Category Archives: Grocery Shopping

Making the Best of It!

This is my healthy-eating-manifesto. It doesn’t cover gluten-free or casein-free, it’s just the standard American diet, made as economical and as healthy as I know how. Eventually I’ll write more about GFCF stuff, but for now I’m updating all my regular recipes for regular cooking because most of my readers are looking for ways to make their regular diet more nutritious without costing an arm and a leg. The article is linked below. It’s in PDF format. I believe I’ve edited out most of the kinks but if you find some typos please let me know.

Making the Best of It!

Moving from a fat-filled, sugar-laden stupor to a leaner, healthy lifestyle. 

For epub and mobi versions go here.

Please comment on this article here. Any tips along these lines you’d like to share are also welcome. I really wanted to get this article finished and published before I worked on the rest of my site. Making the Best of It! is like the premise that I want to base my site on. With it published it’s easier for me to maintain my focus on the goals I’m trying to accomplish. Hope you enjoy it, and even if you don’t, please let me know.

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Filed under Budget, Family, Food, Grocery Shopping, Low Cost Foods

What is the Healthiest Diet?

I honestly don’t know. I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to figure it out and I come up with more confusion than anything else. Last night, while the boys were in Karate, I went to the library and checked out some books. As I skimmed though them, I realized many had the same theme–they described what the author considered to be the healthiest type of diet for everyone. If everyone would just switch to that Author’s diet, then we could all miraculously be healthy and well. Most of the authors promise weight loss, improved vitality, youthful energy, clearer thinking, better skin and host of other benefits.

Over the years I’ve tried lots of different dietary regimens and read about many more. I’m trying, in my own little way, as a frugal mom and a wife with my own set of health challenges, to make sense of all of the conflicting advice and expensive suggestions.

And it’s tough! I’m not even close to understanding half of it. It’s like “The Perfect Diet” is the Holy Grail of our culture. Everyone is on a quest to find it, but no one ever does. I have jumped on that band wagon and searched along with everyone else and to me it’s been just as elusive as everyone else. The one thing I think is obvious, is that the Standard American Diet, is making us sick. It doesn’t give us health, it gives us disease. 

So anyway, last night I asked myself–What do I think makes up a healthy diet? What do I think would nourish my family the best? Then I started the following list. To be sure, it’s a work in progress. I have not refined it, only come up with a handful of goals, or ideas that seem reasonable to me.

  1. Whole Grains are far better than processed grains. I believe that eliminating as many processed grains as possible can only add to my family’s health. Our main flour is brown rice flour, ground in our own electric grain mill. It’s the cheapest flour we can make (that’s gluten free) and I suspect, the highest quality. I also like oats, millet, and buckwheat. I think that serving whole grains every day, and maybe even at every meal, is a good way to go.
  2. Beans are good. My family likes beans, they’re blissfully cheap, high in fiber, protein and (I believe) are more versatile than any other protein source. I currently serve them at least 3 times a week, but would like to serve them more often. Out of 21 meals a week, I think at least 5 and maybe 7 meals should be based on beans.
  3. Fruits and Vegetables–Fresh & plain Frozen & Canned-no-added-salt-or-sugar need to take a higher priority in our meals. In a perfect world, I would grow all of our fruits and vegetables myself. That’s not likely to happen to anytime soon, so I make-do with what I can afford. I do not believe that any vegetables are bad–like potatoes and corn. I think vegetables are good, no matter what kind they are.
  4. I believe that organics are superior to conventional fare. I can’t even come close to affording them, so the only way we’ll get them is if we grow them ourselves.
  5. Honey and other “natural” sweeteners are probably better than sugar. We eat way too much sugar anyway, whether it’s natural or not.
  6. I suspect that conventional meat, eggs and dairy products are swimming in all sorts of icky things because of the terrible way animals are fed and treated in giant feed lots. I know for a fact they do not taste as good as so called “Natural” and “Organic” animal products. I still don’t know what to do about this one. Eliminate all animal products because we can’t afford the “Good Stuff” or make regular animal products a progressively smaller part of our diet. Or splurge on teh good stuff every now and then. I do know that we can’t afford the good stuff as often as we’d like to eat it, which kind of makes me sad.
  7. Eat more fish. This is a personal bias of mine. I would like to eat fish at least twice a week, and 4 times a week would be fine with me. The only thing is I can’t afford as much fish as I’d like. I do use canned salmon and canned tuna and while I worry about mercury in the tuna, I don’t worry about the salmon at all. And it’s high in Omega-3 fatty acids which is a very good thing.
  8. Everything processed is bad (except plain fruits and veggies, see number 3). Varying degrees of bad, to be sure, but still bad. Processed semi-fruit, kid-friendly, sticky sweet things–ugh! Processed meats, processed cheese, white cotton bread. All bad, very, very bad.
  9. Additives and preservatives are bad. Sodium Nitrite & Nitrate. BHT and BHA, MSG, poly sorbate something or other. And artificial colorings too, all very very bad. They trigger my kids bad behavior and make me feel sick to my stomach. I am avoiding these things like the plague. Only I’m sad because it means we don’t get to eat some things we really love, like ham and bacon.

That’s all I’ve come up with so far. Trying to make sense of this stuff is hard. It makes my brain hurt. But I’m going to figure it out for me and my family as best I can. Anyone else doing something similar? What kind of conclusions have you come up with?

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Keeping Down The Rising Cost of Meat

Every now and then I survey the stores I usually shop at to determine what the best buys among meat are. Over the past couple of years, and even more specifically the past 6 months, prices have risen but many bargains remain. What follows is my list of the cheapest meats, their price per pound and price per serving. People often tell me the prices I find are much lower than the prices they can find. While the cost of living in my area isn’t especially high, it’s not the lowest in the nation either. I think that if you look hard enough, and really pay attention to your market, that you’ll be surprised at how many out-right bargains you can find among the regularly priced goods.

EGGS (not exactly a meat, but close enough)

  • Medium Eggs–about $1.50 per dozen–25¢ per 2-egg serving–Medium eggs weigh about 21 ounces per dozen. Large eggs weigh about 25 ounces per dozen. Each medium sized egg weighs about 1-3/4 ounces instead of 2 ounces. I’m willing to give up 1/4 of an ounce of egg for the significant savings that medium eggs can bring.

BEEF

  • Ground Beef–5lb bullets–$1.75 per lb–44¢ per 1/4lb raw or about 2.5 ounces cooked lean meat–Most cuts of beef are at least twice this price. A single pound of regular ground beef (27 to 30% fat) gives you about 10 ounces of cooked, lean meat. The fat content of ground beef can be drastically reduced through the common tightwad practices of rinsing it in warm water after frying. This gives the cooked meat a nutritional profile similar to cooked 10% fat ground beef, and for a much better price.

POULTRY

  • Chicken Leg-Quarters–10lb bags–58¢ per lb–29¢ per 1/2lb raw or about 3 ounces cooked lean meat–Half a pound of chicken is necessary per serving because of all the waste going to bones, skin and fat.
  • Whole Chickens–88¢ per pound–44¢ per 1/2lb raw or about 3.5 ounces cooked lean meat–whole chickens provide slightly more cooked chicken per pound than leg-quarters, but usually cost about twice as much per pound. When on sale for the same price as leg-quarters, whole chickens are the better buy. They make a fancy meal for company too.
  • Ground Turkey–1lb bullets, frozen–$1.58 per lb–40¢ per 1/4lb raw or about 3 ounces cooked lean meat
  • Ground Turkey Sausage–1lb bullets, frozen–$1.58 per lb–40¢ per 1/4lb raw or about 3 ounces cooked lean meat–20¢ per 2oz raw patty, for breakfast (home-shaped patties, not store-bought preformed patties)
  • Whole & Half Turkey Hams–Usually 2 to 3 lbs per ham–$2.28 per lb–38¢ per 2-2/3 ounce cooked lean meat–6 sevings per pound. Since these are already fully cooked, they don’t lose much weight when cooked again at home.–23¢ per 1-1/2 ounce breakfast-sized serving (10 servings per pound)

PORK

  • Bacon Ends & Pieces–3lb box–$1.68 per lb–21¢ per 2oz raw or about 2 to 3 good sized slices, at least 1-ounce cooked (compare to cost of turkey sausage and turkey ham above, which have a similar price per portion)
  • Assorted Pork Chops with bones, usually Shoulder cuts (on sale)–$1.99 per pound–at least 5-pounds per package for lowest price–67¢ per 1/3-pound raw or about 3 ounces cooked meat–note this is more than twice the cost of chicken leg-quarters which can be cooked like pork chops in many recipes
  • Pork Picnics, smoked & fresh–Not sure of current prices, will begin to go on sale in early fall

FISH

  • Canned Tuna–6oz can–55¢ per can–28¢ per 2-ounce serving of cooked lean meat–2 servings per can
  • Canned Salmon–14oz can–$1.58 per can–31¢ per 2-ounce serving of cooked lean meat–5 servings per can
  • Frozen Fish Fillets–Whiting, Pollock, & Flounder–2 lb bags–$4.50 to $5 per bag–56¢  to 63¢ per 1/4 pound raw or about 3 ounces cooked lean meat. Note that this is over the twice the cost of a servings of chicken leg-quarters. We love fish, and try to serve it at least twice a week. Canned fish for one meal and frozen for the other. When we’re especially poor we stick to canned fish because frozen fish fillets are one of the most expensive foods in our budget.
  • Refrigerated Imitation Crab–1-1/2 pound packages–$2.25 per pound–42¢ per 3 ounce portion of cooked lean meat

FOR COMPARISON

  • Specialty eggs costing over $4 per dozen, or 70¢ per 2-egg serving. This is over twice the cost of simple medium-sized eggs @ 25¢/2-eggs
  • It’s easy to pay $4 to $5 per pound of beef, costing $1 to $1.25 per serving. Compare to 44¢ per serving for regular fat ground beef.
  • Boneless Chicken Breasts, especially all-natural brands, often charge $6 per pound or $1.50 per serving of 3 ounces cooked lean meat. Compare to 29¢ per serving for chicken-leg quarters.
  • Pre-cooked, packaged bacon costs $1.50 for a 1-ounce serving of cooked bacon. Compare that to 21¢ for a larger serving of homecooked bacon ends & pieces. Plus with homecooked bacon you have the extra kitchen byproduct–bacon grease; for FREE.
  • Most fish, frozen or fresh, costs upwards of $4 to $12 per pound, or $1 to $3 per serving. Compare this to 56¢  to 63¢ per serving of frozen fillets.
  • Home cooked dry beans are the best bargain. Bulk beans at 50¢ per pound provide 6 hearty servings for only 8-1/3¢ per serving. Beans or lentils that cost as much as $1 per pound are still only 17¢ per large serving.

It’s easy to see how combing beans with meat is an excellent way to make it stretch farther and reduce your costs. If you’re trying to keep costs down as low as possible, then Eggs, Chicken Leg-Quarters & Canned Tuna are the best meat buys and dry beans are the best protein bargain by far.

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Watch for shrinking packages

Every time food costs go up, food manufacturers reduce the size of their packages while charging we, the consumer, the same price. Pound sized packages drop to 14 or even 12 ounces and then advertise “Now! 3/4-Pound in Every Box” like they’ve done us a favor by giving us more, when in fact they’re giving us less. Our favorite sunflower seeds were $1.19 for 12 ounces, now they’re 99-Cents for 7 ounces. the Package tells me that now they’re only 99-Cents which seems like it costs less. Only they’re giving us 5-ounces less in the package, so the company is actually making a lot more, while pretending to be a friend of the consumer. Really they’re just being a friend to their own greedy interests. Since the sunflower seeds are no longer the good deal it used to be, now I’m buying them from the bulk bins at the Natural Foods Co-Op. They’re $2.59 a pound and never NEVER trick me with packaging.

America’s Shrinking Food Wraps–YahooNews–Article about this very topic.

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The Cost of a GFCF Diet

We’ve been on our diet for 2 months now and we’re getting more of a comfort zone about it. We don’t go out to eat anymore, ever. Because it’s just too hard to make sure things are gluten-free and because we’re trying to limit our expenditures. All of our bills have gone up, but our income is the same. We have been able to save money in times past. But these days we’re using every dollar just to make ends meet. I know we’re not doing everything we can to reduce our costs, so I’m trying to do more every day, or every week, to use less cash.

The first month of giving up gluten and casein I spent too much on groceries. It’s easy to do when making the transition from one way of eating to another. We’re finding new favorites and adapting some old favorites to the new diet. I made a list of shopping techniques that are helping me keep the food budget under control. One day I hope to write an entire article (or several of them) on these things. For now though, writing these out reminded me of each of them and it’s helping me follow them more faithfully. Every little bit helps.

  1. Analyze the market. Compare prices. Shop the ads.
  2. Shop carefully. Always carry a list. Resist supermarket tricks and impulse buys.
  3. Compile a record of the least expensive staples. Build meals around these staples. 
  4. Avoid convenience foods. Cook from scratch. 
  5. Give up food prejudices and status foods. Adjust our comfort-zones. 
  6. Substitute cheap ingredients for expensive ones. 
  7. Buy in bulk when it saves money but avoid waste like the plague. 
  8. Communicate with the family about what they want to eat.
  9. Develop new favorites; keep them in a recipe binder.
  10. Plan menus and shopping lists ahead of time.

I’ve written extensively on similar ideas in the past, but I feel like the GFCF diet has really propelled me to a level of carefulness that I haven’t always had in the past.

Numbers 5 and 6 above have been major players in my weekly planning. There are several status foods I used to buy every now and then–Frozen Chicken Nuggets for the Kids, Brie Cheese for me–and all of these are out of the picture now. This is probably for the best, but giving up old favorites is hard because at first there’s just an empty vacuum that sits like a gaping hole. Eventually new favorites rise to fill the hole, but new stuff can’t fill it, until the old stuff is chucked out. Then the transition time of waiting and being empty is uncomfortable.

I’ve been substituting cheap things for expensive ones too. This is especially true with gluten-free starches and baking. I’ve learned that Rice can be used instead of spaghetti under Tomato Sauce. Cooked rice can replace cooked pasta in casseroles. Brown Rice is 60 Cents a pound (at it’s cheapest, bulk price) and GF pasta is $3 to $4 a pound. Holy Buckets! For that much savings I gladly take 45 minutes to cook brown rice. ACtually I’ve found that if I cook up 3-cups of dry brown rice, in 6-cups of water (making 9-cups of cooked rice), at the beginning of the week, then we have rice to use as a base for quicky meals all week long. I’ve only done that one week, but it worked so good I will try to do it every week.

I’ve worked really hard on developing some gluten-free bread recipes that the family likes and that don’t cost too much either. I’ve tried to avoid using Xanthan in as many of our homemade breads as I can, and so far the results are good. Xanthan costs $10 to $12 for 8-ounces. Usually recipes just use 1 or 2 teaspoons and it really does make GF breads mimic wheat breads more closely, especially yeast breads. For many quick breads though, Xanthan isn’t necessary in the least.

I’m particularly proud of my Xanthan-Free Bread Collection [Click here]. I hope to develop some more of them in the future. Some Garlic Bread Sticks would be especially yummy. I’m working on a recipe for Xanthan-Free Pizza Crust that uses Rice Flour and Cornstarch as the only flours. The recipe still needs a little tweaking and I don’t want to share it until I get it perfect.

 

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GFCF Day 1

We’ve been 24 hours without gluten or casein now. My oldest son is showing a little bit of response this morning. Youngest Son is not enjoying the dietary changes but is still being a relatively good sport. Oldest Son seems to like the new food, especially Oriental Rice Noodles. They are the new favorite. So at least there is food he can eat. He won’t starve. Phew! That was one of my fears.

Click for Larger Image. $150 of Gluten Free Casein Free Foods

I learned a few lessons at the supermarket yesterday. First is that my nearest Kroger has the largest GF selection in the Valley. That’s good to know, and convenient for me too. I met the manager of the Special Diet Section yesterday and he showed off his area. Nice young man, who obviously takes pride in his work. I think his mom has Celiac, or at least some family member, so he has the inside scoop on all the GF products.

He also has sales and a bargain basket of reduced products. The bargain basket had saving of 70% to 80% so I chose a lot of things from it, to try out. Specifically some baking mixes. Cornbread, chocolate cake, yellow cake, pancake and waffle mix etc. I did the calculating and the mixes were much cheaper than some of the ingredients that go into them. I praised the Lord the whole time, for providing such abundance.

The biggest money-saving lesson I learned is that anything labeled Gluten-Freein large letters costs at least twice as much as a similar gluten-free product that doesn’t proclaim it on the box in giant-sized print. For instance, GF chocolate chips that shout their status from the label cost $4.59 for 10-ounces–or about 46¢/oz.  After reading the label to make sure they were dairy-free too, I decided they were way outside of my budget, and resolved to find cheaper alternatives. In the regular baking section of the market I looked over the chocolate chips and was happy to see a wide variety. I picked up the most expensive ones and read the label. They contained milk, so were out of the question. Next I picked up the cheapest ones and read their label. Their list of ingredients was the exact same a the expensive GF variety. A quick check of their price told me they cost $1.29 for 12-ounces–or about 11¢/oz. Obviously this is a wiser use of limited funds. (BTW, the brand is Kroger’s discount VALUE brand, for anyone who might be interested.)

Then a funny thing happened in my brain. For a moment I considered paying$4.59 just for the peace of mind that those big letters GLUTEN-FREE gave me. For a split second, I waswilling to pay extra for that reassuring package label. Then I came back to myself and re-read the cheap chocolate chips label to be sure it truly was GFCF. I’m happy to report that it still was, and that they taste just like regular chocolate chips, which in fact, they are.

So my first lesson is that if I’m willing to read lables myself, and trust my own ability to interpret them, then I can save a bundle. How cool is that?! I admit that at first I didn’t really want to trust myself in this regard. As a fully mortal woman, I will make mistakes now and then, missing some of the sneaky words like malt, which comes from barley, and whey, which is dairy. The large quantities of money I save though, will make up for these occasional mistakes, and still provide big savings. After some prayer I decided that I may not always read labels perfectly, but I’m willing to take that chance in exchange for lower prices. At home I can always read the labels again before  I prepare anything, as a stop-gap before any offending foods make it into the kid’s diet.

One of the greatest bargains I found was rice noodles in the Oriental Section of the market. They’re less than half the price of special GF rice spaghetti and have an excellent texture. They’ll work for spaghetti, Lo Mein, and noodle stir-fries. Plus the kids love them! I’ll bet their even cheaper at my local Oriental market.

The next big lesson I learned is that most of the grains and starches I will be using are over-priced in my local area. I bought small quantities of some things, like Amaranth and Quinoa, Potato Starch and Tapioca Starch, Brown Rice Flour & White Rice flour, just to use them for the next 2 weeks. If we decide to stay with this way of eating, then I will definitely look for cheaper alternatives on-line. Whole grains are often cheaper than flours, so I’ll buy the grains and grind them myself in the future. I have a magnificent Oriental Food Store nearby that has giant sacks of brown rice for very little per pound. And parboiled rice (my favorite white variety) for very little too. So that is where I’ll get my rice for grinding into flour. It will cost as little as 15¢/lb instead of $1.50/lb, which was the price of the most expensive rice flour I saw yesterday. Eeep! That is expensive flour!

As for menu planning and meals, the cooking is much the same as we do already. Prepare foods from scratch using the most basic and inexpensive ingredients. I’m looking forward to learning some more about baking with GF grains. I’ve always enjoyed baking and it will be fun to expand my horizons.

To help the boys feel a little more secure about meals, I’ve written menus up on the white board, so they know what they’re eating next. It alleviates anxiety that is a normal part of changing one’s diet. My oldest, Tom, is happy with the changes. My youngest is tolerating them with a cooperative spirit. So far, so good.

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My Initial List of GFCF Menus

I’ve been reading with a voracious appetite this past week. My libraries seem to be well stocked with gluten-free information, but only a few books on gluten-free, casein-free. They have a couple of others on the topic but they’re currently checked out. I am not ashamed to say that I have brought home 20+ books on Celiac and GF and have devoured them for information. I have a pretty good handle on how to do my first shopping trip. I’ve learned to read all labels. Also, there is a law that started (or starts) this year, requiring manufacturers to clearly list any ingredients from the 8 main causes of allergies-wheat, milk, soy, shellfish, tree nuts, eggs, peanuts & fish. Apparently these 8 account for 90% of America’s food allergies.

I’ve chosen familiar, well-liked menu items for our first 2 weeks. The menus are incomplete. I’ll add meats, fruits & veggies as available, to fill the menus out. I wanted to know what Tom would be eating specifically, so these are mostly geared towards his taste choices. I’ve read that after implementing the diet, children who self-limit their food choices, like Tom does, become more willing to exand their horizons. I would really enjoy that, cause it would make him much eaiser to cook for.

BREAKFAST OPTIONS

  • Grits

  • Chocolate Soymilk & Protein Drink Mix Smoothie

  • GFCF Pancakes & Syrup

  • GFCF Toast with Vegan Margarine & Bacon

  • Rice Chex with Soymilk

LUNCHES

  • Refried Beans & Corn Chips

  • Pasta with Spaghetti Sauce

  • Mashed Potatoes & Vegan Cheese

  • Bean Burritos (corn tortillas)

  • Caesar Salad with Bacon Bits (no cheese & no croutons)

  • GF Macaroni & Vegan Cheese

  • TVP Sloppy Joes

  • CF Cheese Sandwiches & GFCF Tomato Soup

DINNERS

  • Pinto Beans & GF Cornbread or Muffins

  • Lentils & Rice—Mexican

  • Lentils & Rice—Italian

  • TVP Tacos

  • Taco Salad

  • GFCF Lasagna—Add veggies & tofu

  • GFCF Pizza—Add pepperoni

  • Fried Rice

  • Stir Fried Veggies, Rice & Shrimp (maybe)

SNACKS

  • Preacher Cookies (Quinoa or Kamut or Rice flakes instead of Oats or GF Oats if available)

  • Brownies (Rice flour)

  • Muffins—Blueberry

  • Fruit Juice Gigglers

  • Fruit—Lots

  • Veggies—Carrots, Celery, Cucumbers etc.

  • Vegan Ranch Style Dip for Veggies

  • Celery Stuffed with Peanut Butter

  • Soy Yogurt

  • Cookies as I experiment

  • Vegan Gourmet Cheese & Other Vegan Cheeses as available

  • Marshmallow Rice Chex Bars (like Rice Crispy Bars)

  • Maybe Carrot Juice (from juicer)

When shopping I’ll get lots of fresh fruit, because that’s a family favorite. I’ll also look at the GFCF pre-packaged snacks to see just how expensive they are. I’m almost afraid to find out. Meanwhile I’m looking though my library books to get some simple baking recipes like for pizza crust, muffins, yeast bread, cornbread, brownies & pancakes. I’m also looking for GFCF cookie recipes, which seem to be in abundant supply online.

 

I have a few fears about Vegan Cheese. last time I tried them they were rubbery and tasted more like ill-prepared tofu than cheese. I have a couple of cookbooks in my collection with some Vegan Cheese recipes, and I plan on experimenting with them too, until I can find a cheese substitute that works for macaroni & cheese. I’ve read good things about Vegan Gourmet cheese and hope it turns out as good as described. If not, I’ll just keep looking.

 

For shopping I’m looking at 3 sources–My local Natural Foods Co-Op. They have a lot of really interesting foods there. Also GNC which has a moderate selection of gluten-free items. And finally Kroger, we have 3 of them within 3 miles, and they all have well-stocked natural and dietetic food sections. I’ll also do my regular shopping on Tuesday at Wal-Mart, but probably won’t be buying too much there. Luckily the GNC and Krogers are all very close together so it won’t take much gasoline. The Co-Op is about 15 minutes away, which will eat into my gas some, but they have the best prices and are likely to have the best selection, so it’s worth the trip.

 

The reason I’m willing to shop 3 stores (and maybe 5) is because this excursion is for educating myself just as much as for purchasing actual products. I’m intend to limit the number of items I buy to those needed for our 2 week experiment. Then, if the experiment is working, I’ll consider making other purchases.

 

Oh, I just remembered, we have a UKrops (local to VA) and they have massive variety of hard to find items. I may go there and the Co-op on one day. Then Kroger(s) and GNC on the second day. I’m afraid of the sticker shock waiting for me, but am moving forward with faith. I have prayed that the Lord stop me if any of this is’t His will. I’ve also prayed for a clear understanding of His desire for me to keep heading in this direction.

 

I’ve explained to the kids that they may get headaches the first few days of the experiment, and that they may feel anxious or unhappy, but that these are symptoms of letting go of the gluten and casein. My oldest is still cooperative. My youngest is a little leary, but since everyone in the family is doing it, he’s not going to complain yet.

 

This afternoon I visit with my Mom and Granny and will explain the situation to them and my Dad. I’ll need their cooperation and I’m not sure how I’ll handle the meal that the Boys eat with them on Wednesday Nights. Maybe pre-make a couple of pizzas and take them with me, with instructions on how to bake them for Mom. I’ll also bring some snacks like candy-cookie things. Mom already buys soymilk, so that’s a plus.

 

Tomorrow Mom and Granny are coming over to help with the boy’s room some more. We’re about half-way into it, and hope to start painting tomorrow.

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