Part 1 – Gluten-free – 6 Surprising Foods that Contain Gluten

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.

1.Soy Sauce

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!

3. Oatmeal

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!


4. Soups

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!

edited hot dogs

6. Beer

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!!





Since so many of you have asked…

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Hello everyone!  Hope you are all having a fabulous week so far!! As all of you know, besides the nutritional information I post, I have been sharing a lot of recipes since I started this blog. I wanted to write this post just to share a little because I have received quite a few messages and inquiries recently asking if I wanted to be a chef or if the blog was just for nutritional purposes.

I know you should never say never, but I do not foresee being a chef in the future, as that is not really where my interests lie.  Anyone that knows me, knows I do love food and do enjoy the aspect of fueling our bodies with nutritious, deliciousness. I also enjoy sharing recipes so you too can eat healthier, gluten-free or even low-carb.  I think there is often such a misconception between eating healthy and the food not being delicious because it is clean. Totally not true!! Along with that I, like most people, am out of the house all day working so it IS POSSIBLE even with a crazy schedule!  It only takes a little planning.

My focus is really to teach men and women to optimize their health and reshape their bodies through nutrition & fitness.   After learning to battle an autoimmune disease (Celiac) that I suffered from for many many years, I want to share my experience and knowledge to help others live a gluten-free lifestyle!  After all of the suffering I did, I hope to help others not have to go through that.  While I have been working like crazy in the nutritional program I am in, it has been hard to do it all!  My goal is to be a resource to those of you who want to start now and reach certain health & wellness goals; albeit fat-loss and/or optimizing overall health.  I believe that anyone can achieve their nutritional goals while still enjoying the foods and flavors they crave.

Anyway, just wanted to share! 🙂 Thanks to all of you that asked that question and for sending messages my way! Hope you have an amazing day!



The BEST Thai Chicken Salad {GF}

Happy Thursday everyone!

Hope you all are having an awesome week so far!! The week is flying by but I wanted to share what I think is the most delicious salad recipe!  Not sure why… but I feel like this week/month/life/TIME is flying by faster than ever! It is MARCH!! I think it must be the constant busyness of life.

As many of you can probably predict, I do most all the cooking around the house because it simply brings me joy so I feel like T has just kinda let me take over. With that said, I am always trying to make things both of us will enjoy.  While I can often go for a salad, I know he typically would enjoy something more filling so I try to make things accordingly. 

Not too long ago, I was at a restaurant for work and noticed a Thai salad on the menu that caught my eye. I have not had a Thai salad in YEARS mainly due to the fact that I know they are not gluten-free when served at restaurants (unless otherwise noted but I have yet to see one!).  Still, after seeing it on the menu, it was on my mind for weeks after! This past weekend I decided it was finally time to come up w a gluten-free/healthier version on my own, so today I am sharing the BEST Thai salad.  While I often eat salads dressing-less, this is one I had dressing on. It is simply delicious.  T even admitted this was one of the best salads he ever had!






Gluten-Free Thai Chicken Salad
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  1. 1 large head romaine
  2. 1 lb. grilled chicken (I do this prior to starting the salad)
  3. 1 grated carrot
  4. 3 scallions (green tops only), chopped
  5. 1 cucumber, halved & sliced
  6. 1/4 cup cilantro
  7. 1/4 cup organic corn tortilla strips
  8. 2 tbsp. peanuts
  9. Frank's hot sauce (optional) - I sprinkled a little on for a little kick before I put the dressing on!
For the dressing
  1. 1/4 cup water
  2. 2 tbs olive oil
  3. 1 tsp sesame oil
  4. 4 tbs creamy organic peanut butter
  5. 11/2 tbs fresh lime juice
  6. 1 tbs tamari
  7. 3 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  8. 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  9. 1 tsp packed Truvia brown sugar - (you can use coconut sugar)
  1. In one large salad bowl, add all of the salad ingredients minus the tortilla strips.
  2. In a blender, blend all of the dressing ingredients.
  3. Add the tortilla strips on top at the end.
  1. Do not over-dress this salad! I used most of the dressing but saved some for my lunch. 🙂
Alyssa Grieco
Here is the newest investment for Sophie Wiggles for when I am in the kitchen!…


Cauliflower Leek Soup {Gluten-Free, Low-Carb}


Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope the week has started off great! 

Today I am sharing this bowl of deliciousness I made the other day.  You may have looked at the title of the post and maybe it didn’t spark your interest immediately but seriously… think of a soup similar to a warm bowl of creamy mushroom soup or something along those lines.  I find it to be the perfect soup for March — not too heavy with the warmer weather coming, just something light but satisfying.  Like most foods, homemade soup not only tastes better but it is also typically much healthier.  Something always felt strange to me when I used to buy canned soups. I think it was all the unpronounceable ingredients that went into it when I knew I could make it at home with about 10 (or less) ingredients!
I have this thing where I have a snack every single day at work around 4pm. I find that at that time I am usually hungry and need something to hold me over until dinner. This winter, I made all different variations of chicken soup that I would have each afternoon. Literally every single day without fail, I would eat it! I typically make the soup then either refridgerate or freeze it depending on when I plan to eat it.  I tend to make a lot of cauliflower rice during the week so since I have kind of been on a cauliflower kick, I decided to create this soup too!
A lot of you may be noticing I have been using butter in more of my recipes. You may be wondering why the sudden change. Well I can tell you that for years I was deathly afraid of butter, thinking it was the sole cause of obesity, to the point where if something contained butter, I would not eat it. Over the last 5 years, I have totally changed and KNOW that is not the end of the world and having a little butter will not change anything in regards to weight loss/fat loss at the end of the day.  I have been using it a little more ( I love the Kerrygold grass-fed butter.. it’s super creamy!)- especially in recipes I make Paleo for my husband :).


Cauliflower Leek Soup {Gluten-Free, low-Carb}
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  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
  3. 1 large cauliflower head - broken apart so the whole head is in small pieces
  4. 3 leeks - the whites cut into small heads - the green stems removed
  5. 4 garlic cloves - chopped
  6. 3 cups chicken broth
  7. 3 cups water
  8. Red pepper flakes (optional)
  9. Sea salt and pepper to taste
  10. 1/2 cup low-fat half and half
  11. 3 tablespoon arrowroot flour
  12. Chopped scallions for garnish
  1. Put about a tablespoon on olive oil in sauce pot and start to heat on medium heat.
  2. Add cauliflower, leeks, and garlic and let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the chicken broth and water and let come to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for about 40 minutes.
  5. Remove saucepan from heat and take an immersion blender and blend thoroughly.
  6. In a small bowl, add 3 tbsp arrowroot flour into 4 tbsp cool water. Whisk mixture.
  7. Add mixture to soup and stir throughout. Place soup back on stove and let simmer another 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat again and add low-fat half & half and stir throughout.
  9. Add scallions after serving.
Alyssa Grieco



my go-to favorite chicken broth! 🙂