So, a lot of people are on this gluten free trend and it’s great if it’s to stay away from bread; but let me start off by saying that if you are just swapping regular bread for gf bread, you are making a mistake. Unless you need to be gf, it is healthier to stick to whole grains.
For those of us that need to be gf, let’s talk sources.
I have now been gf for about 3 years and at first I was super overwhelmed by it. My doctor said even a slight contamination could stay in my system for 6 months, causing inflammation. So that meant that ‘just a bite’ was out of the question. With a gf diet, it’s an all or nothing change.
Most people have picked up that gluten is found in flour and bread products… But there are many many other places gluten could be lurking! BUT WAIT!!! Don’t panic… I know how limiting it seems to give up all bread and flour and then for me to ask more of you…. Gasp!
There is a simple rule of thumb to get you through this… The less processed, i.e. more natural, the food is, the more likely you can eat it!
You see gluten isn’t quite what you think… In a nutshell, it’s an additive that is causing problems… So here’s the real kicker… If you went and picked wheat (pending you don’t have a wheat allergy too) and ground it into flour and then made bread all by hand, the way bread was originally made, you could eat it without problem! … Crazy right! But unless you can guarantee the process is completely additive free, I wouldn’t recommend taking the risk.
Before we get started, a quick note, asking an employee to check the ingredients is not enough… Many times they come back and say the box doesn’t say gluten… Well no it wouldn’t say that… SO HAVE THEM BRING THE INGREDIENT LIST TO YOU SO YOU CAN CHECK IT YOURSELF!
Anyway, so now for the hidden sources of gluten:
-spices- as a general rule, keep them simple… Mixed seasonings such as season all and fajita seasoning tend to have gluten. Stick with salt, pepper, and garlic to be safe in restaurants. ALSO BE SURE TO CHECK ANY PRE-SEASONED MEATS!
-rubs- the same holds true for meat rubs
-cheap meats – sometimes will use gluten as a filler or seasoning. Pay special attention to sausage, bacon, and lunch meat as they are highly processed.
-sauces- flour can often be used to thicken or sometimes MSG is added… So watch out for barbecue sauces, soy sauce, dipping or mixing sauces or Alfredo and pasta sauces.
-dressings- same as above so watch out for white dressings such as Ranch or Ceasar. Sometimes vinaigrettes have them too so always check! The safest bet is usually honey mustard or oil and vinegar.
-soups- flour is often used as a thickener… Stick to soups with a broth base over a cream base.
-fried food- steer clear… This means they used flour (except French fries if they are in a separate fryer).
-browned meats – means they covered it in flour
-cereal- often times the sweetener used on top can have gluten… As seen in frosted flakes.
-crackers, cookies, and other snacks- be careful, unless it is a rice, nut, or corn base steer clear.
-chips- flavors tend to be a problem… The cheese on doritoes, the MSG in sour cream and onion, etc.
-dips- stick your salsa or guacamole
-ice cream- obviously in one’s that have cookie or cake ingredients. Less obvious in low fat or low sugar choices… These replace the sugar or fat with fillers which tend to include gluten.
-cheese- some cheeses such as the nacho cheese on chips at a game are full of artificial nastiness including gluten.
-candy-anything with a wafer or cookie is off limits.
-IHOP’s eggs- they add pancake mix to it!
Alright, now that I have successfully terrified you; take a breath, there are plenty of gluten free things to safely eat. Check out my recipes and my pantry staples to help get you started!
The other big one I get often is they forget to take croutons off the salad, and when I send it back, the croutons have just been picked off… This is still cross contamination and should not be eaten.