There are three big challenges in the life of a gluten intolerant person. First of all, they have to overcome the desire of eating foods that contain gluten. Gluten is not an ingredient that can be easily avoided. Its presence can make a world of a difference in the quality of bread, cake or even a drink. As far as bakery items are concerned, gluten is used to improve the texture and make the bread or the cake chewier. Once the person can get past the temptation to indulge in gluten foods, they have to face the tougher challenge of recognizing gluten foods, so that they can avoid eating these foods unintentionally. The last challenge is to find worthy gluten substitutes, which is not too difficult given the fact that the gluten-free product industry in America is flourishing quite remarkably as of late. The real trick here is to recognize the hidden sources of gluten. You need to have a certain degree of knowledge about food chemistry and the importance of gluten in food items to be in a better position to identify foods that contain gluten.
Food Products That Usually Contain Gluten
One of the many reasons why it is not an easy task to figure out whether a particular food item on the shelf of a mass market store is gluten-free or not is because most food products do not bear labels that address the concerns about the gluten content of the food. In very few products are you likely to find a label that clearly says “gluten-free” or “contains gluten” or “has been prepared in a facility where wheat is handled and processed”. The third information may sound a little puzzling to you. We will cover that in a moment. First, let us go through some common foods that may contain gluten. These are foods that you should not throw into the shopping cart in the blink of an eye. It is best to avoid these foods or find their gluten alternatives. The other option is to ask the salesperson or the vendor about the gluten content (although a lot of them are unable to answer back clearly)
● Malt Syrup
● Soup Mixes
● Salad Dressings
● Some Food Starches
● Vegetable Gum
● Soy Sauce
● Baker’s Yeast
Bonus Info: Non-Food Sources of Gluten
Do you know that food is sometimes not the only-threat when it comes to sources of gluten? Believe it or not, there are non-food sources of gluten as well. It is just as important for you to learn about them as it is for you to learn about the food sources of gluten. You are likely to come across many gluten intolerant individuals who fall sick and exhibit symptoms of their condition despite living on a perfectly gluten-free diet. These are the people who have been exposed to the non-food sources of gluten and are bearing the brunt of being affected by this chemical substance. Many of these non-food sources of gluten are household items that you use on a regular basis, which makes it even more important for you to learn about them. Here are some general examples that will give you a better idea about the kind of items that you need to stay away from in order to prevent being affected by gluten.
● Stamps and envelopes
● A lot of prescription and over the counter medications
● Vitamin and herbal supplements
● Women’s lip products. The use of lipstick, lip balm and lip gloss can trigger gluten symptoms
We talked about how you should avoid products that are manufactured in facilities where wheat has been handled and prepared. The reason why you have been advised to do so is because it is important for every gluten intolerant person to prevent cross contamination of gluten. The particular food item that you are having may not have been made with gluten, but it could have come into contact with other products that are made with gluten. This can lead to cross contamination of this substance. Consuming cross contaminated gluten or coming into contact with it can be just as bad as eating foods that contain heavy loads of gluten. A very common example of cross contamination is using a butter knife to smear butter over a toast. When you do this, the knife comes into contact with gluten containing foods. Hence, it becomes a contaminated object that needs to be thoroughly washed before being used by someone who suffers from gluten intolerance. It is important for a celiac person to identify situations where cross contamination is a serious possibility. Part of identifying foods that contain gluten involves recognizing foods that may have been contaminated.