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

Gluten Free Words of Wisdom April 18, 2009

Warning to my GF readers, something at Cafe Rio is no longer Gluten Free. My husband can usually order the Pork Salad, with rice, pinto beans, lettuce, pico, guacamole, vinaigrette dressing, no tortilla, no chips, and no cheese, and be fine. But last night something contained gluten, not cross-contamination, but actual gluten, and he has been hating life today.

It made me really grateful for the Word of Wisdom.

The Word of Wisdom is a health code followed by practicing members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints (LDS, or Mormons). That is why church members don’t drink tea, coffee, or alcohol, smoke tobacco, or do drugs.

The Church teaches: “When people purposefully take anything harmful into their bodies, they are not living in harmony with the Word of Wisdom.” (source)

I had a mission companion who had an interesting way of teaching this concept to investigators. She would explain that if a person was allergic to strawberries or pineapple, eating them would be against the Word of Wisdom. I think it helped people investigating the church see we weren’t just asking them to give up their coffee or beer.

Treating our bodies like the amazing gift they are, and keeping them free of harmful substances, helps us grow closer to God. And following the Gluten Free Diet is as important as keeping any other part of the Word of Wisdom for those with Celiac Disease.

Followers of the Word of Wisdom will be blessed by God for their obedience, whether or not they are members of the LDS church. To those who keep the Word of Wisdom, the Lord promised:

“All saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;

“And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

“And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

“And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them” (D&C 89:18–21).

I am so grateful for the blessing of good health that my husband has enjoyed since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease and committing to follow the Gluten Free Diet. Especially on days like today when he is accidentally exposed to gluten, I see how following the Word of Wisdom, and the Gluten Free Diet has blessed our lives.

If you have Celiac Disease and are on the fence about following a Gluten Free Diet, I hope my words have given you hope for a healthier life. Please feel free to leave me a comment.


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.


Gluten Free Mormon March 12, 2009

If you are a Gluten Free Mormon, you probably felt the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, despair, and acceptance) when you were first diagnosed with Celiac Disease. And if you are like my husband C., sacrament meeting may be the hardest place for you to be on Sunday.

There you sit, quiet, contemplating, worshipping, while young men in white shirts hand out little bits of bread that, to you, might as well be poison. Then your diagnosis hits you all over again. Anger, and despair. No body else has to get to church early every Sunday, bring their own bread, and worry about whether or not that boy touched your GF Rice bread before or after he broke the gluten laden bread.

And I don’t want you to have worry about that either. When eating out, you may carry a laminated Restaurant Card explaining your condition to the server and chef. When worshipping, you could carry a Sacrament Card to give to those who will be preparing your bread for the worship service.

Sacrament Card

I have a severe reaction to gluten. I am on a gluten-free diet. Thank you for working with me to prepare a sacrament service I can partake safely.

I cannot eat bread made from wheat, rye, barley, oats, or flours made from these grains.

I need to avoid bread.

This breadis made from rice, corn, potato, tapioca, soy, amaranth, beans, arrowroot, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, teff, or nut flour and is safe for me to eat. Unless it is cross-contaminated.

Please prevent contaminating my bread by washing your hands between touching your bread and touching my bread. Please break my bread back into this plastic bag, or use a separate tray that has been washed with soap and water since your bread was last on it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.

Thank you for working with me to give me the opportunity to relax and enjoy the sacrament service. I appreciate it very much.

Make sure you wait while the boy reads your card so you can see if he “gets it”, he can ask you questions, if he has any, and you can point out to him where you will be sitting. If you are visiting a ward besides your own, you may want to give a card to each of the boys at the table, and one for them to give to the deacon who will be carrying your bread.

In your own ward, give multiple cards to the bishop and young men’s president so they can make sure the boys understand and follow these instructions.

One last note. Do not lick the envelopes for tithes and offerings. The glue contains gluten. You can wet the glue with water from the fountain on a paper towel to seal the envelope.

Do you have a tips or tricks you have used to deal with CD while worshipping in your own church? I’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment.


Counting Stars – Book Review March 7, 2009

Filed under: Product Review — seekthesethings @ 1:13 pm
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Counting Stars

  • by Michele Paige Holmes
  • published by Covenant
  • 384 pages, softcover
  • $16.95 USD

If you are looking for a good cry, you need look no further than this book. I balled my eyes out the first half of the book, and for good reason. Counting Starts is a book about Jane, an almost 30 single LDS woman still looking for Mr. Right, and so desperate for children that she agrees to help a strange man with terminal cancer raise his premature twins after his wife dies in a car accident returning from her baby shower. Keep the tissues handy because you will need them for the end of the book as well.

Counting Stars is well edited and has only minor punctuation errors. The book is divided into 3 parts and over eighty chapters, and the narrative is choppy in the chapters that are less than 2 pages long, which appear with more frequency toward the end of the novel. There is a minor character that probably could have been written out of the novel completely, but it sets up a second book that is not yet published. The working title is “A Canopy of Stars.”


The Bracelet Series – Book Series Review March 3, 2009

The Bracelet Series

  • by Jennie Hansen
  • published by Covenant
  • 4 volumes
  • hardcover, softcover, and audio cd
  • $15.95 – $21.95 USD

This series, aptly named for the first book, follows a set of 5 jewels that are stolen, abandoned, and carried to the new world by a Mormon immigrant. Jennie Hansen is a prolific writer and weaves beautiful stories around the bracelet and each of its precious gems.  This is one series I would say truly can be read out of order. Each book relates the tale of new characters that live independent of the characters in the other novels.

While the series could easily contain two more books, both the author and publisher have announced The Ruby concluded the series, a pity. But if you like The Bracelet series, you may consider reading one or more of Hansen’s other 20+ books.

The Bracelet

  • 296 pages

This book tells the story of a girl named Georgiana, a servant in 1840’s England. Running from the antagonist of the story, her mistress’s son, to protect her life and virtue, she justifies stealing from the rich family. She sets precious gems in a worthless brass bracelet, a gift from the aforementioned villain.

Settings and descriptions are beautiful throughout the series, but especially so in this first novel. It also includes heartwarming conversion stories of characters who invite God into their lives through sincere repentance.

There were some unresolved threads in the first book that never get touched on in detail in the latter books.  

The Emerald

  • 248 pages

Picking up the story of the bracelet from when it was abandoned, a widowed Mormon immigrant and her two children protect the bracelet in hopes of returning it to the nameless woman who hid it in the baby’s possession. Running from the abusive home of her Scandinavian in-laws after her husband dies, Margarette uses everything in her power to keep her children from being reclaimed by detectives hired by her battering father-in-law to return his “property” to the old world.

Aided by a young English Mormon immigrant and a childless Scandinavian couple, Margarette’s family is finally able to make their way to Nauvoo where she finds employment as a housekeeper for a childless English widower.

When it comes time to flee the city, and she has been unable to locate the woman who abandoned the bracelet, Margarette separates the gems as she is inspired by God to part with them. The topaz is sent with a Mormon Quaker, to help a black family flee slavery. The diamond and ruby are traded to outfit her family for their journey to Zion. The sapphire is sent with the childless Scandinavian couple to help them settle in Salt Lake. And the emerald, the baby’s favorite stone, goes with the family as they march in the Mormon Battalion.

The Topaz

  • 289 pages

The Topaz tells the story of Serenity, Hannah’s daughter. Hannah was murdered and the topaz ring stolen while she was aiding fugitive slaves using the underground railroad. Serenity is desperate to learn what her father knew about the incident that brought about his own murder five years later.

Like approaching a rabid dog, Hansen is able to approach the unsavory topics of forced marriage, murder, attempted rape, abuse of spouse and offspring, and substance abuse without offending the sensibilities of her readers. This is true in all her tales, but the ability is best showcased in The Topaz.

The Ruby

  • 329 pages

This final novel details the story of Charlie Mae, who witnesses her father murder a non-mormon living in Nauvoo as a mob ransacks the city. Believing the man may not be dead, she goes to view her father’s handiwork and sees a coal that doesn’t burn out. She picks it up. Afraid her father or the other mobbers might return, she absconds with the ruby. Fleeing her abusive home with her brother, the novel describes her life as they make their way to California to find gold.

This last book is the most poorly edited. There are time sequence errors through the first 6 chapters. The sections are dated and in one part of the novel it says it has been 5 years when it has only been 2.