Commander and I enjoy Homeschooling boys (Herogian, Hawk and Gluten), raising chickens, ducks, and dogs ( Penny and Casey), eating gluten free, surviving breast cancer, coach track and field, and loving God for every minute that He gives us to cherish our family.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gluten free and the holidays

A couple of friends have recently been told to eat gluten free or that a child needs to eat gluten free. When you are diagnosed with Celiac Sprue, it is good to know that you can control the pain, bloating, diarrhea, wasting away, what ever the symptom, with a diet change instead of having to take drugs,  surgery, or give yourself shots. THere are worse things out there to deal with. But changing your diet when the rest of the family doesn't have to change....

Cross contamination is everywhere in the kitchen from all the previous cooking with gluten = wheat, rye, barley, oats (are on the list because they can easily be contaminated out in the field) Finally, there are farms that don't switch crops.

 Back to the kitchen, condiments are contaminated with malt flavoring, natural and artifical flavorings, smoke flavorings, caramel coloring, stabilizers, emulsifiers, white vinegar (doctors say it okay, but ask a celiac who is sick afterwards)certain dyes are even made from glutenous grains, and it depends on what country the maltodextrin comes from.
Go try to clear all that out of your kitchen and still cook "normal" food for the rest of your family.

I feel for my friends, it is hard. Then there comes the holidays when almost everything about the holidays centers around food.  The best thing for a Celiac -  is to bring their own food. THink of yourself trasping up to the door of a friends house with a plate of food for one, even if you are bringing something else to the party. It used to make me feel like I was saying, "I can't trust you to not contaminate me." The diet can make you feel self-conscious, if you tend to already be self-conscious and who isnt.

THen there are the people who knowingly pass you something with gluten and they say, "Just try a little bit. A little bit won't hurt you."  The best answer I've heard from other celiacs is to ask the person if they want to try a spoonful of arsenic. Then we will see who feels better in the morning. They would still win.

The kicker was the person that told me to leave my gluten free stuff at home, they didn't want to mess with it. I could just eat the vegetables as my Thanksgiving meal - the turkey was stuffed, therefore contaminated. I love you too. He meant well, it just came out wrong. We all do that.

THings have changed greatly over the last 20 years that I have dealt with Celiac Sprue. It has become a multi--million dollar business. I started off having to grind rice in a grinder to have a flour to make 'hockey pucks'. Today you can by gluten free bread at the store. There are companies like and that make the best flour and pizza hands down.  makes 'oreo' type cookies. WOW!

Two years after I was diagnosed, it was the middle of winter in Carlisle, PA, when I found out that Wendy's frosties were gluten free. Commander and I bundled up, put on our boots, and sloshed through the snow for a round trip over a mile just to get a frosty.

To be truely GF you must read the ingredients on everything. Thank goodness for companies that now mark their products, and stores like Dillon's that tag the shelf with gluten free markers to show you the GF item. I am thrilled with how much easier it is to get items GF. Even restaurants are trying to have GF menus. Be cautious about this, though, it doesn't always happen. One anniversary night, the Commander and I went straight from the restaurant to a large furniture-everything store across the street, because I wouldn't be able to make the ride home. Cross contamination.  I spent 30- 40 minutes walking from one bathroom to the other. Really felt sorry for the ladies going in after me.

If you have a family member or friend coming to your party that you know is gluten free, keep a few things set aside that you know are clean. Put vegetables or salad in a container for them before you pour on the sauce. Keep the croutons separate. Check the sauces that you plan to use, if your not sure, they appreciate a call from you asking if it is okay to use. If it's not, that will at least clue them in to what they need to bring.
Our church does Wednesday night meals for all that come. It is so awesome to get a text or email telling us that the whole meal or parts of it is gluten free. That is such a special feeling of love, especially when your insides make you feel like such an alien.

To my new gluten free friends. Hugs. Hang in there and stay Gluten Free, your gut will love you in the morning.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Wow!! Some awesome information. I have never had to deal with this issue. I have had to deal with severe peanut allergies however. Before my cousin came with her daughter, I removed everything that was peanut in it and scrubbed everything because of cross contamination. I never thought of cross contamination with Gluten before. Thank you for opening my eyes to this