The case of the $7 loaf of bread – or the high-cost of going gluten-free (really?)

The case of the $7 loaf of bread – or the high-cost of going gluten-free (really?)

This awesome post is my first-ever guest post on my site. I hope it will be the first of many to come. If you would like to do a guest post on my site, please contact me via email (thefrugallyrichlife AT gmail DOT com). Consequently, it is my first day of school today…starting another year at college. 🙂 I’ll let Jen Saunders take it from here. Jen Saunders and I met and started chatting through twitter. I was impressed that she was also gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free! That was amazing to me! Not many people are all three–and I can definitely empathize with her post here. So go on, read on, and check out her brand new blog, Brilliant Well-being, while you’re at it. She already has some good articles up, like this one, “Chasing Skinny“.

The case of the $7 loaf of bread – or the high-cost of going gluten-free (really?)

The first time I went to see my family physician after having experienced two nasty allergic reactions to eating wheat, I explained in great detail what I had had to eat and what/when my symptoms were. She agreed that I very likely had a wheat allergy, arranged for allergy testing and then said, “well, eating gluten-free is really expensive – are you okay with that?”

I told her I’d have to be because I was not going to keep eating foods (dairy and refined sugar had already been eliminated from my diet) that made me sick.  So, off I went, with no books, blogs, friends or family to guide me – I was on my own in this dairy, refined sugar, and gluten-free lifestyle.  And in hindsight I wouldn’t have it any other way. Let me explain…

When you eat gluten-free it eliminates everything with gluten in it – bread, crackers, cookies, pasta, desserts, etc.  I have, somewhat recently, come to learn that there are gluten-free substitutes for all of your favorite gluten food. Most grocery stores have a gluten-free section, health food stores carry a lot and so does my local bulk food store.  But I am not just avoiding gluten – I also avoid dairy and refined sugar. This eliminates most processed, packaged foods. And those little gems add up!

I have spent the last 18 months truly changing my lifestyle. I now eat primarily vegetables, fruits and lean meats. I have rice somewhat frequently as well as vermicelli and brown rice pasta. My dear Mother occasionally makes me homemade dairy/sugar/gluten-free banana biscuits (oh so good – recipe to be posted soon to my website).  Up until last weekend I had not spent one pretty penny on “gluten-free” anything. So, you ask, what changed?

Well, my family and I were enjoying a beautiful weekend at the beach when we decided to hit up the local Farmer’s Market. It was one of the loveliest Farmer’s Markets I have been to – small but a variety of vendors. We had breakfast, enjoyed the live music and browsed the vendors’ stands – fresh produce, baked goods, homemade crafts, art – then I saw it – a sign for homemade gluten-free bread. $7. I about near choked! $7?!? Who spends $7 on a small, loaf of bread?

Well, me.

I asked the vendor what the ingredients were – no dairy and sweetened with honey. Somewhat risk averse and a hater of money wasting, my initial reaction was to keep walking, which I did. I told my Mom about it.  We talked about it. As we talked, I realized that $7 for a loaf of gluten-free bread is a lot.  But I used to spend $3.55 every morning at work on a muffin and large chocolate milk. A box of “healthy” crackers? Minimum $2.99. I used to buy these things regularly.

I added up how much money that is per week on the foods I used to eat. Times the weeks per month. Times 18 months. Suddenly $7 on a loaf of gluten-free bread doesn’t seem so extravagant. It was a treat, sure. It was delicious. First time I have had toast and (natural, organic) peanut butter in a long, long time. But what treats have we given up in our quest to honor our bodies?

The next time you scoff at the high price of a quality, homemade gluten-free product (or the ingredients to make yourself something) remember how much you spent before the allergy or disease diagnosis or lifestyle change. And ask yourself this – is eating the foods my body tolerates and honoring my health a curse or a privilege?

Last time I checked, chronic diseases were very expensive to manage.

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3 Comments

  1. For the cost of ingredients and time to make a fresh loaf of gluten-free bread myself, I’d say $7 is worth it. Sounds delicious! The pre-made GF stuff on store shelves is yucky.

  2. Kaetlin

    I love this website! I made the chocolate chips last night! I too am dairy, refined sugar and gluten free. It is expensive, and sometimes I feel I compromise too much. For instance, I haven’t found choc chips that don’t have sugar, so I will eat once in a while, but feel sick. Anyways, thanks so much!!!!!

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  1. the high-cost of going gluten-free (really?) – Brilliant Well-being

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