Sunday, February 13, 2011

Candy-What You Need To Know

In honor of St. Valentines Day I am posting this week only tasty dessert recipes.  St. Valentines Day is not only a reminder of love and affection, but affection and love for your tummy.  I know I am a bit late in posting these, and I do apologize to my readers for not preparing you the GF Valentine way, but better late then never.

Valentines day can be hard, especially when you are new to this lifestyle.  What candy is gluten free? What can I eat? And what can my crush make me on this delicious day?  How is anyone going to know what I can eat, and what if I am dining out? 

These are all valid questions, and really the only way you will get your answer is by reading blogs or googling it yourself.  Since you have this disease or lifestyle it is your job to get this straight.  I know, what a drag.  Why can't you just take a handful of whatever, or a big heart shaped box from your local drugstore, LINDT, GODIVA or any of those other brands and eat it without caution?  Because you can't.  Most of the time, these boxes will list the ingredients, but reading labels are difficult, and you may not know how to identify gluten in candy.  It doesn't always say wheat or gluten.  Sometimes the labels will only mention that the goodies are processed on the same equipment as our mortal enemy-gluten.  And sometimes the label will show nothing.  This does NOT mean it is gluten free.  Your best answer is checking online or actually calling the manufacturer.  So what happens if your crush gets you a box?  If you are unsure of the gluten content, you simply cannot eat it anyway to please your crush, or yourself.  Don't be that person!  Don't think it won't affect you.  Remember it's only 1/8th of a tsp. that will get your body to breakdown status.  It's not worth it.

So to make your life easier I have derived a list of gluten ingredients to look out for on your St. Valentines day.  Whether you are an adult, a teen or a child, someone around you, if not yourself needs to know this information.  Whether it be your man, your crush, your friends or your children's teachers...someone will need to know what goes and what does not.

Unsafe Gluten List

Wheat
Wheat Starch
Malt
Barley
Malted
Caramel Coloring (not Caramel, however...see below)
Caramel-Just know that Caramel has more gluten then you would think.  Merely from it's consistency many chocolatiers use flour to keep this sticky substance from sticking-though an ingredient label will never tell you that, keep this in mind.
Barley Malt
Maltodextrin-If made in USA it can derived from corn or potato startch, if made outside of usa, you have to worry, and should be cautious.  If this ingredient is derived from wheat starch it must mention it on the package.

If any ingredients are derived from Wheat it must mention this on the package, however if the product is made overseas, or out of the country then the rules change. European chocolates don't always mention where the ingredient is derived from.

Know that Godiva and Lindt are not gluten free, though you will never see wheat on the package. This info I got from emailing their Customer Services and viewing their website. Bummer!


Check out my GF Parent section as it has tons of Candy lists, parent forms and info on GF Candy.  Don't forget to check out my GF Valentines LIST as well.  This has recipes and candy info on particular brands.  All the chocolate that is gluten-free.  Yum!

Check out this LIST from GlutenFreeLiving.com.  This list is extremely helpful when reading labels.  If you have not suscribed to this magazine, I highly recommend it.

I also found this great GF Valentine and GF Candy LIST from a great blog called Celiac Family, The list from Celiac Family tells you what candies are safe, unsafe and the kinds where you should use your judgement and caution.  Know that Dove Heart Candies-Chcolate, Milk, Dark, Cherry Swirl are all gluten-free, along with Dots and Spangler Candies, in specific Dum Dum pops.  Know that Charms Blow Pops and Skittles are gluten free as well as many other candies that are listed on Celiac Family's List. 

Also know that just because one brand has a chocolate option that is gluten-free, it does NOT mean that all chocolate made from that brand are too.  In some cases yes, like spangler, and in other cases no, like Dove.  Also on the list of gluten free are: Tootsie Rolls, M and M's (not the pretzel kind), Pixy Stix, Gobstoppers, Sweatheart Hearts, Necco Hearts, Butterfinger, Bottle Caps, Sweet Tarts (not Sweet Tart Heats) and more.  You must read the fine lines and do your research.  You don't want to be sick on St. Valentines Day or on any other day for that matter.  And there is plenty of amazing candies you can enjoy without feeling deprived.

Make sure you read the "caution" list as well as the "un-safe" list from Celiac Family.  Know that Hershey chocolate hearts are safe, but the peanut butter hearts are NOT gluten free.  Again, I will tell you to read the fine lines.  Do not assume, it will get you in trouble.

Be cautious with Valentine Heart Boxes.  Although Russell Stover and Cadbury state on their websites that they try very hard to keep everythig gluten-free, there is cross contamination.  Their equipment is shared with Wheat.  Use your judgement.

Hershey's large 3lb chocolate heart is gluten free.  Yeah!!  Also a lot of See's Candy is gluten free too. Know that Hershey's does not have a gluten-free safe list for their candy because their candy ingredients always change. Know this. Keep this in mind the next time you pick up a piece.Also a huge tip in gf candy hunting...Made in USA is very different then made in Mexico.  The standards change.  If you are concerned call them.  There is always a customer service number on the packaging.  If you call before 5pm, you will have an answer.

Another great way to be able to have a gluten free box of chocolates is to make your own.  Maybe your crush or family or even friends want to get creative.  Make a box.  Paint it read, get creative.  Collage the box, use red stickers or ribbon or anthing Valentine looking and add in chocolates that you already know are gluten free.  Yes it is a lot of work, but fun while doing it!

Have a super fabulous Valentines Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lots of Love, Affection and Sweet Goodness!

xoxo Julie


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