Are you new to the diet, confused and overwhelmed?
Maybe you have been on it awhile and you don’t understand why you are still getting sick?
Here are a few simple ways to keep an eye out for hidden gluten:
It must say gluten free. It has to do with how it’s grown. Basically, farmers rotate crops to keep the ground conditioned for optimum growth. This means that one year of wheat, another year of oats, results in wheat being harvested in oats. Many tests have been run on leading oat brands and determined that the contamination was so high you might as well be eating a bowl of wheat bran. My favorite is Trader Joe’s gluten free oats. They are the best value I have found on the market.
#2. Imitation crab meat
Not only is it imitation, making it essentially equal to the plastic stuff used in the display cases, but it’s full of food dyes. Oh, and did I mention that it’s created from wheat? Check the label. You will see what I mean. Either it’s real crab or it’s not safe.
#3. Vanilla extract
I have watched the food network and according to Alton brown and his infinite food wisdom, I have learned that vanilla is made from a vanilla bean being placed in a jar with vodka and distilled. If the vodka has gluten in it, which most do, you have a bottle of gluten filled vanilla extract. If the bottle doesn’t specify gluten free, assume it’s not. I use Kirkland brand. It is labeled gluten free and a great value.
#4. Soy Sauce
I know, you thought it was made from soy, right? Wrong. It’s actually made from wheat. Unless you buy La Choy, Tamari based (gluten free) soy or Liquid aminos. Bragg’s aminos are in my fridge now. They taste amazing and I love the quality of the companies products.
#5. Licorice Candy
Anyone think that candy must be safe? Well, actually, flour is added in the baking process to most recipes, although the root itself is a legume. Put down the Twizzlers and watch for the “healthy alternatives” to main stream candy as well. The process is the same. The only brand I have found to be free from gluten is from Lovey Candy Co.
Don’t get excited, it’s not all cheese by any means. Check the package on shredded brands for flour that is used (as a non caking agent). Also, some bleu cheese may be produced with the aid of flour. I’m not a fan of bleu cheese so this hasn’t been an issue for me.
#7. Packaged meats
Lunch meat, hot dogs, sausages, hams and turkeys can be infused with gluten containing substances (usually present in the broths they are made in). The safest meats will label gluten free on the package. Boars head is my personal favorite.
BBQ sauce, teriyaki, salad dressings, asian sauces, gravy, dips… you name it. I have encountered wheat, rye and barley in all of the above. Be especially careful in restaurants as they tend to buy the least expensive options, due to the quantity they go through. It may be boring but much safer to have any sauce left off.
Just because it is a “corn” “rice”, or “potato” cereal does not mean that it doesn’t contain multi grains. There are a few brands, like Chex that carry gluten free options but always double check the label. And remember that malt is made from Barley, so if your cereal has rice and malt, it’s NOT gluten free.
This is one of the most agonizing for me. I love a good bowl of hot soup in the winter and cans, boxes, catering and restaurants love to thicken their soups with flour. Anyone ever heard of corn starch? Seriously. It’s rare that I can have a soup. A few safe ones I have found are Chili’s baked potato, Jason’s deli’s veggie chili and tomato and Zoup has several daily choices that are clearly labeled with gluten free tags.
Unfortunately, there are loads of places that gluten lurks, including “Modified Food Starch” because it can be made from corn or wheat. Keep stead fast, be diligent. It is worth the effort to rid your body of the pollutants and help you feel better.
-Your Gluten Free Sister.