Is Gluten Freedom Free, or, How to Survive a Gluten Allergy on a Budget

June 14, 2012 11:52 AM EDT | By Staff Writer
We don't miss you anymore. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The gluten-free lifestyle is expensive. Nothing fills us up quite like breads and pastas do, and wheat-food substitutes that get the coveted "gluten-free" stamp of approval also enjoy a rise in price-tag, too, to say nothing of the sacrifice in flavor. With these three food tips, we'll show you how to avoid making yourself sick with the typical cheap eats by filling yourself up with gluten-free meal accompaniments.

1. Rice

This almost goes without saying, except that so many overlook it. Growing up in an Asian-American household where the rice overflowed, I was shocked to learn that this cheap, versatile grain isn't the American staple it needs to be.

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Rice goes well with anything, and it's incredibly easy to make. Investing twenty bucks in a rice cooker is perfect because it comes out perfectly each time. Just add one part white rice to two parts water and a bay leaf and press the "Cook" button down. In a couple of minutes, enjoy perfect rice.

If you prefer brown rice, add one part brown rice to two-and-a-half parts water. Prepare with a similar push of the button.

Rice goes well in soups as a substitute for noodles, and sops up jus better than any bread. It's a meal in-and-of itself: everything else you can add to it is gravy. And you can add just about anything to it.

2. Polenta

Gluten-free pasta is expensive, and rice with pasta sauce is disgusting. When you're craving pasta, opt instead for polenta-- a corn-meal based porridge. Purchase Instant Polenta from your supermarket (it'll be next to the oatmeal), and prepare it according to the directions on the box. To it, add tomato-based sauces, pestos, and cheese, and serve it alongside a meat.

It'll fill you up something fierce, it tastes better than any pasta made out of brown rice, and it's cheap. Unless you opt for the pre-made supermarket polenta that comes in a package similar to sausage.

3. Cashews

Cashews are an excellent snack for when you're incredibly hungry and have nothing to eat for. And when you're too lazy to wait for rice and polenta to cook, just snacking on some cashews are a great, wheat-free way to stave off hunger until your next meal. Eat it alongside whatever it is you're already eating. Their salty sweetness, or sweet saltiness, goes with just about everything.


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