Can’t afford gluten free products: Hi, I suffer... - IBS Network

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Can’t afford gluten free products


Hi, I suffer with IBS and have been trying gluten free diet this last month, noticed a slight difference but nothing major. I can’t afford to keep buying gluten free products to only notice a little difference and I don’t qualify to get them on prescription. My usual food shop would cost £45 and is now costing £55-60 which soon adds up. Anyone else in the same boat? Think I could just try eating normally but cutting down on the gluten rather than cutting it out completely.

29 Replies

My gastroenterologist says gluten is rarely a problem. To some extent this has become a fad. Ask your gastroenterologist if you require a gluten free diet. Unless you have celiac disease, which I presume you have been tested for, the answer is likely to b no.

janetmtt in reply to b1b1b1

Sorry I disagree with only eating gluten free if you are celiac. You can suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity which would require you to give up gluten and grains

Do search on the internet for this

Sorry but from first hand experience - gluten can be a problem - my partner had problems with gluten has removed it from his diet and is now 99% better. Cannot understand why a gastroenterologist would make this comment but there is a load of comments on the internet regarding non-celiac gluten issues. I agree GF products are ridiculously priced!

Apart from

Bread and pasta and cereal a lot of things you can read the labels and they are fine

I don’t know where I are but in uk b& m do pasta cheaper than supermarkets dolmio stir ins are fine I do buy some snacks and bfast bars from free from isle but a lot I’ve found else where and I’m df too so hard gf has definitely helped me , a suggestion after a lot of tests but apart from diverticulitis not conclusive

I would try changing your diet a bit. I am dairy intolerant and I can’t afford the items in the freefrom section either, but I have found that there are items in the regular aisle that are fine. Initially lots of label reading but you soon work out what’s ok. What about making some foods, I made gluten free bread for my friend... you could make four loaves slice and freeze, or muffins - wrap in cling film individually and pull one out of the freezer for a treat? I also make oat based snack bars (see pintrest etc) e,g no bake granola bars (I usually cut out any expensive items in these recipes and replace with cheaper - raisins instead of cranberries, leave out the chia seeds etc).

I was tested for dairy allergy and it came back negative, however with food exclusion that is definitely what was causing all my issues! (IBS d etc)

Hope this helps?


Ive had ibs for years ive just put up with it but about year ago i got really sick and ended up in a&e, pain in stomach was awful.

Well after alot of tests i was sent to gastro and i thought brilliant il have word about my ibs.

The gastro was brilliant i told her about my pain and ending up in a&e and weight loss, not keeping anything in 💩.

I was told to try to give up gluten and dairy then reintroduce one see how it goes, as she thought i had sibo/ candida as it had got worse after antibiotics.

I gave up sugar, dairy and gluten for 6 weeks, within 2 weeks my pain had gone!

I kept goin for 6 weeks, my pain totally went , i kept food in , only goin once a day , i put on abit of weight( which was good).

I tried to reintroduce both but within couple days the symtoms come back so i have now been gluten and dairy free for year. My ibs has more or less gone, my nails, skin and hair all look better.

On returning to my gastro she explained that u can b intolerant and what happens is if u keep eating something ur intolerance to it will build up until ur body starts rejecting it as its trying to tell u it doesnt want it.. she explained gluten is not really needed in a diet.

U say about the food being so expensive, i dont buy much of the free from stuff from supermarkets as it so expensive i just but lots of fruit and veg and meat and salad.. it all cheap apart from meat. I dont eat no pre made cakes and biscuits as sugar so high, i do buy a cereal though but a supermarkets own gf make. Lidl do a free from bit now it so much cheaper. The flour and cereal about £1 cheaper then anywhere else. I dont eat bread at all but u could try lidl if u do again it about £1 cheaper then other supermarkets.

I dont feel i miss out as its made me super healthy and my ibs has gone

Excellent reply Lulububs and agree that buying the free from food would be so expensive. I love sourdough bread and have found that my tummy is much better eating this so now make my own, I have also found recipes making it using gluten free flour. I make everything from scratch now that I eat and have the Clever Guts Diet book by Dr Michael Moseley (UK) and found it really interesting. I now have the accompanying recipe book which was written by his wife who created the Blood Sugar Diet. I made Black Bean and Beet burgers this week and they are absolutely gorgeous and you could use chickpeas instead of beans - my tummy doesn't like beans.

I shop in Lidls and stuff is so much cheaper. I also drop in to Aldis as and when I can (unfortunately there isn't an Aldis near me hence shopping in Lidls).

Its strange as people keep saying there bills have doubled , mine have gone down? I suppose im eating more healthier, the only free from i buy is my cereal and i buy morrisons own so not that much more expensive then my kelloggs crunchy nuts i used to have .... i dont buy sugar anymore, as i have given up sugar in coffee and tea.

I buy lidls own soya milk which is 49p instead of my normal milk which was 89p plus i buy no sweets, chocolate,crisps, breads so i save myself loads.

I refuse to buy any of there cakes and biscuits so i make my own and they do the plain and self raising big bags flour for £1.50 in lidl.

If ur gona buy all the free from stuff ur goin to get fleeced, dont do it...

I saw it as kick up arse to not eat so much bad food. No processed either.

I got to say i would never go back to it EVER.

I am so much better my stomach used to b so bad i was ill 3-4 days out of 7, not great way to b. Im not symptom free from ibs for a year( few mishaps on eating out where ive asked about gluten dairy free and they said it is but it wasnt)

So now i tend to stay in and just have family and friends round.

My mum has even gone gluten free coz she realised she suffered with ibs and wanted to sort it.

I think I definitely need to have a look in Lidl!!

Yeh u must. It a aisle right at front of shop in my lidl. Saying free

Fro m !! It got pasta ,spag, cereals,biscuits,cakes, flours, it got alot there. My mum said there digestive biscuits are best. They also do gluten free sausages in meat aisle.

See I suppose to save money I could survive without biscuits etc etc but pasta is a must so will have a look. Thank you so much! Definitely got me thinking about trying to make my own stuff too

Yeh the pasta tastes no different at all. I had family round last week and made a jamie oliver autumn spag bol and i said to my other half “ it gona b a pain to cook all different pastas” he said “ dont just cook gluten free and do u kmow what at end i said “

Did anyone not like pasta as it was gluten free and not one knew difference!

It was lidls own make free from.

Yeh i do have biscuits every now and again but there treats i wouldnt eat alot as they are sweet and alot of sugar but they are cheaper at lidl and nicer then all other supermarkets.

I get my cereal from morrison or asda as they do a good range.

Sausages ALWAYS MORRISONS!!! The gorgeous there gluten free ones. 2 for £4 but there worth it

Most definitely and see what you have said below about making your own, it is so much better for you and you know exactly what is in it. :)

I think mine is more expensive because even though I am shopping in Lidls some of the stuff I buy is organic i.e. carrots, milk, eggs and broccoli - the eggs and carrots are quite a bit more. I am like you with food in that I don't eat sugar or any processed food, I actually no longer like chocolate and never thought that would happen.

I hate to see what they put in food and something so simple as a loaf of bread has a list as long as your arm of processed ingredients. Unfortunately both my husband and me eat very differently where he does eat home prepared meals i.e. meat pies, cottage pies, pasties etc he still drinks sugar free coke and some shop cakes which are all bad for you. I however am a pescatarian so I cook two different meals each night but have got used to that. I have just started working in a café and the thing that really tempted me were the roasted vegetables - yummy to that. :)

My tummy is a lot better than it used to be but it definitely doesn't like beans be they broad, kidney, black eyed etc but I am fine with chickpeas. I love my one pot meals and have a few of those in the freezer.

Here's to a happier and healthier future. :)

I dont know why but i cant do yeast either, so breads be it gluten free or not are a no no and alot of the other things even wraps and things have it in so it a bummer really. So not only am i gluten dairy sugar processed food intolerant i cant do yeast either.

Can i just ask what are ur symptoms when u have a flare?

I have had mine for first time in months today, nothing i ate or drank i have no idea where it came from( totally out of blue) i wander if it could b stress.

I woke up this morning doubled up in pain, sweating, nearly fainting... i have then not stopped 💩. Tmi sorry.

I dont know what to do for it though? Do u take buscopan or mebervine or what? I have no idea as ive always controled by food? So to have a flare from no where has taken me by suprise and i dont no what im suposed to do. The pain is crippling me

I'm pretty sure I am okay with gluten and I think that the process of making sourdough bread makes it more tolerant to eat but you can make gluten free sourdough bread. I gave up lactose for 6 weeks and then reintroduced it and was absolutely fine so that isn't a problem I am pleased to say. I do not like processed food and have chosen not to eat sugar and now much prefer the raw fruit bars I make, I love them.

My symptoms are mainly bloating, flatulence, constipation and sharp pain. I had the pain on Saturday and yesterday and with that comes the bloating. I am very fortunate in that I do not get diarrhoea. From what you have said above I would say it could be stress as from what you have said you control your diet incredibly well.

I take Buscupan for the pain and it sometimes takes 4 or 6 tablets during the day before I start to feel better but I quite often use a hot water bottle if I have the pain in the evening.

Here's to your flare up disappearing very soon.

Take care x


I have wasted so much money on gluten free products over the last couple of years. The supermarkets certainly take advantage. So unfair.I now make my own cakes and biscuits using gluten free flour.


Thank you for all your replies. It has certainly given me a lot to think about x

Thank you for all your replies. It has certainly given me a lot to think about x

Hi there Charley, I make everything from scratch now and you will see my reply to Lulububs that I also make my own sourdough bread. Definitely cooking everything yourself would save on the label reading as of course you wouldn't say need to read the labels on jars of sauce as you would make your own using fresh ingredients.

It is worth making stuff yourself as it's far healthier as there is no added sugar for a start.

All the very best to you. x


Living gluten-free, dairy-free, and many other things-free, has more than doubled my food bill. I live on only a fixed social security income.

You can eat many sourdough breads, but be careful. . Regular bread can be consumed 1 piece a day. The higher gluten products are more fateful than breads. I know when I eat Grahamt crackers and such.

My partner was told that it can be healed if you give it up and allow the "villi" in the colon to heal - if it heals you can eat gluten again - but as I always say not one size fits all - my partner can get away with a tiny bit gluten now and then and get "off" lightly but if he did it everyday he would be ill again. We have a friend who cannot even eat chicken if it has been fed on grains he is so bad - when he comes to our house he brings his own food in case of cross contamination so everyone is different

I have a strict budget of $30-$50 NZD (£15-£25)a week and am vegan, df, gf, yeast free, sugar free and found out in order to afford my weekly groceries I have to make everything from scratch- I can't eat anything processed- the truck is to slowly build up groceries and alternatives- some good replacements are brown rice, buck wheat, chickpeas , almonds ect all of which are quite cheap and you cab easily ground into flour- it may be a little time consuming but it's a check of a lot cheaper than trying to buy premade or mixes. You also dont have to miss out on anything whilst avoiding these foods I've taught myself how to make heaps of nice foods- pancakes, cakes, biscuits, Bliss balls, mousse, icecream ect.. just rakes a while to get used to and learn how and what to cook 💕 I know it can seem expensive but it doesn't have to be

I save money not by buying gluten-free substitutions but by eating in a non-gluten way. Like a breakfast such as a Japanese person would eat. Or an Indian person. Chinese pastry. Think outside the box.

Products that are marketed as gluten-free are very expensive.

I even made my own hummous the other day to go with my flat breads but my belly has decided no to hummous!! See it a weird one, some days i can eat things ,some days i cant.... it never a straightforward thing with my stomach

Desserts are a nightmare!! U could try a dark chocolate mousse made with marshmallow instead of any dairy but she cant have sugar!! Aless u make one size of ramekin see if she wants a treat.

Has she got sibo/ candida? I did that diet for 6 weeks it was a killer...

She lucky she had a friend like u i had noone to turn to for help with food... you know ur nan just keeps goin “ oh she can have a bit of apple crumble and custard surely, it wont hurt” lol

No help whatsoever! I just shut myself at home and thought right if i do this i got to b alone( husband obv but he great with food he very healthy). So to have a friend like u she can come to is amazing

Also u saying about hormones, i had a big flare up monday no idea where from

All homemade food i always eat but today i came on period??? Do could that b related little toad

Hi Charley, oats are probably the best tolerated of the allowed grains, so porridge is cheap and is a brilliant food, with 50% almond milk and sugar I don't ever get symptoms from it.

After 27 years of suffering with IBS-D I have found that the long term solution that actually works is all about vitamins and fasting and both are equally important.

This is based on some excellent publications, and also just observing how healthy people live. First, go to the doctors and get yourself checked for intestinal infections, and whatever other tests they want to do, you can be a carrier of some bugs and only suffer occasional flare-ups. But, if you are all clear then the first thing to sort out is your vitamins and the timing of your eating (fasting periods). An incident of food poisoning or infection can start you on a cycle that you need to make a really concerted effort to break out of. IBS causes vitamin deficiencies which are very difficult to overcome in most people’s diets, especially because you are probably eating selectively to manage your symptoms. Your vitamin levels affect the health of your guts, and the health of your guts affects your vitamin absorption, so it is a vicious circle that you have to break. Get some really good, expensive, multi-vitamins (ideally constituted for your age) and take them without fail every day before your breakfast. Do not get the ones with high calcium and magnesium initially as certainly in large doses these minerals can mess you up as they consume your stomach acid, and you should get enough of these minerals from your diet. If you are on low FODMAPs, go for all lactose free dairy products to boost your calcium. At the same time, sort out your fasting periods straight away. Your small intestine should be practically sterile, and your stomach acid along with bowel cleaning during fasting (called MMC) will usually do this. You need to fast for this to be effective, and by that I mean, ABSOLUTELY NO eating in between meals, only water, or tea with saccharin. Imagine if you never washed your dinner plates and just kept putting food on them all the time!, they would be filthy. You need to give your small intestine plenty of time free of food for cleaning. God didn't design us to have cupboards full of rich foods permanently available day and night. Your stomach will sort itself out when you have got control of your small intestine (although if you've got gastritis you'll need to finish a course of omeprazole first), and then your large intestine will improve later as nutrients are more efficiently absorbed from your small intestine. Eat a good breakfast (porridge!) at say 7am or what suits you and then a good lunch at 12 o'clock - absolutely no food in between. After lunch, no food again for at least 5 hours, and eat well again for your evening meal because it has got to get you through the night. No supper or snacks, no food or milk at all until breakfast the next day. In general, do not eat fried or roasted starches, i.e. crisps, chips, roast veg or fried rice. The high temperature that gives the lovely crispy bits, makes complex polymers that are very difficult to digest, they feed the bacteria and make you ill. Starches should only be boiled, and this is enough. You will feel hunger in the fasting periods, but you must not respond to it - only with water and drinks - not fizzy drinks or milk. Importantly, when you are feeling better, do not resort to your old ways, you are still recovering, and you need to make a life-style change to have this level of discipline in your eating and continue with it. Start doing some exercise if you don’t already, as this will also help with your gut motility. Your intestines take time to fully recover, it takes a few weeks at least, and you need to persevere. You then need to maintain a healthy and consistent way of eating and always keep the vitamins topped up all the time to prevent you from relapsing. There is a lot of support for L-glutamine to help with nutrition specifically for your intestinal lining, this means buying 500g of the bodybuilder powder type and having a couple of tea-spoons of this a day, one before breakfast and one just before you go to bed, and you can have this in a light cordial drink. A lot of this was taken from this GENIUS paper below, but it does fit exactly with what I have experienced, and for the first time I really feel in control of something that has been a burden for years, but is no longer. Good luck.

Treatment and Management of SIBO — Taking a Dietary Approach Can Control Intestinal Fermentation and Inflammation

By Aglaée Jacob, MS, RD

Today’s Dietitian

December 2012, Vol. 14 No. 12 P. 16

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