Sunday, August 2, 2015

Shopping for gluten free, corn free, grain free, additive free staples.

This blog is so neglected! I blog so much on my other blog, and forget about this one entirely.

Well the subject today is shopping for those store cupboard staples that cost us so much because we can't eat the same as everyone else.

You know the rice pasta, yeast free stock cubes, organic tinned pulses (because the non organic alternatives have additives the organic is just pulses and water), spices, organic brown basmati rice (supermarkets have organic basmati, organic whole rice but not organic whole basmati).

I used to get most of my store cupboard stuff in a health shop in Bath called Harvest, and when I worked in Bath I could go there during my lunch break or after work sometimes and stock up. After I retired going there meant a planned trip into Bath, with petrol costs and parking and I tended to wait until I was pretty much out of everything, but when I got there I often found one of the items I really needed was out of stock. So I had to go without, or make a special trip back just for that one item.

This got more tricky last year when Hubby changed his job and took our only car to work leaving me without a car, and meaning that trips to Harvest were fewer and further between and involved us both going along, and still they were out of at least one thing that I wanted every time.

Then I found an online store called EcoGreen, who had everything I needed. They charged delivery which could be steep, but they gave a discount of 5% which offset the delivery charge. The service was terrible, I would order a large amount when I was nearly out and it took weeks or months to arrive. When it did arrive it was over packed, and there was always something they were out of........ deja vu? Well it wasn't usually something critical like rice.

Then one day I went to place an order and found they were in the hands of the liquidators, no surprise there. Now what can I do? Back to Harvest perhaps!

Then I had an idea, googling some, and searching Amazon for some I found that Amazon sells everything I want and more. If I choose sellers carefully delivery is free too. Most of the free delivery groceries are sold by Amazon themselves, and it is sold in bulk - but that is okay because I was buying it in bulk from the doomed EcoGreen.

So I have purchased Rizopia rice pasta, and Dove's Farm rice pasta, the latter is cheaper by a third and the quality seems to have improved. King Soba rice noodles too in all varieties, and organic whole spices - I have a cupboard full of them now. I even ordered Suma organic chopped tomatoes.

Some things I can still get locally, like Kallo yeast free stock cubes from Asda, and organic passata which only contains tomatoes and salt, but weirdly the tinned tomatoes of the same make contain citric acid. All of the supermarkets stopped selling rice pasta, introducing "gluten free" pasta of their own make which sadly contains corn which I can't tolerate either. I could still get rice noodles in Tesco for a long time but they seem to have stopped stocking those also.

We have a Holland and Barratts where I get a few things, they have more online but have reduced the organic range over the years.

I get my fruit, veg and some dairy and deli items delivered from Riverford, and sometimes chicken too.

I get the rest from the supermarkets, organic yogurt, non organic quark and cottage cheese, tinned pulses which don't really work out to be cost effective to buy from Amazon. They don't all stock all the things I need, Sainsburys stocks organic black beans, and organic Parmigiano Reggiano. Tesco stock organic chick peas, kidney beans, butter beans, and more. Asda have organic kidney beans as well as the passata and stock cubes already mentioned.

I have had to compromise my organic principles a little because I became a member of Slimming World a couple of years or so ago, and some of the basics don't come organic. Strawberries do but are too expensive to keep buying for the amount I eat now. I even grew my own plants in a effort to eat chemical free fruit but they aren't very productive.

I have never found organic quark, and the only organic cottage cheese I found was not quite as low fat as I wanted and only stocked by Waitrose - some of the time.

I did very well during my first SW year losing over 2 stone (I previously only weighed myself in Kilos, I hate the metric system and always have), then last year I went up and down but didn't lose more and put that down to a stressful year. This year was going to be different, but it has been the year from hell, super-stress! I put weight on, I have mostly lost it and got back to where I was and now I need to keep it going down for health reasons.

One thing I have discovered this year is Argan oil, which I tried in desperation when the skin on my hands was so dry it cracked and bled. I bought a little bottle of oil which I thought was pure argan oil from Holland and Barratts, the packaging was a little misleading. It said Argan oil, 100% oil, liquid gold, I found out later it was a mixture of maybe 20 or more oils including argan. It smelt gorgeous because it contained cinnamon and other spice and flower oils, and sunflower oil. It didn't last long.

It seemed to do my hands and face good, so I bought a bottle of pure argan oil next, and because it said use 3 drops on your hair 30 minutes before shampooing I thought I would - but I used it before bed and 3 drops didn't seem enough to me so I added a few more, then a few more.... woke up looking like a grease ball!
It took me days to wash it out and my hair felt like old rope, but I persisted and now my hair is lovely and strong and silky, and I noticed that my hairbrush no longer resembles a dead hairy centipede.

H&B is an expensive place to buy argan oil, you can get it in double the size bottles for half the price from - you know what is coming - Amazon! Also the one I am buying from Amazon comes in a brown bottle not clear and that has to be better for the oil.

I think that is the end of my rambling for tonight, I have run out of words.