Why Gluten Free/ Artificial Free Short Reason
When my oldest son was a toddler (almost 20 years ago), we discovered he had Celiac Sprue. This caused him to become more and more ill to the point we started thinking things a parent never wants to think about. On top of this, he also was effected by anything artificial. The reactions were so predictable, I could tell if he had had a color, a flavor, or a preservative.
The day his Celiac was discussed at the doctor’s office, the doctor told me, ‘Don’t give him any gluten. See you next month.’ No pamphlets, no hand-outs, no NOTHING. I left, scratching my head, thinking … WHAT IS GLUTEN?!
Think about home technology 20 years ago. At the time, we had a basic computer, almost no memory, slow running, and hooked up to basic dial-up internet.
Beginning the Research
I got to thinking that maybe gluten had something to do with wheat or grains, because of things that had come up when he was a baby. I gave him a banana and then sat down at the computer.
After about 10 hours, I was able to get a very basic idea of what gluten was. The next day I went to the store to find him something to eat. (This was before labels and allergy warnings, before I knew about ‘hidden’ gluten.) Reading every label, I finally bought him some rice cakes and fresh fruits and veggies.
Needless to say, over the years, I have learned A LOT more about gluten. I have faced those people that would tell me, ‘oh it’s just in your head, it won’t bother him’, or ‘what’s gluten?’, while handing my young child a cookie… UGH! They didn’t see this very thin, very frail, 3 year old, laying on the bathroom floor because he was in so much pain he couldn’t stand up.
What I Did
I purchased a flour mill to start grinding my own flours, like rice and corn, because ALL flours back then where cross contaminated. I had discovered that corn meal, etc. were usually processed in same facilities as wheat flour. So even though I was buying flours I thought were ‘safe’, my poor son was in severe pain, and even throwing up acid that would burn your nose! (Sorry about that, but making my point that this was a REAL allergy.)
During this time, I also learned that vanilla extract was a hidden source of gluten. Whenever I would make GF cookies and he would double over in pain, I would dig into more, and more, and more, and more….. research.
I developed my own flour mix formula that can be substituted cup for cup for regular wheat flours. This allowed me to make everything gluten free and from scratch, from cookies, to gravy, to pies, etc. Because of his artificial allergy, I also learned how to make homemade candies, caramels, ice cream, lollipops, and more. Everywhere they went, I would prepare the same types of food items to go with them so they could live a ‘normal’ childhood. Sending pizza and ice cream to birthday parties, etc., even making a variety of candies for people to ‘hand out’ to them for Trunk-or-Treat.
I will create a page here to demonstrate some of the methods and the how-to I use to make gluten free/ artificial free items for my son who is so sensitive I cannot have gluten flours in the house.
There are MANY ingredients that are a hidden gluten. There are also some companies I have contended with which use flours to coat their conveyor belts, but since it isn’t an ‘ingredient,’ it is not required on the label (BEWARE there are over 15,000 ‘standardized’ ingredients which are NOT required to be listed on labels). Companies are now labeling things like ‘processed in a facility with _____’which is helpful, but not full-proof. This generation has an easier time due to labels. Be aware that companies occasionally CHANGE their recipes, so the product you bought last month, may no longer be the same.
Gluten free/ artificial free
Gluten free/ artificial free