I hear that a lot, though, that I just can’t eat bread because I have celiac, but in reality, gluten is in SO much more than just bread.
It’s also in most pasta, which is another one I get a lot because it’s commonly known to contain wheat/gluten. Also, cakes, muffins, pies, donuts…almost anything that is baked typically has gluten in it.
But there is so much more than just bread and pasta that contain gluten:
Gluten is LITERALLY everywhere.
It’s why when I was first making the transition to an all gluten-free diet, I spent about two hours in the grocery store restocking my pantry and finding foods that I could eat; because I had to look at every single label on every product before I purchased it to make sure that there were no wheat products in it.
It’s also why I was sobbing in the Wegmans for 30 minutes during this trip because as I was reading labels, I realized how much of what I would normally buy contains gluten and how much of my original diet I could no longer eat. And it was usually stuff I didn’t even think of like salad dressing, because why would I logically think about there being gluten in those things?
ON TOP OF THAT….
There are other words you need to look for on labels such as “maltodextrin” or “lecithin” or “modified food starch”, which also usually mean gluten, so you have to be careful. It’s not always as easy as looking for a label that says “Contains: Wheat”, but don’t get me wrong, I love those. It means I spend a lot less time looking for the hidden gems in ingredient labels.
AND THEN THERE ARE THE THINGS YOU DON’T EAT THAT CONTAIN GLUTEN…
Because, as you can see from above, gluten is in more than just food. If you remember from a post of mine a couple of months ago, I noticed that one of my hair styling products actually contained gluten. It was hidden on the label but it was definitely on there.
Now, admittedly, this is a gray area when it comes to celiac because in reality, you should not expose yourself to gluten in any way, shape or form, because as far as your body is concerned, it’s toxic.
However, it’s pretty unlikely that anything you put on your hair will actually be absorbed into your body, go through your blood stream, digestive tract, etc, so it’s kind of a “you do you” area where if you aren’t as concerned, go ahead, but if you’re highly reactive to gluten, you should really avoid it, even in these kinds of products.
Gluten can also be found in makeup, especially lipsticks. Lipsticks are typically regarded as higher risk because it’s pretty likely at some point you’ll ingest some of the product, which in turn will irritate your stomach. I know there is a lot of research happening in this area and a lot of brands are looking into formulations that don’t include gluten (like ColourPop is gluten-free) since celiac and gluten sensitivity is increasing so quickly, but for now; it’s a tricky area.
is gluten-free) since celiac and gluten sensitivity is increasing so quickly, but for now; it’s a tricky area.
It is also highly suggested that you use different pots and pans at home for cooking because gluten can sometimes seep into the lining/wear of a pan and it can also cause a reaction. Again, for me this is a “you do you” thing; we don’t keep different cooking vessels or plates for me in my house. We clean everything really well and most of our cookwear doesn’t really have nonstick coating which is usually the culprit of this anyway, so as a personal choice; I just don’t bother with this.
Now, I am lucky in that I don’t have a severe reaction if I accidentally ingest (or even intentionally ingest) gluten. It takes a lot of gluten for me to start to feel discomfort, which is why I feel comfortable keeping one set of cookware and not being obscenely vigilant about things outside of my body. Before anyone yells at me; yes I’m aware of the risks and I do avoid gluten as much as possible, but I also realize I already technically did 31 years of damage…I’m just being a realist here.
My point to this is: gluten is everywhere and you realize that when it’s time to avoid it. So to say to someone with celiac, “oh so you just can’t eat this one thing?”. I’m reality, there’s so much I can’t eat anymore; it is truly an entire lifestyle change when something like this happens. Hell there are restaurants I can’t even step foot in anymore…but….more on that later, I’m getting ahead of myself.
What I’m really trying to say is, when your celiac friend is being “picky” or “difficult”, we really aren’t trying to be, it’s just that we know gluten is everywhere (we’re also not paranoid) and don’t want to have pain and discomfort because someone snuck gluten into something that you wouldn’t think would have it. That’s all.