Today kicks off the 1st Annual Gluten Free and Celiac Awareness Week Arizona! What a great cause and a perfect time to launch it!
If you ask me, gluten is mainly found in junk food, or put it this way…in food you can certainly live without! We’re talking pre-made packaged foods, whether it is canned, boxed, fresh or frozen – it’s most likely there. Take a look for yourself and start reading labels.
How can you identify gluten? Basically gluten is wheat in all forms, including:
- Triticale (a combination of wheat and rye)
- Cake flour
- Matzo (or Matzah)
Avoid ingredients with “wheat” in the name, with the exception of ‘Buckwheat,’ including: wheat starch, modified wheat starch, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and pregelatinized wheat protein.
Other gluten containing ingredients and foods to stay away from are:
- Rye and anything with rye in the name
- Malt – which is usually made from barley, and malt syrup, malt extract, malt flavoring and malt vinegar.
- Anything breaded, floured, or marinated. Unless you can read the ingredient label don’t chance it. Most sauces and marinades contain gluten such as soy and teriyaki sauces. There are gluten free versions available – San-J (click here to go to their site) is my favorite brand.
- Imitation crab meat
- Flavored nuts (most flavorings contain gluten – read the label)
- Beer – made from barley. There are gluten free beers available, and they are excellent. Redbridge (click here) is one of my favorites.
Carmel color has been a debate, but I’ve read that if the product is made in the US then the carmel color is made from corn, therefore you can consider it to be gluten free.
Hydrolyzed wheat protein obviously is not gluten free, but “hydrolyzed soy protein” is gluten free.
What grains are gluten free?
- Buckwheat (Kasha)
The following ingredients are gluten free:
Annatto, glucose syrup, lecithin, maltodextrin, oat gum, plain spices, silicon dioxide, starch, food starch and vinegar (just not malt vinegar). Also, citric, lactic and malic acids as well as sucrose, dextrose and lactose. Gluten free baking products include: arrowroot, cornstarch, guar and xanthan gums, manioc (tapioca flour), potato starch flour and potato starch, vanilla.
Of course meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, potatoes, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, and legumes are all naturally gluten free.
This may seem like a lot to learn for those of you who are just being diagnosed, or perhaps are going gluten free for other reasons, but just remember, you’re not alone. There are many support groups available, and if you start asking around you may find that people in your own circle of friends AND community are gluten free already, many dealing with celiac disease. You’d be surprised!
I am here to tell you that it is really not that big of a deal. If you want to keep it the healthiest – which also happens to be the easiest way to eat gluten free, then just stay as close to Mother Nature as possible. Eat lots of fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu (soy – if you are not allergic) veggies and gluten free grains! It’s when you get into the processed foods, mixes, sauces, mock foods, detailed recipes and so forth that things get sticky. But if that’s what you prefer, then just READ LABELS!
The health that you will reap far outweighs anything that you are leaving behind. Out with the OLD…in with the NEW – and there you will find a happier and healthier YOU!
Please feel free to leave a comment and add any gluten free advice you may have for those who are searching and/or just beginning their journey! Also, feel free to ask a question, perhaps I or a fellow reader can answer you.
ME-gan and all natural gluten free Mother Nature goodness LOVE to you!