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Patient Perspectives on Gluten Grain Reactivities,

Intolerances, Sensitivities,  Celiac Disease,

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The Gluten Free Community

at

Church, Work, School, College,

 

at Play and when Traveling

 

 

Gluten free and similar diets present slightly different challenges in each area of our social lives.  These challenges are workable.  With knowledge and advance preparation, gluten free individuals can cope without major disruptions in their lifestyle. 

 

Note: this page is unfinished.

 

Church

 

Communion issues focus on use of a wheat based communion loaf or wafer, and, in the case of a common communion cup, the wine cannot be considered gluten free. 

 

There are several solutions for these situations.

 

1. Protestants  - Gluten free communion wafers are available from EnerG Foods, and many local health stores.

 

Most churches use serve wine in separate containers preventing cross contamination.  Some practice intinction, in which a communion wafer is dipped in a common goblet of wine or grape juice.  These churches may offer a separate container to dip gluten free wafers.

 

For churches that pass a common loaf and cup the following accommodations have been used:

  • If the church is agreeable, a gluten free loaf (see below) may be substituted.

  • If a gluten free loaf is not available, the individual may choose to  pause momentarily over the loaf as it is passed, touch or nearly touch it, or hold a crumb of gluten free bread or in the hand, motion toward the loaf and consume the gluten free crumb instead.

  • Communion wine taken from a common cup when wheat bread is used for communion or consuming gluten snacks between services cannot be considered gluten free.  Sensitive individuals may either:

     

    • Pause momentarily over the cup and "inhale" the aroma as it is passed, or

    • Be the first person to partake of the wine, or

    • Keep a small short capped vial such as a florist corsage tube with a little wine to substitute.  In that case, an inobtrusive moment to partake is when the ushers first remove the wine cups from the communion table since most other folks are concentrating on watching the ceremony.

 

2.  Catholics may purchase low gluten communion wafers from www.catholicceliacs.org.  At this time the Catholic Church does not recognize gluten free wafers as appropriate for communion.  This raises concerns for particularly sensitive individuals. 

 

Since wafers are dipped into the wine (intinction) during Catholic mass, separate containers are needed due to cross contamination.

 

~~~

 

Social communion issues - Most of the time GF individuals can advocate and accommodate themselves.  However, this may not work well for sensitive, easily embarrassed teens or patients too ill to use good judgment.  In that case an understanding church will recognize the issues and QUIETLY make the change without singling out or embarrassing the ill person. 

 

  • When such a change is needed, each situation can vary, but it is hoped that when church elders are approached in gracious manner, they will also be gracious and accommodating. 

  • A gluten intolerance fact sheet may help and when an elder is included in the solution process he may be more cooperative and creative. 

  • In some cases it may work best simply to discuss the matter privately with the deacon(s) in charge of laying the communion table and quietly change the loaf  or provide GF communion wafers without general discussion. 

  • When others do not understand, patiently forgive them BUT be as firm as necessary to avoid gluten for those who are your responsibility.  This is not negotiable.  If they will not cooperate, avoid communion at that church and pray for a change of heart in the group, or pray about your family's attendance there long term.

  • An appreciative, thankful spirit on the part of the intolerant member(s) is also appreciated and can smooth the path for peace and accommodation.

  • In one case the church elders requested that the ill person avoid communion for a period of time to judge the health benefit.  The ill person cooperated and later the church honored the change.  HOWEVER, sometimes symptoms are not good indicators if other health issues prevent obvious improvement, so this type of give and take might not always work out. In this case a positive test is really helpful.  (www.Cyrexlabs.com provides the most detailed testing available and www.Enterolab.com is a research test that also provides more sensitive testing.  Both are the most likely tests to catch gluten syndrome.  The two types of tests do not duplicate each other, so both could be run if a dx is elusive.  Bear in mind that negative tests are always inconclusive.)

 

Unfortunately some church leaders do not grasp the emotional issues behind non accommodation of these special needs and they lose whole families from their churches as a result.  Many families/individuals admit to avoiding communion service completely because they cannot partake, or they switch churches. 

 

For church leaders who do not understand, sharing the following true story may help.

 

In one instance, doubtful church elders refused to cooperate with an emergency gluten free substitution.  A student member was experiencing gluten induced psychiatric/depression issues and could not think logically to agree to avoid communion. The father of the ill student explained the suspicion that gluten communion might be the irritant, and requested to quietly provide a gluten free substitution, several days ahead of the service.  The request was refused.  The mother brought a gluten free communion substitute to the deacons before the service and again begged that the church  "tarry for them" (1 Corinthians 11:33) in their medical distress.   Her request was again refused.  Out of concern for her child she burst into tears during the ensuing communion service.   The ill student saw the mother's tears, and out of love for mom, avoided communion after all.  Before the next service other church members investigated the matter sufficiently to perceive the unusual needs.  The GF substitution was made with full cooperation from everyone, and within 3 weeks the student recovered normal mental function as a direct result.  The student had previously been misled by false negative tests and although all other gluten had been removed from the diet due to pain and other severe issues, the student refused to avoid communion bread "because the tests were negative".  In this case this student's psychiatric distress and horrible depression had lasted for months before the gluten free communion option was investigated and requested by the parents.

 

Many hopeful gluten intolerant patients and their uninformed fellow church members "thought" they would not react to communion gluten because of the reverence of the ceremony.  This has not proved to be the case over and over around the world.  There are many many communion stories and published case studies to document adverse reactions and severe damage due to communion gluten.

 

WHY?  No definite researched opinion, but it is interesting to note that today's wheat/gluten was genetically altered decades ago by x-ray irradiation and chemical mutation*, and the gluten content has been raised significantly.  *Mendel In the Kitchen, by Nina Federoff.

 

 

Recipes for communion loaf 

 

Feel free to contribute a recipe or inform us of a brand of unsliced gluten free bread or a mix that is easy to make and works well for your church. 

Send recipes to info@theglutensyndrome.net

 

General notes about unsliced gluten free bread for communion.

 

Most unsliced gluten free bread is best baked fresh the day before.  Freezing is for emergencies only, at least for the Kinnikinnick recipe below, as the quality suffers.  An emergency loaf does needs to be available in the freezer, either wheat or gluten free for the odd occasion when plans go awry. (If a wheat loaf is used, GF partakers must be iinformed and avoid communion.)  Most importantly make an emergency plan that can be depended upon if a gf loaf fails or the person supplying the loaf forgets or is out of commission. 

 

In many churches the first time a gluten free loaf was used, the loaf was frozen ahead of time and crumbled to dust when it was broken during the service.  It pays to experiment ahead of time but when these issues arise, sometimes quickly, without much opportunity to shop, experiment or compare, they can be overlooked with patience and grace. 

 

 

UPDATE January 30, 2011: 

 

2 new loaves now recently on the market that work very well for communion are:

 

Udi's Gluten Free bread  - www.udisglutenfree.com

 

Canyon Bakehouse - www.canyonbakehouse.com

 

Call the companies and arrange for the loaves to be left unsliced.  These loaves freeze well and are not crumbly when broken.  Churches can purchase several loaves at a time to be shipped frozen. 

 

Many local gluten free bakeries also produce appropriate bread that can be purchased unsliced.

 

 

Kinnikinnick mix - This recipe is easy to make, and works well for easy breaking and partaking.  It has the texture of a batter bread although this version uses yeast.  (The mix directions do not include added yeast.)  This bread can be later sliced and grilled with garlic butter or honey butter, or for dairy free use coconut oil and garlic or honey.

 

3 cups Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Kinni-Kwik Bread and Bun Mix.  www.Kinnikinnick.com

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 t. honey or agave nectar, sucanat or other natural sweetener to feed yeast

1 1/2 cup milk, almond milk, rice milk or water

1 packet Rize yeast (organic non GMO, www.tropicaltraditions.com (Mix directions leave yeast out)

 

Oil one regular size bread pan with olive oil. Oven temperature is about 350 degrees.  Experiment with preheating the oven or turning it on when the unrisen loaf is placed in the oven.

 

Warm milk or water to between 105-115 degrees, add 1/2 t honey and yeast packet.  Use hand wisk or fork to yeast into the milk and allow to "proof" or "sit" for a couple of minutes. (yeast will activate and bubble).  Note:  It is worth it to purchase a yeast thermometer.

 

Combine bread mix and olive oil in mixing bowl.  Add warm proofed milk/yeast liquid and beat in mixer for 2-3 minutes.  The consistency is very important so measure carefully and pay attention.  You will learn when the batter is too stiff or a little too moist.

 

Pour batter into bread pan and cover the top surface with a thin film of olive oil.  Bake 350 degrees for about 45-50 minutes.  This can vary depending on the oven. 

 

I have a convection oven and the fan blows the bread down, so I bake this loaf in an electric roaster with a little water in the bottom to provide steam for rising and a soft crust.  I turn on the roaster when I place the loaf in it and let the preheat cycle do the rise.  This type of strategy needs to be practiced with each individual oven for best results.  Another option is to place the loaf in a large covered roaster pan in the convection oven.

 

Occasionally, not always, Kinnikinnick Kinni-Kwik Bread and Bun Mix is available by the case of 6 for a good price on Amazon.com.  Orders over $25 get free shipping.  A full bag contains 5 1/2 cups.

 

Ingredients:  Ingredients - White Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Pea Starch, Tapioca Starch, Sugar, Whole Egg Powder, Malto Dextrin, Poly Dextrose, Dextrose, Pea Protein, Glucono Delta Lactone, Egg White Powder, Fructooligosaccharide, Pea Fibre, Sodium Carboxy Methylcellulose, Cellulose, Sodium Bicarbonate, Rice Bran Extract, Inulin, Salt, Sodium Stearayl Lactylate, Fructose

 

Pamela's Wheat Free Gluten Free Bread Mix also a yeast, sorghum based bread and produces a tasty, breakable, bendable, moist loaf.  As usual for gluten free bread, it must be baked long enough or it will taste "uncooked", and may fall enough after baking to have a flat appearance.  Use package directions. Sorghum gives a sweeter, chewier crumb.   Note: A few people do not digest sorghum well but usually the small amount is not an issue .

 

Bob's Red Mill Homemade Wonderful Gluten Free Bread Mix is another mix used for communion by some churches.  It works better when a smaller loaf pan is used and 6 or 7 rolls are made from the extra dough.  Do not fill the loaf pan higher than 1/2 full.  Too much dough seems to cause the sides to suck in afterwards.  Gluten free loaves tend to do better with a "high crust to inside" ratio (which is why in general rolls tend to perform better than loaves). It is best to bake it a little longer/darker than a normal wheat loaf. This takes practice.

 

With this mix, the recipe calls for 1 egg plus egg whites to equal 3/4 cup.  Some have changed to 3 whole eggs to egual 3/4 cup.

 

 

 

 

                          

 

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