I've been reading the new book, Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free by April Peveteaux (a former Stir contributor!). Even for the totally gluten-friendly, the book is informative and an unexpected kness-slapper. You wouldn't think there's anything funny about celiac, but there is. Oh yes, there is. Anyway, I'm actually learning a few things I didn't know about gluten before. Like -- all of the things in the world that have gluten in them. And they're not even all food! Gluten is so not just about bread and pasta. Here are several places April says gluten hides.
- Beer. I think the word is getting out, but just in case you hadn't put two and two together yet (HINT: IT'S MADE FROM WHEAT). Beer has gluten.
- Mustard. Which means mustard made with ale (beer) also contain gluten.
- Communion wafers. Oh. My. God.
- Dextrin. Not that you should be taking it anyway.
- Finger paints. Surprise, surprise, most brands of finger paints are made with wheat! Who knew?
- Licorice. But it's candy!
- Lunch meat. Often these are made with fillers which means you know what: Gluten.
- Malt. Yo, it's made from barley -- usually.
- Oats. Some rolled oats are processed at plants that also process wheat.
- Play-Doh. Arts and crafts are kind of a headache for parents of gluten-free kids. The commercial and most homemade dough has gluten. Some modeling clays also have gluten.
- Soy sauce. Yes, most commercially made soy sauce has gluten. Good luck eating out at a Chinese restaurant now. However, some naturally fermented soy sauces can be extremely low in gluten. Otherwise, there's gluten-free tamari sauce.
- Soups, sauces, dressings. Yes, even innocent little salad dressings. All of these foods may be thickened with gluten.
- Stamps and envelopes. Crazy! Don't lick 'em.
- Vitamins and medication. It seems cruel and unfair, doesn't it? Always check with your pharmacists to make sure your meds won't make you sick. And watch those generics, which may contain starch.
April says, "Your takeaway is this: Anything that comes with a label or in a package must be treated as suspect." When in doubt (even after reading the label), call the manufacturer. But hey, at least now you know about the stamps!
Did you know gluten could hide in these foods and substances?
Images via The Knowles Gallery/Flickr, Gluten Is My Bitch/Stewart Tabori & Chang