God, Glory and Gluten

I am sitting here today on my 11th day of being gluten-free. I didn’t do it to lose weight but to make a lifestyle change toward eating healthier and and cleaner. And fingers crossed maybe it will help with some of Shelby’s behaviors but I’m not placing any bets on that!

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. It is responsible for the elastic texture of doughs.

Where is gluten found?

Bread. Pasta. Any processed food possible…including things like Campbell’s Tomato Soup. Wheat gluten is often a thickener in foods.

Why do people go gluten free?

For some people it is a genuine health concern like Celiac’s disease (for which a gluten free diet is the only medically acceptable/approved treatment) or a gluten intolerance.

For others, it is for treatment for things that there hasn’t necessarily been a connection to like autism, add/adhd and other developmental disorders.

And then, like our family, it is a goal to go to a cleaner diet including less processed foods.

Is it difficult to go gluten free?

Yes. And no. Yes because many of our go-to meals like spaghetti and pizza are either out or a lot more complicated. And no, because there are many foods naturally gluten free like fresh vegetables, fruits and meats.

You learn to read labels when you go gluten free.

And it can be difficult when you purchase generic items. Even if gluten is not in the ingredients list (or any wheat product) there is the risk of contamination as most generic products are manufactured in plants where wheat products are made.


Now, I have consumed some gluten in the past couple of weeks. I was worried that I might be consuming some from contamination, but evidently I was doing pretty well because yesterday I ate two hot dogs at Joey’s pre-K graduation and the buns were not gluten free (hot dogs are gluten free fyi for a convenience food for kids). Within 30 minute my stomach let me know in no uncertain terms that it hated me. The only other thing I knowingly consumed with gluten is the Body of Christ. Which leads me to another bullet point:

How do Catholics who are gluten free consume the Eucharist?

The answer varies.

If one has Celiacs, one cannot consume the Body of Christ as it is in most parishes. The options are typically a parish will offer gluten-free host (sometimes only if the person or persons requesting provides it as it is expensive) and/or only consume the Precious Blood.

If one is voluntarily going gluten-free, the above options exist or the person can consume the Body as it is. Which is what I do. And I offer up any discomfort for souls in purgatory. I consulted Cam at A Woman’s Place… about consuming the Body of Christ and she told me that it was the only gluten she consumed during her elimination diet. I chose this option because:

1. My parish does not offer gluten free hosts. Another parish in our deanery does and but unfortunately is much further away and has some liturgical “issues” I am not comfortable with.

2. I am unable to provide the gluten free hosts from a financial standpoint. Moreover, I am unable to insure they would not be contaminated or accidentally mixed in with the regular host. A friend in another state was providing along with three other families at her parish when they discovered some of the Eucharistic ministers were mixing them together. Kind of defeats the purpose. And created a lot more work for the families involved.

3. Receiving only the Precious Blood would cause confusion and chaos. And I speak from witnessing a man and woman attempt it at mass a few weeks ago. Moreover, whenever I receive the Precious Blood, I come down with something as most people choose to receive even when they are ill, so I almost never choose to receive it.

We haven’t bought a whole lot of gluten-free marketed items, although they do exist. We tried the Udi’s Gluten Free hot dog buns and liked them but probably won’t buy them often. The boys were not impressed with Van’s Gluten Free Frozen Waffles. The boys and I tried one of Udi’s Gluten Free pizza’s last week. Joey and I liked it, Will, not so much. It was expensive for how small it is.

My kids have discovered the joy of rice cakes. And slowly but surely requests for things like french toast sticks are falling to the wayside in favor of oatmeal and grits. Desserts are a bit more problematic but fortunately we are in summer where popsicles are available.

At work I do often times look longingly at baked goods in customers’ carts, but knowing the pain I know now, I’m not going back.



One thought on “God, Glory and Gluten

  1. We are not going gluten-free, but we have been trying to go more natural/organic in the past year. It all started after I watched “Food, Inc.” It’s amazing how much your tastes in things change when going natural. Foods that once appealed to me don’t anymore…most restaurants (we still go occasionally), processed & artificially colored foods. Our grocery bill has gone up, but compared to the medical bills that could eventually come, I think the cost is worth it. There are still some things that I’m not ready to give up, but overall our eating habits have really changed for the better, I’ve lost about 17 lbs., & I can’t see going back to our old ways. I even see small, positive changes in my son who has ADHD.

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