Going gluten free on a budget - any advice? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-24-2014, 01:59 AM
Join Date: May 2014
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Question Going gluten free on a budget - any advice?

So I have transitioned from American Carnivore to Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian. Whole grains are a big part of the vegetarian pyramid. But there is evidence that wheat is causing health issues and increasing my waist line. I am about to read the book, "Wheat Belly" which explains this.

OK, so previously I was sticking to whole grains. I could go to CostCo and for $5.00 get a double-pack of wheat bread, sliced, larger than normal loafs. Lasts for a month. One example I can give of how I save money shopping. I have $200.00 to work with to feed 4 adults.

If I go gluten-free, where and how do I get a comparable value in gluten-free bread? I have access to WalMart, CostCo, Whole Foods, New Seasons, Trader Joes, Fred Meyer, Safeway, WinCo and Chuck's Produce, another organic store. Is there a type of gluten free bread loaf, full sized or larger, sliced, texture identical to whole wheat that I can buy at any of these stores for $2.50 or less?

Now what about pasta. What spaghetti noodles can I get? What comparable product to Mac 'n Cheese can I get? And don't say Annie's, because it is always twice as much. We're talking identical size for $1.50 a box or less.

What are my options for avoiding wheat and soy in fake meats? Sausages, hot dogs, burger patties, etc? Because from what I remember you can find soy based (Morningstar typically) or gluten based. Are there vegetarian meats that avoid both?

Looking for advice here, and shopping tips, from any other gluten-free vegetarian or vegan around the forums. I have to replace hamburger buns, hotdog buns, vegetarian meats, vegetarian meals, vegetarian burritos, pasta of all sorts - just to begin with. And I have to do it all spending no more more, and preferably less, than I spend now.

I have stuck to my vegetarian diet for a few months now. I have not, even though I am a lacto-ovo-vegatraian, substituted dairy and eggs for the meat I used to eat. I have been very careful about my food. But I am getting tired of rice and stir fry. I could really use some advice here.

Thank you!

Last edited by DreamBliss; 07-24-2014 at 02:01 AM.
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#2 Old 07-24-2014, 06:00 AM
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Gluten's got a bad rep the last couple of years. Wheat Belly has been largely critisized for its content. Here you can read some critique if you're interested: http://www.forksoverknives.com/the-s...d-grain-brain/

I think it's not so much wheat itself that contributes to the weight gain you're talking about. More the refined varieties.

But if you're going gluten free on a budget I would suggest you bake your own bread. You can even make your own tortillas if you want to. There are also other grains than rice like quinoa (really a seed) and millet if you are tired of rice. Buy in bulk to save money. Good luck.
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#3 Old 07-24-2014, 06:14 AM
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Looks like I also need Terriyaki and Soy Sauce substitutes...

I read the article you linked to. It is poorly researched and written. I have commented to that effect, as have others.

Last edited by DreamBliss; 07-24-2014 at 06:38 AM.
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#4 Old 07-24-2014, 07:18 AM
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There are some gluten-free soy sauces out there, just look at all the labels!

I'm vegan, I dropped gluten back in December, and I've recently been eating on a very tight budget planning for a house purchase and a wedding in the next 2 months.

One thing I gotta tell you, drop the bread. Trust me, as far as I know, there is no GF bread out there that isn't about twice the price as regular bread. No longer relying on bread is something I have just had to come to terms with. If you have a birthday coming up or you can wait until xmas, you can ask family and friends to pitch in and get you a bread maker. By getting just the raw ingredients, and in bulk, you could save a bit of money. But until then, I would say, just drop the bread.

There are quite a few pasta alternatives out there. I have found: rice, corn, and quinoa pasta. But these are often a bit pricier too. Which brings me to my biggest tip: gravitate towards UNprocessed foods. Processed foods will almost always be more expensive, and are more likely to have random ingredients, such as hidden wheat or soy, or animal products.

My staples are the following: bananas, rice, corn, potatoes, quinoa, split peas, and lentils. I literally *live* off those! (and they're pretty cheap too!) And then I supplement every week with a handful of fresh produce: salads, fruits for breakfast or snacks, fresh salsa to use as a condiment, steamed veggies as a side dish, etc.

You learn to enjoy the natural flavours of food, and you learn to get creative in the kitchen and use spices and herbs, which I find is a lot of fun! Sweet potato+carrots, pureed into a soup? Yummy! Cheap, filling salad dressing: white navy beans, squeeze of lemon, dash of dijon mustard, black pepper=delish!

PM if you want more ideas or examples of what I eat! Good luck
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#5 Old 07-24-2014, 11:57 AM
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I have found for me that a diet of simple, non-processed foods with wheat being limited, works best for my health. I get eczema and congestion issues when I eat too much wheat and processed foods.

The suggestion to wean yourself off of bread substitutes and meat substitutes is a good one. Simple, clean foods are best. Some examples of what I eat most often:

- Breakfast is usually oatmeal with fruit or peanut butter or applesauce mixed in, a cold muesli or granola cereal (I am interested in learning how to make my own granola!) or a smoothie with some rice crackers or oat crackers and a spoonful of peanut butter on the side.

- Hot lunches, I enjoy soup and crackers. I get different jarred soups and enjoy them weekly. Usually one jar lasts me four days with one day of leftovers, which I freeze. After a few weeks, I stop buying and eat the frozen ones for a week. Pack some fruit on the side and you are good to go. Dinner leftovers are another good hot lunch option. A favourite of mine is to put some leftover sweet potato (lightly mashed) into a glass container, then mix some lentils, tomato sauce and a spoonful of nutritional yeast, and pour it on top. Microwave at work, and yum!

- Cold lunches. We just got a rice cooker, so I have been enjoying making my own sushi. I got a mold where you put in warm rice and press it out, and it looks just like sushi rolls. I pack it with a fruit, a veg, a small treat and a dipping sauce. I also like bean dip, I will a small cup halfway with canned refried beans, add some salsa and a spoonful of Daiya shreds, then pack up with some rice crackers or puffed chips and a side of fruit. You can also do a similar dipper with hummus instead of the bean dip, and chopped spinach instead of the salsa. Stir the spinach in, seal the container and pack with your dippers. Or, pasta salad. Use rice pasta, mix in 1/2 cup of thawed frozen veg, then a spoonful of olive oil, a spoonful of lemon juice, and some finely chopped greens.

- Dinner. We do stir-fries, we do pasta dishes and that's about it. The Boy is a picky one Also, we go out for sushi once a week or so, and typically have a date night elsewhere one night. Sometimes, we'll make cheeseless pizza or something at home. If you use the fake bread as a once in awhile thing, it's not so expensive.

Good luck!
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#6 Old 07-25-2014, 11:47 AM
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I have celiac disease. I have been gluten free for 10 years. With the amount of money for food in your budget, I do not think GF bread is doable, or think of it as a rare treat. I would concentrate on other grains, rice, millet, oats, corn, quinoa, etc. I wouldn't do the meat substitute thing either. I would use tofu, make bean/lentil/veggie burgers. Tempeh is GF.

As far as pasta, Trader Joe's has brown rice pasta. Aldi had a special GF foods display a couple of months ago. I stocked up on brown rice pasta and corn pasta. I hope they have the GF foods again. Big Lots sells GF oats in our area for $6. It is usually between $8-$9 at a health food store.

GF versions of regular products will always cost more. The only way to save money really is to cook from scratch using basic, unprocessed foods. Gardening is a huge savings for me, plus healthier, and there is more variety.
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#7 Old 07-27-2014, 06:33 AM
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Soy sauce can be substituted for tamari. It's a slightly stronger taste, but I prefer it now to the soy sauce! (Though it still contains soy, but less salt from memory)

Teriyaki sauces are pretty easy to make from scratch. It always scared the pants off me, but I've made a few now and it's actually pretty easy!

As far as gluten and wheatfree products go though, a lot of them tend to have high sugar contents. The thing is, they're not there for people to lose weight, they're there for the people with wheat and gluten intolerances who want to eat things like bread and pastries without being in incredible pain.

Replacing all the things you've talked about-

Burgers- Make it without the bun! (I sometimes make them between two hash browns).
Wraps/Burritoes- Lettuce leaves are a nice substitute.
Veggie meats- Mushroom.

As far as avoiding soy, is that an allergy you have? Or are you worried about the effects of soy?

If it's an allergy, then there's a few different types of things you can try.

If it's worrying about the effects of soy, then put your mind at ease. Soy doesn't make men grow breasts, nor does it cause cancer, or any of the hundreds of horrible things the Weston A.Price Foundation would like you to believe. It's really just a good source of protein and iron.
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#8 Old 07-27-2014, 07:17 AM
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I'll just add that snacking on popcorn goes a long way toward filling the void of bread. Seriously!

"There is more wisdom in the song of a bird, than in the speech of a philosopher...." -Oahspe
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#9 Old 07-27-2014, 07:46 AM
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I am not sure if the following have wheat gluten in them: buckwheat pancake mix. Polenta. Corn tortillias. Pastas made with corn or buckwheat like soba noodles. Rice cakes. Rice noodles. Bobs big red mill makes some glutin free baking mixes. There is a kind of garbonzo bean flour used in Indian cooking. You may need to replace fake meat with portabello mushrooms, hand made bean or rice patties.
Crackers not using wheat. Breads like heavy russian rye not using wheat. Its a long shot, but if you really want to save money, you will need to learn how to bake.

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#10 Old 08-02-2014, 09:22 AM
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I have Celiac disease and been gluten free for 8 years, vegetarian for 1.5 years. I'm to the point now where being GF is easy to me in that I know what I can and can't eat. It is honestly second nature by now and I don't have to think about it day after day. One of my biggest pieces of advice is don't fall into the substitutes trap, especially if you're on a budget. Don't feel like you need to replace everything you once ate with GF foods as it will blow your budget quickly!

As already mentioned GF bread alone is very expensive. Udi's is a brand that I've always liked but around here a "loaf" (I use quotes because it is a small loaf about half the size if not more than non GF bread) is around $6.00. I've stopped buying bread for the sake of my budget and I know I don't have the will power to not go overboard on sandwiches if it's in the house. A nice alternative is making wraps with big leaves of lettuce, kale, etc or using corn tortillas.

I will say stock up on GF pasta and oats if you like oatmeal. Barilla makes a nice GF pasta that you should be able to find in the regular grocery store. I also highly recommend Tinkyada pastas if you can find them although they will be slightly more expensive. I've seen them at Target which surprisingly has a nice selection of GF foods if you look around the food isles. Bob's Red Mill makes GF oats in both quick cooking and rolled oats variety for around $6. It is a 2 pound bag and the serving size is 1/2 cup.

Now you're already in luck in that fruits and vegetables are naturally GF so you're already saving money there. Most rices and quinoa are naturally gluten free but couscous is not so be careful with that one. I have seen GF couscous in the store but never a plain variety so I've never bought it.

Oh I almost forgot flour and other mixes. I've always just bought a flour mix to have in my pantry. I've never bothered making my own mixes as that requires buying a lot of different flours and it just never appealed to me. I keep a box of Glutino All Purpose Flour in my pantry for baking or to make a pancake mix. Also another good tip is using corn starch instead of flour in small quantities. If a recipe calls for 1-2 tablespoons of flour then use corn starch instead. It is a lot cheaper and works just as well.
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