Gluten can be sneaky!

  1. Cross Contamination – Cross contamination is a problem that can plague even the most experienced Celiac. Depending on your level of sensitivity, cross contamination can happen even when using a clean surface and clean utensils. Porous surfaces such as wooden cutting boards or cast iron pans should not be trusted; always make sure to keep these items strictly gluten free.
  2. Condiments – Condiments can often be treacherous to the gluten free. Glutinous crumbs are easily transferred by utensils when spreading condiments.
  3. Wheat Free Doesn’t Mean Gluten Free – Gluten is a protein found in wheat and like grains, such as rye and barley. A food product may be “wheat free” but contains gluten from barley, rye, or semolina(made from durum wheat).
  4. Alcohol – Traditionally, beer is made from malted barley or malted wheat; however, gluten free beer does exist. Most wines are gluten free, as is corn, potato, or grape-based vodka (be aware that many high-end vodkas are distilled from wheat) and rum, as well as tequila. Scotch is made from barley and by definition, whiskey (or whisky, in Scotland) is a spirit distilled from fermented grain mash — grain varieties include wheat, rye, barley, and corn. Although the verdict is still out, most Celiac experts agree that distilled alcoholic beverages are gluten free, as the distillation process removes the gluten proteins.
  5. Candy – As hard as it is to resist, eating that piece of sugary goodness may be a one way ticket to Symptom City. Most commercial candy companies are not up with the times on gluten-free production space, however, many (including Hershey’s, Mars, and Nestle) mark all allergens, as well as any shared equipment or facilities. Additionally, many candies are created using a wheat product as a binder, such as licorices (who knew licorice contained wheat?!).
  6. Deli Meats – Because meat is regulated by the USDA ( US Department of Agriculture) and not the FDA (Food and Drug Association), meat is not required to follow FDA allergen or gluten-free labeling laws. Plain meats are gluten free, but processed meats can contain other ingredients; you could be buying glutinous meats and have no idea!
  7. Meat Substitutes – Many vegan meat substitutes depend on gluten to create “wheat meat” to make their veggie burgers or chik’n tenders. Tofu, tempeh, and textured vegetable protein all make for great meat substitutes and are gluten free!
  8. Anything with Malt – Malt is barley or another grain that has been steeped, germinated, and dried. It is often used for brewing and is a common additive in many foods, generally labeled as: malted barley flour, malted milk, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, or  malt vinegar.
  9. Prepackaged Rice Dinners – Rice often saves the day for the gluten intolerant! Rice is easy to make, versatile, filling, and naturally gluten free. However, you will often run into trouble with prepackaged rice dinners; many of them are a pasta or vermicelli mix, and they often contain wheat additives.
  10. Oats – Yes, oats are naturally gluten free and safe for Celiacs. The problem with eating oats is the gluten contamination. Most commercial oats are processed in facilities that also process wheat, barley and rye.  Look for oats labeled GF or gluten free.