Life After Gluten & the Sneaky Sabotages

Most have heard of gluten free (gf).  But most people unaffected by this lifestyle have no idea what eating gluten free entails. And when they do understand; they typically spout out something like “I could never do that!”  But more and more people are either diagnosed with a gluten allergy or sensitivity. More and more friends who have had remarkable results with annoying (or painful) symptoms are suggesting it for their loved ones…but then the overwhelming giant? Lands over your head.

Where do you start?

Whether a dietary change be for allergy or health concerns – start by feeling empowered instead of deprived.  Nourishing your body with foods that will help you feel better and body function better (less headaches, skin rashes, bloating, digestion issues, joint pain, brain fog, moods and ADD) isn’t hard. Fighting cancer is hard. Having a baby is hard. Running a marathon is hard. Eating foods that allow your body to function better is not hard – it is a GIFT.  You aren’t being told you must fast. So get your head out of the “I can’t” and move into the joys of “I can and my body will thank me for it”.

GF hint #1:

Tell your friends and family you need their support- not their sympathy.  Whether it’s diabetes or gluten sensitivity, they need to understand this is not a ‘phase’ and your health depends on their support.

What do you eat?

For ease, we recommend clients to start simple. Eat unprocessed veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish, meats.  Note the “unprocessed” – why? Because many processed foods have additives that do anything but support healthy living and some of these foods that are prepped for you may have gluten ingredients to protect shelf life or add flavor (see below where gluten hides).  Check out last month’s blog for a full list of gluten grains.

GF hint #2: 

Be aware of your nuts and seeds because many are processed with MSG, wheat and Maltodextrin, etc.. Read ingredients 4 Better Health.  Tip 2.5: it’s cheaper to buy it whole and prep it yourself.

Where do you shop?

We love this question. If you are eating veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, meat and fish, they are in all food stores.  However, there are occasions where people will want to purchase gf exchanges (pasta, bread, crackers, pizza crust, etc).  Although it may be easier to find and you’ll get a gf guide for the store if you ask, you don’t need to shop at Whole Foods to eat gf.  Most grocery stores offer gf products but as mentioned in past blogs, we do not recommend you switch from gluten processed foods to gf products. Read your ingredients and shop wisely. Besides grocery stores, I’vefound gf products at Target and cheaper yet – Amazon.

GF hint #3:

Many of products labeled gf are higher glycemic, higher sugar and have lots of unnecessary chemicals. A donut is still a donut even if it’s gf.

Where does gluten hide?  

Ah yes! The sabotage of sneaky gluten! Not only can you get ‘glutened’ by smooching your gluten eating family members, but we are eating and using products daily with hidden chemicals, dyes, byproducts, trans fats… and of course gluten. When starting a gf life, most people know they can’t have bread, muffins and pasta, but they don’t realize there is hidden gluten in everyday foods (and other things) such as:

  • Soups, broths and gravy
  • Seasonings & seasoning packets
  • Salad dressings
  • Licorice
  • Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce (San-J and Kikkoman make a line of gluten free soy sauces) & barbeque sauces
  • Tea blends (barley is often used to sweeten teas). Ex: The following Tazo teas contain gluten: Green Ginger, Honeybush, Lemon Ginger and Tea Lemonade.
  • Flavored coffees (they may say wheat free – but may contain gluten)
  • Burgers – even without the bun restaurants will occasionally add bread crumbs to thicken the burger (of course meatballs & meatloaf this is in most cases).  Veggie burgers and sausage often have wheat as well.
  • French fries (yes they are made with potatoes which are gf, but often they are coated with wheat or cooked in the same oils as other gluten products)
  • Some potato & corn chips (Pringles, sunchips, Doritos etc) and those with flavorings
  • All beer unless gluten free
  • Many flavored alcohols
  • Deli meat
  • Medications

Non Consumable Products

  • Envelope glue (don’t lick- use a sponge or tape them)
  • Playdo (although it is nontoxic to eat for most- it could be very toxic for a gf kid – even if they don’t eat the playdo- they may be snacking while they are playing, therefore gluten is being ingested) Here is a recipe to make your own play-doh at home:
  • Lipgloss, lipsticks and cosmetics. We recommend nontoxic & gluten free Ava Anderson products– but still always check labels for sneaky gluten. This link offers ingredients to avoid
  • Toothpaste
  • Soaps (if you are very sensitive and wash your hands with a gluten soap then you eat something you may find your symptoms don’t resolve)
  • Plaster (if you are redoing a part of your house – you may be symptomatic if you inhale the dust from the plaster)
  • Pet food and treats (wash your hands after handling their food and watch out for gf toddlers who may help themselves to doggy snacks).

GF Hint #4:

Many of the above products can be found (or made in your kitchen) gf. There are companies which make it easy like Newman’s Own allergy page.  It’s all about the investigation and not shopping or eating on the fly. Most of us carry smart phones.  USE THEM! Instead of only snapchatting, facebooking and instagramming- Google foods to find out if they are GF before you eat it.

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