Gluten Free Commentary: Wait…Is That Gluten Free?

Living with celiac disease comes with many challenges. However after living with the illness for many years, most of the things that were frustrating or annoying early on seem trivial and easy to manage over time. Of course I still feel the occasional bout of jealousy or “woe is me” when I want to indulge on a whim and not worry about whether something is safe to eat or not but in the grand scheme of things I’ve learned that I am blessed in more ways than one. The ability to control what I will or won’t eat is a blessing in itself.

So now when at work or with friends and family I no longer roll my eyes when I become the de facto gluten free expert any time someone wonders whether or not a food or product is gluten free. In fact if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me: “Is ____ gluten free?” I wouldn’t be running this blog (I kid). So I decided to take a moment and devote a entire post around this very question.

With “gluten,’ gluten free,” and celiac becoming mainstream, trendy, ubiquitous and all of the above there are still many people unsure or unclear as to what gluten actually is, what does, and what does not contain the pesky protein. To be clear most whole unprocessed foods are gluten free; i.e. fresh fruit, naturally dried fruit,  and veggies. However once you delve into the world of commercial processed things become murky. Even items that are naturally gluten free (i.e a bag of raisins) may be tainted depending on how and where they are processed.  Additionally  gluten and wheat derivatives can be found in binders, fillers, and preservatives used in processed snacks. Not to mention commercial seasoning and spices, medications, toothpaste, soap, and the list goes on. No matter what the label says be sure to check fine print and manufacturer lists to be sure an item is safe for you and your loved one

Below is a basic list of common whole foods and commercial products that are gluten free and safe for celiacs and those staying away from gluten for a variety of health reasons. The list is not exhaustive and I could certainly use your input in expanding it.

Proceed with caution (avoid) the following ingredients or products containing

Malt|Barely|Whey|Soy Sauce|Trace amounts of wheat| Rye| Bulgar| Vital Wheat Gluten|Seitan| Mir| MSG| Dextrin| Oat Gum| Maltodextrin

Gluten Free Grains and Legumes

Rice|Tapioca|Quinoa|Buckwheat|Sorghum|Chickpeas|Oats (only those processed and grown separate from wheat) |Pinto Beans| Navy Beans| Other Beans|Corn

Nuts and Tree Nuts: Almonds| Peanuts| Pecans| Coconut| Etc

Commercial Candy

Laffy Taffy|Baby Ruth Bars|Original Butter Fingers|Raisinets|Snickers|Dove| Milky Way Bars| Almond Joy| Mounds| Reese Pieces| Dutch Cocoa Powder| Pure Chocolate

Gluten Free Commercial Cereal

Gluten Free Rice Chex| Kellogs Rice Crispies| Kays Cereal

Gluten Free Potato Chips

Plain Lays|Ruffles| Stax| Popchips| Kettlebrand Chips| Frito Lay Tortilla Chips

For more information on gluten free ingredients and commercial products visit

Gluten Free Living | Celiac Disease.About.Com

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