Laying in Food for Special Dietary Needs

Road Warrior and kevbro both asked about prepping for family members with gluten allergies. Gluten intolerance is on the rise. Many theories exist about why. WebMD has this to say, pulling from a study published this year in BMC Medicine

About 1% of the population has celiac disease, but celiac might be the “tip of the iceberg” for an “emerging problem…of a group of gluten-reactive patients, accounting for roughly 10% of the general population.”

People who can’t eat gluten – a protein in wheat and related grains such as barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and triticale – must choose their grains carefully. Gardening can provide a great buffer against both hard times and digestion problems. In your own garden you can grow every alternative grain that is suited to your micro-climate. Not only do you get the benefit of having food that won’t make you sick, you have a self replicating form of food security.

I highly recommend the book written by Carol Deppe, “The Resilient Gardener.” She has celiac disease and goes into quite a lot of detail about the varieties of celiac friendly foods she grows. It’s not all grains either. She recommends growing large amounts of squash, especially varieties that dry well for eating over winter. This is one of those skills that I’m determined to master. Growing squash requires space, and right now that means it goes in my community garden plot. 10×12 feet square means I’ve only got room for two hills, (and even that is a bit of a squish and requires me to manage my vines a bit. )  I’m going to try to plant at least one of the varieties she mentions really loving.  I tried to grow the New England Pie pumpkin she mentions, but my fellow community gardeners kept picking them before they were fully ready on the vine. *sigh* I’m thinking I’ll have more luck if I grow something that isn’t as familiar looking. Maybe give Blue Hubbard another chance? Or try to find seeds for the Costata Romanesca squash she likes to dry. I’m sure I’ll report back if anything goes well.

So, don’t view the gluten allergy as too much of a hindrance. There is a lot of good food in a garden and a lot of it is gluten free. Preserving it will give you BOB ready foods that won’t make your loved ones sick.

– Calamity Jane


10 comments… add one
  • Mike the Gardener March 26, 2013, 9:16 am

    Very cool thought! Sometimes I forget about these things as I have not had any such reactions to foods … but it can’t hurt to stock some in case a neighbor or relative may be in need.

  • GoneWithTheWind March 26, 2013, 10:47 am

    Attention to a disease or allergy is not the same thing as the incidence of that disease or allergy increasing. The incidence of gluten allergy is the same today as it was 20 years ago and will be 20 years from now. it is genetic. What has changed is the desire to claim to have one of the latest attention seeking alergies and gluten allergy is the latest following peanut allergies. There are of course real allergies and each individual with such an allergy needs to do what it takes to prevent consuming the wrong food. Interestingly a recent study concluded that most people with gluten intolerence did not know they had a gluten allergy and most people who claimed to have a gluten allergy did not have it. The most common food allergies is to shellfish and dairy products. For some people with these allergies they can be life threatening. So for obvious reasons if you think you have an allergy you should get tested by a competent doctor. Self diagnoses and self treatment can be a dangerous mistake.

    • KevBro March 26, 2013, 12:46 pm

      This is true. Not only does my wife have an gluten allergy but so does her Mother. I would say that within the last 4 to 5 years the gluten free food has gotten much better. People are more aware of it and are not getting sick as much from it. To put it a nice way, it makes my wives tummy very sick.

  • liss March 26, 2013, 11:02 am

    Have you looked into vertical gardening with squash? That might save you some room.

    • Calamity Jane March 26, 2013, 11:30 am

      I have. I even had squash growing up in a tree a couple of years ago. :-D The problem here in NW Iowa is managing to get structure that will hold up the large heirloom squash vines AND handle the rather stiff wind we get roaring off the South Dakota plains. While it is doable, it’s sadly outside of the range of acceptable for the community garden plot or the rental house front yard. In my dreams I have a garden where i can put up proper supporting structures. :-D

  • Leslie Anne March 26, 2013, 12:46 pm

    You can make sturdy support posts for vines by sinking 4×4 posts into 5-gallon buckets of wet concrete. Then just space the buckets a few feet apart and build your vine supports. If you want to be extra sure the buckets (which are heavy) won’t “blow over”, then dig a little and sink them 1/2 way into the ground. The best part is if you move, you can simply remove the vine supports and take your bucket-posts with you. To hide the buckets (if they’re just sitting on the ground), grow spinach, chives, etc. around the base…or flowers for a more “mainstream” look. The bucket-posts are also nice as a temporary fence. Line ’em up and add the cross piece with pickets or lattice.

    • Leslie Anne March 26, 2013, 12:50 pm

      Oh, I should add that when I’ve used bucket-posts, I still planted the seeds into the ground (next to the bucket-post) and then trained them to grow up the attached vine supports. You want as much concrete as possible in those 5-gallon buckets so they don’t tip over (you don’t want to waste bucket-space with dirt because then your buckets won’t be as heavy).

  • Charles,,,, March 26, 2013, 12:48 pm

    MILLET, grow’s well with alot of resistance to icky thing’s, versitile, ground into flour with as many uses, cereal, there’s two really good variety’s, easy to store, the down side, BIRDS love them, seeds are tiny but you can plant them just by broadcasting heavily then use your fertilezer in liquid form to keep the growth up,,,, pumpkins are so good to learn about, the uses are almost endless as well, from soup to flour, but the complaint today has been space, ever consider folding it over onto itself as it vines out? Right, train the vines, place the back in the direction they came from or if a 180 doesn’t fit the bill do a 90, let it twirl on itself, the main root’s are the feeders sooooooo, spot feed, when the orb’s begin to grow, group them, gentley, as much as you can move them, start out little by little and it doesn’t become such a great task…. Do as the indians did for space and trellis all in one, tho I haven’t tried this one it is of interest to space savers, allow your corn to get a two week head start, then plant your squash around the base of the stalk, which will use the corn stalk as a trellis, or even pole beans, then a ring of cabbage or broccoli or cauliflower around that, more intense labor to start and again it would require spot feeding, I use “X” amount of fertilizer to a 5 gal. bucket of water, allow it to set for a week to disolve which it never does 100%, then laddle it upon the SPOTS before watering… not going to give any reciepes, too complicated, some use triple 8 or 13 fetilizer, some use odd ball’s 4-12-12 or such to fit their demands, so it’s a know whatcha need reciepe then mix it up… work’s really well with rabbit pellets since the rabbit manure won’t burn any plants no matter the strength mixed….there’s spots around the house that will fit a seed or two as well, cloth’sline pole, 5gal. buckets lining the outside steps, if they are wide, fencelines, tho cukes seem to grow through the chain links half way then bulb out on the ends, lol…..experiment, that is the greatest challenge, laugh at yourself when it works and laugh when it doesn’t work… my first atttempt at cukes and honeydew, in the same garden, big orange fleshy melons that smelled and tasted like cukes, yeah, they are in the same family and cross pollinate…sad at the time, funny as, ahem, now…..One man’s thought.

  • T.R. March 26, 2013, 4:07 pm

    Buckwheat is a good non gluten ” grain ” .

  • Anonymous March 27, 2013, 1:08 am

    Spaghetti squash might be weird enough to keep the neighbors away, but also stores very well and is delicious. Space is not an issue for my garden though, so I grow lots of winter squash because it is so easy.


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