Buying allergy friendly food sometimes can be expensive. For most of us, getting the occasional freebie or coupon isn't really enough to make a difference. A peanut allergy or tree nut allergy adds some expense to your weekly grocery bill if you avoid foods made in a facility using peanuts and/or nuts. For my children and me, this means we are limited to certain brands especially for breads, which often are not the least expensive.
If trace amounts or cross-contamination are not a concern for you, and you simply purchase items without peanuts or nuts as an ingredient, these allergies may have a negligible effect on your budget. Add another allergy, however, such as dairy, and your grocery bill increases more substantially. Avoiding wheat? Soy? How about foods with corn? Now imagine buying your allergy friendly groceries on food stamps--would you have enough for your basic grocery needs? How do food stamps take medically necessary dietary restrictions into consideration?
Food allergies are often dismissed as a health condition afflicting those in more affluent communities. We hear of big dollar fundraisers which are so important for food allergy research and advocacy but we don't often hear about the struggles of the average food allergic Joe trying to make ends meet, affording those epipens when insurance doesn't cover all the epipens needed, and making due with multiple food allergies on food stamps. Perhaps it is because those individuals are so busy trying to survive in these tough economic conditions.
Have you survived your food allergy budget on food stamps? Do you know of a food allergy friendly food pantry near you? Please share how you did it and tell us about the resources which offered you support. Your experience may provide some inspiration to others in similar situations.