Sunday, August 7, 2011

Gluten Free Shopping Trip- 7/27/11

(I have to admit, this shopping trip is from 2 weeks ago, I just never got around to posting it yet, and since I have just a few days till my next shop, I decided to get this up now.)

I've come to terms with some "harsh realities". I knew that going on a gluten free (and oat free) diet would be more expensive than a diet that relied on the cheapest starches- wheat flour, wheat pasta, semolina, barley, and oats... but, no matter the expense, I've realized that I had no choice but to go on this diet, as my health depends on it (and going gluten free means being able to actually function). This shopping trip is the first of my gluten free shopping trips that I'm posting on my blog, and the second shopping trip where I've done a whole two weeks worth of shopping in one go instead of the bits and spurts I was doing during my first trimester.

So now comes the "harsh reality". This shopping trip, meant to last our family for the next two weeks, added up to 90 dollars. The shopping trip two weeks before that cost me 85 dollars, bringing our total monthly grocery expenditure to 175 dollars. Ouch! In past months, I've gotten our grocery bill for the month to be as low as 90 or 100 dollars, but those days are long gone, at least for now.

Then again, I know some families our size in our area, also not blessed with a lot of money, and not on a particular diet because of health reasons, who easily spend 500 dollars or more each month to feed their families. So I guess 175 dollars for the month for a healthy, gluten free diet isn't so terrible. And once I get more energy back and my nausea goes away even more, I'll hopefully be able to get the grocery bill even lower. Hopefully, but we'll see. 

Oh, and one last thing- once I can actually eat cheaper cuts of meat again (chicken wings, chicken gizzards, etc...) without puking, my bill will probably be cheaper as well. Chicken breast is more expensive than those other cuts of meat, even once factoring in the bones...

So, what did I buy for my 90 dollars?
All this food.

Here's what I bought, and why I bought the things I did.
1 lbs green peppers. These were the cheapest types of peppers they had, and I wanted something to put in a stir fry.
6.5 lbs organic potatoes. These cost just a few pennies more per pound than non organic potatoes, and I don't mind paying a few cents extra for organic if I can do that. We eat a lot of potatoes here, and since they're some of the dirty dozen, if I can get them organic without breaking the bank, then that's great.
5 lbs cucumbers. On sale for 12 cents a pound as loss leaders, so I stocked up.
4.5 lbs tomatoes. Loss leaders at 12 cents a pound.
3 lbs eggplant. 12 cents a pound loss leaders.
5 lbs carrots. 12 cents a pound loss leaders.
5.5 lbs onions. 12 cents a pound loss leaders.
5 corns on the cob. Alternative gluten free starch, to give us some variety.
1 butternut squash. Relatively decently priced, and an alternative gluten free starchy vegetable to use to fill my belly.
1.5 lbs beets. To make beet kvass. Decently priced, even if not a loss leader.
1 package shitake mushrooms. Totally a splurge; I got these because I wanted to put them in my eggrolls and with miso soup.
1 package scallions. Not so cheap, not so expensive. But they go a long way in recipes.

3 lbs of apples. Cheaper than I've seen for a while, and they're a good, healthy, quick, gluten free snack.
1 cantaloupe. Pretty cheap, and a good quick food to have with my breakfast.
1/2 watermelon. Loss leader for 6 cents a pound!!!

3 lbs plums. Not so cheap, but aside for apples and melons, the cheapest fruit they had in the store, so I got some. I rely a lot on fruit for breakfasts and snacks now that I can't eat gluten.
3.5 lbs overripe bananas. From the discounted rack, frozen to be used for milk shakes.

1 container mayonnaise. Because I wanted to have mayo available without needing to make some from scratch. Bad idea, because I reacted badly to the mayo.
1 lb corn starch. For gluten free cooking.
2 lbs corn meal. Another gluten free starch, one that is pretty cheap round these parts
2 lbs potato starch. Gluten free baking!
2 lbs white flour. Not for eating! To use for making a project with the kids (more on that a different day.)
1 jar pickled ginger. For sushi. A splurge, I'll admit. But this is a big jar, and I expect it to last a long time.
1 package rice papers. A gluten free alternative to wonton wrappers to use in spring rolls, which I've really wanted to have for a while. A splurge, no question about it. 
4 cans of pineapple juice. Another splurge, but one I thought about. I love making a pineapple curry sauce for chicken or fish, and my husband prefers it to be without actual pineapple chunks. The recipe calls for the juice of one can of pineapple, and instead I got the equivalent of 4 times that amount for a little more than 1.5 times the price of a can of pineapple. So a splurge, but a relatively frugal one.
1 bottle grape juice.
1 box corn flakes. A quick breakfast for days that I had no energy. And it was pretty cheap! And then I saw after I got home that it has barley malt in it. Argh! With gluten! None of that for me then- just for Mike and the boys...

2 lbs perch fillet. An alternative to chicken breast, for those days that I want something other than beans/lentils, especially since I noticed that I need to cut back on dairy as it is giving me stomach aches. And it was on sale!
2.5 lbs sole fillets. Same as for the perch.
1 lb frozen peas. One sale for half price! And its a quick protein!
1 lb frozen green beans. One sale for half price! And its a quick protein!
2 packages hot dogs. I found gluten free, nitrate free, msg free, artificial coloring and flavoring free hot dogs, a food I was really craving! And best of all, they were on sale!!!
1 hunk smoked mozerella. Quick, filling protein. Not so cheap, but since it was a small amount, it didn't end up being too expensive. 
1 small hunk swiss cheese. Quick, filling protein. Not so cheap, but since it was a small amount, it didn't end up being too expensive. 
1 small hunk of another hard cheese, sliced. Quick, filling protein. Not so cheap, but since it was a small amount, it didn't end up being too expensive. 

So, all in all, not the most frugal of shopping trips, but for a gluten free diet, I would have to say I'm doing pretty well...

Have you had to adjust your mindset about how much is a "normal" amount of money to spend on groceries for your family when your family situation changed? How long until you determined a new level that you were happy to stick to, or were you always adjusting as necessary?
Do you buy any extra splurges when grocery shopping, or do you try to stick to the very basics? What splurges did you buy on your last few shopping trips? Were they worth it, or did you not appreciate them after spending the money on them?

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