Avoiding hidden gluten? Avoiding gluten in bread is easy, but you need help to find the rest of it. Is it hiding in your pet’s food for example?
Whether you’re Celiac, gluten-sensitive, or eating Ancestral or Paleo, finding hidden exposure to gluten can be life-changing. It was for me – breathing a tiny bit of oat dust in my pony’s feed was enough to keep my Celiac antibodies elevated.
Perhaps even more important? The impact your gluten can have on others. Help enlighten friends and family with this article. Listen to my Primal Diet – Modern Health Podcast on this topic with the player above.
Guidelines for Avoiding Hidden Gluten at Home or Play
Things change quickly in gluten free search engines. Find the most recent articles and Apps. Gluten Free Resource Directory, Celiac.com and Celiac.org may have current info. This article has a list of 10 gluten-free Food Apps to use when shopping or eating out.
Hidden Gluten at Home
1). Malt Vinegar, Salad Dressings and Mustard
Malt vinegar is made from barley (a gluten grain) and is often not distilled like other vinegars. Apple cider, rice or white vinegar are safe. Avoid any product with malt. Always get the latest info on a product. Malted Vinegar is generally not used for pickles and other veggies but is commonly used on Sushi Rice (see below). Check labels on dressings and mustard. Wheat starch may be added as a thickener. This article has tips on Mustard. They may have vinegar distilled from wheat, or have gluten in the flavoring or texturizing.
2). Soy Sauce and Miso
Most Soy Sauce is made from wheat and soy. Gluten Free Tamari like this one is fine. Avoid barley-based Miso.
Coffee beans have no gluten, but “creamers”, flavorings and mixes in coffee shop drinks may have it. Instant coffee may have hidden gluten and is specifically listed as a Gluten Cross-Reactive food on Cyrex Labs Test Array 4.
4). Prepared Meats, Canned Soups and Beans
Check labels on deli meat, sausage and any processed meat. Rotisserie chicken may be coated with flour to help seasonings stick. Ask if the label is not clear. Whole Foods does not label their Rotisserie Chicken as GF as the kitchen is not dedicated gluten-free.
Check canned goods for a label that states Gluten Free
5). Potato & Vegetable Chips
Potato and other root vegetable chips can have flour based seasonings and coatings. Check those labels! Here’s a 2017 list of gluten free potato chips.
6). Pet Food
Any cat or dog kibble, bird seed, horse feed or fish flakes may have wheat or oats. The dust from handling kibble is easy to breathe, or it can get on hands and transfer to the mouth. My cats get Primal Freeze-Dried raw food (here on Amazon). It has 27 servings per bag, so the $30 price tag is not as bad as it seems.
7). Cookware and Appliances
If your kitchen is not dedicated gluten-free, your strainers, cutting boards, cookware, grill and more can be contaminated. Buy a new toaster if previously used for regular bread.
8). Hair and Skin Care
I’ve tossed many bottles of shampoo, moisturizer and makeup over the years. Discard ALL your makeup and start clean with gluten free makeup. Hair dye is often suspect. This article has much more on toxins and gluten in hair care.
I had a client once with Colon Cancer (a sure bet for underlying Celiac Disease). We reduced his extreme diarrhea quickly by removing grains, dairy and fibrous foods, but it was changing one of his meds that finally did the trick. Here’s one place to check medications for gluten. The two big Celiac websites at the top of this article have info, as well as www.glutenfreedrugs.com.
Avoiding Hidden Gluten at Play
All beer has gluten except gluten-free beers which don’t taste all that great. Wine, rum, tequila and potato vodka are safe.
If your partner had pizza, beer or other gluten foods, you need to wait a few hours before intimate contact. Watch for crumbs in the beard and unsafe lipstick or cosmetics. Vigorous brushing, flossing and rinsing helps but best to let your partner know what’s at stake.
3). Play Dough, Paper Mache and Fingerpaints
Make your own or find safe brands on the web.
4). Sushi and Fish N’ Chips
See #1 above for info on Malt Vinegar commonly used on Sushi Rice and Fish N Chips.
5). Restaurant Food
When I eat out (not very often) I pick my restaurant carefully and always talk to the Manager before ordering. A gluten free menu does not guarantee the food is not contaminated by the grill, tongs, stray croutons, etc. Marinated food has a higher chance of having soy sauce or seasoning mixes with flour. Imitation Crab Meat has gluten. Butter sauce is made from butter and flour. Cornbread is made with wheat. Seitan is pure gluten and is found in many Vegan and Vegetarian Entrees. I order fish sautéed in a clean pan with olive oil, lemon juice and capers, plain steamed veggies on the side. Works for me!
6). Church and Temple
Communion wafers and Matzo Balls are made from wheat. Are you drinking wine from the same cup others used after eating a wafer?
I know from experience that carefully avoiding gluten may not be enough. You have to dig deep to find the hidden sources. If you’re Celiac, even tiny amounts of gluten dust or lipstick can be enough to keep you sick even though you’re 100% sure your food is safe.