Monday, January 19, 2009

We're Going Wheat-Free

So, it's official. A couple days ago, Dave ate whole-wheat pancakes followed a short time later by mac and cheese, both of which are wheat-based meals. Dave has tested positive for wheat, but we weren't going to worry too much about the wheat allergy quite yet. But then, his body rejected everything and he felt sick for the rest of the day. So now, he's wheat-free, and the rest of us are gradually transitioning with him. I'm sure Rose will be disappointed to no longer get to eat her beloved mac and cheese, and Lacy will really miss quesadillas, but it is all for the best. If Dave has a wheat allergy, it is very possible that the girls do, too, or may have it sometime in the future. Especially considering they both have eczema.

Going wheat-free is tough. Most everything at the grocery store that is pre-packaged contains wheat. But that's not a big deal, because I cook mostly from scratch, anyway. But there are a few things we're going to have to do differently. For thickeners and gravies, I will have to use something other than flour. I've used tapioca flour before, but that was a little weird with the end result. I'm thinking maybe I'll try rice flour or potato flour next time instead. We'll have to start buying a different soy sauce, as the kind we currently get contains wheat. There are several brands that are what-free, however. We will no longer eat pasta, since most pasta is wheat-based, and the non-wheat pasta we've tried is disgusting. I may try corn and quinoa pasta to see if they're any better than the rice stuff we've had before (yuck!). Bread is questionable, because it is so delicious made from wheat, but we can have gluten (just not from wheat), so I'm going to have to look into that. Wheat makes the best bread because its gluten content is so high. I'm going to experiment with other grains to see what works best. Breakfast is going to have to change. I typically make a lot of pancakes, so I'll have to get a new recipe. I do make spelt muffins which are great, so that's one thing we'll still be able to eat! Woo hoo! I may make some tomorrow for breakfast, since I can. I often add pecans and dates to the recipe, and it is delicious.

Meals that have worked for us since going wheat-free include stuffed green peppers, baked potato bar, and steak and fries (one of Dave's major comfort foods-- thank goodness he can still have that!). Our starches are mainly going to be potato and rice from now on. I'll have to start stocking up on rice for our food storage now instead of wheat. And we'll grow potatoes every year, too. They're a lot of fun to grow and they store really well. We still have a few pounds of blues left from last year (we harvested in October I think). I'll probably plant double or triple what we did last year.

Dave's disease in his throat, Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE), is an allergic reaction that was described to us as an asthma attack, but in the esophogus. Dave only tested positive to two allergins, wheat and bananas. We already knew he had an allergy to bananas, but we didn't know about the wheat. I think that an overload of wheat or bananas in his system causes the allergic reaction to occur, and by eliminating wheat he will be able to lead a relatively normal life, perhaps even enjoying some wheat-based meals on occasion once we've eliminated wheat from his diet completely for quite some time. I am so thankful for all the great resources out there for wheat- and gluten-free living, especially all the great pastry recipes! I love to bake, so I'll just have to learn to bake differently. Dave's cousin, Theresa, is gluten-free and is a baker, and has a blog full of lots of great ideas, information and recipes for gluten-free living. Another resource that I've found is Gluten-Free Girl, who not only has lots of recipes and info, but has lots of links to other gluten-free blogs and websites, too.

Tomorrow I'm going shopping at the co-op and I'm getting myself lots of little tiny bags of flour! I have a few already, but I'll be adding sorghum flour and potato starch to my collection, and probably some others, too. I already have xanthium gum, tapioca flour, potato flour, arrowroot flour, and some others, plus I have lots of rice and oat groats and a grinder, so I make my own rice and oat flour, and any other kind of flour that I need (I have a collection of different grains that I can grind into flour at any given time, including spelt, kamut (which I'm not sure if we can eat or not as it's pretty close to wheat, but a little different), quinoa, millet and a few others).


heather said...

My son is allergic to soy, peanuts, eggs, wheat and dairy. I started a website to help others who suffer from food allergies. SPEWD Free has lots of allergy friendly recipes and an allergy blog. I hope this helps,

Mommy Bee said...

I have a bunch of recipe blogs linked from my recipe blog, and I know at least a couple of them are gluten-free or allergy-friendly...I don't recall which is which but they are marked there on the list.
RasJane's cooking blog is pretty allergy-friendly She called it "somethin outta nuthin" cuz there are so many foods they can't have.