Maintaining a gluten-free diet can be an on-going challenge, especially when you factor in all the hidden or obscure gluten that can trip you up.
In many cases, foods that are naturally gluten-free end up contain added gluten. Sometimes this can slip by us, and that when the suffering begins. To avoid suffering needlessly, be sure to keep a sharp eye on labels, and beware of added or hidden gluten, even in food labeled gluten-free. Use Celiac.com’s SAFE Gluten-Free Food List and UNSAFE Gluten-free Food List as a guide.
Also, beware of these common mistakes that can ruin your gluten-free diet. Watch out for:
- Watch out for naturally gluten-free foods like rice and soy, that use gluten-based ingredients in processing. For example, many rice and soy beverages are made using barley enzymes, which can cause immune reactions in people with celiac disease.
- Be careful of bad advice from food store employees, who may be misinformed themselves. For example, many folks mistakenly believe that wheat-based grains like spelt or kamut are safe for celiacs. Be careful when taking advice.
- Beware of cross-contamination between food store bins selling raw flours and grains, often via the food scoops.
- Be careful to avoid wheat-bread crumbs in butter, jams, toaster, counter surface, etc.
- Watch out for hidden gluten in prescription drugs. Ask your pharmacist for help about anything you’re not sure about, or suspect might contain unwanted gluten.
- Watch out for hidden gluten in lotions, conditioners, shampoos, deodorants, creams, and cosmetics, (primarily for those with dermatitis herpetaformis).
- Be mindful of stamps, envelopes or other gummed labels, as these can often contain wheat paste. Use a sponge to moisten such surfaces.
- Be careful about hidden gluten in toothpaste and mouthwash.
- Be careful about common cereal ingredients, such as malt flavoring, or another non-gluten-free ingredient.
- Be extra careful when considering packaged mixes and sauces, including soy sauce, fish sauce, catsup, mustard, mayonnaise, etc., as many of these can contain wheat or wheat by-product in their manufacture. Be especially careful about gravy mixes, packets & canned soups.
- Even some brands of rice paper can contain gluten, so be careful.
- Lastly, watch out for foods like ice cream and yogurt, which are often gluten-free, but can also often contain added ingredients that can make them unsuitable for anyone on a gluten-free diet.
Eating Out? If you eat out, consider that many restaurants use a shared grill or shared cooking oil for regular and gluten-free foods, so be careful. Also, watch for flour in otherwise gluten-free spices, as per above
Ask questions, and stay vigilant.