Between books, magazines, newspapers and the web, there is a plethora of gluten-free information everywhere. This is at our fingertips, yet it can often feel overwhelming and out of reach by many new comers. Wouldn't it just be easier if there was one simple guide we could have without the stress of searching for our answers? I have compiled below some of the things I have learned while living my gluten-free journey. I am using advice of doctors, nutritionists, my own personal experiences and tried and true facts written from books, blogs and other online resources. Below are the small (but large) tid-bits on a PREVENTING gluten from entering our gluten-free bodies.
HIDDEN GLUTEN AND WHERE IT LURKS:
1. Bailey's Irish Cream is not gluten free. Bailey's has barley and malt in it. Barely also has caramel coloring.
2. Caramel coloring is labeled gluten-free because it has under 20ppm of gluten. It is considered gluten-free by the FDA in North America, but it does in fact have gluten in it. If Caramel coloring is added to a product manufactured in Europe, Australia or other overseas countries, you must check with the manufacturer.
3. Kahlua is considered gluten-free because it has under 20ppm of gluten and has been labeled gluten free, however there is Caramel Coloring in Kahlua, and if you have a sensitivity to Caramel Coloring then steer clear. (*see number 2)
4. Guinness beer is NOT gluten free. It is only Wheat Free. Guinness is made with sorghum but it is not gluten free.
5. Nigerian Guinness is NOT gluten-free.
6. Cold Cuts and cheeses from the DELI: When cut on the same slicer along with other gluten products this can serve you up one huge sour stomach of CROSS CONTAMINATION. When different meats and cheeses are cut on the deli slicer cross-contamination is brewing. Not all cold cuts are gluten-free, and even that small amount of cross contamination is going to affect you. Residues are left on the slicer's and that residue can rest on your cold cuts. Stick with packaged or ask deli associate to wipe the slicer before slicing your gluten-free cold cuts and cheeses. Or order your deli meat and cheese first thing in the morning before the slicer is used to cut anything else. This will risk an upset stomach. And good news! Boar's Head cold cuts and cheese are gluten free! Boar's head does not use any fillers or thickeners in their products. They are completely gluten free!
7. Whiskey is labeled gluten free, because it is distilled-however many sensitive Celiacs cannot digest or tolerate whiskey, because even in it's distilled form, it can still hold some gluten from the distillation process.
8. Not all processed meat is gluten free! Whether it be bacon, Roast Beef, sausage, a burger (turkey, veggie or meat) or others-always check the package for hidden fillers. Hidden fillers lurk everywhere and anywhere. In restaurants chefs use fillers (wheat, breadcrumbs, thickeners) to bind burgers or patties together. It needs to hold with something right? Make sure you check with the manager at restaurants to make sure you are not ingesting any hidden gluten. Rare Bar and Grill on 36th and Lex-their classic burger is gluten-free, minus the bread. Just add some toppings like Portobello Mushrooms and Tarragon Butter for a bit of zing or Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem, NYC ribs and sauce are gluten-free.
9. If you are eating packaged meats then check the ingredients.
10. French Fries, Hash Browns, Onion Rings, Zucchini chips, Mozzarella Sticks, Fish Sticks , Potato Skins, Breakfast Potato's, Mashed Potatoes and Spinach dip are not gluten free (unless otherwise specified).
10a. French fries are usually diped in the same fryer as other gluten foods. Therefore you are messing with cross-contamination. Always check with the waiter to see if they use a seperate fryer. **Pastis Restaurant in NYC uses a seperate fryer for their fries and therefore are safe.
10b. Spinach Dip or any 'dip' for that matter-uses thickening agents and flour. If it is homemade, then ask about the ingredients.
10c. Hash Browns and Breakfast potato's often are used with flour and thickeners. Hash browns have thickening agents in the batter and therefore are not gluten free. **Ask before you eat-if the waiter and chef cannot give you a clear answer steer clear!
10d. Breakfast Potato's are often dusted with flour. **Ask before you eat-if the waiter and chef cannot give you a clear answer steer clear!
10e. Mashed Potato's often have thickeners and flour in the mix. Always ask the chef if they are homemade, and if they have thickeners. Most made from boxes already have thickeners in the mix. Steer clear!
10f. Mozarella sticks, fish sticks, onion rings, zucchini fries, chickpea fries, avocado fries, fried fish, fried crab, fish and chips, fried 'anything' all have gluten and in many forms. Cross contamination-all of these items are usually dipped in the same fryer as each other, whether gluten-free or not. By mixing them in the same fryer cross contamination has occured.
11. Sauces: Unless you know where that sauce has come from steer clear. Sauces are tricky, you have to know that in sauces lurks flours, thickeners, thickening agents, malt, wheat, barely, dextrose mustards, additives, non gluten free soy sauces, BBQ sauces, teriyaki sauces, asian marinades, bottled sauces, marinades, gravy's, malt vinegar and more can be lurking in your sauce. When at a restaurant check with the chef to see what the sauce was made from. If you get an unclear answer, ask polietly for no sauce.
12. Bloody Mary's-A favorite past time cocktail on a Sunday afternoon. I hate to break it to you but not all Bloody Mary mixes are gluten-free. Ask the bartender or serving associate what the pre-made mix is made with.
13. Soy Sauce is not gluten free or wheat free unless you buy the wheat free soy sauce. Teriyaki sauce, Wosteshire sauce, hoisen sauce, marinades, gravy, bbq sauce are not gluten free or wheat free, unless you buy special brands that are gluten free. Try San-J.
14. Many of the syrups at Starbucks are not gluten free. Many of the syrups have caramel coloring in them. That means no Gingerbread, egg nog, green tea, pumpkin spice vanilla and all those other syrups in your latte or fraps. Opt for a plain latte.
15. Grocery products: always check the ingredients whether it be a bottle of pickles, a tub of humus, a bag of tortilla chips, a bottle of salad dressing or prepared foods. Always check the ingredients.
16. Always check the ingredients. Even if you have bought that product before-ingredients change.
17. Cake Frosting: Most cake frostings are not gluten-free. Some contain wheat, malt, wheat starch, barley and more. Always read the ingredients. Great news! Betty Crocker came out with a line of gluten-free frostings. In the back of the container it states gluten free. The two lines are Whipped and Rich and Creamy.
18. Barley Malt Extract, Barley, Malt, Wheat, Wheat Flour, Caramel Coloring*, Wheat Starch, modified food starch, starch (if it doesn't specify origin, don't trust it), maltodextrin*(most is derived from corn, but with some products it could be wheat), certain additives, certain extracts (if it's not in it's purest forms),
19. Wheat in all of its form, including Kamut, Semolina, Spelt, and Triticale, Barley, including Malt and Rye are NOT GLUTEN FREE.
20. Malt beverages, wine coolers, or hard lemonade often contain gluten in forms of malt barley-check the ingredients.
21. Rice Krispie Treats are NOT gluten-free.
22. Corn Pops are NOT gluten free.
23. HVP (hydrogenated vegetable protein), HPP (hydrolyzed plant protein), TVP (textured vegetable protein), MSG (monosodium glutamate), Mono-and di-glycerides, Wheat Germ Oil, Maltodextrin, Vitamin E, could contain wheat if made outside the U.S.A.
24. Stabilizers, binders, fillers should be avoided. This is another term for HIDDEN GLUTEN.
25. Blue Cheese and other cheeses from the Blue Cheese family can contain HIDDEN GLUTEN during the making/processing of the cheese.
26. Bourbon, Scotch, Grain Vodka's and Ale contain HIDDEN GLUTEN
27. Reduced Fat Products-can contain hidden gluten
28. Puddings, Custards and Pie Fillings can contain HIDDEN GLUTEN
29. Herbal tea's-Some herbal teas contain hidden gluten and obvious gluten. One would never think to look at the ingredients in tea. Herbal Holiday tea's have roasted barley and malt in their tea's. Tea flavors to stay away from are Sugar Cookie, Hazelnut, Gingerbread and others. Always check!!
30. Candy Canes are not gluten free. Well, the ingredients in candy canes are ok, but that handy plastic wrap they are wrapped in? Candy makers use flour and other gluten sources to allow the candy canes to set and not stick to it wrapping. Try Spanglers Gluten Free candy canes and buy here.
Links on Hidden Gluten I like and Find Informative: