Whether you are following a gluten-free diet, or have recently been diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, you should know where gluten hides. Hint: It’s everywhere!
If you are not sure you are allergic to gluten, but want to test it out with an elimination diet, you really need to know where sneaky exposure could be in common foods. Some people might try what they think is a gluten-free diet and not realize something they’re eating has gluten, and then when the so-called elimination diet doesn’t work, they think gluten is not a problem for them…but it could be. You follow?
For those new to the complicated world of gluten, let’s quickly define what it is.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. It is the goo that helps bread stay fluffy and pastries delicious. When I say gluten I mean wheat, barley, rye; when I say wheat, barley, rye I mean gluten. Gluten = wheat, barley, rye. If it’s crispy, crunchy, gooey or fluffy, you didn’t make it (so you would know what the ingredients are) and it doesn’t have a label – it’s probably gluten.
So without further ado, here are 11 places you wouldn’t think gluten is a required ingredient but people sneak it in there anyway…
#1 BBQ Sauce & Salad Dressing
Used as a thickening agent, wheat flour is added to BBQ sauce and salad dressings. Does it make it taste better? No. Absolutely not. Try reading labels and finding a sauce that does not have wheat added. This is really tricky at restaurants because sometimes the bottles on the table do not hold the actual product listed on the label (true story, ask anyone in the restaurant business), and because it would be really weird if you just walked into the supply room and started reading labels. You have to ask your server if the sauces and dressings are gluten-free. You’ll be surprised that a lot are not gluten-free. Especially when dining out your safest bet is to ask about sauces and instead of ordering a dressing choose olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice.
#2 Cocktail Sauce
Why? This is a giant pain in the ass when you just want to get a shrimp ring for a party and the cocktail sauce has gluten in it. C’mon. Make your own by using some organic ketchup and gluten-free horseradish (or grind your own horseradish, if you’re up for the challenge).
#3 Soy Sauce
You’d think by the name it would be just…soy. Well, it’s not. Most soy sauce is made using fermented soy AND wheat grain. Probably because wheat is cheaper than soy, which is saying a lot because soy is pretty cheap. Probably because there is an overabundance of crappy wheat grain grown across the globe and they don’t know what else to do with it. Regardless of the reason, try looking for a 100% soy sauce made using just soy beans. Or coconut aminos if you are serious about being Paleo.
#4 Sushi Rice
I know, it is very sad to have gluten sneak into your sushi rice. Make sure you check with your favorite sushi bar that they are not adding flour to make their sticky rice stickier. It happens. And it is a disgrace. Sorry.
#5 Imitation Crab
As if it wasn’t already an insult to the crab that imitation crab meat isn’t actually made of crab, the food manufacturers have to stuff it full of gluten, again. Jerks.
Especially seasoning mixes. Why? I don’t know. Just read the label.
#7 Ice Cream
It’s criminal. Obviously cookie dough ice cream is going to have gluten, but it may be added to other flavors again to thicken it. As if the whole freezing process doesn’t take care of that. We were out to dinner the other night and discovered the green tea ice cream had gluten. Ugh.
Put that candy bar down anyway. But if you must, check the labels, there’s probably gluten in your favorite caramel cream.
While I hope you’re not eating your lip liner, if you are having skin problems you might want to check the ingredients on your personal care products. And not just your make-up – shampoos, lotions, and soaps too.
#10 Fried Foods
By eating fried foods that share a fryer with flour covered mozzarella sticks, you’re getting glutened. Ask your server to change the oils or opt for something grilled or pan-fried – probably better anyway, because I can guarantee you that fryer is full of vegetable or soy oil…instead of lard or coconut oil like in the good old days.
#11 Sausages, Hot Dogs, & Cold Cuts
Booo….as if it weren’t inconvenient enough to make your own sausage. Read the labels. Food manufacturers or even grocery store delis will add flour, and even milk to prepared meats (not to mention inflammatory vegetables oils). Good news is that there are plenty of gluten and vegetable oil free options. Applegate is a good go to brand and is sold in most big grocery stores. I would caution buying pre-packaged Applegate though as they still add some wonky ingredients like carrageenan, but they are gluten-free at least. Best choice is Applegate from the deli counter and sausages and hot dogs from your local grass-fed farmer.
That’s all I have for you folks. I think the lesson here is that if you are finding some success on a gluten-free diet, or you were recently diagnosed with celiac, and you are not seeing the results you had hoped for by switching to a gluten-free diet – then you are probably getting glutened and you don’t know it. Read the labels! Or better yet, just cook whole foods at home.