Gluten is EVERYWHERE. Well, it’s technically not everywhere but if you are gluten intolerant or you have celiac disease it is critical to take the stance that it is just about everywhere. I have been glutened countless times when gluten has appeared in foods that I didn’t expect. To name just a few of the foods I’ve been glutened by: twizzlers, ketchup, yogurt, vinegar, vodka, Rice Krispies, french fries, altoids, tortilla chips and simply by sharing a drink with my child after they’ve eaten gluten (yes, gross I admit!) Since even vinegars can be made from wheat derivatives, it is prudent for the person who suffers from a gluten intolerance or celiac disease to become savvy at ingredients that may have been derived from wheat (and hence, gluten). Some vinegars, such as balsamic vinegars, might not be made from wheat but the casks in which they are distilled in have glutenous pastes, thus contaminating the vinegar with trace amounts of gluten. Soy and miso often have wheat in them simply because they are often mixed with wheat. Look for terms such as durum or spelt in the ingredient list and avoid them! Not many would consider ketchup to contain wheat, but oftentimes I does! When in doubt, look for ketchup that actually says “gluten free” on the bottle.
What Are Some Terms that May Indicate Gluten?
Whole grain, multi-grain, durum, spelt, wheat germ, malt, kamut, textured Vegetable Protein (TVP normally from soy but may contain wheat), semolina, vegetable starch, flour, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soy sauce and miso.
Cross-contamination is the easiest way to ingest gluten. Was that meat just cooked on the grill next to gluten-containing foods? Did crumbs get into your gluten free foods? Is the chef (whether that be at a restaurant or your friend that has invited you over for dinner) knowledgeable in preventative cross-contamination procedures and keeping your food gluten-free? Some of the most common places for gluten cross-contamination to occur are kitchen countertops, the toaster oven, the grill, restaurants, shared sticks of butter, shared jars of food such as jellies and peanut butter. Outside of the home, it is not uncommon for there to be gluten cross-contamination in the manufacturing & production of foods on shared equipment. Likewise, this often happens with storage of gluten free foods with containing foods. The key is to know what is safe and what is not and stick to it. When in doubt about the food or whether there has been gluten contamination, simply do not eat it. Keep in mind that for people with celiac disease, even trace amounts of gluten will trigger the autoimmune response, so there is no such thing as having “just a little.”
Non-Food Sources of Gluten
If you are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, anything that you ingest by mouth is of concern. This includes medications, vitamins and supplements, lipsticks, lip glosses and chap sticks, shampoos and makeup that can come in contact with your mouth (such as foundation or powder finishes). Surprisingly, these items often contain gluten.