9 Ways to Budget on the Starch Free Diet for Ankylosing Spondylitis

by | Apr 2, 2023 | Diet | 0 comments

Key Points:

  • Set up price alerts, buy in bulk when sales are on and use ‘cashback’ sites for further savings
  • Find out when supermarkets label their reduced items and check out these awesome food waste apps
  • Try making your own foods and supplements

Buying vitamins, supplements and foods on the AS protocol can get extraordinarily expensive…

For example Bone broth alone can cost up to £35 ($50) a month.

One of the core skills you can develop as part of the protocol is knowing what to buy and what to make yourself (and when it comes to buying where to buy and when to get the best deal).

I’ve found that sometimes the same products can be bought for 10%… 15%… even 30% less, if you follow some of the tips I’m about to outline.

We know that stress is something that can trigger or exacerbate flares so the purpose of this article is to help you find ways to mitigate the financial burden as a result of your new lifestyle changes.

The good news is there are several easy (and in most cases quick) practices you can adopt.

These are all things I use regularly (or have at least tried) myself and they have saved me hundreds of pounds.

Let’s get to it.

1. Set up price alerts and buy in bulk

This is great because you only have to do it once and then it works away in the background for you.

The first thing to do is find the product you are after online and copy the url (the link in the address bar of your browser).

Now do the following…

Step 1: Go to a price tracking website and set up a free account (I use Keepa who track Amazon and eBay but there are loads to choose from)

Step 2: Paste in the link of the product(s) you want to track

Step 3: Specify the price at which you want to receive alerts at. e.g. you could set up an alert that will email you every time a particular product drops below £20 / $20

Once you’re set up you will get an alert every time any of your regular buys is on offer at a price below the figure you specified.

Then it’s a case of bulk buying as much as you can within your budget (as long as it is safe ‘sell by date’ wise!)

Just to give you a real world example…

The Bone Broth I buy only tends to go on sale a handful of times a year but when it does it tends to be reduced by as much as 30% – 40%.

As soon as I get an email alert I try to bulk buy as much as I can afford (again, always check the sell by date on any products). Often this will see me through to the next special offer.

So far this trick has saved me up to £200 on bone broth alone over the course of 12 months.

You’ll find that some products never go on sale and that’s fine. Others need to be fresh and won’t be suitable for stockpiling but overall this can be an extremely effective, low effort strategy.

2. Sign up to email lists for discounts

This tip is related to the first but I wanted to give it it’s own section primarily for this first time buyer time.

Often if you are a first time customer you will be offered a 10% discount (sometimes more) if you sign up to their email list before making your first purchase.

You won’t find this on every website but it’s a lot more common that you might think.

Here’s the process I follow:

Step 1: Type the supplement you are looking for into Google

Step 2: Now click on the ‘Shopping’ tab in Google. This will allow you to see which companies are offering that supplement at the best price (and who look reputable). Remember to take into account shipping when you do this.

Step 3: Click through to the shop you have chosen and look for an option to sign up to their email list. Usually they will specify if signing up will give you a discount but this is not always the case.

Step 4: Wait up to 15 minutes for their welcome email to come through (usually it’s pretty instant)

Step 5: If they include a introductory discount code in their email for you to use, great! Use that when you go to purchase and save yourself some money. If not, don’t worry. You’re on their list now and will find out if they launch any special offers in the future.

Additional Tip: If you don’t get an introductory signup code sometimes it can be worth Googling the name of the company along with “discount code” into Google. This can be a slightly frustrating process as it often seems to bring up lots of spammy sites with discount codes that don’t work but sometimes it can yield effective results.

3. Use CashBack sites to earn an additional % kickback on everything you buy

Cashback websites are sites that give you a cash payment if you use their tracking link to purchase from the online shop of your choice.

If you’ve not used one before the concept can be hard to get your head around at first.

Basically it’s a form of affiliate marketing in reserve. We all know that businesses, bloggers, influencers and so on use affiliate links when they mention products and that this gives them a kickback from the company they have recommended if some decides to purchase using their link.

Cashback websites work in much the same way except that the Cashback website take a share of the affiliate income and passes on the rest to you.

It’s a win win scenario because it’s free to do, requires very little effort and can give you a small reimbursement on products you buy over time.

It works like this.

Step 1: Sign up for a free account at the cashback site of your choice (In the UK I use TopCashBack – if you happen to use this link I’ll get some referral income which helps me fund this site and doesn’t cost you a penny. If you don’t want to use it you can just Google TopCashBack and signup that way).

Step 2: Log in and search for the shop you wish to buy your product from

Step 3: If the shop comes up click on and then click on the tracking link button

Step 4: It will open up the shop in a new window and now you can purchase the product as normal

Step 5: If it has tracked correctly you should see your cashback appear as a log in the cashback website after a few days (it tends to take about a week but some merchants are faster/slower)

Step 6: Once your payout is eligible for release you’ll usually be given a choice of payment methods. Typically you can choose a transfer directly to your bank account or PayPal or you can sometimes choose for the payment to be made in the form of vouchers. This can increase the value by a few %. e.g. Amazon or John Lewis vouchers.

Tip: You can often use Cashback sites in conjunction with discount codes and make a double saving but always check the T&Cs as sometimes one will counteract the other. When you are purchasing always make sure you stay on the browser window you were sent to by the Cashback website, otherwise your purchase will not track.

6. Make your own supplements using fresher, healthier ingredients and make huge savings

This is the most time consuming tip but it’s also the most rewarding.

When you buy something pre-made and packaged up you’re paying for their premises, labour, materials and so on.

Often you also unwittingly pay for a whole host of nasties you might not want… such as preservatives which could exacerbate your AS.

Sometimes pre-made is the only option – or the cheaper option – thanks to technology or economies of scale.

However, there are a number of products you can make easily, cheaply (sometimes free) from home.

Here are some of my favourites:

Make your own bone broth

There are tons of great bone broth recipes online. Here’s a really simple one which works well and doesn’t contain any triggering ingredients:

3 Ingredient Bone Broth Recipe: The Minimalist Baker

Tip: If you have a good relationship with your butcher they may even give you the bones for free. This makes one of the most costly elements of the AS Protocol the cheapest!

Make your own face creams

When my AS became particularly active I started have reactions to everything. Even moisturisers I’d been using for several years started reacting horribly with my skin and giving me a nasty rash.

Choose your own ingredients (for example I removed seed oil and argan oil from the following recipe and replaced it with avocado oil).

Here’s a simple guide you can follow from Dr Axe

If people would find it helpful I’d be happy to create a guide for my own recipe and put in on the site.

5. Find out when your local supermarkets ticket their reduced items

Typically supermarkets have set times when they ticket reduced items.

Find out when they do this (just ask a member of staff in store) and then plan around that.

If you get there early you can often find some amazing stuff.

Many of the ingredients and foods we have in our diet are fresh foods. Often there will be a wave of these that hit their best before date at the same time – particularly in major supermarket outlets.

When they do, those that haven’t sold can see often reductions or 30%… 50%… 70% or more.

For example many of us following the No Starch diet eat salad on a daily basis. This is often something you can find at a reduced price.

The same goes for meat and mince and a range of other ingredients.

Meat is even better because you can simply freeze it when you get home and then defrost it at your convenience.

It’s a great way to save a huge amount on your weekly shop (let’s face it, this diet can be expensive!) while also helping prevent food waste.

Speaking of which…

6. Check out these awesome eco food sites (free stuff!)

In recent years a number of awesome food waste apps have popped up to help ensure perfectly good food doesn’t get dumped.

This is a great way to help save food waste while getting people access to some incredible ingredients and foods for free.

Do check this out as you can often find food from top restaurants and delis on here.

The idea is that many restaurants and shops have perfectly good leftover stock that they don’t want to throw away.

This is a way to get that stock to people for free.

It’s easy and quick to use these apps and here are a two excellent ones:


Too Good to Go

If neither are available in your country trying Googling ‘food waste’ apps to see if there is an alternative where you live.

7. Pickle and ferment your own foods: quick, easy and a fraction of the price

Fermented foods are having a bit of a moment and rightly so because they are fantastic for your gut.

If you’ve ever looked for kimchi, sauerkraut and other fermented foods in supermarkets you will find that are ludicrously expensive (there a few notable exceptions, such as pickled gherkins in the UK).

They also tend to be packed full of extra ingredients which aren’t compliant with the No Starch Diet.

There’s a simple solution to this… make your own.

Here is a fantastic, step-by-step and free YouTube tutorial from Pro Home Cooks shows you how to easily do lacto fermentation:

How to ferment food (YouTube)

I am a terrible cook and even I managed to do this.

So far I’ve mainly been pickling courgettes we’ve grown in the garden and used big old mason jars we had in the cupboard but plan to try a range of other foods and recipes. Just Google fermentation or pickling and you’ll find a wealth of resources.

8. Try less well known cuts of meat – they’re cheaper and often tastier

Most people who are on the AS Protocol and who follow the No Starch Diet will be eating a lot more meat than they were previously.

(Some people even go full carnivore as part of this diet).

Meat is expensive and can be one of the single biggest hits to your budget in what is already an extremely costly protocol.

So here are some tips you can use that will spoil your taste buds and dramatically cut down your shopping bill.

Try different cuts of meat.

Sirloin and fillet are typically the most expensive.

Everyone’s heard of them, people feel safe ordering them in restaurants and as a result demand is high, resources are scarce and you end up paying a lot for these cuts.

I’m not just saying this but they are actually two of my least favourite cuts.

Try lesser known cuts such as Onglet (my favourite) which is cut from the diaphragm or lower belly. It’s very flavoursome and far better value than some of the other cuts.

Here’s a comprehensive list of cuts to try:

Cheaper, tastier cuts of meat to try (Bonappetit website)

9. Try organ meat – it’s healthier, cheaper and better for the planet!

Organ meats such as liver, heart and kidneys are extremely nutrient rich.

They tend to get a bad rap in terms of the ‘ewww’ factor but frankly if we’re ok eating flesh we probably don’t need to be precious about eating organ meat too.

Lobster’s look like something created in the bowels of a nightmare yet most people yelp with delights and fork out ludicrous sums to grapple with one. It’s all about exposure. Get used to organ meats and you’ll be kicking yourself you didn’t try them earlier.

Find a decent butcher and they can often be picked up at a bargain price too.

Organ meats are real win because they are often seen as a by product of butchery. Top Michelin star restaurants are cottoning on and I’m had heart and liver recently in some top flight places.

The trick with organ meat is to prepare it differently and try not to think of it as you would a steak, for example. Often cutting organ meats thinly into small slices can be very impactful especially as they are some flavoursome and have a different texture.

Tip: While you’re at the butcher don’t forget to pick up bones to make you’re own bone broth (these can often be picked up free or cheaply).

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