Since my daughter’s diagnosis with Celiac Disease a few years ago, we’ve been on a steep learning curve; navigating our way through a life without gluten. Whether you forego gluten by personal choice or health necessity, I figured that for any of those of you who may be new to the world of eating gluten-free, that it could possibly come in handy if I shared a few unexpected places where I’ve often found gluten to be lurking. I’d love for you to help me add to this list or share your favorite gluten-free foods in the comment section. I’m always keen to learn about new tasty things to try.
5 Unexpected Things that Can Contain Gluten
- Beer / Liquor | I’ve never been much of a beer connoisseur, so this one hasn’t been too hard to pass up on. However it is a food item that is commonly used in cooking / baking, so it’s good to be aware of just the same. There are grain-free alcohol options available, so if you’re bummed about missing out, you can go ahead and turn that frown upside-down.
- Vanilla extract / Baking extracts | I’ve read conflicting opinions regarding whether the gluten used in the alcohol used to create vanilla / baking extracts is neutralized during the distillation process. To be on the safe side, I always purchase extracts that are labeled as gluten-free.
- Sweeteners | Barley Malt (also seen as malt extract) is a big culprit (you’ll find it in a lot of chocolate bars). It is very easy to overlook if you’re not prepared to keep a lookout for it. Special note: maltodextrin is considered to be gluten-free (despite having the word malt in its name)
- Soy Sauce | Growing up, we had a bottle of soy sauce on our dining room table instead of a salt shaker. So it came as quite a surprise to me to discover that our old standby is traditionally made using wheat. Thankfully there are wheat-free / gluten-free varieties available…so keep a lookout for those if you’re a fan like we are.
- Toiletries / Detergents / Household Cleaners | Non-food items have few standards in place to ensure that they are labeled clearly when they contain gluten. I did find this very helpfully compiled list of Company Statements Regarding Gluten that you may want to look over if you or someone you know has a severe gluten sensitivity or Celiac. It didn’t even occur to me that non-edible products could be a problem until my daughter developed a mystery rash after I laundered her clothing in traditional Tide detergent. I made the switch to Method detergent shortly thereafter and have used both Method and Mrs. Myers on our clothing with no ill effects ever since (their products are better for the environment too…so that’s a bonus).
Of course, when in doubt, contacting a company for specific allergen information is always recommended. Most companies are more than happy to make sure that you are making a safe purchase for your family. I hope this little list helps. Here’s to your health!
Image from Antique Farm House™ (a really cool site coincidently)