Gluten Free Fellowship (Pt 2) – open letter to my friends

In part one of this letter, I told you about my struggle with gluten and how it affects our ability to have table fellowship. I discussed some specifics about what I am able to eat, and a basic protocol for food and fellowship times in our home.  Here is part two of the letter…

Now, all of this works just fine as long as the meal is taking place in our home, but what about the times that you would really like to have us over for a meal in your home? How can we make that work? (As a side note, please know that I understand the inconvenience of dealing with my situation, and I will never be offended if you feel like it is more than you are able to accommodate. If you don’t have a strong desire to open your home, we are always happy to open ours!)

To be honest, we haven’t quite worked out all the details in this area, but there are some basics that will help keep me safe. Let’s start by addressing a couple of things I might encounter in your home (outside of the kitchen) that could cause me to have a reaction. One big issue would be flour in the air. If you’ve ever done any baking, you’ve probably noticed the tendency of flour to end up in places that you don’t expect. You may have also seen the little poofs of dust that fly as you drop a scoop of flour into your mixing bowl. According to my research, gluten can actually hover in the air for anywhere from twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Once the flour is in the air, it has the potential to end up in my system and make me sick. With that in mind, if you have used any significant amount of flour in the previous day or two, please don’t let me come into your home!

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Gluten Free Fellowship (Pt 1) – open letter to my friends

One of the most difficult things about being gluten free has been the problem of how to share meals with other people without getting sick. Over my two-year hiatus in blogging, this has been the thing that most often came to my mind as a topic for a post. So here it is: an open letter to my old friends, my new friends, and those who will become my friends one day.

Dear friends,

Here in the Geoffrey household, sharing a meal together is a really important thing. We believe that eating together is a crucial form of fellowship, especially in light of seeing how the early believers broke bread together daily from house to house. Eating together goes beyond sharing thoughts, ideas and experiences with one another—it is a tangible expression of shared lives.

As you might already know, my gluten issues have drastically changed our lifestyle. Discovering that other members of the family have at least some level of sensitivity to gluten has only compounded the issue. We have to maintain a high level of vigilance all the time—not just about what I eat, but about what I touch (because things you touch have a funny way of somehow finding their way into your mouth), what’s in the air I breathe, and what possible contamination my food may have encountered along it’s journey to my mouth.

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To Blog, or Not to Blog…

As you can read on my “About Me” page, I decided to jump into the world of blogging over two years ago.  I was at the beginning of my gluten free journey, and wanted to share all the new discoveries I was making along the way.  Surely, other people would have some of the same questions I did, and would be able to benefit from my experiences!  While I was at it, I figured that I could offer some insights in homeschooling, marriage, and life in Messiah as well.  After all, these things are at the core of who I am.

Well, one of my first discoveries—which I’m sure others have experienced as well—is that a gluten free lifestyle is time consuming.  This is especially true if you are also trying to eliminate chemicals, pesticides, preservatives, and non-organic meats from your diet—and even more so if you simply can’t afford to buy the pre-made GF versions of some basic items we most take for granted: flour, bread, cereals, crackers, etc.  Add homeschooling into the mix, and that makes for some very full days, weeks… and apparently years.  In the midst of all the demands of life, blogging just hasn’t seemed like much of a priority.

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Gluten Free Potato Bread

Gluten Free Potato Bread[Click here to go straight to the recipe]

Since removing all the gluten from our home, I now have a new appreciation for our “daily bread.” At first, I was the only one not eating gluten, so I tolerated the Pamela’s Products mix and decided that it didn’t really matter if my bread tasted great or had a nice texture. The Pamela’s mix wasn’t bad, but it was very dense and quite a bit sweeter than I liked. Soon, however, we realized we needed to take all the gluten out of the house. Our “daily bread” suddenly became a big issue.

For the first couple of days the boys didn’t complain too much, but it wasn’t long before two-year-old Hosea just decided that he wouldn’t eat it. The other two boys didn’t refuse, but they were certainly less than enthusiastic. To make things more difficult, Kevin is a “recovering” diabetic (he is no longer taking medication, but controlling his diabetes solely with diet and exercise), and the Pamela’s bread is extremely dense. In order to make a sandwich with a good balance of protein and carbohydrates, he had to eat just half a sandwich stacked with the amount of meat and cheese he would normally eat on a whole sandwich. We definitely needed a new solution to the bread dilemma.

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Gluten-free All Purpose Flour Substitute


When I removed gluten from my diet, one of the first things I looked for was a substitute for the standard all-purpose wheat flour I used on a regular basis. I quickly found that everyone has their own idea of what such a substitute would be. I also discovered that there is no perfect substitute. However, there are definitely mixtures that come pretty close (scroll down for my recipe).

The first mix I tried was Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour. It was horrible! Their mix uses Garbanzo/Fava bean flours, which have a very distinct flavor and aftertaste. I’ve read some reviews of the product, and it seems like there are two camps: those who love it and those who hate it. I’m definitely in the second camp!  

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My Celiac Story

For as long as I can remember, my intestines just didn’t seem to work right.  As a teenager, whenever I ate at certain pizza chains, I would spend the next day or two with cramps and diarrhea.  I just assumed that the sauce was irritating my stomach, and didn’t give it much thought.  When I was eighteen and in my first year of college, I met Kevin, and we had a short courtship before we were married.  During those few months, I remember walking along the river-walk (which was one of our favorite places to go) and having to run into the lobby of a hotel to use the restroom because I couldn’t even make it to the next public restroom.  Still, my symptoms came sporadically, and I didn’t think much of it.

The Journey Begins

Fast-forward nine years and two children later, to early spring of 2006.  I began to have an intense pain in my right side that just wouldn’t go away.  After a while, it subsided to a dull ache, but it was constant and accompanied by a completely debilitating fatigue that left me laying on the couch feeling like I couldn’t even move my limbs.  Enter the doctors!   

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Who is Yeshua?

My first and foremost identity is as a follower of Yeshua.  “Who is that?” you might ask.  Well, let me start from the beginning…

At the beginning of time, the One true God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, created humanity to be in relationship with Him.   And yet, we rejected Him and willingly chose our own destruction—we turned our backs on the One who made us.  Though God reached out to us again and again, even setting apart an entire nation as His ambassadors to bring us back into relationship with Him, we still wanted nothing to do with Him.  The Jewish people (Israel) whom He chose as His special possession—His light to the world—refused His love and His calling as they pursued their own lusts and desires.  He was nothing but good and merciful, and we were nothing but wicked and ungrateful.  Yet, despite our unworthiness, God did not give up on us.   

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