Communion wafers must have some wheat to be valid
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Communion Hosts for Celiacs: Yes or No?

Communion wafers must have some wheat to be valid

This Easter Sunday I will not be taking the communion wafer. Yes, not even the low-gluten host. It’s not a decision I make lightly.

According to the Catholic church, the wafer must contain some wheat to be valid (“bread of life”) and a low-gluten host is acceptable for celebrating the Eucharist because it has some wheat. A non-gluten wafer is not valid. For more information, go to the Catholic Celiac Society.*

For several years I did take the low-gluten host and I didn’t notice any reaction. I figured the wafer contained such a minuscule amount of gluten that I could get by.

I was wrong.

Some of us with celiac disease, like my son, suffer recognizable symptoms after eating a crumb of gluten. Other people like me have so many other food allergies we often aren’t sure what food caused what reaction, or they don’t have noticeable reactions. But even if we don’t react with a stomach ache or a rash or lethargy, that tiny bit of gluten can wreak havoc on our bodies and lead to longterm healthcare issues.

Having a little bit of gluten every Sunday is like an alcoholic having a sip of vodka every Sunday.

Watch this video from Dr. Tom O’Bryan, a celiac disease expert.

I know many Catholics with celiac disease who will celebrate the Eucharist with a low-gluten host this Sunday, but I won’t be one of them. Will you?

*In 2003, the Vatican did say Catholics with celiac disease can celebrate the Eucharist by wine only, so Catholics have that option.

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A Rash Decision

Yesterday I decided to take care of this annoying rash on my face and neck that’s been plaguing me for quite some time.  Why now?  Well, I’ll be attending the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference this weekend and I didn’t want to look like I’d forgotten to take off my Halloween mask.

The ironic thing is this conference is full of people with ALLERGIES.  A rash looks perfectly normal to them.  But you know, a girl likes to look good.

Went to the doctor’s and got a prescription. First pharmacy didn’t have the ointment in stock so had to drive across town to another pharmacy and wait an hour.

Then the lady at the counter looked me in the eye and said, “Did your doctor tell you how much this was going to cost?”  Never a good sign.

Image

Yep, you’re reading that right.  $166 for that tiny little tube that’s the size of cement glue!  By the way, I have “good” health insurance;  makes you wonder what I’d pay if I had “bad” health insurance.

Next I headed off to Walgreens to replace some old makeup that might be irritating my skin and to take a look at some recommended sensitive skin products. Anna at Walgreens was incredibly knowledgeable.  $100 later I was back in my car.

Image

Good news is my face is already looking better. Bad news is I spent more than the airline ticket to Las Vegas cost.

If you’ll be at the conference, please introduce yourself!  If you’re not going, I’ll be live blogging during and after the sessions … after all, I have no money left for gambling.

Related Post from An Allergic Foodie

A Tribute to Food Allergy Bloggers

“A Rash Decision” originally appeared in Adventures of an Allergic Foodie.

 

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Beach Ride

Every day in Hilton Head I ride my pink bike to the beach.  Every woman over 30 should have a pink bike.

My Pink Bike

I am twelve again, pedaling down the mossy tree-lined road.

Road toward beach

No cares in the world.  Just the goal of getting to the beach while the tide is low.  I pass the alligator whose lived in the same lagoon for as long as anyone can remember

Alligator

and I smile at the prehistoric-looking birds sitting on the rocks.

SC bird

I coast down the wooden beach path and park my bike in the sand.

Bike at beach

Watching the shrimp boat bobbing up and down, I take a moment to breathe and be thankful.

Ocean

Never in a hurry, I eventually resume my ride, splashing through the tide pools and avoiding the somewhat scary crabs that have washed onto shore.

crab

The wind at my back, I pedal and pedal. I scan the waves for dolphins and jumping fish and marvel at the birds diving into the water.

The day is perfect.

When the tide creeps up, I ride home on my pink bike. Low tide will come again tomorrow.

Bike shadow

Beach Ride originally appeared in Adventures of an Allergic Foodie.

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Preparing for Italy

Spaghetti all' arrabbiata

Image via Wikipedia

Wondering how I would communicate my food allergies to servers in Italy, I did what all Americans do in a quandary: I turned to google.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a long list of websites offering translation cards in many languages and at low-cost.  The one I chose was actually free at Allergy Free Passport.

Within seconds I had a pocket-sized dining card listing the most common allergies in both English and Italian.  Now some other websites offer customized cards, but for my purposes the top allergies were sufficient.  I simply drew a line through the allergies that didn’t apply to me. Then I took one of the cards to the office supply store and had it laminated for about a dollar.  How easy was that!

The other cool thing I found at Allergy Free Passport was an e-book, Allergen Free Dining In Italian Restaurants, which I quickly bought and downloaded on my iPad to take with me.

Now I feel prepared to eat out in Italy!  Do any of you have a suggestion for traveling with celiac and allergies?