Are you trying to stay away from gluten?
Gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye and barley?
Known for its sticky function resulting in elasticity of dough and chewiness of baked products?
Why to avoid gluten?
People who are gluten sensitive should avoid gluten as much as they can because of the severe abdominal pain, extreme fatigue and other pains and symptoms experienced when eating gluten. People with autoimmune celiac disease have to stay completely away from gluten at all times or they will damage their small intestines.
It is good to know that gluten is not only found in the obvious wheat- rye- and barley-products but also in some foods that might just surprise you:
Oats are a special case. While oats in their pure form contain no gluten reality shows that there is almost always cross-contamination with gluten during the oat’s production process.
Yes! Sushi! Especially the one with crab meat can contain it since the crab meat is usual ‘thickened’ with gluten.
- Ready-made salad dressings
That’s what makes dressings so nice and thick contains gluten – the thickener. Home-made dressings are an easy to control alternative.
- Baked beans
Beans contain gluten? There is no wheat, barley or rye in beans. Well, not in the bean itself but a thickener in the baked beans processed product contains gluten.
I know, it is very sad, but licorice candy contains wheat. All of them; the red and the black, the sweet and the salty ones. Only if labeled ‘gluten free’ are there some safe alternatives.
- Processed Meat
Sausages, hot dogs, deli- and luncheon meats all fall under the category of processed foods. They often contain flour for texture, as filler and for thickening purposes.
- Soy sauce
Unfortunately, wheat is part of the production process of soy sauce. So it can contain wheat. It is necessary to check the label carefully.
- French fries
This one is a little bit tricky since french fries are actually gluten free. But reality shows that it happens that your french fries are dipped in the same frying oil as breaded onion rings or hush puppies. To be sure; better ask before you order.
In Restaurants gravies can be made with flour and many instant gravy packets contain gluten as well. At home, you can use cornstarch as a thickener. Away from home, it might be best to skip the gravy.
Oh no! Oh no! Why chocolates? Chocolate contains wonderfully sticking thickeners that contain gluten. And even the pure cocoa should have no gluten there is a big risk of cross-contamination.
- Wheat free products
Wheat free does not equal gluten free. We have to be careful with this. Wheat free products can still contain barley or rye.
- Vitamins and medications
That might come as a surprise as well but it has a very similar explanation as many of the products above: a substance that sticks and glues the pills together – gluten
Do you see the common themes here?
There is always cross-contamination to consider!
And thickeners are likely to contain gluten!
So as a rule of thumb; be aware of thickeners and cross-contamination
to be aware of hidden gluten.