When you finally figure out that you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease (note that intolerance and celiac are not the same thing), you might find yourself spending a lot more money on food so that you avoid gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and some oats. That's because gluten-free versions of things like pizza, bread, pasta, and crackers can cost quite a bit more than their wheat-based counterparts. Check out this article in today's New York Times, "The Expense of Eating with Celiac Disease." It has some good tips, including:
1. Consult a nutritionist to help you learn how to base your diet on fruits, vegetables, and nonwheat nutritious grains like brown rice, quinoa, and more.
2. Read labels. Some items labeled gluten-free cost more than others that may still be gluten free but not labeled as such.
3. Check out Bob's Red Mill gluten-free baking mix, recommended in the NYTimes article; it's a godsend and less expensive than premixed packages for things like cookies and breads.
4. Look for economical gluten-free foods at large chains, such as Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Walmart; and when you find deals, let others know about them.
6. And here's one I hadn't heard before: Itemize your expenses for your taxes. If your year's total medical expenses exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, you can deduct the price difference you've spent buying gluten-free foods. (Save receipts in case of an audit.) Clever!