Tag Archives: sister

Gluten-free piñatas, and other celiac party games

I only just told you about the snacks at our last party, but we’re already menu-planning for the next. This one is in honor of the birth of a certain Libra you all know: my sister! To celebrate, we decided to channel our mom—an excellent themed-party-thrower if ever there was one—and make a piñata.

paper mache piñata in progress

Newspaper is gluten-free and also, unlike most printed products, often vegan.

There was a brief moment when we thought it wouldn’t work: paper mâché is made using flour, and our home is a flour-free zone. I’m also extremely averse to touching anything with gluten in it, inside the house or out. And our piñata dreams were not worth breaking out the sorghum flour.

Fortunately, cornstarch seems to do the trick. I don’t want to speak too soon—the piñata is still hanging in our kitchen to let the first layer dry, where I risk puncturing it prematurely every morning when I forget it’s there and headbutt it in the dark; and we haven’t yet decorated—but so far, so good.

Making the piñata got me thinking about other classic party games that could be made gluten-free. I know by now you’ve all tried Celiac Sorry!, but if you’re itching for more, here it is.

Which sounds like the most fun to you?

Silent line-up

The classic ice breaker. In this version, players must line up in order of their date of diagnosis without communicating out loud. This makes the hierarchy clear early in the party.

Simon says

One player is anointed Simon and calls out commands to the other players. If the command is prefaced with “Simon says,” players must do it. If not, players must not. Disobeying, whether on purpose or by accident, is grounds for dismissal. Nice Simons do not make commands starting with “Simon says” that end in “Eat a pizza.” Mean Simons do.

boy chasing girl in duck, duck, goose game

What we’d all like to do to everyone who glutens us.
Photo © amanky | Flickr

Duck, duck, gluten

All players sit in a circle except for one, who walks around tapping people on the heads one at a time saying, “Duck…duck…” until bored. Then he or she whacks a random person on the head hard enough to daze the seated player and yells “GLUTEN!”

This person, now “the Glutened,” must clamber up and chase the original player around the circle as the remaining players still sitting, do their best to trip the unlucky Glutened—simulating the action of our immune antibodies after we ingest gluten.

If the Glutened catches the Glutener before the Glutener can sit in the Glutened’s original spot, the Glutened wins, and has a full recovery. But otherwise, the Glutened is so consumed by gluten that he/she becomes the new Glutener, spitefully paying it forward to another poor duck. (Two things: 1) that’s not really how it works. 2) Ducks with celiac disease would be sad. They’d miss out on all the bread crumbs.)

Pin the villus on the intestinal lining

If you misplace the villus under the intestinal lining, then your villus is blunted. You lose.

Hide and sleep

Besides one, all players find cozy hiding spots. Being typically fatigued, they take the respite from socializing as an opportunity to catch some Zs. The remaining player tries to find them until brainfog sets in, then wanders off in search of gluten-free cake.

cat sleeping under blanket

Cats are really good at this game.
Photo © Yuxuan Wang | Flickr

Scavenger hunt

Everyone is given a list and set loose in a grocery store to find items such as “gluten-free sourdough pretzels” and “gluten-free filo dough.” They emerge hours later, groggy and miserable, having not found any of the items and cursing whoever wrote that stupid list. To lift their spirits, they binge on gluten-free cake.

Gluten-villus-celiac

Like rock-paper-scissors. Gluten flattens villus; villus starves celiac; celiac eliminates gluten.

Bobbing for apples

It’s like the traditional version, except no one trusts the gluten-freedom of the other players’ mouths enough to stick their own face into a shared bucket of water. Everyone stands around looking at the apples for a while, then wanders off to find gluten-free cake.

Donuts on a string

Forget it. GF donuts are too expensive to drop half of them on the ground.

The flour game

I discovered this on a UK “traditional party games” site, and it is so not gluten-free. I quote:

“Firstly you need to make the ‘flour cake’ by tightly compacting flour into a medium sized mixing bowl. Then turn this out on to a board and top with a large chunk of Mars bar. Each child takes it in turns to slice away sections of the flour cake ensuring the chunk of chocolate remains at the top. The child who eventually topples the chocolate from the top has to find it with their teeth.”

Basically, it’s Jenga, gone oh-so-wrong (especially in an age of increased allergies!).

*

And there you go! With the exception of that last one—unless you substitute cornstarch—you’re ready for your next celiac-themed birthday party.

As for us? No, we probably won’t play these, and our theme isn’t really “gluten-free.” But the food, drinks, piñata, and candy will be gluten-free (and nut-free!), and those in search of gluten-free cake will not be disappointed. Cross your fingers for us that the piñata actually breaks.

What’s your favorite party or parlor game? Do you prefer parties with or without themes? Have you ever made a piñata, and what candy did you fill it with? (P.S. Are we too old for piñatas?)

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Gluten-Free Astrology: Libra (September 23 – October 22)

Well, hello there, Gluten-Free Libras. So glad you could make it. No, but really. GF Libras are such easygoing, sociable people—an asset to every gathering. When you join the conversation, everyone (even sullen GF Cancers and hyperactive GF Geminis like me) feels a bit more at ease.

The GF Libra is decidedly not a loner; you seek out and thrive on companionship. For you, a solitary safe dinner at home is terribly depressing; you prefer to seek out new experiences, preferably with a partner or BFF as well as some new friends-to-be. A humble GF Gemini like myself might feel awkward about whipping out my mason jar of rice and black-bean salad and gluten-free roll at a restaurant (as I wound up doing last week), but you never would. And, given your level-headedness and communication skills, you’re almost always able to successfully convey your needs to the waiter and chef and manage to wrangle a safe meal for yourself anyway.

scales (symbol of Libra)

Though the gluten-free diet, despite popular misconception, doesn’t have much at all to do with weight, the GF Libra is all about the scales.
Photo © Joie De Cleve | Flickr

In fact, I would love to carry one of you around in my back pocket to pull out whenever I need to calmly explain something about celiac disease or gluten-free living to someone who’s just not getting it. You’d acknowledge both sides of the discussion, calmly bring us to an understanding, and smooth out any tensions or hurt feelings as you went. In short, you’d do a much better job than I ever do.

If spokespeople were selected by community vote, GF Libras—the ultimate people people—would be nominated, seconded, and appointed without a word of dissent from anyone. (Well, except for the Leos, who would feel the crown really belonged to them.) And, indeed, GF Libras are excellent advocates: they care intensely about fairness and are able to raise awareness for their community without forgetting the priorities of others. Put your advocacy skills to the test this month. Though National Celiac Awareness Day is behind us and our month is a ways away, there’s plenty of work for you to do in the meantime.

The GF Libra is ruled by Venus, and therefore loves loveliness. No misshapen gluten-free cookies make their way onto your buffet table—everything must be perfect. Oh, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you make them yourself; many Libras are so laid-back as to be underachievers. If your baking skills don’t hold up, rather than try, try again, you’d probably walk, walk to the door of that local GF bakery that makes the most beautiful cupcakes, with piped-on frosting blossoms. So they cost $6 each? Ah, well, what’s a little extravagance in the pursuit of happiness?

According to my astrology bible, Libras love to spruce up their homes with tasteful luxury. Now, I happen live with a GF Libra, and while she doesn’t precisely display this characteristic, she was the one who had the idea to buy glass canisters and fill them with certified gluten-free grains and beans as a display piece.

shelf with canisters of gluten-free grains and cookbooks displayed

Totally the work of a GF Libra.

And, although we’ve lived in our apartment for nearly three months now without putting up our art, she is rather more bothered than I am by it. For the slight discrepancy, we might blame her lazy Libran nature, or perhaps her nurture: our Taurean father’s practical housekeeping and Scorpio mother’s conservative fiscal habits probably tamped down her inherent frivolousness.

Perhaps, internally, she does waffle between frivolity and sensibility. If so, she wouldn’t be alone, for many GF Libras struggle with trying to be all things to all people and therefore feel as though they’re never quite themselves, never wholly real. Often, they sense that something vitally important is missing from their lives. It’s probably gluten.

The GF Libra is associated with the kidneys, and several studies have indicated a connection between celiac and renal disease. Although these studies have failed to disclose the astrological signs of the surveyed subjects, I think we can safely surmise that many of them were born between September 23rd and October 22nd.

You know who was definitely born in that range? These GF Libra celebrities. Oh, and there are plenty. Check them out:

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow, born September 27th, 1972, typifies her sign’s natural loveliness: she was named People‘s “Most Beautiful Woman” in April, and she’s in the public eye for several different philanthropic and awareness-raising campaigns. However, she’s unnaturally polarizing to the GF community. Though she’s certainly out there talking about her gluten-free diet, nobody’s sure she’s talking about it quite right. But her nonchalant book title, personal motto, and retort to our accusations that she distorts the diet’s purpose couldn’t be much more Libran: “It’s all good.” Sure, Gwyneth. Sure it is.
Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian, born October 21, 1980, is another GF Libra who goes 100 percent against my earlier statement about Libras being the most welcome gluten-free advocates (but don’t worry, everything else I said is true). As of this tweet in 2012, she was all about the gluten-free diet, and went on record about the great weight loss she achieved from it. The community, judging from such comments as those at Gluten Dude’s site, was not thrilled. Our wonderful journalists over at the Examiner later kept us up to date when she cheated with some ramen. Goodness. It really is tough to keep up with her.

Are you a GF Libra who really does present gluten-free life in a balanced, truthful way, or do you know of another one? Let me know in the comments if so!

As always, the “information,” such as it is, in this post has been largely ripped off from The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need, by Joanna Martine Woolfolk, which is in fact the only astrology book you’ll ever need (need here being a relative term).

See also: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo

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SISTER (CELI)ACT: two sisters, one diagnosis, zero gluten

This is the first of three guest posts by my sister Althea. (At least, she thinks it will only be three posts…) Enjoy!

Faithful followers of Based on a Sprue Story may remember me as the benevolent sister who agreed to forgo all glutenous foodstuffs (as well as anything that may have ever come into contact with a glutenous foodstuff) in her own home, out of respect for Molly’s dietary needs (and neuroses). What a thoughtful, altruistic sister, you likely thought. That’s what I thought, too, when we first made plans to get an apartment together.

There must be an Udi’s version of this by now, right?
Photo © Tamara Evans | Flickr

Just days before boarding the trusty old Lucky Star (may she rest in peace), however, I learned that I also have celiac. But there’s a twist. (No, not one of those donut twists, or the twist in your stomach, dear reader, at the mere thought of one of those donut twists—just a twist in the story.)

The twist is, I did not suffer for years from mysterious symptoms before getting this diagnosis. Sure, I had had some mild GI trouble from time to time over the past year or so, but everyone gets constipated once in a while, right? I was probably just eating too fast. Or drinking too much coffee. Not enough coffee? (Do yourself a favor and click on that last link—but only after you’ve finished reading this post.)

Me chopping parsley (a naturally gluten-free food) in preparation for our housewarming party (details to come).

In fact, I bet I would have ignored the issue entirely if I didn’t have such a good little awareness-raiser for a sister. Said sister urged me to get tested for the sprue (which, as my case illustrates, all  immediate relatives of a celiac should do, regardless of symptoms). I asked my school’s health center to do it, but the nurse practitioner there said it wasn’t worth it; “It’s not like you’re running to the bathroom every time you eat a sandwich,” she said. (Well, no, but that’s not really how it works, so… but, okay.)

In the end, I got the blood test when I was home briefly after graduation, and my antibody levels were off the charts. I haven’t had a biopsy yet, but a recent paper concluded that blood test results are strong enough evidence of celiac that a biopsy isn’t necessary.

So, apparently, I have celiac disease just as much as Molly does, which means I need to eliminate gluten from my diet just as completely as she does. Or do I?

In my next post, I’ll delve into the questions that get asked of someone who only sort of has a disease that confounds people enough as it is. Stay tuned!

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