What does gluten-free mean? What is gluten? How do I go gluten-free?
What does gluten-free mean to you? If you’re new to gluten-free life, these questions are your life now.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. It is what gives dough that sticky and elastic quality.
It’s also the dietary devil for those with gluten-sensitivity or Celiac disease.
Where is gluten?
Places you wouldn’t expect to find gluten. It would make sense in bread, pizza and bagels but you also have to be careful with it in soups, sauces, processed meats and some cheeses.
For example, soy sauce. Did you know that soy sauce is more often-than-not NOT gluten free?
How about marshmallows? That’s right, those white fluffy delicious puffs of amazing are often cross-contaminated depending on where they are manufactured. Or they can be using a starch with something sourced from wheat or another gluten source.
Some other surprising places you’ll find gluten:
- Pretty much flavored anything, such as potato chips or even gum!
- Salad dressings. Yes, if you’re opting for a salad you are safe-ish, but many of your favorite store-bought dressings could have gluten in their ingredients so be sure to look. (We recommend making your own!)
- Condiments can also be in the gluten danger zone. Is your mustard safe? Quite possibly not. You’ll want to look for distilled or spirit vinegar in the ingredients. Those are safe for us. But BARELY MALT Vinegar.. is a big no no.
- Alcohol. Say it ain’t so! Sadly, this is true. Many alcohols have gluten sources in their origin stories. Celiac foundations say that it being distilled enough times but many still do react.
So, what does gluten-free mean?
It means making changes in your life, your diet, your planning – to eliminate the problematic protein entirely.
Most people can consume gluten without any problems but there are hundreds of thousands of individuals who cannot tolerate it.
Whether you have Celiac disease, gluten intolerance or wheat allergies, it is not safe for us and will make us extremely sick.
Going gluten-free is pretty much go big or go home. It takes work, but it’s so worth it once you begin to feel better and have your life back. Welcome to the journey and just know you are not alone. <3