In times of emergencies, it’s important for everyone to be prepared, and individuals with dietary restrictions such as a gluten-free diet need to take additional steps to ensure they are prepared in case of an emergency. For all my gluten-free friends, here are some tips for emergency preparedness for gluten-free individuals.
The things I feel bad about regarding people who must eat gluten-free are the breads, the flour tortillas, dinner rolls, and cinnamon rolls we all love to eat. But, keep in mind when you stock your food storage you may still be able to purchase freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, and meats if they were produced in a wheat-free environment.
When a natural disaster or power outage strikes, Mother Nature doesn’t help protect those with different food needs. Those of us with unique food or other allergies need to be self-sufficient and look out for ourselves. Here are some handy tips to help you.
I would practice making the breads you can eat or find out where you can purchase them, like at Costco. Years ago I made some gluten-free bread and I found out later I bought it for half the cost at Costco. Most of the flours used for GF bread have a short shelf life, so be sure to check out those expiration dates. Keep those flours in the freezer if the package states that you can.
Grains Tend to be the Culpret When It Comes to Gluten
If you’ve dealt with gluten issues in your family you know the most common food ingredients that can cause celiac disease. For those who may be new to the subject, people with gluten intolerance have to steer clear of wheat and wheat varieties and any derivatives. That includes gluten-containing food items like spelt, durum, kamut, wheat bran, wheat germ, and wheat starch, among a long list.
Other gluten grains to avoid are rye, barley, and triticale.
There are common foods that contain these grains and we may not think about some of our favorites. You’ll find that most bread, bagels, and rolls have gluten, along with pastries, many cereals, pasta, and noodles. Also, be careful of cakes, biscuits, croutons, veggie meat substitutes, malts and malt extract, and many flavorings.
Emergency Preparedness for Gluten-Free Individuals
1. Create a Gluten-Free Emergency Kit
Assemble a dedicated emergency kit that includes gluten-free non-perishable food items. Consider items such as gluten-free energy bars, canned fruits and vegetables, nut butter, gluten-free crackers, and dried fruits. Ensure that the kit is easily accessible and contains enough supplies to sustain you for at least three days. What Are 20 Basic Items in an Emergency Kit?
2. Keep a List of Gluten-Free Safe Foods
Compile a list of gluten-free foods that you can safely consume. This list will be invaluable in emergencies when information access is limited. Include both perishable and non-perishable items, and make sure to note any specific brands or products that are safe for your gluten-free diet. High-Calorie Foods for Emergencies
3. Maintain a Gluten-Free First Aid Kit
Ensure your first aid kit is gluten-free by checking medications and supplies. Many medications and supplements may contain gluten as a binding agent. Discuss gluten-free alternatives with your healthcare provider and update your first aid kit accordingly. This ensures you can address your health needs without compromising your dietary requirements. Types of Medicines You Need for a First Aid Kit
4. Communication is Key
Inform emergency responders and healthcare providers about your gluten-free dietary needs. Create a medical alert card or wear a medical alert bracelet specifying your dietary restrictions. This can be crucial in case of medical emergencies, ensuring that you receive suitable and safe nutrition in a hospital or emergency shelter. Communication Options for Your Family During a Disaster
5. Stay Informed About Gluten-Free Emergency Resources
Research gluten-free emergency resources available in your area. Identify gluten-free shelters, food banks, and emergency meal services that can provide suitable options during crises. Keep this information handy and share it with friends and family who may be supporting you during emergencies.20 Healthy Habits for Emergency Preppers
In case of evacuations, be prepared to have items served to you in shelters or from food banks that aren’t suitable based on your dietary needs. Don’t be surprised if you see soups, french fries, potato or tortilla chips, granola, stuffing, soy sauce, processed meats, and dressings that include vinegar and marinades. These are all suspect and should be avoided. For those who like their beers, remember that beers, ales, and lagers are made with grain-based ingredients.
6. Educate Emergency Contacts
Ensure that your emergency contacts know your gluten-free diet and understand its implications. Share information on safe food options and emergency plans, so they can assist you effectively. A support network that understands your dietary needs can alleviate stress during challenging times. The Top 10 Most Important Things to Do as a Prepper
7. Pack Portable Cooking Equipment
Include portable cooking equipment in your emergency kit. This may include a portable stove, cookware, and utensils. While many emergency shelters provide meals, having the ability to prepare your food ensures that you can maintain a gluten-free diet even in challenging circumstances and without the fear of cross-contamination. Cooking From Scratch Is It A Thing Of The Past?
8. Water and Hydration
In emergencies, access to safe water is critical. Ensure you have a supply of safe clean water or be prepared to filter the water with something like purification tablets. Dehydration can exacerbate health issues, so it’s essential to have access to safe hydration sources. 50-Year Shelf Life Canned Water-Blue Can Pure Water
Because gluten-free has become a frequently used marketing catchphrase, you might see bottled water with a label that states it’s gluten-free. We all know that water is naturally gluten-free, so don’t be fooled into paying for “premium” water just because it’s promoted as safe for your diet.
9. Plan for Special Occasions and Celebrations
Consider how you will manage special occasions or celebrations that may occur during emergencies. If possible, include a small treat or snack in your emergency kit for such occasions, ensuring you can maintain a sense of normalcy and joy even in challenging times. How to Be Tougher Mentally As a Prepper
10. Regularly Update and Review Your Emergency Plan
As circumstances change, so should your emergency plan. Regularly review and update your gluten-free emergency preparedness kit, ensuring that all items are within their expiration dates and that your list of safe foods remains current. Stay informed about new gluten-free products and resources that may enhance emergency preparedness. Emergency Preparedness-Make A Plan
What are some good alternative foods to help avoid gluten?
There are several food items that you can use to make most of your favorite meals and be gluten-free. Consider trying some of the following as whole items or flour:
Is there a difference between celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and an allergy to grains?
Celiac disease is a more serious health issue since it prompts our immune system to attack our gut. This attack can cause real damage to the lining of our intestines and make it hard for our body to absorb sufficient nutrients. The damage to your intestines can lead to diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal pain, some weight loss, constipation, and even anemia. There can be a loss of bone density, blisters and rash, mouth ulcers, spleen dysfunction, and elevated liver enzyme activity. It will affect adults and children differently in most cases.
Gluten intolerance may prompt similar symptoms to celiac disease, but it doesn’t have the related immune system challenges to the intestines. It is rather a gluten sensitivity and is often referred to as non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Symptoms most often include being very tired, experiencing nausea, feeling bloated with gas, headache, abdominal pain, and joint pain.
Gluten allergies have similar symptoms but are generally less severe. If you have any of the symptoms listed, make an appointment with your healthcare provider and determine what your ailment might be.
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Emergency preparedness is a responsibility we all share, and individuals on a gluten-free diet must take additional steps to safeguard their nutritional needs. Always stay informed, communicate your needs effectively, and empower yourself with the knowledge and resources necessary to navigate emergencies, even if you or someone you love is following a gluten-free diet! May God Bless this World, Linda
Copyright Images: Organic Vegetarian Salad Depositphotos_78370236_S by TeriVirbickis, Gluten Free Products Depositphotos_26803987_S by Lucidwaters