Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas!

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The Cost of Gluten Free Flour.

IMG_0719Over the last couple months I’ve been collecting data at the various stores I visit. It has taken me this long because I don’t regularly go to King Soopers/City Market and I try to make it a practice to avoid Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck). I took down prices for everything I use in my gluten free flour blend for comparison. I had made mental notes of prices before, but sometimes my memory is not the greatest, so the general idea I had that Natural Grocers was the cheapest place to buy my flour was a bit questionable.

It turns out I was right. By almost a dollar per pound compared to Whole Paycheck.

So get ready for some math!

First, you need white and brown rice flours, potato starch and tapioca starch. It turns out that Sprouts does not carry tapioca starch (at least I didn’t find it at my usual store) but King Soopers does. King Soopers, however, does not carry potato starch. The prices for the other items were the same at both grocers, so I’m going to assume that to be the case if other stores carry the missing starches and just call Sprouts/King Soopers one store for the purpose of this post. We’ll call it King Sprouts.

Sprouts does sell brown rice flour for $3.29 rather than $3.49 at King Soopers, but white rice flour is the same as King Soopers (at $3.49). When I was breaking the cost down per ounce I rounded up, so the cost per ounce ended up being $0.14 for both stores. Just keep in mind that brown rice flour is slightly cheaper at Sprouts.

Natural Grocers is my store of choice for most packaged goods. Their produce is amazingly pricey, but sometimes they have good sales. At any rate, Natural Grocers is the winner for flour because of their bulk section, but even if you can’t find white rice flour in their bulk flours (they discontinued brown rice flour, grr) they carry the Bob’s Red Mill at a lower price than the other three stores. Bob’s Red Mill white rice flour is $2.95 making it $0.12 per ounce. Brown rice flour is $3.15 making it $0.13 per ounce. Potato and tapioca starch are $3.69 and $3.45 making them $0.15 and $0.14 per ounce respectively. If you buy Bob’s Red Mill for everything the blend works out to be $2.08 per pound. Natural Grocers bulk white rice flour costs $2.65 for 32 ounces, making it $0.08 an ounce. That cuts the total flour blend cost down to $1.76 a pound!

For the purpose of this post, King Sprouts sells brown and white rice flours for $3.49 per 24 ounce package, making it $0.14 per ounce. Potato starch runs at $4.29 and tapioca starch at $3.79 making it $0.17 and $0.16 per ounce respectively. You need 24 ounces of white rice flour, 7.5 ounces of brown rice flour, 7 ounces of potato starch, and 3 ounces of tapioca starch to create the blend. This means King Sprouts comes out to $2.40 a pound for this particular flour blend. Not bad, but not the cheapest either.

Whole Paycheck (predictably) loses. I’ll spare you the cost breakdown, but the per pound cost works out to be $2.56. So, if you don’t have a Natural Grocers in your area, stick with Sprouts or King Soopers.

I didn’t check the prices for regular flours, so I’m not sure how this flour blend compares per pound to an unbleached white flour, or a whole wheat flour. But I’d say that $1.76 a pound is pretty affordable and it was really interesting to find the price differences from store to store. Maybe in a little while I’ll take down the prices for all of the pre-made flour blends and some regular flours for comparison. It’ll be a little pet project.

 

Sausage Gumbo.

IMG_0716It’s finally getting colder here, although yesterday was a balmy 65°F. I don’t really feel like it’s winter most of the time, which is odd: it seems like it usually gets cold sooner in the season. I’m not really complaining because it makes for cheaper energy bills.

At any rate, I’m finally making more soup-like dishes because the temps have been a bit lower. I love soup, so cold weather makes me happy. Not only is soup easy to throw together, it’s super tasty (usually) and you can make most soups in just one pot, making cleanup easy as well.

So, enjoy this recipe for an amazing gumbo!

Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
1 lb andouille sausage (or other sausage of choice), sliced
12 oz okra, sliced (or 1 jar pickled okra/2 cups frozen cut okra)
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 pepper (green, red, or yellow), sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cups bone broth
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 lb shrimp
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon dried oregano

  1. Cook sausage in a 4-6qt. Dutch oven over medium heat until browned. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add celery, onion, pepper, okra and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Place in the bowl with the sausage.
  3. Add tomatoes and baking soda into the pot. Stir until the tomatoes are no longer bubbly (this will take away the acidity of the tomatoes).
  4. Add broth, reserved sausage and veggies and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes.
  5. Add shrimp and simmer an additional 10 minutes, or until shrimp is done.
  6. Serve over white rice.

Lessons from the Thyroid (part II)

I hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving!

Here’s part two of my thyroid story, for those interested:

The first thing I did (after my initial freak-out) after getting a diagnosis was to read as much as I could about it on the internet. I was careful to source my information from websites that seemed reputable, and I only tried things that didn’t strike me as too good to be true. Because, let’s face it, if it seems too good, it is too good.

I found a number of good blogs while I was doing this, and a number of bad ones. I also happened to luck out and get in on The Thyroid Sessions as they were being released, so I didn’t have to pay for them. The site is really gimmicky looking, but I know for a fact that there is good information to be had if you watch them. I’ll be honest though, I probably wouldn’t have watched them if they hadn’t been free, so I wouldn’t blame you for not watching.

My criteria for a “good” blog is rooted in whole foods and a certain holistic approach to life in general. Everything is connected in some way, whether we are able to identify the connection or not. It doesn’t make sense to treat anything (physical or otherwise) in a singular way, which is why the “magic bullet” mentality of western medicine doesn’t resonate with me. Sure, those bullets will treat symptoms (sometimes really effectively), but they are rarely effective at actually resolving the issue because they hardly address the root cause. In this case I could take the synthetic hormone replacement and I’m sure it would make me feel better, but if I hadn’t changed my eating habits I would still be doing damage to my thyroid. While I wouldn’t necessarily feel in poor health, I would be stuck with the medication for the rest of my life and my body wouldn’t have a proper chance to heal.

So the very first thing I learned was about the gluten-thyroid connection. Or, more specifically, the gut-thyroid connection: If your digestive system is malfunctioning in some way, chances are your thyroid isn’t far behind. Once I managed to heal my gut a little I could have a bit of gluten here and there, but I still avoid it as much as possible because I feel terrible after I’ve had too much.

I know, “but gluten-free is such a fad,” you say. Or, “I eat that stuff all the time and I feel fine!”

I said those things too. And, honestly, the only reason I cut gluten out of my diet was because I read so much about it negatively affecting thyroid function. I didn’t think it made me feel bad when I was eating it regularly. Bad was just my normal and I had no idea. None. Removing gluten was just an experiment, and it turned out to be one of the things that changed my life for the better.

People tell me all the time that what they eat doesn’t make a difference in how they feel. I’m here to tell you that it does. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from my thyroid is that the old adage “you are what you eat” is more true than most of us realize. My journey with food has left me more connected with my body. I’m a more grounded person than I was 3 years ago because of the choices I’ve been making when it comes to diet. I know that sounds really strange, but food is such a large part of life that decisions you make about what you eat have a significance that impacts your life in ways that are small, but powerful.