Wheat, part 3 (Alternatives for Those with Wheat Allergies)

March 5, 2012

Food Storage, Health

storing wheat for teotwawkiIn the first installment, I covered how to choose wheat for long-term storage and various sources.  In the second one, I gave information for growing, harvesting, and storing wheat.  This time, I want to address those left out by the first two segments- those unable to eat wheat-based breads.

Defining the Problems

The issue of wheat allergies and gluten intolerance has gotten a fair amount of press in the past 5 years. Statistically, 1 out of every 167 children has a gluten allergy and 1 out of every 111 adults does.  A related problem is Celiac disease, which is a particularly troublesome form of an auto-immune response to gluten.  Symptoms of gluten allergies are listed here.

If you or a close family member has one of these issues, you probably already have experience with choosing foods to serve that are gluten-free.  For those of us who are less knowledgeable, but may anticipate an extended family member or friend joining them in a collapse/disaster situation, I wanted to help sort through the possibilities out there to simplify things.

What to avoid

Gluten is a combination of two proteins found in large amounts in wheat, especially the “hard” kind usually used for bread-making.  Wheat is not the only grain that contains some amount of gluten, though.  Barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and triticale also contain some.  Occasionally, you will see oats included on that list, but from what I understand, it’s not because the oats themselves contain gluten, but because they are mostly processed in the same facilities as wheat and so will have traces of wheat and gluten included.  There are some places that specialize in gluten-free grains, so you may want to purchase from one of those.

“Safe” alternatives

The grains and products that are generally considered safe for those who need to avoid wheat or gluten are corn, teff, millet, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, sorghum, and oats from a “clean” facility.  In addition, some people use flour made from ground nuts, beans, and potatoes.  For binders in cooking to replace wheat flour, people use potato starch, arrowroot powder, cornstarch, and tapioca.

So, what can I make with those?

homemade breadWhat most of us think of as “bread,” sometimes referred to as “pan bread,” would require wheat and/or gluten.  The chemical reaction that takes place inside the dough that makes it “rise” and and create the cohesive yeast bread loaf we are accustomed to needs those gluten proteins.  Without those, it just doesn’t work the same way.

That does not mean that someone who must stay away from those things cannot have bread of any type, though.  The other main type of bread, often called “quick bread” can be made using the other products listed above, using a different type of leavening.  This is usually baking soda or baking powder or a combination.  Banana bread is probably a familiar one.  They usually produce a shorter denser loaf, but are still good.  Also, biscuits and other types of rolls can be made as well as “flatbreads,” which are gaining in popularity.

Here are two sites I found that may be helpful in finding uses for those other grains as well as recipes:  livingwithout and wheat-free.

Another thing to consider

Breads are usually the things that come to mind when someone mentions a wheat or gluten allergy.  They certainly are  the biggest sources in a typical person’s diet.  Don’t forget all those other things that include one or the other, though.  Pasta, crackers, soups, and anything with additives containing words like “hydrolyzed,” “modified,” or “artificial” are likely to contain them.  Those additive things are generally bad for us anyway and we would do best to avoid them, but many of the things easiest to store will contain at least one of those ingredients.  If a product is wheat- or gluten-free, it will usually say so prominently on the label.

How big a problem these small sources are will depend on how allergic the person is.  Someone with Celiac disease should really avoid them completely, whereas someone who is just “sensitive” may be alright with them in small doses.

What other information sources would you recommend?  Are there some other websites or books you consider “must-read”?  Please share them in the comments section.

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6 Comments on “Wheat, part 3 (Alternatives for Those with Wheat Allergies)”

  1. Katy Says:

    My sisters kids (7) are all allergic to gluten so she is always concerned about the hidden gluten in the food she buys from the grocery store, She did find a great solution though: They sell quinoa, amaranth, rice flour and many other gluten free items at low prices. They even have a list of what is gluten free, GMO free, etc. . I have ordered from them as well, mostly freeze dried meat, cheese and fruits. Everything so far has been delicious. They ship it right to your home. Highly recommended!


    • Laura Says:

      Great! Thanks for that recommendation. Someone else mentioned that site a while back for help in determining how much food to store for X number of people. Must be some great people running it!

      We appreciate your comment.


  2. Belen Warf Says:

    If you’ve ever tried inhaling some pollen from plants, or eating something and finding out afterwards that you’re covered in red blotchy spots or some other nasty effect after you eat, then you’ve experienced firsthand the effects of Allergies. In common usage, an allergy is an adverse reaction toward what is called an allergen, or specifically,the material that causes the allergic reaction.`

    Most current content on our very own website


  3. Genevive Maughn Says:

    Gluten gives elasticity to dough helping it to rise and to keep its shape. It is found in many staple foods in the Western diet. It is a protein composite found in wheat and other grains, including barley and rye and processed foods thereof. Gluten is composed of a gliadin fraction (alcohol soluble) and a glutenin fraction (only soluble in dilute acids or alkali)…

    Check out all of the most recent write-up on our new blog site



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