OK, so I understand that wheat crackers, pasta, and bread made with gluten-containing flours can’t be eaten; but what’s the deal with ice cream and buckwheat? Read on, my gluten-free friend, and get the food 411 on food safety for these foods.
This pseudo-grain is nutty, hearty, and makes insanely good pancakes. Taste aside, buckwheat is also packed with nutrition. Using rice flour as a main for your pancakes, maybe not next time!
Hot dogs: aren’t they supposed to be just meat? Nope! Hot dogs, depending on the brand and quality, can be as low as 30% meat. What about the rest? Yup, you guessed it: fillers and gluten love to accompany or be the star of the product when fillers are present. Always read the hot dog ingredients to be sure they don’t have gluten. Watch out for maltodextrin and MSG with prepared meats.
Reason number two: mix-ins. Yup, that Oreo cookie we loved as a kid just killed the chances of you eating ice cream. Cookies, candies, and wafers mixed into your dessert can be the offender of choice.
Going out for ice cream? If they don’t have their frozen treat labeled and they don’t have a list of ingredients, never assume the person behind the counter knows what’s up. Most people usually believe that wheat isn’t in ice cream and the like, well, because it’s ice cream. Soft serve is the biggest offender, so be careful!
Maltodextrin: What the heck is maltodextrin, and why is it in everything?
Maltodextrin is an inexpensive food additive that increases the shelf life of a product, adds volume to processed foods, and is a sugar substitute. This cheap food additive can add flavor to that packaged food you are eating and can bind ingredients together.
What does this have to do with eating gluten-free? Maltodextrin’s base is created from either wheat, corn, or potato. It’s an artificial carbohydrate that is artificially produced and has no nutritional value.
What’s a celiac to do? When your label says maltodextrin, don’t eat it. If the ingredients list reads maltodextrin made from corn or potato, these forms of maltodextrin are safe to eat for gluten-free peeps!
If you are older than 25, you’ll remember when MSG broke headlines in the mid-’90s. I felt like everyone’s cousin, sibling, and grandparents became allergic to the additive found mainly in Asian food dishes. So, if you see the word glutamate, stay away from this food additive like it was an ex-boyfriend (or girlfriend) who went crazy and stalked you after breaking up!
Oats and oat cereal: Like ice cream, someone decided it was a good idea to add wheat to these, because, well, why not?!? Oat cereals are found lining the supermarket aisles after everyone went crazy because of the cholesterol fad back a few decades ago. “A study” had shown that eating fiber lower your cholesterol. After that, every company, including the Quaker Oat dude, jumped on the bandwagon.
Although these cereals do provide fiber, they may also have added wheat, wheat fiber, or wheat bran. These types of cereals are on the fiber bandwagon, not the gluten-free bandwagon. Make sure you read the labels and hitch yourself to the correct cereals.
Rice cereal: “It’s just supposed to be F$%^&* rice!” is an approximation of what I said walking through the grocery store aisle when looking for rice cereal for my celiac daughter, Aliyah, to make her own rice cereal treats.
Many rice kinds of cereal are sweetened with malt or malt flavoring, which is made from barley which is a high gluten grain. Amazingly enough, I found one rice crispy type cereal that doesn’t use malt: Malt O’ Meal brand. The irony of eating gluten-free!
Soy, tamari, and teriyaki sauce, unless specifically labeled gluten-free: From what I hear, soy sauce in certain parts of Japan are not made from wheat. Here in the US, however, our food wouldn’t be Americanized without adding wheat! Unless specifically labeled gluten-free, any of the above sauces are created with a base of wheat.
Links and Resources Mentioned
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