Our Gluten Free Story

Big River Grains, Our story… It’s Personal

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DSC_282537It’s one thing to sell a gluten free product.  It is another thing to truly understand the importance of exclusively gluten free.

With us, it’s personal.  Being totally clueless about gluten intolerance, I watched our oldest daughter suffer with symptoms that eventually resulted in the removal of her entire colon at age 19.   Following that, she was then diagnosed with sarcoidosis, the cause of which we were told was “really unknown, but would need to be treated by chemotherapy!”

Majoring in nutrition at the time, our daughter had recently attended a lecture on gluten intolerance.  Things from the lecture hit a chord, leading her to think her problems may be a result of gluten intolerance. She was tested. Not only did her test come back positive for gluten intolerance, but it also determined that the gene was passed to her from both my wife and self. Further, our younger daughter had also started exhibiting some of the same symptoms.

Thus began our journey with gluten free living and a true journey it has been.  Restocking of the pantry was an obvious step.  In our naïveté, we figured just replace wheat flour with gluten free flours and it would be done.

The real education came in understanding the dangers of cross-contamination. It was quite the leaning curve to fully grasp the importance of replacing appliances that may have gluten crumbs in them, bread boards that had been used for years rolling wheat dough and making sure that the container of peanut butter, mayonnaise or mustard had not been contaminated by someone using the same condiment on their wheat bread.  (View more tips to help avoid gluten cross contamination in the kitchen)

The journey continued with the birth of Big River Grains. The path to producing gluten free grains completely free of cross contamination has not been easy. The main hurdle has been that the majority of the population simply doesn’t understand gluten intolerance. They don’t understand how crucial it is to keep gluten contaminated products and equipment separate from our crops. To go from planting a seed to the finished product while keeping gluten away is a very demanding process. The potential for contamination of the grain is insidious: in the field, at harvest, during cleaning, storage, milling or packaging.

Again, it’s personal, we understand the importance.  That is why, from the very inception of Big River Grains, systems have been implemented to keep our grains free from cross contamination.  Our company’s number one priority is to make sure those grains are 100% gluten free.

As I explained before, my experience with gluten intolerance is firsthand. I only sell grains that I would feel comfortable feeding to the loved ones in my life. If it isn’t safe for my family, then it isn’t safe for my customers. It’s just personal!