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Mother Drives Me Nuts Cooking Gluten Laden Foods


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#1 catlover0329

 
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Posted 19 December 2011 - 07:17 AM

Every year my mother bakes German stollen (a fruit cake) and sends them to me and my other 5 adult siblings. However, I learned this May that I am intolerant to gluten and made an announcement about it by email and also talked about it at a family reunion in September. I've been studiously avoiding gluten and have been very careful to make my life gluten free since learning about my intolerance. I received a package from my parents a few days ago containing two loaves of the stollen. I could have sworn my dad mentioned that one of the loaves would be gluten free so I was suprirsed when I opened the box and found the 2 loaves my mother had baked. Figuring she knows I am intolerant to gluten and that one of the loaves had to be regular and the other gluten free, I examined them both and determined that one of the loaves had to be the gluten free one and ate a few slices. I had bad symptoms the rest of the day and didn't know why but just to be safe I didn't eat any more of the bread my mother had sent.

I emailed my parents last night thanking them for the package but saying it would have been helpful if they had marked which bread was gluten free for me. My dad called frantic to tell me that neither loaf was gluten free and he jokingly said I'm glad you're still alive.

My mohter and I had a falling out a few years ago but I can't believe she would be so thoughtless as to send both loaves knowing they had gluten in them and leave the option open that I would think that one would be gluten free. They did look different and why would she think that my kid would eat 2 loaves by herself?

I am very hurt and frustrated about this. I'm about to have surgery that will prevent me from being able to eat much for hte rest of my life and this was my last year of having the stollen which is a family tradition. I can't believe my mother's thoughtless behavior made me get sick and that she treated my problem so lightly. She's not stupid and I can't help but think this was intentional.

Am I overreacting or what?
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#2 IrishHeart

 
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Posted 19 December 2011 - 07:57 AM

I do not blame you for being upset! ( I am not sure how you determined one was gluten-free by just "looking at it"?) Hopefully, you will feel better soon.

I don't know which is more disturbing, the fact that she may have deliberately sent two loaves with gluten in them or that your father found it funny. :blink:

You said "I could have sworn my dad said one would be gluten-free"...but that is ASSUMING a LOT, hon!

Frankly, if your Mom had baked BOTH gluten free and wheat-filled loaves in her kitchen, there is NO WAY that gluten-free loaf would be safe for you. Cross contamination is too risky.

I'm sorry your parents do not fully understand why you need to be gluten free. I am also sorry for you that their response to your serious health issue is less than supportive (and in fact, hazardous!) as I cannot imagine my mother deliberately dosing me with gluten after the devastating health complications I have suffered.

They might have put a note in there saying it was NOT gluten-free to give you a "heads-up", but you might have checked before eating it, too. WE have to be Ultra-careful.
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#3 pricklypear1971

 
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Posted 19 December 2011 - 08:01 AM

Every year my mother bakes German stollen (a fruit cake) and sends them to me and my other 5 adult siblings. However, I learned this May that I am intolerant to gluten and made an announcement about it by email and also talked about it at a family reunion in September. I've been studiously avoiding gluten and have been very careful to make my life gluten free since learning about my intolerance. I received a package from my parents a few days ago containing two loaves of the stollen. I could have sworn my dad mentioned that one of the loaves would be gluten free so I was suprirsed when I opened the box and found the 2 loaves my mother had baked. Figuring she knows I am intolerant to gluten and that one of the loaves had to be regular and the other gluten free, I examined them both and determined that one of the loaves had to be the gluten free one and ate a few slices. I had bad symptoms the rest of the day and didn't know why but just to be safe I didn't eat any more of the bread my mother had sent.

I emailed my parents last night thanking them for the package but saying it would have been helpful if they had marked which bread was gluten free for me. My dad called frantic to tell me that neither loaf was gluten free and he jokingly said I'm glad you're still alive.

My mohter and I had a falling out a few years ago but I can't believe she would be so thoughtless as to send both loaves knowing they had gluten in them and leave the option open that I would think that one would be gluten free. They did look different and why would she think that my kid would eat 2 loaves by herself?

I am very hurt and frustrated about this. I'm about to have surgery that will prevent me from being able to eat much for hte rest of my life and this was my last year of having the stollen which is a family tradition. I can't believe my mother's thoughtless behavior made me get sick and that she treated my problem so lightly. She's not stupid and I can't help but think this was intentional.

Am I overreacting or what?


I'm sorry you got sick. However, you've got to learn not to eat anything you can't verify as gluten-free.
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#4 Skylark

 
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Posted 19 December 2011 - 08:14 AM

As IrishHeart pointed out, nothing out of your mother's kitchen would likely be safe for a celiac because of the flour cross-contamination anyway. It's hard to know what your mother was thinking, but it does seem pretty inconsiderate to send two loaves of gluten bread.

You getting sick is your own fault. You chose to play "gluten roulette" with food where you did not know the ingredients. Now you know there is no way to tell a food is gluten-free, short of buying an expensive test kit.
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#5 sariesue

 
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Posted 19 December 2011 - 08:40 AM

I think you are overreacting to some of this. While it was thoughtless for your mother to send the stollens because they have gluten, it is a tradition and it appears that the rest of your family still eats gluten. So to not send them would deprive them of the tradition as well. That is not thoughtless. Thoughtless would have been to just skip your family because you can't eat it so your children miss out.

It is your fault you got sick. You are the one who made the assumption that one of the loves was gluten free. Unless it was labeled gluten free there really is no way to make that assumption since even wheat baked goods don't always end up looking the right way. And the fact that one didn't look perfect would cause me to send an extra in case the funny looking one didn't taste good. Since it was not labeled gluten free the next step would be to call your mother and confirm that one actually was gluten fee and what it looked like. But you didn't do that. Instead you guessed and guessed and got sick. You need to take responsibility for your intolerance and be unassuming. gluten is not something that you would be able to see in a dish. So this means that you need to check and recheck the ingredients in your food. If you don't know the ingredients it is your responsibility to find out. I say that because that was the hardest part of going completely gluten free for me, I was great about checking packaged things with labels that I was buying but, I had difficulties checking on food that was given to me that might be gluten free. But until I learned to do that I was getting glutened that way.

To me it seems that you are displacing the anger of glutening yourself on your mother so it's not your fault you made yourself sick. It can be very hard to admit when our mistakes make us sick. It is reasonable to be upset that you couldn't eat the stollen that was sent to you. But, not to blame your mother because you got sick. She never said that one of the stollens she sent were gluten free. If with the stollens was a note that she had made a gluten free loaf then she is being purposefully mean.

I'm not sure how your attempts at gluten free baking have gone but it is extremely difficult to reproduce gluten items. You can't just go buy a gluten free flour and replace it in a recipe. Your mother may have very well intended on making a gluten free stollen and been unable to do so. Plus with the risk of CC it would be very risky to eat a gluten free stollen she made while making other gluten items.

If your heart is really set on having stollen then you should find a gluten free stollen recipe and make one for yourself. Or start a new tradition that doesn't involve food.
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#6 bartfull

 
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Posted 19 December 2011 - 12:26 PM

The more I read the stories about family here, the better I feel about not having any family at all. The only living relative I have is a sister who disowned the family years and years ago, and I haven't heard from her in forever.

My Mom had Celiac. In the days when nobody had ever heard of it, she went through similar things with friends and some of her family. She would bring her own food when she went places because they couldn't get it through their heads that gluten made her sick. She would get snarky comments like, "What's the matter, our food isn't good enough for you?" She would explain for the umpteenth time about Celiac disease, and they would tell her they never heard of such a thing, and it must all be in her head.

I watched her suffer for years, and even though I felt bad for what she had to go through, now that I have it too, I understand more deeply. I wish I could have her back for just a few minutes so I could give her a hug.
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#7 aeraen

 
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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:07 PM

Please try to understand that "civilians" are having a hard time trying to figure it out, too. From your mother's POV, she had a choice to either send you the traditional gift she has always sent to all of her children, or leave you out. I'm assuming she thought you could choose to not eat it, but at least your child still received "gramma's" gift. And, at least, she was not leaving you out.

My Bro and his wife have sent us the same fruit cake for 10 years. And I love this fruitcake. We still receive it, and I thank them every year for thier generocity. Some day, it will dawn on them that I can't eat it (fortunately, my husband can), but that fact does not diminish the love with which it was sent.

Please don't feel like I'm negating your feelings on the matter. I've just learned to forgive these faux pas. It took me a long time, lots of bellyaches and hours reading this forum to realize how serious this is. If it takes those of us affected by the disease so much work to really accept it, we have to be able to forgive our friends, family and coworkers for not understanding.
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#8 IrishHeart

 
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Posted 19 December 2011 - 05:22 PM

Who among us hasn't made a mistake as Newbies?

She said she believed her father said one was gluten free.

And quite frankly, I think you all may have missed this one important and poignant sentence in the OP's post:

"I am very hurt and frustrated about this. I'm about to have surgery that will prevent me from being able to eat much for hte rest of my life and this was my last year of having the stollen which is a family tradition. I can't believe my mother's thoughtless behavior made me get sick and that she treated my problem so lightly."

A little kindness is in order here, not a scolding, and certainly not condescension and criticism. Give her a break for pete's sake.
IMHO
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"Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way we cope with it makes the difference." Virginia Satir

"The strongest of all warriors are these two - time and patience." Leo Tolstoy

"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else" Booker T. Washington

“If idiots could fly, the sky would be like an airport.”― Laura Davenport 

"Do or do not. There is no try. "-  Yoda.

"LTES"  Gem 2014

 

Misdiagnosed for 25+ years; Finally Diagnosed with Celiac  11/01/10.  Double DQ2 genes. This thing tried to kill me. I view Celiac as a fire breathing dragon --and I have run my sword right through his throat.
I. Win. bliss-smiley-emoticon.gif


#9 mushroom

 
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Posted 19 December 2011 - 05:49 PM

Catlover, I am sorry for your suffering, both from your family and from the gluten. You have just learned two very important gluten free lessons in one incident.

Number 1 is to look out for number one, because no one else will. People do not understand how important it is for us not to eat gluten, so we have to take the responsibility for everything we put in our mouths. If you have not made it yourself or it does not come from a package marked "gluen free" be very suspicious. Even if someone claims to have baked something gluten free for you, they could still have used contaminated pans or utensils or there could have been gluten flour flying around in the air from other baking which landed on yours (yes some people are that sensitive). You have to learn whose cooking you can trust and whose you cannot.

Number 2, partially covered by number 1, is that the risk of cross-contamination is very high in foods that come from a gluten kitchen unless the baker is extremely careful. Cross-contamination is probably the top cause of being glutened - because we all learn to read the labels very carefully, we learn if we respond to processed foods that are made on lines shared with gluten products, or in shared facilities, and we learn how to order at restaurants and how to read menus and communicate with the staff. Even so, the chances of getting cross-contamination in a restaurant are quite high, especially at the lower end chain restaurants.

So just keep in mind that nobody suffers except you if you eat gluten; most people think a little bit won't hurt you; family especially tend to minimize the importance of gluten free and continue the old traditions regardless, and ultimately it is up to you to make sure that you are gluten free.

You have been given some good responses here and it is possible despite your poor relationship with your mother that she had no evil intentions (she was just doing what she has always done) and didn't want you to feel left out (i.e., at least your daughter could eat stollen) . Give her the benefit of the doubt - it is Christmas after all. But if you are getting together at Christmas, do take a plate of food for yourself so that you will have something safe to eat. :)
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#10 bumblebee_carnival

 
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Posted 19 December 2011 - 05:50 PM

It stinks that you got sick, but you just can't assume anymore. I did the same thing at Thanksgiving and paid the price. The relative who hosted Thanksgiving was really good about telling me what ingredients made up each dish. So, I was loading my plate up (and my mouth) with sweet potatoes. I got to literally my last bite and saw sitting in the middle of my sweet potatoes.....a freakin' cube of stuffing. It was baked in! It had put some time in with the rest of the dish. When I looked at the rest of the dish, I saw a couple more cubes in there. I don't know if the box fell or if she maybe used the same spoon on the two dishes or what. But I was thinking how much stuffing did I just accidentally ingest? I was sick for EIGHT days after TG, so it was more then just a cube or two. Plus, I found out later, she had some kind of basted or "flavor enhanced" turkey, so that most likely had gluten in it, too.

I don't think she was like Mr. Burns, gleefully cackling over her devious plan to "accidentally" gluten me, but she just doesn't get it. To her, this is just an extreme form of carb restriction for losing weight. I'm really, really good about putting on a happy face when I am miserable, so she didn't see me in pain. She didn't see me wandering the house at 3 AM because walking around was the only way to make the pain stop a little. She just doesn't get it. She sees that I dropped 20 pounds in a month and that is it.

We can't take it for granted anymore that anyone is going to get the seriousness of this situation and have to be our own advocates. Until proven otherwise, it must be assumed that all baked goods contain gluten. I made a Pam's (I think it was called Pam's) gluten free chocolate cake mix for a birthday cake and it was awesome. My family still eats gluten and they couldn't tell it was gluten free. I've also made gluten free corn muffins using the Betty Crocker recipe and substituting rice flour for all-purpose and it came out exactly the same as the regular recipe. So you can't tell just by looking.
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#11 Lisa

 
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Posted 19 December 2011 - 06:54 PM

Yes, you have been give good advise to mull over. Choose what you wish and disregard the other.

I have a very dear friend (much aware of my dietary issues) who has a very busy career and she sends me the same container of very expensive cookies every year. I thank her for her thought and tell her how much my family will enjoy them. :)
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#12 New Community Member

 
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Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:43 AM

Keep in mind that celiac/gluten free diet is ALWAYS at the forefront of our minds and it probably didn't cross your mother's mind. So I wouldn't take it personal, it more than likely wasn't intentional. It's foreign to think that people without celiac don't have to know every single ingredient and brand that was put into a certain type of food. It is very annoying and frustrating, I know. I hope you feel better soon.
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#13 sariesue

 
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Posted 20 December 2011 - 02:39 PM

Who among us hasn't made a mistake as Newbies?

She said she believed her father said one was gluten free.

And quite frankly, I think you all may have missed this one important and poignant sentence in the OP's post:

"I am very hurt and frustrated about this. I'm about to have surgery that will prevent me from being able to eat much for hte rest of my life and this was my last year of having the stollen which is a family tradition. I can't believe my mother's thoughtless behavior made me get sick and that she treated my problem so lightly."

A little kindness is in order here, not a scolding, and certainly not condescension and criticism. Give her a break for pete's sake.
IMHO


No, I did see that part of the OP's post and mentioned that if she really needed to have one last stollen that she could make a gluten free one herself. Or to even start a non food related tradition. Traditions do sometimes need changing and adjusting.

I believe that sometimes criticism is needed to show the OP how to prevent a reoccurance. If all you ever get is that sucks your mom was soo thoughtless... How is the OP supposed to see past her feelings in the situation to find what went wrong. When we have strong feelings about a situation sometimes they color our impressions of the event and prevent us from being able to gain any useful knowledge from the situation. And in this case what went wrong were her assumptions and the actions she took based on them. Living gluten free is a learning process and with all learning processes comes criticism and then better solutions to the problem. Not a single person who said anything negative about what the OP did, did so without an alternative course of action. That will be useful in the future.
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#14 Lisa

 
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Posted 20 December 2011 - 02:47 PM

I believe that sometimes criticism is needed to show the OP how to prevent a reoccurance. If all you ever get is that sucks your mom was soo thoughtless... How is the OP supposed to see past her feelings in the situation to find what went wrong. When we have strong feelings about a situation sometimes they color our impressions of the event and prevent us from being able to gain any useful knowledge from the situation. And in this case what went wrong were her assumptions and the actions she took based on them. Living gluten free is a learning process and with all learning processes comes criticism and then better solutions to the problem. Not a single person who said anything negative about what the OP did, did so without an alternative course of action. That will be useful in the future.

With certainty, a point could be made without criticism. I don't find it useful in the least. B)
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#15 love2travel

 
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Posted 20 December 2011 - 03:05 PM

With certainty, a point could be made without criticism. I don't find it useful in the least. B)

Me, neither.

I probably made one of the dumbest of all time mistakes as a newbie. I was diagnosed by bloodwork 4 days prior to a trip to Croatia and I was shocked as I was not expecting those results. I thought I was going off gluten properly but turns out I did not at all. Guess what I did in Croatia? I had their infamous soup with pasta and beans - I had the broth and picked around the pasta! My husband's main was pasta and I didn't have it as I knew it contained gluten. Isn't that unreal? Makes me laugh to think of it now! :lol: I thought I had to ingest the actual gluten ingredient! Not the stuff that was *touching* it. Looking back I probably got glutened nearly every day on that three-week trip. Darn it - I could have had all the pizza and pasta I wanted! :angry:

Anyway, I did my research and went off gluten strictly after that for several months. Then I was told I would be getting a biopsy so went back on gluten for nearly four months. (Our waiting list was four months long.) In the meantime I learned scads of information (most of it from here). Now I feel practically like a professional gluten chaser and advocate.

In time I think that once your Mom becomes more familiar and aware things will gradually improve. I surely hope so for your sake! In the meantime rest in the knowledge that that even veterans make mistakes, too. We are all human and learn from our mistakes so we can change things in the future. Arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can.
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When our lives are squeezed by pressure and pain, what comes out is what is inside.




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