Letter Re: Adapting Family Food Storage for Gluten Intolerance

Hi Jim,
I wonder how many other preppers out there have the same issue we just discovered. My wife has always had trouble with her digestive tract. Recently we discovered that she is has Coeliac’s disease which means she is gluten intolerant. She can no longer eat gluten which it seems is in just about every type of prepared food. It comes from Wheat and is obviously in anything that has wheat in it, but it is also in lots of other things including vitamins, tomato paste, some candies, etc. It has been quite an adjustment for us!

This makes it difficult for us to store wheat as she cannot eat it. The rest of us can, but it is hard to have lots of wheat based meals that part of the family cannot eat. So, does anyone else out there have any experience storing wheat substitutes or will we have to stock up more on rice and beans instead?

Best Regards, – Tim P.

JWR Replies: This topic has been raised before in SurvivalBlog, but because Celiac Disease (aka gluten-sensitive enteropathy) is so commonplace, it is worthwhile to discuss it further.

The good news is that because gluten-sensitive enteropathy is so common, there are a wide range of gluten-free foods on the market, and their are a wealth of gluten-free recipes available online. The book Gluten-Free Girl by Shauna James Ahern is an excellent resource. Needless to say, to start, you will need to adjust your food storage program to have a much higher ratio of corn and rice rather than wheat, to accommodate having some family members that are gluten intolerant.

So that you don’t get totally bored with eating rice and beans, look into the non-gluten “grains” available, such as Quinoa. Another possibility is Spelt. However, I should note that some allergy doctors contend that Spelt is too closely related to wheat for it to be trusted as a celiac replacement grain. Both of these grains are available in bulk from Internet vendors such as Walton Feed for much less that you’d pay at your local health food store.

The Lengthy List of Aliases

Gluten is found in the following: malt flavoring (from barley), hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, caramel coloring (non US made), Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) (non-US made), dextrins (especially vitamins and medications), wheat starch and the big catch-all “natural flavors”. These could be anything, so you need to ask the manufacturer, and even then they may not be able to tell you with certainty whether of not they are gluten-based. Of these, MSG is the most difficult to identify because it is now pervasive in prepared foods, and can hidden under a profusion of aliases. These deceptive labeling practices have been flagged by the FDA. According to the book Battling the MSG Myth , some MSG synonyms include: Calcium Caseinate, Sodium Caseinate, Gelatin, Hydrolyzed Protein, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), Textured Protein, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Monopotassium Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP) Yeast Extract, Glutamate Autolyzed Plant Protein Yeast food, Yeast Nutrient, Glutamic Acid, Sodium Caseinate, Autolyzed Yeast, Vegetable Protein Extract, Senomyx (a wheat extract that is often just labeled as “artificial flavor”), Calcium Diglutamate, Monoammonium Glutamate, Magnesium Diglutamate, and others! Beware of any ingredient that includes the words Hydrolyzed or Autolyzed. Similarly, beware of: Malted Barley Flour, Malt Extract, Soy Protein, Wheat Protein, Whey Protein, Corn Starch, Citric Acid, Corn Syrup, and Dextrose.