You look up and down the aisles of the supermarket only to find you can’t eat a bloody thing! Every packet lists the foods you can’t eat. Until you find the over priced health food section… pasta made from silverbeet only $30 a pack. Um, unless it’s made from actual silver, it can stay on the shelf. Who buys all this stuff? Does living with allergies have to cost a bomb?
Allergy foods needn’t raise the cost of your food bill. In my household, we live on one income in Auckland, New Zealand, which is known for being in the top 10 of the most unaffordable places to live in the world. We get by on a budget whilst avoiding dairy, soya, egg, nut, wheat, gluten, nightshades, sugar, corn and mushrooms. Our food is amazing and you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. Here’s how we do it.
Hot tips for living on a budget with allergies:
1. Fill your cupboards with the foods you can eat. This is how I started when we had to start an elimination diet for our sons sake, you end up just throwing the foods you can eat together in a pan and accidentally cook amazing food! A simple starter is bacon and avocado for brekkie, brown rice or quinoa for lunches with vegetables and/or meat, meat and veg for dinner, vegan dessert/chia seed pudding with stevia every night and loads of herbal tea/coffee/tea with coconut milk/cream. I have a few posts with no bake, three ingredient desserts which are delicious, healthy, easy to make and inexpensive.
2. Make alternatives to store bought treats. I am in a few allergy support groups online and always see that people are literally crying because they can’t have traditional ice cream or chocolate or whatever. I want to shake all these people and show them that you still can have dessert dancing on your taste buds. It is easy, healthy and so simple. Get your bake on. One site I really rate is http://www.ohsheglows.com as she states all allergen information on the front of the recipe so you know what you’re in for without reading through the ingredients list.
3. Cook. You must cook. The more you cook, the better you get at it and the more you learn about cooking. Simple meals such as roast vegetables (throw veges in the oven on 180C / 356F for 30 – 45 min with olive oil) is a wonderful place to start. You’ll be an expert in no time.
4. Have a go to meal for entertaining. Ours is roast chicken (or other meat). Easy, inexpensive and deliciously satisfying. It goes down a treat with hearty vegetables in winter or with a fresh salad in summer. It can be cooked in the oven or on the BBQ. A (plain) frozen chicken can be bought ahead of time, on special at the supermarket or organic from the butchers. Throw some dried herbs on to add the fancy factor. We save the bones to make our own allergy friendly bone broth. A post on this will be up later.
Ok. Excuses? Sound like hard work? Time poor? It requires you to get in the kitchen, yes, but it’s the same with all good things – once you’ve established the habit, you’ve made a positive lifestyle change. Simple foods do not waste your time. Examples: I seldom peal vegetables, just throw them and meat in the oven and and set the timer, then come back and eat it at dinner time. For an easy breakfast you can make a batch of smoothie bags (fruit and greens chopped in freezer bags) throw in the freezer then pop in the blender with coconut water when required. Lunch can be leftover dinner. There we go, you are now free from being a barefoot slave in your kitchen.
5. Be prepared. Be prepared for rushing out the door and be prepared for a snack attack. Be prepared by making a batch of say, delicious allergy friendly muffins and freezing them to grab and go. Or I make my pita chips and take these with me in snap lock bags with avocado and toppings when I go out. This will save you paying the insane allergy friendly prices for fruit bars or whatever from shops. Or make a stop at the supermarket for fruit and natural kumara (sweet potato) chips (NZ product).
Prevent snack attacks and learn to love tea! I always have a cup in my hand of something. I really look forward to different brews at different times of the day e.g. morning coffee with stevia and coconut cream or my evening liquorice tea. Mmmm, happy place.
6. Know you can eat well, with allergies on a budget. It is easy. If you have enough food on the table and a roof over your head, you are richer than about three quarters of the worlds population. Be content knowing this and do not wish for more. Excluding food groups might get some people down but realize you still have so much food that you CAN eat. Appreciate your glorious life and cook a meal. The things you take for granted, someone else is wishing for. You lucky duck!
For more too easy recipe ideas, go to my instagram page @friendawithallergies . There is a link off this site.
Do you have hot tips on allergy foods on a budget? Comment below, I would love to know what you do!
Aleshia Dearlove xx