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Gluten At The Pumpkin Patch

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I was glutened at the pumpkin patch this past weekend. My little nieces and I were crawling around all over the "hay" maze. I felt HORRIBLE when we left..come to find out, we were playing in wheat straw. - Just a little heads up incase anyone else would make this mistake.

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Oh man, sorry to hear you got zapped! :-( Hope it passes quickly and you're back on your feet again.

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Thanks to you both! Who would have known. Live and learn with celiac. :)

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I'm sorry and thanks for the tip

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How can you tell wheat straw from hay? We were thinking about doing some stuff like this but now I'm reconsidering, don't want to get glutened!

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Good question. Wheat straw, alfalfa straw, oat straw, what else do they use? Maybe a farmer can tell.

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Hay is usually greenish, or greenish - gray or greenish tan, with FLAT dried leave of grass. It smells different. It has that "sweet grass" smell. It is very prone to mold when it gets wet and then doesn't dry out quickly. Hay is cut typically before the grass seed heads mature, so the nutrients are still in the leaf.

Most of the bales of stuff you see at these pumpkin places will be straw. It can be oat, rice, wheat, barley mostly, and was likely grown locally.

Straw is the byproduct of grain production. It is the leftovers after the seed heads have been cut off by running the combine machines thru the fields. Then it is baled up. There should be very little grain seed in it, only accidentally, and that is where the offending gluten protein is. It is usually cut when it is dried and mature, as opposed to hay, which is cut green. It is typically much stemmier than hay. It tends to be yellow, gold or tan and brighter colored. Because it is a byproduct, it tends to be less expensive than hay. It is usually not used for horse feed, but sometimes for cattle feed. Sometimes oats or rye is cut with the seed heads still on, and sold as "oat hay" or "rye hay" here in CA and it is high enough quality the horses will readily eat it. This is done in areas where they don't get a good supply of grass hay in, and they don't want to feed alfalfa, as straight alfalfa is very bad for horses due to the high protein and mineral content. (my horses like this oat hay, but I've got a horse allergic to rye, so we don't do this anymore, as I don't know if the oat hay will be cc'd or not.)

I am more allergic to some kinds of regular hay than I am reactive to straws. I will welt on on contact with bare skin after about 15 minutes, if I don't rinse off. Unfortunately the kinds of hay that are good for the allergic horse really set me off, so I try to minimize getting this stuff in the house, and I change clothes alot and wear an overshirt when I handle it, that I leave in the barn. Then I carry it to the mud room and put it directly in the washing machine. My barn jackets don't go near the regular coats. I've slept in other kinds of hay, literally, in the barn, without a problem, (at night on a foal watch) and sat on straw bales, and not reacted the way I do to orchard grass hay. Ugh. <_<

I've picked up pumpkins out of straw displays with no problem, but they're usually set in the back of the truck or in the hatch, which has a rubber mat we clean off periodically, and then the big ones go outside. You can always rinse the pumpkins off at home with the hose if you're concerned. Just be sure to wash your hands before eating.

There isn't such a thing as "alfalfa straw." Alfalfa is a legume, like clover, it is a different plant family, the entire plant is cut, dried, and used for food, leaves and stems, and it is much more prone to going moldy when exposed to moisture. Alfalfa hay is typically bright green and the leaves are smaller, round, and more fragile. Some alfalfa bales can get pretty "stemmy" when the leaves fall off during the old fashioned baling process where the hay was cut and left to dry in the fields lying on the ground, before being baled. Nowadays it is mostly cut by a machine called a "mower conditioner" which squeezes out the moisture and the hay is baled up immediately, but this has its own set of potential problems, as in some parts of the country, in the south, they also have blister beetles, a poisonous insect, get caught up in it.

Alfalfa is not an annual plant that dies after a single short growing season, like oats or wheat, but a perennial that lasts several years, so it is much less likely to have wheat in it. Sometimes an older, slower yielding alfalfa field is over seeded with grass seed, to make a blended hay, including types either I am allergic to or the horse is allergic to, just to make life more interesting.

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There isn't such a thing as "alfalfa straw."

A farmer told me that he used alfalfa straw between his rows of vegetables. What do you think he meant?

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I don't know what he meant. No one would waste good edible alfalfa stems like that, the stuff is too pricy when an animal would eat it anyway. As soon as it would get rained or irrigated after it was spread, it would start to mold. Maybe he had some bad stuff he needed to use up, compost, or get rid of. Once in a while we have a bale of hay that is partially spoilt from getting wet during processing, and we'll just compost the whole mess, but it's funny to see the rabbits out there in that pasture checking out the compost pile at dusk to see if anything showed up. And I've seen little rabbits come running out more than once, after I've put hay out in the pastures for the horses to eat. Sometimes there have been transient deer back there.... and there are also the predator animals, like hawks, owls, coyotes, so we have a whole ecosystem going just from hay scraps. We've also had turkeys checking out each hay feeding area, checking for seed heads, as they feed off of grass/plant seeds in the pastures, but the horses are pretty good at cleaning it up.

Perhaps he was spreading some older mixed oat straw that had a mixture of an old alfalfa stand in it, or he had planted a cover crop of legumes for the nitrogen, and then put the vegetable rows between it after mowing ? LOL, if I spread any alfalfa deliberately, it would look like a rabbit farm. :lol:

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*warning, whiny venting ahead*

You would think that with this reminder so recently, I would be safe, but no...had to go and push that freaking envelope, argh!

Just went to an old victorian, historical farm (really, really pretty). I've been there before I got diagnosed, know there are areas where animals and hay are and stayed away from them (going down different paths, came late in the day so it's hours after feeding time, put the parking lot between me and their 'pumpkin patch' area that had more straw, and so on).

Thought I was doing great until we stayed to chat with a friend in the parking lot, and after about 10 minutes of that, everything hits. By the time I got back home all I wanted to do was pass out. The vertigo came raging back at the same time and I'm just SO annoyed at myself.

I really thought I could do it, if I stayed away from the straw, but I guess there's too much wind and such blowing everything around for me to stay safe. Just...DANG IT!

Stupid, stupid, stupid. And here I am on the trip, doing better food-safety-wise than I have on any previous trip, and I have to do something like this so I can't move without either falling over or getting utterly nauseated.

And to top it off (as some of you know, because really, I'm good at whining, eh? ;) ), I have my coffee allergy. I've never liked the stuff, never drank it, and after going gluten free, I have a noticeable allergic reaction to it. We're not sure if it's inhaled coffee that makes me react, or I can actually react to skin contact (Not even testing that one at the moment, sucks too much), but anywhere there is coffee being ground, brewed, or hot and steaming so the scent is in the air a lot, I feel very bad, very fast.

...do you know how many places either have coffee in the air or gluten in the air? Like, everywhere! Pizza places and restaurants and grocery stores - gluten. Bookstores and doctor offices and grocery stores - coffee. Farms - gluten. Conventions like the one I just tried to go to and had an epic fail - coffee.

It feels like there's almost nowhere I can go anymore that doesn't make sick, and it's so, so frustrating. I need to take up a hobby like, I don't know, mountain climbing or something, and even then, I bet there will be other mountain climbers making their darn coffee in the morning!

I know there are some heavy duty masks that have seals and filters and special air pressure to make sure nothing bad gets in, for people with severe allergies. I'm scheduling an appointment with an allergist to look into that, after the experience with the convention. But most of the things I'd want to do - like talk to people at a convention - I'm not certain I CAN do with a mask like that on, you know?

I think I'm going to become some kind of recluse who talks to everyone through skype or something, eh?

Sigh.

Okay, now I'm done. Just had myself a nice cry this morning, needed to vent a sec, and now need to get through the worst of the vertigo and I think I'll be able to cope again. Ya'll know how it goes, yeah? Some days are just worse than others and you need to let it out or you're going to implode.

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I was wondering about wheat straw as well I have some bales of it in my deer blind that I use to sit on and every time I went hunting I felt terrible and I could always see dust from the bales flying around in the air. I think i will take them out to see if it makes a difference.

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There was even coffee in the waiting room when I got my car repaired. You wouldn't have been able to pay your bill without being subjected to it. It seems even harder to avoid than gluten. Sorry you are faced with that too, Shauna.

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Sorry you are faced with that too, Shauna.

Thanks, hon. I think my body is just trying to tell me that it's high time I became a genius and invented time travel, so I can go back a couple hundred years and live with, like, the inuit or the mayans or something. :D

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Thanks, hon. I think my body is just trying to tell me that it's high time I became a genius and invented time travel, so I can go back a couple hundred years and live with, like, the inuit or the mayans or something. :D

T.H...so sorry hun.....that must be really really hard and frustrating. Coffee is everywhere!!!! As you know, I have the airborne wheat allergy and it is everywhere, but coffee is even worse, and you have to deal with both coffee and wheat!!! The coffee smell is so strong too.

I really want to get a mask too. I wonder where I can buy a good one...

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I was worried about pumpkin patches and hay rides this year. I avoided both, and was sad about it. My husband did both activities with the kids, while I stayed away from them. I missed out. But what can I do, it is what it is...Our health comes first, but it really is the pits, isn't it?

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It feels like there's almost nowhere I can go anymore that doesn't make sick, and it's so, so frustrating. I need to take up a hobby like, I don't know, mountain climbing or something, and even then, I bet there will be other mountain climbers making their darn coffee in the morning!

I know there are some heavy duty masks that have seals and filters and special air pressure to make sure nothing bad gets in, for people with severe allergies. I'm scheduling an appointment with an allergist to look into that, after the experience with the convention. But most of the things I'd want to do - like talk to people at a convention - I'm not certain I CAN do with a mask like that on, you know?

I met someone who wore a mask like that in church at a convent I visited. I am assuming it was because of an allergy to the incense. She was able to take it off later in the fellowship hall (in down a long corridor from the church). While she had it on it was reasonably easy to talk to her.

As for mountain climbing, that kind of thing would be okay, I think. you're not going to come across other mountain climbers brewing coffee on a regular basis (we brewed tea when we were on top of mountains, but the thing is, we didn't come across other people really). Winter sports like skiing (just avoid the resorts) or snowshoeing might be nice too. I used to live in Alaska and loved snowshoeing. Just a thought.

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