For those who might not have seen my posts on the subject, I suffer from gluten intolerance. I cannot, without a doubt, say that I have Celiacs, as I did not do the biopsy. In either case, the symptoms and the treatment are the same. AVOID GLUTEN.
One of the most common complaints of the newly diagnosed Celiac patient or gluten intolerant individual is that it is exceedingly difficult to be certain all sources of gluten have been eliminated and that shopping is a pain. Depending on where you live, sources for gluten free food can be minimal and pricey. Instead of buying that box of ramen for five bucks, one spends thirty on fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat. One can’t really argue that the ramen is better for you though. Most of the gluten free nutrition information sites stress avoiding processed foods. That$6.00 box of gluten free cookies is no healthier than gobbling a fistful of Oreos.
Over time it gets easier to shop once you know what brands to buy. No matter what, always take a quick glance at the ingredients to ensure they have not changed. Most of the times that I got glutenated on accident with food that I fixed it was because I did not carefully read the label. Also, depending on one’s tolerance level, cross-contamination can be a huge problem and drive that grocery bill even higher.
One would thing that cutting out bread, pasta and baked goods would take care of gluten. If only.
10 Not so obvious pitfalls (all of which I learned the hard way):
- Dry roasted nuts.- Some brands dusted with starch or flour
- Flash frozen salmon- coated with food starch
- ANY Oats not certified gluten free– Often cross-contamination during processing is the problem, but cross-pollination can also be the culprit. Barley, one of the gluten grains, belongs to the oat family. Barley and oats if grown in vicinity of each other can cross pollinate, resulting in oats which express the barley gluten. Oats do have a type of gluten naturally and it varies from person to person whether or not they can be tolerated.
- Aunt Jamima Corn Meal, and any other “regular” brand- The only ingredient listed is cornmeal, but internet searches pull up complaints of cross contamination. Most of their products contain wheat, which likely means the meal is processed in the same facility and perhaps even on the same equipment. Depending on one’s sensitivity, this is something of which to be cognizant.
- Anything with “natural flavorings”- That term can cover about anything under the sun and until new FDA guidelines pass, avoid foods with this label unless it otherwise states that it is gluten free.
- Pork– Nearly all pork is injected with preservatives and whatnot. Read the label, as there is gluten free pork, but again, avoid any with “natural flavorings”. Another factor to be aware of is that pork is high in arachadonic acid, which can aggravate inflamed intestines.
- Store prepped rotisserie chickens. Some have flour mixed with the spice mix that is basted onto the bird.
- Seasoning mixes, soy sauce, and bouillon.- They toss in that “natural flavorings” and sometimes even list wheat as an anti-caking agent. Stick with individual herbs and spices or GF labeled brands. Some bouillon mixes label wheat, others don’t, but further research reveals them to contain wheat. Stick with brands that label their bouillon and broths as gluten free. Some brands of soy sauce only list soy, failing to mention that the alcohol used to ferment is sourced from wheat. Only true Tamari or special gluten free labeled brands are safe.
- Store prepped deli products- I’d never put flour in my potato salad, but I picked up every type at a deli one time, read the labels, and they all contained wheat. Never assume that because your homemade recipe doesn’t call for it that store made stuff is safe.
- Frozen Seasoned veggies or meats- Beware, as natural flavorings abound and the things that wheat or food starch go into can be deceiving. Stick with plain and season it yourself.