Anxiety. Fear. Hunger. Not the emotions you want to feel while scanning the lunch menu or strolling the grocery aisles.
For fellow celiacs or those feeling the affects of gluten intolerance, this triple threat of emotion can be daunting. You only have to avoid three things – wheat, rye, barley – but the fact of the matter is that's just the beginning.
Other than the obvious (conventional bread and pasta, bags of flour, your favourite flaky breakfast cereal), there are plenty of items hiding that pesky little protein gluten.
Wheat: Beer, bran, bread flour, brown flour, bulgur, durum, einkorn, enriched flour, farina, faro, germ, gluten, graham, groats, hydrolyzed wheat protein, kamut, roux, seitan, semolina, spelt, triticale, triticum, udon, wheat berries, wheat starch
Barley: Barley grass, barley groats, barley malt, barley syrup, beer, malt, pearl barley
Rye: Rye flour, pumpernickel
Oats, too, primarily need to be avoided because most crops are contaminated with wheat. Check ingredient lists and avoid items containing Avena or a derivative of oats, such as oatmeal or oat flour. Pure gluten-free oats are available, but if you want to nosh on 'em, contact your doctor first to get the go-ahead.
We're not done.
Artificial flavors, breading, cereal, couscous, croutons, hydrolyzed vegetable or soy protein, modified food starch, and other forms of starch can often hide gluten, especially if products aren't labeled according to allergy guidelines.
You may be surprised where a lot of these are hiding: licorice (a childhood favourite!), imitation mock meats (sorry vegans!), soy sauce (see you later salty sushi sauce), beer (adieu my favourite brew), gravies and broths (no thank-you, Thanksgiving), they all can easily harbour a form of gluten.
If your diet is reliant on packaged foods, the hard Dr. Phil truth is you may have to adjust your eating habits. Luckily, many items like fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free and give your body the nutrients it needs – especially after cleaning up the mess gluten's left behind.
So whether it's getting creative in the kitchen, baking the perfect birthday cake, combating cross-contamination, fixing dinner for a gluten-free family, or simply sustaining energy through a busy day, we've got you covered.
But first, let's hit the grocery store.