Reduce the cost of gluten-free eating

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.

5. Check into celiac support groups online for sharing tips, recipes, and deals. The NYTimes article recommends the Celiac Disease Foundation and the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America.

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!

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