Where Gluten Hides
So you’ve made the plunge and decided to go gluten free!?! You’ve ridded your pantry of wheat, rye, couscous and barley; you’ve traded in your Trisket crackers for Mary’s Gone Crackers; you’ve finally figured out why xanthan gum is so important for gluten-free baking; you’ve gotten over the fear of living without gluten and gosh darnnit you feel great!!
Congratulations and let me welcome you to the club for which I’m a long-standing member.
Now before you get too comfortable, I’m going to bring up a topic, which might induce some heart palpitations… Eating Out!!
Ok, deep breath!! Fear not, it can be done. There are so many options out there for eating sans gluten. And if you need some tips of gluten free options at restaurants within the Danforth area, be sure to read Alex’s blog post here.
Today I’m here to help raise your spidey sense for some of the hidden culprits when scanning your menu.
Scrambled eggs or Omelets
Not a common practice, but some cooks will add a little flour to your scrambled eggs to make them fluffed up and pretty.
Some soups require a thickener and chefs use what’s called a roux which is made of equal parts fat – yum! and equal parts flour – boo! This also might be used for thickening sauces, so be weary in that category too.
Hamburgers, meatballs, meatloaf have the potential of containing a little flour to help the meat stick together.
Again, not always a common practice, but sometimes flour is used to give French fries a thick and crispy texture.
A little flour added to mixed or spiced nuts will help the spices and oils stick to the nuts.
Gluten can be used as filler in some supplements.
Blends or seasonings are a blend of spices and herbs which are often combined with a carrier agent such as starches or flours.
And where would we be without the age-old question of Oats!?! Oats are inheritably gluten free, but are always processed with wheat so there will be some contamination there. You can however find wheat-free oats available at your grocery store, which are segregated from wheat, eliminating the possibility of contamination. Within restaurants, I’d be pretty certain that oats would be contaminated with gluten, unless it’s otherwise specified.
Having said all that, oats are still something to experiment with when going gluten free. They contain a similar protein to that of wheat and some people will have similar digestive discomfort when they eat oats. It’s best to try them out and see what your specific reaction is and decide whether to keep it in your diet or remove it as well.
Now although not all of these items will contain gluten, it’s always best to ask question.
Hopefully this raised your awareness instead of discouraging you from eating at your local restaurant. Do you find it easy to eat out on a gluten free diet?
Jeanette Rauch Registered Holistic Nutritionist RHN