It has been about 10 years since my oldest son was diagnosed with a wheat issue, which we later found out was celiac disease. My youngest son started having similar issues at 5 and just recently it was determined that I have some wheat issues as well. While I may have the full Disease yet , if I am not careful, I could easily develop it. Celiac Disease is medically defined as a permanent intolerance to gluten that results in damage to the intestine and its symptoms are reversible with avoidance of dietary gluten.
Practically speaking, we can not use any wheat flour or anything with Gluten! This makes cooking and baking a challenge. Rice flour is not a good substitute for wheat and it generally makes things gritty and nasty. The hardest thing to find a good loaf of bread – at least until this fall when I discovered Sorghum, millet and Soy flours. As well as Buckwheat (which isn’t related to wheat at all, regardless of what the name implies:-).
So why has it taken 10 years to clear the wheat out of the house? Well partly because it is really expensive to eat Gluten free and up until now, it has been easier to keep things separate. However now that there are more of us cooking, keeping measuring cups and spoons as well as baking dishes separate is not easy. Cross contamination is a much bigger issue. Then there was the issue of bread – there weren’t any really good choices out there that you can buy and when you did find one it was ridiculously priced – making it totally out of the question. Now with some other flour options, I can make a GF loaf of bread that smells and tastes really close to regular bread. And they have bread machines that have a GF option!!!
The problem now will be making enough bread to keep up with the family’s needs! I made 10 loaves of bread last week and they lasted just under a week! I made 2 loaves today and they will be gone by tomorrow morning at the latest! I really need to bake 2 loaves/day – at least for a period of time. I hope to get several in the freezer to help out when I find myself unable to make bread every day! I am praying that a bread machine will find its way under the Christmas Tree!
So from this point on, we are going to be Gluten free and Corn free, since one of my sons needs to be corn and wheat free. Eliminating both of these makes cooking really interesting at times. In order to do this, we need to do some reorganizing of the house. The kitchen is small and has a lot of wasted space. So over Thanksgiving the plan was to turn a closet into a pantry. However due to a work schedule and the length of time it took to clean and sort what was in the closet, it is not a full pantry – at least not yet. But it is a make shift pantry and I have been able to clear some things out of the kitchen! We now have some time to plan the closet/pantry area as well as part of the kitchen. The plan is to complete the pantry over Christmas! In the meant time, sorting and cleaning in the kitchen will continue! I will also need to replace plastic storage containers and any plastic measuring cups/spoon with glass or metal.
It feels good to be making this change. Taking out the wheat and corn will make everyone healthier overall and eliminate cross contamination. The added benefit is that I will now begin to rethink the use of my kitchen and hopefully begin to replace the old cabinets and along with that – all the wasted space. Maybe I’ll get a functional kitchen sometime in the next 5-10 years!
Change is good! Change is hard because new habits and tastes will need to be formed. For some it will be accepted with joy since they will now be able to eat everything that is made in the house. For others is will mean giving up some of their favorite foods in order to serve others in the family. Patience and grace need to be in abundance as we work through all of these changes.