If you have been thinking about a gluten-free and/ or vegan diet but have been worried about the cost associated, rest assured, there are ways to really save. Truth be told I save money now compared with when I eat wheat and meat every day.
- Buy more whole ancient grains
Some packages of gluten free grains and flours will be extremely overpriced. Gluten free grains are a product by themselves, these days. You don't have to buy flour at $10 per pound from a specialty store. The idea is to look for ways to make gluten free living a cheaper vegan lifestyle. Obviously, you will save by not buying meat, but that is not enough. Rice and tapioca flours are available for $1 per pound if you look in the right places. Try hard to look for sales. When you find one, stock up. Do not be afraid to freeze the extra. If you are not going to use it quickly the flour should be stored in the fridge anyways. In addition, millet grain and flour, as well as buckwheat can be found cheaply. You will have to look harder for deals on quinoa and teff, but you can find them. Call up your gluten free baker and ask where they get their flour from, then think about buying in bulk. We do it for wheat flour, after all.
- More cooking from scratch
People are shocked sometimes by how much cheaper it is to cook from scratch. Just like it is far cheaper to eat in than eat out. You can make a soup or stew with tons of grains, spices, and veggies and a fresh baked gluten free roll for a dollar if you know what you are doing.
- Baking your own healthier desserts
Desserts don't have to be packed with sugar or be make with white flour. Try to make your own low sugar compote. Then think about a whole grain crust and you will be close to apple berry crumble or pie that is healthy enough you could eat it for breakfast.
- Baking your own bread, rolls, and buns
I covered part of this above, but with a bit of experience your baking can cost you next to nothing. Think about corn, brown rice, millet, and tapioca flours, all of which can be affordable. You should be mixing flours anyways to give you a proper texture and consistency in your gluten free baking, so try adding 25% teff or quinoa max and then use brown rice and millet with tapioca to save on flour costs.
- Less eating out
- No pricey meat costs
- Fewer dessert purchases if and when you do eat out.
- Possibly lower medical cost from eating a healthier diet
- Feeling better may increase productivity, allowing you to work and earn more
Imagine no more glutened sick days or digestive distress days. What if your immune system wasn't compromised leading to more infections and viruses? What if you just felt better?
There are tons of expensive GF products, but tons of them contain tons of sugar or corn starch and refined flour like white rice flour and shouldn’t make up much of your diet anyways
In fact, just being a gluten-free vegan in the first place requires you to think about your food choices a lot more. You have to read labels and learn about ingredients to avoid gluten cross-contamination, for one thing.
Why Can are Gluten-Free Vegan Meals Save You Money?
You will naturally become more aware of your food choices and be involved more in the creation of GF vegan meals. Keep in mind though, that gluten-free living is not a choice for most of us who living that lifestyle. It is an essential lifelong requirement. There is no solid evidence to support the idea that any non-affected person will benefit from a gluten-free diet. I am grateful for all that I learned because of it, and don’t dwell upon the hundreds of times I was temporarily disabled by my condition. I would likely go to the market and eat a whole apple pie right this second if I was not GF. At least one time.
One interesting fact is that if you are really curious about food options and explore the frontiers of what you can make, trying to discover new ingredients, you can make almost anything. In fact, the past few months might be the first time in years that the sentiment I expressed at the end of the last paragraph was not true. I have cracked to code to every vegan meal or dish that I wanted, I can make apple pie, from scratch. I can also make pizza, that one dish that I attempted for so many years, and had always eluded me. I will offer up a recipe for each soon.
Another tip is to search on the web and on with social networking resources such as Facebook and Twitter. Don’t be afraid to ask people in your area (especially GF and vegan bloggers) for tips on where to find raw and unprocessed ingredients. Look for bulk quantities as well. Except for tapioca and rice flour, gluten-free grains, flours, and starches tend to expensive. If you find a sale or a great bulk deal, you will be far more likely to prepare dishes and baked goods from scratch and really deliver some cost savings, and potentially some nutritional benefits.
I think you get the picture now. You end up cooking and baking more dishes and items from scratch when you are a gluten-free vegan who is actively involved in their food choices and health. The good news is two-fold: your food will probably be better tasting that it is now, and you will get faster and faster at cooking it. There are lots of dishes that I can make in between 10-25 minutes. Yes, there will probably be some horror stories of foul muck as you learn. Keep trying, researching and experimenting and I practially guarantee that you will eventually enjoy your meals more and be thankful for what you have learned. Who knows, maybe you’ll even start up a blog about vegan meals...