One of the first things you need to learn after going gluten free is which foods contain gluten and which ones are safe to consume. This is a never-ending learning process, because there are literally thousands of ingredients you could potentially see in a product.
As you learned about gluten, it is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. All food products that contain “wheat” on their label are off-limits.
Here is a list of foods that contain gluten. Stay away unless you know for a fact it is made with gluten free ingredients!
- Pastry Items
- Most Cereals
- Flour Tortillas
- Oats (processed with gluten-containing grains)
- Croutons and Breadcrumbs
- Imitation Fish
- Anything “au gratin”
- Any item with soy sauce
- All “Breaded” Items
I know, I know; that’s a ton of delicious items that contain gluten. But thankfully, we can make a gluten free version of everything on that list – and it tastes just as good as the normal thing!
If an item contains wheat, it will say “Contains wheat” in the allergen section on the label. This makes it easy for us to put it back on the shelf. But, just because an item doesn’t say “contains wheat” does not mean we can eat it. Barley and rye are not required to be listed int he allergen section of a label, so we need to learn some more about which ingredients to avoid…
To check the labels of a product, all of these ingredients mean an item contains gluten:
- White Flour
- Wheat Flour
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Bleached Flour
- Triticum Vulgare
- Hordeum Vulgare
- Secale Cereale
- Triticum Spelta
- Wheat Protein/Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
- Wheat Starch/Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch
- Wheat or Barley Grass
- Wheat Germ Oil or Extract
A few other notes to wrap up with – “Dextrin” can be made from wheat, but it should say whether or not it is on the label. “Maltodextrin” in the US is made from corn, potato, or rice but overseas it is sometimes made from wheat starch. “Caramel color” can be made from barley or other grain products, but it is usually safe to consume in the United States. Check with the manufacturer on “caramel color or coloring” before consuming.
“Hydrolyzed vegetable protein/hydrolyzed plant protein/textured vegetable protein” could contain protein obtained from wheat, but most is made from corn, soy, or peanut. The label should specify if it is the version with wheat or not. “Modified food starch” can be made from potato, tapioca, corn, wheat, or other sources. Corn is almost always the source in North America, and if wheat is the source, it is required to be listed.
Next – we are learning which foods don’t contain gluten.