The short answer is no. Most people will always have the perception that following any kind of diet will be more expensive. Making meals from scratch and buying more fruit, veg and healthy ingredients can add up to a lot more than buying five ready meals. However, firstly the cost will depend on what your diet is like at the moment and how much it needs to change. Secondly, it’s about how you go about the diet… or Low FODMAP Lifestyle which I talk about later in this article.
Personally, I hate the word ‘diet’. It immediately sounds restrictive, that I need to lose weight and will be temporarily painful to follow! Following the Low FODMAP Diet, to start with it is a diet as the elimination phase is restrictive. Most people will be a drop in weight and it is only to be followed temporarily. But during the reintroduction and continuation phases I prefer to see it as a Low FODMAP Lifestyle. The Low FODMAP Lifestyle is a long term way to live.
The Low FODMAP Lifestyle
The Low FODMAP Lifestyle includes your daily routine with food and exercise, how you cook, how you food shop and should become ‘the norm’… not the restrictive, boring, temporary way of following a ‘diet’.
These are a few things I have done which are now what I would call my ‘Low FODMAP Lifestyle’ and all have actually helped me manage my IBS, eat Low FODMAP foods, and yet not increase my monthly spend:
When I first started out on this diet I gathered so many recipes, mainly to show that this diet didn’t have to be restrictive, bland and the same day in, day out. I experimented with some of the recipes, tweaked ingredients I like (and would regularly have at home!) Whilst many cook books and online recipes are often full of ingredients you’d never buy or have never heard of… and so gets expensive. However, I have found many blogs and cookbooks (two of my faves are Emma Hatcher – The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen* and Alana Scott’s, A Little Bit Yummy**) which are centred on Low FODMAP recipes, tend not to contain many ‘crazy’ ingredients and are mostly staple dishes but adapted to be Low FODMAP.
Batch Cooking & Freezing
Once I worked out different dishes to try I decided to start batch cooking. Living alone has always been tricky with food as you end up eating the same thing for days on end as otherwise the ingredients will go off. So batch cooking was my answer! Making a big Low FODMAP lasagne, chilli, chicken & potato pie and other dishes suitable for batch cooking and then separating into smaller containers in Low FODMAP size portions and freezing. It’s cheaper to make bigger dishes and portioning them out, plus having something easy to get from the freezer would stop me going back to the supermarket to buy more food or heading out for dinner or a take away which are more expensive.
Online food shopping
I started online food shopping when I got frustrated spending hours in supermarkets, being tempted by food, spending ages reading labels and then realising I couldn’t have any of it! So, I decided online food shopping was a better alternative – sat at home on the sofa, with a cup of tea and leisurely going through the grocery list. You still get the full ingredients lists of each item online, so to start it did take me a while to go through and find safe foods to eat. Any ingredients I didn’t recognise or wasn’t sure if were low FODMAP, I would just check on the internet or my app and instead of holding up an aisle in a supermarket doing this, I was in the comfort of my own home! I soon had all my staple items in the list and now just go through to swap in and out a few items based on seasons, what dishes I want to make that week and to mix it up a bit each week! It’s made food shopping easier and quicker (remembering which items I have bought which were safe) but I also find online shopping less expensive! The deals are highlighted to you so you don’t miss out, but I also see the total bill as I’m going and so I will take items out to stick to my budget, which I wouldn’t do if I were in the supermarket! I don’t get tempted by things I’ve walked past and so just go to the items I want and don’t get distracted. I have got a ‘delivery pass’ and so delivery is also cheap for my weekly shop and even with this extra I am saving a lot more than when I go to the supermarket and fill my trolley! One last benefit… if you have a memory like mine then it’s super handy to just pop to the cupboards in the kitchen and check if you really needed this or that and so don’t over buy!
Group exercise classes/activities
As with any diet, or in this case ‘lifestyle’, exercise is quite a key part. When I was at uni I worked in a few different gyms and so always had a free gym membership… which sometimes I would take advantage of. It’s only when you leave you realise how much of a good benefit it was and is probably still the reason I’m not keen on paying for a gym membership… so at the moment I don’t! Living with IBS, I have found high intensity exercise doesn’t really agree with me… at least not the jumping around kind! I prefer swimming, rounders, yoga/pilates, other low intensity exercise classes, country walks and cycling. So, I have found an outdoor rounders summer league which I am part of, local classes in village halls, my own bike and the leisure centre for swimming. I have created a routine to ensure I am doing exercise each week – however, I haven’t committed to a gym membership. Therefore, if I have a flare up and can’t make my class then it doesn’t matter – I haven’t paid so I don’t feel guilty for not going! When I go on holiday, I’m not missing a week of a paid gym membership. With this ‘pay as you go’ and free (walking/cycling) exercise regime, it works well around my IBS as well as my work and social life, to ensure I’m not paying for something I’m not using… making it in my eyes ‘inexpensive’.
So whilst you are likely to be buying more fresh ingredients, unless you already do, batch cooking and online shopping can really help to keep control of the costs! Following the Low FODMAP Diet (or Lifestyle!) really doesn’t have to be a whole lot more expensive.
Many of us lead very hectic lifestyles, and so I totally understand that cooking from scratch and batch cooking take time that we don’t always have. Often this can be where the costs incur. Try to set aside an hour or two one evening or on a Sunday to get batch cooking and do your meal preparation for the week ahead.
On the other hand there will always be times which crop up and we aren’t prepared and want a quick meal. This is why I started Bay’s Kitchen! We were hoping to have launched our first range of stir-in cooking sauces by now, however as with any start-up business, we have faced a few hurdles! Whilst we could have launched some time ago, it would have been at prices I wouldn’t pay myself and I wasn’t willing to ask my customers for. So when we do launch, you can rest assured that we have done our best to bring convenient, great tasting, Low FODMAP products to you at the best possible price! (News should be coming in the next few weeks on our launch and you will find details on the range here)
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and it has helped you to think about ways to make eating Low FODMAP easier and less expensive for you.
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