Seek These Things

a blog discussing Celiac Disease, & the Gluten Free Diet, Books, Parenting, Politics, Religion, Pets, Product Reviews, and whatever else catches my interest

This Post is for Frankie May 24, 2009

Dear Frankie,

Thank you so much for your comment. I was beginning to think that only the spammers read my blog.

Living Gluten Free can be discouraging, but I hope you can take comfort from the experience of others.  Did you know 1 in 150 children are diagnosed with Autism? Well 1 in 133 people in the general population will develop Celiac Disease and I feel overall they are unaware of the warning sign, the treatments that are available, and the negative impact continued gluten exposure can have on someone with Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance.

Two ingredients you need to buy for your GF food storage are Brown Rice Flour and Guar Gum. You can get both at any Health Food Store. (Like Good Earth Natural Foods.) You can mix Brown Rice Flour and Corn Starch in a 3:1 ratio and replace the flour in any family recipe. It won’t be as good as traditional recipes or the GF recipes, which often use a “featherlight mixture” of rice flour, potato flour, and potato starch, but it will get you through those times you need some homemade comfort food. Rice flour is heaver than wheat flour, Xanthan Gum (and Guar Gum which is similar to Xanthan Gum and less expensive) act as rising agents to make your breads lighter in texture.

I understand that your diagnosis is still up in the air, even specialists disagree on how much blunting of the villi constitutes a diagnosis of Celiac Disease (for more information read Gluten Free for Dummies). Lactose Intolerance is very common among those first diagnosed with Celiac Disease starting out on the Gluten Free Diet. You need lactace to digest lactose and the part of your body that makes lactace is located on the tip of your villi. When your villi become blunted due to your auto-immune response attacking the gluten in your system, your body may be unable to produce lactace and you will be lactose intolerant. However, many people living on the gluten free diet have reported that their lactose intolerance disappears as their villi heal. You could be able to stomach lactose within a year following the GF diet.

I am also lactose intolerant. I began experiencing symptoms of lactose intolerance after my gallbladder was removed in 2008. It is challenging to make Gluten Free meals for my husband and Milk Free meals for me. Each of us longs for the food the other is eating. I’ll add more GF/CF recipes ad I become more adept at cooking without butter and cheese.

CF stands for Casein Free and means the recipe does not contain that milk protein. Some people sensitive to Gluten are also sensitive to Casein, one of the many protiens found in milk.  Look for GF/CF recipes and you should be fine. I also encourage you to test your level of lactose intolerance, you might be able to stomach a certain amount of lactose in your diet, and only experience symptoms when you go over that limit. I have found I can eat lactose about once a week, but never 2 days in a row. Unlike cheating on a gluten free diet, where every exposure to gluten increases your risk of developing colon cancer, lactose intolerance has not been linked to cancer.

You mentioned that the list of foods you cannot eat keeps getting longer. That is the opposite of the reaction I hear from most people on the GF diet. Once their CD was diagnosed and they began treatment, their other medical conditions (diabetes, depression, food allergies- like to strawberries, and lactose intolerance) improved considerably or went away entirely eventually.

Regarding your sensitivity to beef and chicken, is it possible your food is being cross contaminated? The longer you are Gluten Free correlates to how strongly you will react to gluten when it gets into your system.

Additionally, some people are more sensitive to gluten than others. My father works with a man whose 3 children all have CD. One of his daughters is so sensitive to gluten that she cannot eat off of any plate or fork that has ever touched gluten. She has to have her own pots and pans to cook her gluten free meals. And she can just forget about ever going to a restaurant. She has the most severe case of celiac I have ever heard of.

My husband (thank goodness) can use a cookie sheet or fork that has been contaminated with gluten once it has been washed (decontaminated). However he sometimes gets trace amounts of gluten in his food from cross contamination. One time his dad made us all spaghetti but used the same spoon to stir both the GF spaghetti sauce and regular spaghetti sauce and my husband got sick. When we first started the GF diet years ago we bought a roast chicken from a supermarket deli and didn’t think to check the ingredients. It was just roast chicken right? Well after my husband got very sick, we realized the chicken was injected with seasoning that contained, you guessed it, flour. My point was if you are having celiac symptoms when you eat beef and chicken, look for hidden gluten -anything processed could be the culprit.

No one should go through this life changing experience alone. Check the GIG to see if they have a local support group meeting in your area. It’s free to attend a meeting and you can ask questions to any of the members. They have gone through what you are going through and they will help you through.

Best of Luck!



Gluten Free Food Storage – How Much Will It Cost? April 16, 2009

Let’s say you are ready to get your basic food storage together. How much is it going to cost you? Read on, I figured it out for you.

  • Long Grain White Rice (300 lbs), 6-50 lb bags ($35.63 each); $213.78 (0.71 per pound, Blue Chip Group)
  • Pinto Beans (60 lbs*), 2-25 lb bags ($24.01 each), +10 lbs*; $57.62 (0.96 per pound, Blue Chip Group)
  • Bakers Fine Granulated Sugar (60 lbs*), 1-50 lb bag ($31.62 each), +10 lbs*; $37.95 (0.63 per pound, BCG)
  • Morning Moo’s Dry Milk (16 lbs), 8-2 lb bags ($5 each); $40 ($2.50 per pound, BCG)
  • Iodized Salt (8 lbs), 8-1 lb cans (0.33 each), $2.64 (0.33 per pound, Walmart)
  • Canola Oil (10 Quarts), 2-1.25 gal jugs($14.38 each), $28.76 (0.09 per oz., BCG)

Total $380.75. If you budget $32 per month for 1 year, at the end of that time you will have enough to purchase your 1-year GF Food Storage for one person (or 3-month supply for 4 people). Please note the prices quoted here are not the cheapest prices for these items. Buy these items on sale and you could save a ton of cash.

Another thing to note is that if you live off this food for a whole year, you are never going to want to see or even smell rice and beans ever again. So before you buy these items, consider the wisdom of variety and check out the Inventory Sheet at the Deals to Meals website. It may make living off your food storage a lot more pleasant.

*Packaging size does not add up to the total amount necessary.


Gluten Free Food Storage – 1 year for 1 person April 13, 2009

I was very surprised when I saw this picture on the My Food Storage Deals Blog. I didn’t think a whole year of food would fit on a single shelf unit, let alone look so tidy.

To survive on a GF Diet for 1 year, 1 person would need 300* lbs of Rice, 60 lbs of Beans, 60 lbs of Sugar, 16 lbs of powdered Milk, 8 lbs of Salt, and 10 quarts of cooking Oil.

If you ever had to live off just this food, you could eat 13 oz of uncooked (about 39 oz. cooked) Rice per day, and 2.5 oz of dry Beans. You would have 5 teaspoons of Oil, and 2 teaspoons of Salt to cook and season with. You would need about 36 oz of clean water to cook your rice and beans.

Your 16 lbs of dry milk will make 80 liquid quarts of milk, that’s about 7 oz of prepared milk each day. Milk reconstitutes at a ratio of 1 to 4, milk to water, but you could probably stretch it further, and make it taste much better, by adding your 2.5 oz of Sugar to it.   You would also need between 0.5 an 1 gallon of clean water to drink each day.

This diet would provide between 2100 and 2700 calories each day, depending on how much of your cooking oil was consumed with your food.  (1460 white rice, 240 black beans, 600 cooking oil, 0 salt, 160 milk, 240 sugar, 0 water.)

*Yes, only 300 lbs, not 400 like in the picture, I double checked my numbers on the website




Gluten Free Food Storage – Getting Started April 1, 2009

If your anything like me, food storage has become a nightmare since getting the Celiac Diagnosis. I mean, we could store 100 lbs of wheat, but that would just as likely kill my husband as keep him alive for a year if we were to ever face a hardship.

Actually, when C. was diagnosed and we made the switch to a gluten free kitchen, we went through our food storage and our pantry and gave away everything that contained, or could have contained gluten. It wasn’t a sad time, while we gave away hundreds of dollars of food, it was also thrilling to take control of my husband’s health, knowing food would never make him sick again.

Later that week, I went to the Macey’s case lot sale and stocked up on gluten free food. I broke the cardinal rule of food storage, buy slowly, but I wanted my husband to be able to look at our food storage closet and focus on all the food he could eat rather than the many boxes we gave away.

I thought we had a good amount of food stored, but I was wrong. When we did face financial hardship last year and agreed to eat out of our food storage, saving trips to the store for necessities only (milk, fresh bananas) our storage only lasted us a little over a month, and we were left with cans of food (carrots, tomatoes, potatoes) and no way to turn them into appetizing meals. I vowed that when we restocked our food storage, I would be better prepared.

Last night, I attended a fun activity where the guest speaker was Shandra from Deals to Meals. She is an expert on food storage and cooking for your family with what you have on hand. I will be taking her advice and putting a gluten free spin on it for my readers.

Step #1: Take inventory. Shandra has created a great inventory sheet you can download here: Inventory Sheet. I will blog about adjusting the Grains for the GF Diet in a later post.

Step # 2 : Store Water. You will need water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Drinking and cooking water can be stored in old clear soda bottles. Don’t fill the bottles more than 90% if there is the possibility they may freeze. Water stored like this will last 6-12 months without additives. When it is time to rotate your bottles, you can use them to water the lawn. I also recommend this if you are moving since it is a whole lot easier to move empty 2 liter bottles in trash bags than hundreds of full 2 liters to a new residence. Cleaning water can be stored in old liquid laundry detergent or bleach bottles. No need to rinse out the last bit of soap, or rotate the bottles. Store 14 gallons of drinking water for each member of your family. This should last 2 weeks (1 gal per day) in an emergency. If you are into buying stuff to store water, a good deal on 55 gal drums is $39.95. A good water filter (about $60) makes rotating your water unnecessary. It will make any water safe to drink, but not necessarily tasty. I’ll talk about GF water additives in a later post. A good deal on bottled water is 24-0.5 liter bottles for $3. Store your water in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight. Do not store water on cement. Place a piece of plywood between cement and your storage containers.

Do you have any tips for storing water? Please leave a comment.