Friday, October 10, 2008

Checking the Ingredient Labels for Gluten

One of the first things I did when I began the gluten-free journey with my son was to print off a list of ingredients to look for when buying prepared foods. For example, I learned quickly that most of the common breakfast cereals have gluten, even the rice cereals. (Though, thankfully, Rice Chex just very recently went gluten free.) The culprit? Barley malt. Which is made from barley which has gluten in it.

I trained my eye to look for things like modified food starch and brewers yeast. I learned that somethings sound bad but are really okay like buckwheat and whey. It was a lot in the beginning but over time it became second nature.

The most important thing to happen was that our eating habits improved a great deal. Most prepared foods are contaminated with gluten. For example, I had been using a great deal of cream soups in my recipes but cream soup is thickened with wheat.

Going gluten free meant eating more natural and fresh foods and that's a good thing. Of course, grains took a beating but I managed a few grains. Rice and corn are safe substitutes for wheat.

Tomorrow I'll write about converting bread and pastry recipes to gluten-free flours.

Meanwhile, here is a gluten free blog to check out.


Jen Ambrose said...

My sister's best friend's husband is a celiac disease sufferer. Whenever they meet up to eat dinner out, they usually eat at PF Chang's. While it is pricey, and not as ubiquitous as, say, Denny's, they do have a menu of gluten-free items.

I had no idea, that even regular soy sauce contained gluten.

Maureen said...

If you buy the more expensive soy sauce it should be free of gluten. That's the story of a GF diet -- be prepared to spend more money. I even bought popsicles once that had wheat in it. Imitation vanilla usually has gluten too. And distilled vinegar is questionable. So, I only buy real vanilla and rice or cider vinegar. But you have to look for those ingredients in prepared foods. For example, Breyers ice cream uses all natural ingredients and is usually safe (as long as you stay away from cookie dough or cookies and cream!) but the cheap brands of ice cream are often contaminated.

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