Anyone who suffers from food sensitivity will tell you that it is not much fun. It is very inconvenient and can make eating out and socialising quite tricky. However, that is not the only problem.
One of the biggest issues is the fact that living with sensitivity to foods costs money. This is because if you want to continue to enjoy a wide and varied diet you have to buy specialist food products.
One study in America estimated that the 20 million people who live there and suffer from some form of food allergy or intolerance spend an extra $500 million on food and supplements. That is a lot of extra cash to spend every year.
In many families, more than one person has some form of special dietary needs, which means even more expense. However, there are some ways to keep the costs down. Here are our top tips.
Cook your own
Our first tip is to cook your own meals as much as possible. There are some great allergy friendly recipe resources out there and a lot of them are free. In the future, I will put together a top 20 list of these free resources for you to use.
Buying the base ingredients to make your own allergy friendly meals is far cheaper than buying ready made food products. Once you get into the swing of things it does not take up a great deal of time and many people find that in the end they really enjoy cooking.
It turns out to be more fun than they realise as well as saving them money and helping them to eat a far healthier diet.
Of course, you can still buy ready-made allergen free products if you want to. If you are short on time, just try making your own low allergen bread and cakes. You can do it once a week, or even once a month and freeze some. Doing just this will save you a huge amount of money. Bread is something most people eat every day.
Given that more and more people are becoming allergic to, or intolerant of, certain food groups there is now competition in the market. This means that several firms make low allergen food products and they are finally having competing on price in the same way that ordinary food manufacturers do.
This means that if you shop around you can save a bit of money.
Some of the best deals can be found on the web. Our shop features a range of good quality, low allergy products including the raw ingredients that allow you to make your own meals. We regularly search the market to find the best products and deals and feature them in our shop.
Buy in bulk
If you can club together with other families you could potentially buy in bulk and secure discounts. Even if you do not have anyone you can club together with there are certain food products, such as gluten-free flour, that you can buy in bulk. All you have to do is to be careful about how you store what you buy.
Government tax break schemes for those with food allergies
In some countries the government offers people help with the extra cost of living with a medical condition. For example, the Canadian government has a tax break scheme that those who suffer from coeliac disease. They allow people a tax credit to help them to cover the cost of having to eat specialist foods. It is not a huge amount of money, but every little bit helps. Keeping track of all of your food receipts used to be difficult, but someone has come up with an app, which makes it super easy to do. You can read more about this food allergy app here.
Allergen free foods on prescription
It is sometimes possible to get gluten free, and other allergen free foods for free. In countries, like the UK this food is seen as a medicine, so is available via the doctor. Depending on the area you live in you can choose between a range of foods that are available from companies like this one.
Vouchers and deals
Keep an eye out for vouchers and deals. There are plenty of vouchers around. The more people need these foods the easier it will become to find them. Health food shops are the best source for vouchers, but you do occasionally see them featured on regular voucher sites.
If you are taking advantage of deals by buying several months or weeks of food in one go remember to check the use by dates.
Get your allergy medications for free
Provided you watch what you eat, most of the time you will feel fine, and not need any medications. However, if you make a mistake and eat the wrong thing you may need to take some medicine. In that situation, it is always worth checking if you can get it for free, or at a reduced cost from your doctor.
Failing that consider buying the generic versions of the drugs you need. Typically, branded drugs cost five or six times more than the generic type does, so it is always worth trying them.
A word of caution
Of course, it is great to get a good deal, but you need to be sure that you are really buying low allergen foods. Unfortunately, there are people out there who are forging these products.
Some unscrupulous people are doing this in the same way they do go beauty products and other high-ticket items. For this reason, it is important to buy your allergen free foods from firms you know and trust.