Celiac and Money

Money and celiac!

Money is a big deal. It makes the world go around. But it becomes an even bigger deal when it comes to celiac disease for a number of reasons. Here’s why….

Drug Companies

Drug companies are spending big time on celiac disease. Recently there was an article regarding money being poured into celiac research. Lots of smaller companies are investigating drugs for celiac, but when the big companies get involved, you know its getting serious.

Takeda Pharmaceuticals has obtained the license from Cour Pharmaceuticles to distribute their drug that just successfully completed Phase 2a clinical trials. Glaxo-Smith Kline just acquired Sitari Pharmaceuticals. Sitari is working on TG2 inhibitors that are thought to start the celiac autoimmune inflammatory cascade. Innovate Pharmaceutical has decided to merge with RDD Pharma to focus on orphaned gastrointestinal diseases. The new company will be called 9 Meters Biopharma.

Takeda and Glaxo-Smith Kline (GSK) are big, big companies. That they have joined this group of companies looking for a cure for celiac disease is a big deal. Finally, big pharma is interested in this disease.

I, personally, don’t believe pharmaceutical companies are only in business to make money. I think of them as companies that are looking to solve a problem or to help and trying to make a little money along the way. Yes, there are bad ones, but for the most part, I think drug companies help people.

Without these companies, we have no hope. The gluten free diet is woefully insufficient as a cure for celiac disease. It is like any drug. The gluten free diet has its pros in that it will help alleviate the main symptoms and lengthen our lives. The cons of the gluten free diet is that it is almost impossible to do perfectly and is socially isolating. I just want something to help us live a healthier and more easy life – even if I have to take a pill every day for the rest of my life!

Personal Money

Personal money and a gluten free diet can sometimes feel incompatible. Gluten free processed foods are expensive. I can buy 8 expensive gluten filled hamburger buns for $3.59 or so. But 4 Udi’s hamburger buns typically cost about $5.99. That is almost double the price for half the quantity. Dried gluten free pasta seems to be about the same price as regular gluten filled pasta, but that is about the only thing that seems to be about the same price.

The solution to the problem is to severely limit processed gluten free foods. When I say gluten free processed foods, I mean the replacements for the staples that you once relied on. The foods I find the greatest disparity in price are cakes, breads, crackers, and pizza. The items that are heavily reliant on flour are going to be more expensive when flour can no longer be used.

Many canned and frozen vegetables are often gluten free and don’t have a price difference. Most potato chips are naturally gluten free and many manufacturers even label their potato chips gluten free. Gluten free stocks to make soups or other things are often slightly more expensive than their gluten filled counterparts, but typically not more than $1. Rice is cheap and is naturally gluten free. Dried beans should be gluten free, but labels need to be read just to make sure.

The staples of our diets should be whole fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and seafood, dairy, and eggs. Processed gluten free foods should be limited because they aren’t easy on the wallet.

Some will say that they cannot eat whole foods and need to rely on convenience foods. I understand. Meal prepping on a weekend, using a crock pot dump meal, or making a large casserole that can carry through the week should solve this problem. I know its hard and requires a little bit of planning, but in order to save the money on processed gluten free foods, I think it is necessary.

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