimp tacos
corn tortilla chips and guacamole
egg whites with fresh garlic, olive oil, mushrooms and onions

I learned to enjoy a lot of indian foods because they are just naturally gluten free.
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259041_tn?1206486447
Yes you are right about Indian food, my daughter eats that a lot, even before diagnosis. Your GF suggestions sound good!
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