I know for a fact that one of the most difficult things to do when you are gluten free is knowing what ingredients contain gluten…
“Is it gluten free?”
It sounds like an easy question when it rings in your head but you know as well as I do that the right answer involves much more than a simple browse at the label…
Finding “wheat” or “gluten” on a label is simple but what happens when “Acacia Gum”, “food flavoring” or other additives you don’t recognize appears on the food product you are looking to buy?
How the heck are you supposed to know if this ingredients have gluten or not?
When I found out I was celiac 10 years ago… things were very different in the supermarket. You didn’t have the wide variety of gluten free products that are available now – whether or not they are healthy is another issue that we will discuss later, but for better or worse the options are there –
How do you answer the famous “is it gluten free” question asked thousands of times a day in a fast autopilot easy way?
It is a masterful art to walk confidently in the supermarket grab a product, scan it for ingredients and answer “Is it gluten free” Q&A in a couple of seconds…Believe me when I say that not many people can do it.
If you are in the supermarket and you find someone looking puzzled at a label for more than 30 seconds. You’ve guess it, they are probably trying to figure out if that product has any hidden sources of gluten.
If you stick to a diet of ONLY fresh meats, fruit and veggies… you know 100% that they are all naturally gluten free but quite frankly we all know that’s not an easy task. Most likely when grocery shopping you will find some sort of processed foods in your shopping cart.
Some of them come with complicated labels that makes shopping difficult and time consuming because let’s face it, knowing every gluten ingredient out there is an almost impossible task…
You have no idea how many time I wished I had a Sherlock Holmes memory to read all the tedious long list of ingredients ONCE and use my supersized memory skills – not to solve tedious crimes – but just to shop faster & healthier!
Wouldn’t that be awesome?
But if like me, genetics didn’t give you an “elephant memory” but a relatively normal human one, then what are your real options?
You could be a crazy google supermarket person who sets camp in every product aisle until google answers ONE BY ONE if your ingredients have gluten. There are many disadvantages to this scenario…
First, you can’t be sure the information you are getting is true, because let’s face it the internet could be DEAD WRONG. There’s lots of contradicting information out there and you could be putting your health at risk by following a quick answer on a misinformed website.
Second you’ll surely miss hours of your life you could be enjoying with your family or finishing that work report due tomorrow…
Last but not least if it’s Saturday and you’re at Costco you are in the way of “rush hour shoppers” and at risk of a serious supermarket cart “hit & run” from a crazy old lady that doesn’t have the patience to wait for your gluten research.
Or you can avoid all this and find a practical solution! What would you rather do?
I’m sure you want the practical way! And today it’s your lucky day my friend as I’m spilling the beans and sharing with you some simple strategies you MUST know to save time & make your life easier!
The Golden Rule: Every time you purchase a product, understand the labels.
Did you know that foods labelled ‘gluten free’ might not actually be 100% gluten free? If you have a severe case of gluten intolerance this information could save your life!
Becoming a master of ingredient labels is one of the keys of a successful gluten free lifestyle. But to become a master one needs to be a either a serious student or a very resourceful individually!
I’m betting that like me you’ll rather be the second one…not many of us have much spare time in their hands.
Don’t worry I’ve done the work for you…
Let’s start with the big picture – gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and other cereal grains within the grass family – easy breezy then… let’s start by always avoiding these grains! But did you know that there are over 187 gluten free grains & flours options out there for you to try?
Hidden Sources of Gluten in Your Favorite Food Products
Gluten is mainly used in baking and cooking because of its binding quality and it’s many times combined in packaged, prepared and canned foods. This is why the plot thickens…
Products like bread, cakes, crackers, cereals, pasta, pizza, candy, instant coffee, thickeners, soy sauce, meat substitutes, marinades, monosodium glutamate, processed meats, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, ketchup and most commercial sauces and soups usually contain gluten.
And this is only a tiny list – a small grain of sand on a beautiful long sandy beach…
Now, what about products that say “May contain traces of wheat”? Is that just a warning? Or I should avoid it at all costs? And what about the ones that don’t have a warning? Are they safe?
Here’s My Top 5 Label Facts You Must Know:
- “Gluten Free” labeled products must comply with a standard of 20 parts per million of gluten or less. This means that they are not actually 100% “Gluten Free”. Some people with severe sensitivities still get sick with the smallest traces of gluten in their food.
- Testing of gluten-free ingredients for cross-contamination is not required by the US laws of labeling. This means some products without gluten ingredients may still NOT be SAFE to consume.
- The labeling law for allergens does not cover oats, barley and rye. Oats are highly expected to be cross-contaminated if they are not particularly certified gluten-free.
- “Made on equipment that also processes wheat”, “May contain wheat” or “Made in a facility that also processes wheat” are declarations in labels that are voluntary. For legal protection, some companies use them broadly to alert allergic consumers concerning the real risk in food processing.
- Another label prone to confusion is the “Wheat-Free” label. As you may know by now, gluten is a protein that you can find in many grains – not only wheat so they may still have barley, spelt or rye-based ingredients which are not free of gluten – This means wheat free products are not certainly gluten-free products.
Hope this tips help you keep your eyes open for gluten!