Monday, June 7, 2010

Helping Find The Hidden Gluten That’s All Around Us

Editor's note: This is the first in a series we're calling GF101. Over the coming months we'll be posting some short articles with basic tips on being gluten free and living in a gluten filled world. I hope they are useful, especially to newly diagnosed celiacs.

Transitioning to a gluten-free diet certainly can be a challenge, which is why all of us at Kinnikinnick have made it our mission to make that transition as easy – and tasty – as possible. But although you can rest assured all of our products are completely gluten-free, there are many food and non-food products out there which you might think are safe, but which actually have gluten "hidden" within them. Here is a quick rundown of what to look out for:

  • Reduced-fat products: meats and dairy often use starches to make products gel better. Be certain the starch is from a safe source like potato, corn or tapioca.
  • Ready-made meals and fast foods: these also contain gluten because of the starches used.
  • Ice cream: wheat is often added to prevent ice crystals from forming.
  • Soy Sauce: often 40% to 60% wheat!
  • Salad Dressings: gluten often is used as a thickener.
  • Gravies, Sauces and Marinades
  • Processed Foods: rice or corn cereals, soups, yogurt, snack foods, ground beef, cold cuts, hot dogs, sausages and shortening (which may contain vitamin E processed from wheat germ).
In short, always read labels. And read them every time. Manufacturers may change ingredients without notice and what was ok last week might not be this week. We also recommend you get one of the various gluten free product & ingredient guides that are available from the major support groups. These are extensive listings of what is safe and what to avoid.

If you are unsure, especially since labels can be so confusing, always call a product’s manufacturer and get the gluten-related low-down. And that means asking not only what’s in the product itself, but what standards the manufacturing facility follows to prevent cross-contamination. Here at Kinnikinnick, we make all our own products and operate the largest dedicated gluten-free bakery in North America and possibly the world.

Remember that most non food items are not required to list ingredients. 
  • Watch out for lickable envelops & stamps Most if not all postage stamp & letter glue in North America is made from corn but fun stickers and other lickable labels made elsewhere may not be.
  • Use caution with paints, clay, play dough and glue
  • Mouthwash, toothpaste, shampoos, soaps, lipstick, lip balm, sunscreen, cosmetics, lotions and cleaning solutions

Living the gluten-free life isn’t always easy, but thanks to heightened consumer demand, improved manufacturing and labeling standards and the wide array of surprisingly delicious foods (including, if we can be immodest for a moment, ours), it’s getting easier every day. So warm up a few Kinnikinnick donuts, take a few long, slow bites, sit back and indulge yourself!

Further Reading

No comments: