One of the hardest and most frustrating parts about having Celiac Disease and being GlutenFree is continuing to get glutened after the fact.
The first 6 months to a year were by far the hardest. I made mistake after mistake eating things I assumed were gluten-free but weren’t like: soy sauce, licorice, french fries or my Bloody Mary mix.
I wasn’t tediously reading every label, ALL the time or asking enough of the right questions. It seemed no matter how much I educated myself on the do’s & don’ts, the effects of cross contamination, read all the labels, I was still getting sick.
Restaurant glutening and CROSS CONTAMINATION is a huge problem, especially with items that say GF. The actual ingredients they use might not have gluten but where its prepared, the pans they cook it on or the utensils used, may. Here’s a few food examples of what to look out for:
- sauces/dressings (wheat is used as thickening
- fake cheese
- some vegan or vegetarian items
- iced tea may contain barley
- sausages/meatballs (wheat is used as binder)
- a ‘roll their eyes’ type of waiter who might not
take you seriously
Misc. Products that may contain wheat:
- multi vitamin
- aspirin coating/medications
- cough syrup/cough drops
- lip balm or lipstick
- pet food
- products that say gluten free but made in wheat facility
and/or using shared equipment
- candy (ie: mentos and licorice)
If sharing a kitchen with a gluten person then you need to take extra precaution with:
- pots n pans
- shared plates,
- cutting board
- counter crumbs
- shared food like: peanut butter and jelly, butter, cream cheese, etc…
I suggest getting gluten-free labels for your home so it is easier for everyone to distinguish what is what. Here is a great list of 30 places gluten hides by GlutenFreeLabels.com:
There is ‘hidden wheat’ everywhere and I mean everywhere, plus all the different names wheat can be called by:
- Triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye)
- Duram (durum)
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Rusk(a fancy way of saying bread crumbs)
Here are catch phrases to look for and use caution with:
- Binder or binding
- Gum base
- Modified food starch
- Modified starch
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Edible starch
- Thickener or thickening
- Carmel Color
- Natural Flavors
*Please contact the producer/processor/manufacturer if you have any questions
Here’s a pretty extensive list of ingredients that my contain gluten.
Be cautious, be smart and leery with taking chances and rolling the dice with something you are unsure of. There is a great phone app I use called, Fooducate, it’s brilliant. I can scan the bar codes on items while shopping and it will tell exactly what ingredients are contained. It scans for gluten as well as many other allergens.
“Celiac Disease is NOT an unhealthy response to healthy food but a healthy response to unhealthy food”
My mantra is: Always Read Labels. If you can’t read labels, then ask questions. If you don’t get the answer that you are looking for, then DON’T EAT IT!
I won’t lie and say it is not frustrating because it is. Everywhere I turn I have to worry about eating the wrong thing or relying on people who have little or no true knowledge of what gluten-free means and the serious consequences being glutened can cause.
It’s hard dealing with family members or friends that don’t take you seriously. Skipping meals because there is nothing you can eat and you didn’t pack your own snacks. Still feeling sick and not being able to figure out the source(s) that glutened you. And then of course there’s the sheer overwhelming magnitude of it all that can make you feel alone, misunderstood or depressed.
It does get easier and there is so much support out there through Celiac Foundations, Twitter, Facebook… I have to say I am pretty proud of our community coming together and the support, knowledge and education provided. All you have to do is reach out and someone will be there to take your hand, helping to guide you through.