I get a lot of questions on gluten-free living so I thought I would add in a segment to post on the diet itself and to familiarize those who are interested. I am breaking it into parts since it is a lot of information. Today’s post (Part 1) is focused on a few things I didn’t know contained gluten when I started. I mentioned this before, but back in the day when I started on my journey of the gluten-free diet, it was a diet barely anyone did so there was such a lack of information. If you are starting now, you are lucky!
Often, when I speak to people about gluten-free living, I get the vibe that cutting out gluten seems intimidating, hard and/or impossible. Honestly, it is soooo simple. For me, it goes back to the concept of mindful eating and that awareness of what you are fueling your body with before you begin to consume.
I by all means don’t think this is for everyone as it depends on the person. I’ve received a few questions about eliminating gluten for various autoimmune disorders and research continues to link autoimmune diseases to gluten sensitivity. I believe, in most of these cases, while consuming gluten you are exacerbating it. While in this post I don’t want to get too much into the science behind it, I want to share a few foods that contain gluten that I never knew about.
To me, there is no such thing as “trying” the gluten-free diet. If you eat foods with the gluten protein in them, this will be in your system for a while. If you are looking to really see if the gluten-free diet would really benefit you, then you need to truly eliminate it. I learned the hard way with this one and still to this day come in contact with this issue as there is sometimes cross-contamination at restaurants so I have to be very careful.
I know I mentioned this in my post about going gluten-free a while back but one thing I DIDNT know when I started was that soy sauce contained gluten. Essentially, I gave up the bread and was like, “oh I will just have sushi!” with delicious rice! (Rice is gluten-free.) It didn’t seem that hard… I am a sushi addict over here! I didn’t realize that soy sauce contains wheat so it is definitely not something you can have.
The solution? Tamari Soy Sauce. I have found recently that most restaurants now have tamari but just in case, I buy these packets and BYO.
2. Rye / Barley
Most people find grains an awesome way to improve their health. Choosing grains when eliminating gluten is a little tricky but easily fixed. If you are wondering about a grain, you really should check into it before eating. To name a few things that are not gluten-free: rye, couscous, durum, faro, matzo, semolina, spelt, barley, bulgur. A few gluten-free grains are: arrowroot, buckwheat, cassava, millet, quinoa, rice and soy. One of my friends from Ecuador makes the most delicious bread-like items with cassava flour and it is on my list to do some baking with it. I literally would never know it is gluten-free!
This one goes under the grains category but I think it deserves its own number. I learned the hard way that oatmeal is not gluten-free labeled. I usually buy the Trader Joe’s brand or Bob’s Red Mill but for those of you who like Quaker, I recently saw that they have a gluten-free oatmeal now!
If it’s a canned soup, make sure it is labeled gluten-free!! If not, there is probably gluten in it. In broth soups there is often gluten in the broth and in creamy soups there are often thickening agents that contain gluten. Beware! I make my own soups and one thing to be aware of is chicken broth. Make sure it is labeled gluten-free. The solution for me has been Trader Joe’s Organic free range chicken broth and also Swanson Chicken broth – the low sodium version! It’s a pretty easy change as long as you read the label!
5. Hot dogs / Cold cuts
Gluten has made its way into meat options. Many lunch meats have hidden gluten in them as it is a processing agent. Be sure to look at the label and make sure it says gluten-free. Cross-contamination in this area is HUGE at the deli counter. It is best to go for cold cuts that are packaged and labeled. As for hot dogs, I usually go with Applegate Farms. They have turkey or beef hot dogs that are 100% meat and are all natural. BESIDES the gluten – still go with Applegate Farms when buying hot dogs. The other processed stuff is …eeekkk!
I don’t think this is a surprising one for many but I just want to say that we have come far with gluten-free beer in recent years. The most common beer brands are NOT gluten-free. I am not a beer drinker so I am not that familiar but I was making corned beef the other day and realized that the recipe I used in prior years contained beer! As upset as I was, I made a phone call to a local store and found out that there are multiple brands of gluten-free beer in MANY different varieties!
That’s all I have for today. Part 2 is coming which will include printable food lists making it very simple!!
Enjoy your Thursday!!