One of the frustrations with being Gluten Free, or really with any sort of food allergy or intolerance, is that we are subject to what the market is willing to offer. When I tried to go wheat free in 1999, it was impossible. There wasn’t enough information easily available, nor were there decent products out there. After 6 months of frustration and feeling hungry all the time, I gave up. At that point, it wasn’t a medical necessity….well, I didn’t think that it was anyway. It probably would have saved me some serious issues as I look back.
The point is, sometimes it feels impossible, even now. We are definitely reliant upon the market and what manufacturers are willing to offer. After my two-month search and quest for new body care, I’ve made a break through. Last year, I made it to the point that I felt more empowered and comfortable making my own baked goods. I discovered baking with Almond and coconut flours and it changed my outlook. I suddenly could make cupcakes, cookies, crackers and other baked good we’d missed for over a year.
Then I took the next step of figuring out how to grind my own Almond Flour, so that I wouldn’t be victim to the manufacturers who inflate the costs of GF food and charge $7 per pound for the flour. I was taking control and decreasing the cost of my flour to $4 a pound instead of $7. (For those of you who aren’t actually GF, realize that’s not per bag, it’s per lb. So your 5lb of flour might cost between $2.50 and $5. My 5lbs of Almond Flour was costing $35 for that same amount! Even grinding it myself, it costs me $20 for the same amount that you pay a max of $5. Finally, I started adapting the Almond Flour recipes to incorporate coconut flour as well to further reduce the cost.
Yesterday, I took the next step in gaining independence from a niche market and attended a wonderful body lotion making class offered by our local Parks and Recreation Department. Liz of Natura, Colorado taught us how to make lip balm, body butter, several types of lotions, a sugar scrub, and a body cream. At the end of four hours, I had 5 new body products that I knew exactly what was in it AND a head of ideas for friends and family members who need certain products!
In addition, when I got home I had a new confidence in my ability to continue to take care of the specific needs of myself and my children. I have a body cream idea for my son’s skin condition. It’s easy to make and costs much less than the Gluten Free body care in the stores that is marked up by $2-$10 just because it’s gluten-free. When I got home, I burst in the door with the same feelings of accomplishment, excitement, and “proud of myself because I’ve just done something awesome,” that I felt have after winning a forensics meet when I was in high school and college.
I’m on the road to walking away from price-gouging and deceptive manufactures and taking care of my children at a new level! There are things I can’t control, and things I can. So often, life feels out of control. This is one thing I’m taking back.
I can’t wait to take the liquid soap making class next spring where I will learn how to make body wash and shampoo and gain further control and empowerment over this situation. Sometimes this gluten-free life is pesky. Others, it’s overwhelming and exhausting. This class I took yesterday gave me another tool to deal with and enjoy this Gluten Free life!