Lately things haven’t been going well with my “operating system”, which is a polite way of saying I’ve been having gut issues. The doctor told me flat out to avoid gluten.
The first thing I did after hearing this was to take a look at what I eat. I’m one of those weird people who love to eat dry cereal as a snack. My two favorites are Rice Crispies and Cheerios. I thought I was safe with those – a rice cereal and an oat cereal. But on a hunch, I googled both of them to see if they contained gluten.
What an eye opener. Both cereals have gluten in them!
I was stunned. Gluten in a rice cereal? How could this be? But, barley malt is an ingredient in Rice Crispies. And what about my Cheerios? They contain wheat starch. It turns out nothing is safe, even Frosted Flakes contain gluten, Tony the Tiger, say it isn’t so!
I started to panic. If these two food that I thought were “safe” contain gluten, where else is gluten hiding?
If you’re trying to avoid gluten, these are some food that seem safe, but aren’t:
-multi-grain or “artisan” tortilla chips or tortillas
-cheescake filling (may contain wheat flour)
-eggs served at restaurants (some restaurants put pancake batter in scrambled eggs and omelets)
-salad dressings and marinades (could contain malt vinegar or flour)
-soup (cream based soups are often thickened with flour)
-french fries (batter may contain wheat flour)
-gum (some companies use flour to coat the gum so it doesn’t stick to the wrapper)
-mustard (some contain wheat flour)
-instant coffee (gluten is used as a bulking ingredient)
-pickles (some are made with malt vinegar)
-flavored potato chips (wheat flour is used to distribute the flavor on the chips)
-anything with carmel color (it’s usually made from corn, but sometimes it’s made from malt syrup)
Reading labels is a must when looking for gluten at the grocery store. Obviously you’ll look for words like barley, brewer’s yeast, rye and wheat. But gluten also goes by aliases like malt (made from barley) and hydrolyzed vegetable protein.
Keep in mind that when a product is labeled “Gluten-Free” that may not mean it’s 100% gluten-free. There may still be traces of gluten in it. As long as those traces are very small, it can be labeled “Gluten-Free.” Remember gluten is gluten. Wheat-free doesn’t mean gluten-free. Gluten is also found in rye and barley.
Eating a gluten-free diet takes a little time, but once you know what to look for, it’s a easy as making a sandwich with lettuce instead of bread. Now that’s gluten-free!