May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Today I want to revisit some of the tips for the newly gluten-free. These aren’t just helpful for those just starting the diet, but for those who have been on it for years and may need a reminder. I don’t know about you, but as time goes on, I become complacent and become less and less diligent about checking labels or doing my research before dining out.
1. Always, always read the label! Companies are notorious for changing suppliers and therefore that once gluten-free product may no longer be gluten-free. You may notice more and more products with the “gluten-free” claim on the front of the package. With the new labeling laws in place, a product may carry that claim so long as the product contains less than 20ppm gluten.
2. Cross contamination is a real concern when dining out (or even in your own home!). Picking the croutons off of your salad is not sufficient. Make sure to speak with the manager or chef on duty to ask about their methods for preventing the cross contamination of your food. Unless you have worked in a restaurant, you may not be aware of some of the methods used to prepare food. If you have, you know what I am talking about. Veggies can be steamed in pasta water; ingredients that contain gluten may be kept right next to gluten-free ingredients on the line; eggs used for omelets may be thickened with pancake batter to make them fluffier; the same utensils may be used to plate your gluten-free food that just plated that burger or chicken fingers; your “gluten-free” fries or tortilla chips may be fried in a fryer with chicken fingers or onion rings.
3. Stay clear of soy sauce unless you are sure it is gluten-free. There are several gluten-free brands on the market (La Choy, San-J and Kikkoman now makes a GF version). Additionally, some sauces & marinades may contain soy sauce, so don’t be so sure the grilled chicken you are ordering at a restaurant is gluten-free unless you have double checked.
4. Check your medication for gluten. There is an excellent site that is maintained by a local clinical pharmacist called Gluten-Free Drugs. If you are unable to verify your medication, call the manufacturer or your pharmacist and ask.
5. Don’t assume you are free and clear on drinks. Unless you are drinking unflavored water, milk, 100% juice, unflavored tea (and even some of these may contain barley), or unflavored coffee you need to verify that what you are drinking is gluten-free.
Glutino is one of our favorite gluten-free specialty brands. They make a wide variety of gluten-free products including baking mixes, cookies, pretzels, chips, cookies, frozen meals, breads, bagels, English muffins and more. In celebration of Celiac Awareness they have graciously offered to give 5 lucky readers each a coupon for a free product. All you have to do to enter is comment below and let us know which product you would buy with your free product coupon. Good luck! Giveaway will be open until Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 11:59 PM. Winners will be chosen the following morning.
*The products pictured above and being given away in this post were provided courtesy of Glutino. The thoughts and opinions shared here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything.