Gluten-free and well-fed: the sneaky stuff
January 27th, 2011
03:30 PM ET
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Jennie Bragg is an Editorial Producer in CNN’s Money Unit. Previously - Celiac? To heck with that!

When it comes to food - and pretty much everything else in my life - I have always been a creature of habit. This gets me into what I refer to as food ruts; I eat the same thing for breakfast or lunch (or both) for days, weeks, even months at a time, until I wear myself out completely and decide I can’t stand the sight of said food anymore.

Such was the case recently with almonds. I loved them. I couldn’t get enough. I put them on yogurt, oatmeal, salads, and ate ‘em by the heaping handful. Then, out of nowhere, my almond joy vanished.

This is not the first time this has occurred. I have worn myself out on everything from soy crisps to dried apricots to a certain brand of vanilla yogurt. In college, I think I ate the same turkey sandwich for lunch for about a year.

These days, I attribute my rut-eating to the you-can’t-eat-that feeling I get when I walk into a grocery store, a restaurant, or the CNN cafeteria. I have been living with celiac disease and, as a result, eating gluten-free for quite some time now.

I’m not saying I get overwhelmed by a trip to the grocery store or a menu - I just get lazy. If I know what I am going to eat, and more importantly, what I CAN eat, I don’t have to read labels or ask multiple people whether or not this soup contains gluten. Finding the gluten in everyday foods can be a chore - sometimes, one I am not ready to take on.

Gluten hides in some not so obvious places. Not every brand has the same ingredients, but small amounts of gluten can be found in some things you would never imagine. Here are a few that threw me when I first started eating G-free:

  • Soy sauce
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Ketchup, mustard and mayo
  • Salad dressing
  • Thickened soups and sauces (like gravy)
  • Processed meats
  • Non-stick spray
  • Non-food products (like lipsticks, shampoos and the adhesive on envelopes)
  • Please, FDA, won’t you implement a rule that forces all food manufacturers to label gluten ingredients? Nothing fancy. Perhaps a fun little grain symbol in the corner of the label?

    In the meantime, to ensure you are not ingesting any gluten, your best plan is to read the label on everything you eat. And if you aren’t sure about the ingredients in something you are about to shovel into your G-free pie hole - ASK!

    Good advice from the girl who eats the same salad for lunch everyday, huh? But quite frankly, it is difficult to keep my food detective hat on all the time. For the time being, I’m comfortable in my rut, thank you very much.

    Stay tuned as Jennie dishes on the gluten-free trend: when did G-free become sexy?

    Previously - Gluten defined and Celiac? To heck with that!

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    Filed under: Dietary Restrictions • FDA • Gluten-free

    soundoff (112 Responses)
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      April 9, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
    2. PattyH

      It really is hard to get used to a gluten-free, dairy-free diet. I was eating salmon a lot and it wasn't agreeing with me because it was he Atlantic salmon not the wild caught kind. I think I may be intolerant to to the dyes they put in the salmon so now I go wild caught which is a bit stronger than the Atlantic and we don't enjoy the taste as much. Also, the gluten free pasta is really good even my husband does not mind it but beware of the sauce. I thought the marinara sauce was safe but now I realize I have to go with the organic variety to be safe. Spicy foods and high fiber fruits and vegetables are off limits due to the terrible gas they cause me (maybe not everybody). Also, gluten-free does not mean dairy-free and vice versa. Some of the tricks I learned that work for me are taking Puristat multi-vitamin and mineral supplement with digestive enzymes. I also eat Chobani yogurt almost every day for the probiotics–which you get used to on the dairy side because the active cultures cancel out the dairy intolerance. When I cheat I take Lactaid and the 40 calorie Almond Breeze is easy to get used to. The dairy-free Lactaid ice cream is good but be careful not to eat too much. Better than Eggs in the carton cooked as an omelette with fennel seed and rosemary with tapioca bread for toast holds me over pretty good until lunch and the fennel seeds are a good gas controller. I also eat cream of rice mixed with blueberries, strawberries, or bananas for breakfast. Sometimes I add flax seeds and quinoa to the cream of rice. Also, Devrom and activated charcoal are good products to reduce foul oder from gas and the charcoal helps reduce gas when I want to indulge in healthy vegetables which cause flatulence of course I still rely on GasX after and Beano before eating. On the occasions when I break down and have a good roll or a dessert in a restaurant I take a product called Colonade- which is a fiber packet and tea bags used for a 14 day colon cleanse. Instead of doing the cleanse–which I recommend to clear the intestines of stuff that hangs out fermenting in there for those of you with gas issues–use the fiber packet at night half the packet (or a whole one if you did the cleanse previously it will not cause urgency in the middle of the night) and things will be eliminated from the small intestine so that you won't suffer the backlash of cheating as bad. The tea alone at night is good too if you need to eliminate early in the morning so you don't have to worry about where the bathrooms are once you are out and about. Two days before a long trip in the car (7 and 10 hour trips) I take the Colonade whole packet before breakfast and the tea bag just before bed two nights in a row so that I don't have to worry about having a bowel movement in a public restroom and my husband won't get mad because of the time spent in the bathroom. One last thing I learned that works for me is to avoid eating large meals. Better to eat smaller portions throughout the day to avoid urgent bathroom or frequent bathroom stops. Gluten free pretzels and small portions of almonds or walnuts make good snacks as well as yogurt. I tried the gluten free cake and muffin mixes which are a treat for us gluten-free, dairy-free people although others may find them bland. My problem is I eat the whole batch because I deprived myself so long they are irresistible. Now I try to freeze the left overs right away so I don't go over board. Even eating too much of these can make me suffer. We used to like the marinated chicken and turkey products from the super market but they have additives so I don't buy them anymore. Lactose intolerant people can't eat any four legged creatures so beef, and pork products are off limits. I can have turkey bacon once in a while but not too frequently which is a treat for me when I start getting bored. I keep tuna, salmon in a can (although now I wonder if it is ok), kipper snacks, and sardines on hand for those times when I haven't shopped in a while and I need a healthy lunch. Spinach and green leafy vegetables are tolerable. Gluten free mayo and gluten free peanut butter on gluten free bread works. Also, I keep frozen shrimp and scallops in the freezer for a quick snack or over rice pasta with olive oil or organic marinara sauce for something different than the usual fish, chicken, and turkey meals. I hope this helps some of you out there who just found out they need to go on a dairy-free, gluten-free diet. At first you only hear about all the things you can not eat and it seems like there is nothing left to eat. The gluten free and dairy free options out there are a big help. They are not as delicious as the real thing but are better than nothing. Good luck and good health. For Allergy Labels.

      March 8, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    3. Jessica B

      Great article! I eat gluten free for medical reasons, and it is SO true about getting in a rut with food...I like it and know it is why not!?

      Thanks for writing!!

      February 6, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    4. bmfsv

      Hi – Has anyone tried: Dad's Gluten-Free Pizza Crust? A wonderful fun & safe product. With a 5 yr track record of sales around the country – An excellent product – check out their website:

      January 31, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    5. Mike

      There are many many superb sites out there by many people who (are angels) have been diagnosed Celiac like myself who have become chef's for us who have Celiac,and they have decided to share their knowledge freely. Just Google it:
      Gluten Free Girl is a great site! She is very funny also in her writing style.

      January 29, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    6. Monica I.

      Oh, Jennie, I know the rut you're in. The effort required to stay healthy is a huge drain. Beyond the 50% higher chance of colon cancer, the damage caused to your brain and intestine, there are enormous reasons to look out for yourself.

      You have one thing right – eating salad – any UN-processed foods are the way to go. Find stores you trust, and won't break your bank. In Canada there IS a tax credit for the added expense celiacs must endure, although I am certain it isn't ever enough.

      I should let you know about my secrets that I've used over the past 22 years since my chiropractor diagnosed me – yes the DR said I should seek "Professional" help.

      There is a very new Gluten Free cookbook out by a local Canadian author that is SUPERB. Her Angel Food cake is something to shout about – you would NEVER know it was gluten free. "Gems of Gluten Free Baking" and you can support her by purchasing direct from her website My other favourite cookbook is from Bette Hageman – The Gluten Free Gourmet series – I received it as a gift and I have had it handy for over 15 years, just wonderful .

      January 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    7. Monica I.

      In Canada we are having a battle right now to finalize a law regarding food labelling and clarity that began in 2008. Perhaps you could throw your voice in the ring too! The Canadian Celiac Association circulated info, and my friend ran a post in his blog ( that I hope you can read and perhaps some of your commenters could also send letters… we all need a hand and for the sake of a few cents profit on beer… I would rather be healthy!

      January 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    8. Devin

      I'm almost 28 and was diagnosed as having Celiac disease when I was 20. It does get easier with time. And over the past few years, there has been so much more awareness out there. There's been a real upswing in the amount of food that is labeled as Gluten Free. Its amazing what companies will do for their consumers. Bisquick, Betty Crocker, General Mills...all have GF products that you can find at Walmart. Even the Walmart brand, Great Value, will lable their products as GF if they are. Restaurants like PF Changs and Outback even work with the Gluten Intolerance Group to develope GF menu items. Its definitely easier than it was 7 years ago.

      January 28, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    9. JeanC

      I went gluten free several months ago when I realized the problems I was having was happening every time I ate anything with wheat. Went off wheat and gluten for a while, most of the problems went away. Decided I would have the blood test and planned on going back on my regular wheat based diet several weeks ahead of time to make sure if there was a problem it would show up. Had 3 small pancakes and spent the rest of the day in pain and rushing to the bathroom. Went off gluten immediately there after. Talked about it with my doctor when I next saw him and he concurred I had a problem with gluten.

      Being gluten free is not a fad, it isn't easy and is a royal pain in the ass. I can't eat at most of my favorite restaurants anymore, have to read every label and learn how the industry labels gluten since they have a dozen different ways to list it. It also isn't cheap and the person who says there are aisles of gluten free products obviously has shopped at regular grocery stores. My main store is Winco, luckily they are putting labels up for the gluten free products, but in the section for pasta there is only 1 GF pasta product, Annie's Mac & Cheese for just under $3 for a box (compared to Kraft Mac & Cheese for just under a $1, 70 cents on sale when the students come back to town). We do have a store that has a natural foods section that has a fairly decent selection of GF foods, but a pound of brown rice spaghetti is $4 a pound, compared to regular wheat spaghetti that is about 60 cents a pound.

      Thankfully more and more companies are putting out clearer labels and more companies are putting out GF products, but there is still a long way to go. In the meantime I will continue to forgo some of my favorite foods since there are no GF versions locally and continue exploring other cuisines so I won't get bored to death with what few things I can eat.

      January 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
      • Mike

        JaenC,if you have an Asian community in your area,shop there. The large suprmarkets have many kinds of rice noodles and pasta styles that are very good. They are barely discernible from wheat in texture and taste,lat's face it they have been making rice noodles for centuries,they know how! You do have to read labels but most noodles are made from rice and water,or tapioca and water,very low prices,and good place to get spring roll wrappers or wraps for sushi rolls. They also carry many different varieties of rice you can't find anywhere else.

        January 29, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    10. Kate

      I have to eat gluten-free, and it's not difficult. You read food labels. You ask questions when you eat out. You avoid foods that contain gluten, and if you're concerned about contamination, you don't eat it. It's not a great mystery or something difficult to do.

      January 28, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
      • BIHT

        I agree, its not that difficult once you get used to it. However learning what you can and can't eat can be overwhelming at first.

        April 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    11. beth

      I suffered for years with horrible symptoms that turned out to be a result of food allergies; celiac disease and soy allergies the worst offenders. Any of the morons on here who casually say it is no big deal have NO IDEA what it is like to be affected by things that are in almost EVERY manufactured product on the market. And yes, topical applications in things like lotion and shampoo can cause symptoms in highly sensitive people like i am. I have had to change everything in my life, avoid social settings and can only eat about 10 things safely with no effects. My immune system has been severely compromised but it is finally healing. I suffered terrible acid reflux and would throw up mucus almost every day, suffered horrible stomach aches etc. Even now if i have the smallest amount of an allergen (especially soy and gluten) i start coughing immediately and know that i am in trouble. I sleep about 12 hours a day because my body is healing. Plus i spend about 3 times as much on the products i can eat than the normal person has to spend. This is a huge and growing problem...people and doctors need to take this very seriously. Just as a small indication of how soy has invaded our life, i can't eat eggs because the chickens are feed with soy because it is cheap. It is no coincidence that so many people are finding out they have celiac disease or other food allergies. The food manufacturers are overloading their products with fillers...many soy and wheat based. I am so glad CNN posted this article..i hope they continue to feature this growing problem. thanks.

      January 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    12. Marie

      What about people, like myself, gluten and dairy free diet. I don't have Celiac, but I do get sinus headaches, and sinus
      congestion if I eat either dairy or gluten. There is no cure, and no pill to take to lessen the reaction. I have been reading
      labels since 1994, when it was diagnosted. There is a magazine out that does have good information called "Living
      Without", that has many recipies I have used. And they have a web site to look up recipes. Thanks for your article.

      January 28, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    13. dd simmons

      A friend sent me an amazing gluten-free cookbook by Lisa A. Lundy called The Super Allergy Girl: Gluten-free, Casein-free, Nut-free Allergy and Celiac Cookbook (from a mother who knows). In spite of the long title, the recipes are concise, wonderful and easy to make. You can get it a If you follow this, you won't feel deprived of tasty food and that's more than half the battle.

      January 28, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    14. Lesley

      I can't imagine how tough it would be for a person with Celiacs. There was a time when my family was worried about it (tests came back negative and instead found out I had IBS), and I tried going on a gluten-free diet, but I couldn't even last a weekend! I do remember groceries that are gluten-free being much more expensive than their gluten-included counterparts!

      January 28, 2011 at 10:05 am |
      • Kate

        Lesley, it's honestly not difficult. The processed, packaged foods like gluten-free breads and crackers are terrible for you (high in calories and starch). I have to eat a gluten-free diet, and while it sucks that I can't drink regular beer or eat a regular pizza, it's actually very easy to follow a gluten-free diet. Lean meats and veggies are accessible to everyone. You don't have to shop at Whole Foods to find ingredients that qualify as gluten-free. You don't have to eat salads every day for every meal. It is easier thank most people think!

        January 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    15. Michele

      Having been diagnosed less than a year ago, I'm still in the paranoia stage of reading/asking/not eating. Great for the diet – lost 30 pounds! Seriously, my numbers won't come down to a healthy antibody level and my doctor is pretty stumped – and she is one of the "informed" ones! Maybe bottled water and celery for a while, huh?

      January 28, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    16. lance corporal

      a GF label would be a real help, there are plenty of things we do for %1 of the population. especially at the outset it can be overwhelming to the person just diagnosed, many of our usual comfort foods are suddenly unavailable to you and until you get a handle on it there are these constant info bombs hitting you where you find out that a condiment of other small item you eat contains gluten despite your good efforts. celiac reactions can be very harsh, this is a known issue that effects a statistically relevant % of our population, it seems like a no brainer, there is a product in many foods making some of us sick, OK lets warn those people..... whats the biggee? just have the FDA say that within 5 years all labels must have ANY glutenous ingredients listed, gives all the manufacturers time to change the labels without impacting them financially. Doctors thought I had heart disease and was on the verge of death when I discovered celiac, 10 years later I'm healthy, I'm a father, support a family, pay taxes, served my country in the marines, I'm a good neighbor, volunteer in my children's schools and in church, you would have me die young because it's inconvenient for you to have to have "too much information" on your food labels????? REALLY?!? WOW......

      January 28, 2011 at 8:33 am |
    17. jamomo

      Everyone should just go to for tasty gluten-free handmade chocolate and more!

      January 28, 2011 at 4:34 am |
    18. Allergic to Corn

      Agree. Very difficult to find food that doesn't make me sick. It would help if the FDA would make them label gmo's, corn, eggs, chickens, chocolate. Even if you try to supplement your nutrition because you can't find food, they make vitamin C out of corn...and it's not on the label. It's not like you can trick us into buying it or get away with not telling us. Our body knows. It reacts. (severely for me) It makes your body send histamines and makes it hard to breathe. I can't pee when I eat grain. Blood pressure goes up. But, we have no way of knowing because they won't put it on the label. You just have to try it and probably get sick. There's so much in our diet that it's a chronic inflammation all the time. damage to small vessels is done in the swelling.

      January 28, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    19. Berkana18

      I thought there was some legislation pending (2012) to have wheat listed in the label warning lists, but maybe I'm misinformed. Meanwhile as a six veteran in the GF jungle, I wanted to give some advice to my fellow label readers. Be aware, very aware, of cross-contamination in food products which at first glance appear to be gluten free. One blatant example is a line of tv dinner type meals by one of the big organic houses. Some proudly state all "gluten free ingredients" on the front of the box, but the fine print says manufactured on equipment that also processes wheat containing foods. In some cases the same meal was also sold in a package labeled "gluten free" which means the item will pass a gluten assay and is safe to consume. Unless a product is produced on a dedicated line, indeally in a dedicated gf facility, there is often enough gluten contamination to produce a reaction. This problem can extend to foods that you can't imagine as possibly having gluten in them. Candies, cough drops. pharmaceuticals, and even some softdrinks contain modified starches which sometimes cause reactions (I found this out the hard way). Read the label, read it again, and think about how/where the product was made. As to those who have the audicity to complain about "all" that gf food taking up shelf space, there are many complete aisles in food stores that are useless to me. In the beginning I had to avoid them because it would bring me to tears to see all I had lost. It has only been in the last 3 years or so that there is any reasonable selection of gf foods, even though most of them are outrageously expensive.

      January 28, 2011 at 12:28 am |
      • Devin

        I totally agree. I've been dealing with Celiac for 7 years. I just wanted to add something to your thing about cross contamination. It may sound silly, but it happend to me. Kissing can also transfer gluten from one person to another. If your partner has had something that you are allergic to and then you get to kissing...for me, my reaction was just the same as if i had eaten the forbidden food. a simple mouth rinse of the other person cured that problem right up. just be careful.

        January 28, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    20. dixie

      @DesertRat: I hear you on manufacturers changing their recipes on foods. I am not celiac nor gluten-intolerant, however, I do have a very severe food allergy to eggs. I read the article because of the relevance to correct labeling. I nearly died 12 years ago when Nabisco changed their recipe for Devil's Food SnackWells cookie-cakes to include egg-whites. I was used to eating this particular snack-indulgence, so I thought nothing when my sister offered me a bite of cookie as we were unpacking groceries. I felt my tongue and throat begin to burn, my eyes watering and my chest tighten within 15 seconds of ingesting. By the time the paramedics got to me I was gasping for air and very, very ill. Food allergies are nothing to fool around with, & even though I have lived with this allergy all of my life, I still find that every so often one can be tripped up. I am religious about reading labels and if in doubt about something on a menu, I try to order a salad or fresh fruit a la carte: take no chances!

      January 27, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
      • Sheila

        I'm writing from Canada where since 2003 the spring of my CD diagnosis I have been urging our government to refine the labeling laws to indicate "GLUTEN". So far, all I've gotten are labels on SOME products that show "SOURCES OF GLUTEN", e.g. wheat. I have written to numerous members of parliament and if Canadian readers would like to help me in this mission, they can write letters. I offer one of mine as a sample to assist. Postage to Parliament is free.

        Return address


        NAME of M.P.
        House of Commons
        Ottawa, Ontario
        Canada K1A 0A6

        Dear NAME of Member of Parliament

        Re: Celiac Disease – Gluten-specific labels

        I am looking for a champion.

        As a Member of Parliament you will be in a position to help me with a battle I am fighting. I would like you to know that I have been sick my entire life. Until 2003, I wasn't even "sure" I was sick. In my earliest memory, one of the first long words I learned was "malingerer". This was said to me by my father when I was struggling to get out of bed to go to school. I kept falling back over the bed. No one believed I was sick. They just thought I was trying to avoid Miss Whitely (the Vice-Principal of my High School and teacher) who was harassing and tormenting me on a daily basis, over a period of three years.

        Until I almost died as the government final examinations were approaching, no one even began to investigate my illness. After seven blood transfusions, some various tests over the years resulted in numerous diagnoses related to the intestines. Even so, there were doctors who said the diagnoses were wrong. Then, one day, on my way to another doctor's appointment, I fell asleep at the wheel of my car at a stop sign. I immediately jolted awake, shocked and stunned, and when I arrived at the office, I told the doctor what had happened. A new round of tests resulted in my new diagnosis.

        It was the spring of 2003. I was told that I have Celiac Disease. That was the bad news. The good news, the gastroenterologist said, was that all I had to do was avoid gluten. I hardly knew what that was, but I was determined to avoid it. Dr. Joe Schwarcz (McGill University) wrote an article about it and he was kind enough to send me a copy. Someone recommended that I join the Celiac Association. I did so, for one year. The one thing I learned from them was that they were unable to help me because they were in the same boat as I: They could not tell me where the gluten was that I was to avoid because the information is not on the product labels. They provided lists of ingredients that may reflect a presence of gluten and I collected lists and was emailed lists; there were lists on the web, lists in books, lists on pages and lists in pamphlets. What was lacking was information on the package. Since any list was only good for the day it was made, it meant my life was going to be a search, waiting, daily, by web, post or phone. The information provided by the web, post or phone is always conditional – it may not have gluten, it may have gluten, it may have ingredients that had gluten – take your chances if you want to.

        I began to write newsletters, sending them out to media and government and fellow sufferers. I pleaded with Ministers and Members of Parliament to make the laws reflect the reality of people allergic or hypersensitive to gluten. Hundreds of thousands of patients like me need to know where is the gluten. How can I avoid it if I cannot see the word on the label? Gluten cannot be seen, smelled or detected by taste.

        Since 2003 I have been seeking a champion. Will you support me in my efforts to have accurate, specific labels for gluten? I have tried to meet with Health Minister Mr. Clement and others and I am being rebuffed, regardless of which political party is in office. We need a concise commitment to the specific results required; notification on a package that the contents do or do not contain gluten.

        Estimates are that 1 in 133 people have Celiac Disease and they need this information on packages.

        Would you please propose a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament to the effect that packages must be labelled precisely for gluten content?

        January 28, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    21. dixie

      @DesertRat: I hear you on manufacturers changing their recipes on foods. I am not celiac nor gluten-intolerant, however, I do have a very severe food allergy to eggs. I read the article because of the relevaance to correct labeling. I nearly died 12 years ago when Nabisco changed their recipe for Devil's Food SnackWells cookie-cakes to include egg-whites. I was used to eating this particular snack-indulgence, so I thought nothing when my sister offered me a bite of cookie as we were unpacking groceries. I felt my tongue and throat begin to burn, my eyes watering and my chest tighten within 15 seconds of ingesting. By the time the paramedics got to me I was gasping for air and about to pass out. Food allergies are nothing to fool around with, & even though I have lived with this allergy all of my life, I still find that every so often one can be tripped up. I am religious about reading labels and if in doubt about something on a menu, I try to order a salad or fresh fruit a la carte: take no chances!

      January 27, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
      • Hawaiikaos

        There should be an app where you can scan a barcode on a food item with your cell phone and have it alert you if it matches any of your particular allergies - faster than reading labels (which are often tiny), and doesn't force food manufacturers to create labels for every allergy possibility.

        January 28, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    22. Ruby

      "...I think I ate the same turkey sandwich for lunch for about a year. ..."

      Wow, must have been a really big sandwitch!

      January 27, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    23. ct

      finally some exposure for celiacs

      January 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    24. anne

      I never got diagnosed as GF intolerant, but I know I am allergic to Gluten after investigating the foods I eat that gave me for many years acne and itchy bumps on my body. I realized it is Gluten. I ca do without for weeks, but then I go through a week or two of eating GF. I also don't do dairy, but my favorite food in the whole world is cheese and bread. It's so hard to stay GF. I hope one day they come up with a wheat that does not have Gluten.

      January 27, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    25. DesertRat

      I understand the rut you get into! My child has several food allergies (eosinophilic esophagitis). One problem though–sometimes manufacturers change their recipes a bit, so you still need to double check labels instead of assuming it's the same. We do a lot of cooking from scratch here, it's just easier.

      January 27, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    26. Maroo

      Yea Celiac Power!!!!

      January 27, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    27. da funkee 1

      Gluten I can do. But how in the heck did I develop an allergy to peanut butter at 42 years old?! Mixed nuts too? As much as I love peanut butter and apples. But...get this...I can eat a Baby Ruth and be fine. Go figure!

      January 27, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    28. Not Gluten

      I think it is important that we know what is in our food, gluten intolerant or not. The labeling is just a nightmare, you have to second guess every word.

      I am not gluten intolerant, however, I have problems with wheat (took me months to figure out the difference, yikes). I have discovered, through my brother in Thailand, that Thai rice noodles are wheat and gluten free. I use them as pasta substitute and they are really good. But don't take the chinese ones because they do contain gluten. The thai ones do not. You can find them at any asian market. Give it a try.

      January 27, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
      • Truth

        I will.

        January 27, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
        • Jdizzle McHammerpants

          Couldn't help myself. I go to corner. =(

          January 27, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    29. Jdizzle McHammerpants

      If our moms would have all smoked weed and drank Jack while pregnant and slopping the pigs, you could all experience my immune system.

      January 27, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    30. Jdizzle McHammerpants


      FYI, cyanide smells like burnt almonds.

      January 27, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    31. Onion free

      I understand the pain. I am severely allergic to onions. What I hate the worst is going into a restaurant where the people serving the food don't have a strong enough command of the English language to understand that I need to know if a particular menu item contains onions. I have to avoid many food establishments for this reason

      January 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
      • Calif Girl

        Learn to say in Spanish "I am allergic to onions" - tengo allergia contra cebollas - the professor at your local college should be willing to spend a few minutes teaching you how to pronounce it. Problem solved.

        January 27, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
        • Gluten Free in Boston

          It's not exactly that simple, and it's CERTAINLY not always Spanish.

          January 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    32. Calif Girl

      I'm allergic to soy, and find that hiding in the darnedest places, too. I basically can't eat any packaged food from the health food store because it's all "now enhanced with soy for women's health!" - not for THIS woman's health! A vegetarian friend thought I just didn't want to give up eating steak so she slipped me a soyburger; it fooled my tastebuds, but it could not fool my digestive tract - 20 minutes later I was writhing on the floor in pain begging God to let me die.

      I think all of the top 10 food allergens (dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, onions, wheat, etc.) need to be flagged on food labels for instant reference.

      And for heaven's sake, when you take food to a pot luck, PLEASE attach a list of the ingredients. If I know that luscious-looking lasagne was made with soy crumbles instead of beef, I can avoid ruining your party by having the paramedics as uninvited guests.

      Quite often when I go to a community pot luck, the safest route for me is to consume nothing but Coke and whatever food I brought myself, because I don't know the other guests well enough to know who's vegan (i.e., avoid their contribution because it likely contains soy).

      January 27, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
      • Gluten Free in Boston

        I'm gluten free and almost never eat what anyone else cooks unless it's family, who know exactly how sick I get if I ingest gluten. Other people really don't pay attention, even close friends who know. Plus I haven't eaten beef in 5 years, and people still serve it for dinner when I'm there. I'm not going to impose my dietary issues on my host, especially when they know already and don't even try. I'll just eat first, or more often, bring a hearty appetizer that I can fill up on before dinner. If I don't have time to cook, I'll usually politely decline the invitation. No courtesy to the host is worth how sick you get get eating gluten when you're celiac or non-celiac intolerant.

        January 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    33. Kim

      Why not just follow the Paleo diet? No chance of eating gluten with that–no dairy, grains or beans! Just whole foods like meat, veg, fruits & nuts.No labels one has to check to see what's listed in the ingredients–it's all from the produce and meat aisles! I eat better, feel better, & look better since I've gone Paleo. It's a perfect diet for those who are gluten-intolerant, among other many other things. If a caveman didn't eat it, we shouldn't either! And that includes tofu and vegannaise *barfs*

      January 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
      • Calif Girl

        Agreed. It may take a bit longer to make my own soup from fresh chicken and fresh carrots than to open a can, but at least I know what's in it. And if you cook from fresh ingredients, you don't get high blood pressure from all the sodium hidden in convenience foods.

        Just toss chicken, veggies and water in the crockpot and ignore it till dinner time. It does not take that long to assemble if you use pre-cut-up chicken parts and baby carrots that don't need to be chopped. Once I have a big pot of it made, I can freeze single servings which reheat as quickly as canned soup.

        January 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
        • Kim

          Absolutely! Right now I'm making broiled lamb chops with mint curry pesto, and a carrot & turnip veg soup. It's worth the extra hassle of prepping it myself, and eating a late dinner. Plus it tastes delicious! Not to mention the leftovers I'll have for lunch tomorrow :)

          I'll have to give your chicken soup recipe a try some time.

          January 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
      • Hawaiikaos

        I think the issue for most people, in removing all prepackaged food and switching entirely to fresh meat and produce, is that it goes bad so quickly. You basically have to shop for food each day. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't have time for that. Also, I don't have a kitchen in my apartment, which is relatively common where I live. I think there's laws against doing that on the mainland though, but still it does take more time, effort, and skill to prepare only fresh meat, veggies, and fruit - but I do agree, this is the ideal human diet.

        January 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
      • HeatherT

        You would THINK that the paleo diet would solve it. Trust me, it doesn't. The thing is, when you buy something simple, like a "pork chop" at the market, it has often been prepared on a cutting board where "breaded pork chops" were previously prepared. And if you do something really outre', like go to a farm and get your own fresh chicken, that chicken might have been eating wheat before it was butchered, and that's enough to set off a reaction.

        Anything from a bulk food bin might be contaminated too. So are many packaged foods. One of my reactions was to packaged dates ... a perfectly good paleo food! But it was packaged on the same food line as their whole wheat flour.

        I am heartened to see so many enlightened replies here though. 10 years ago, most people thought the whole thing was psychosomatic. Now the majority realize it's a real medical issue.

        I'm a basic believer in figuring out what our ancestral diet was, and learning from that. I've been amazed at what I've learned over the years, by studying real cooking methods and what people really ate, and modifying our diet accordingly.

        January 29, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    34. Vicky Bee

      Trace amounts of gluten in things like shampoo and lotion should not be enough to trigger a reaction, even in someone with the most severe case of Celiacs. My son has been gluten free for three years now. He reacts quickly and strongly when there is any cross contamination, but has never reacted to anything topical like a shampoo or lotion because those things are not ingested. If someone has a gluten allergy and not Celiac disease then they perhaps could react, but the amount found in these products is truly miniscule.

      January 27, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
      • FrostKa

        Actually, some celiacs can experience a mild to severe rash when they use a lipstick or lotion that contains gluten – it's just not as common.

        January 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
        • Vicky Bee

          The gluten molecule is too large to pass through the skin so it can't be the gluten that causes a reaction, unless you have broken skin already.

          January 28, 2011 at 8:47 am |
        • Vicky Bee

          Also, anything that can be ingested, like lipstick, should absolutely be gluten free. If you use lotion that contains gluten, you should wash your hands before preparing or eating food.

          January 28, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    35. Caitlin S.

      I agree. I've been wanting the FDA to force manufacturers to list ALL foods. Not just for allergies but intolerances as well. I have several intolerances that cause me to vomit. Soy is one of them. Anyone can potentially be allergic or intolerant to anything and we should be able to look at the ingredients and know exactly what's in there. Enough with the generic labels like "natural and artificial flavors". Just list them all already!

      January 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    36. Bryon Peterson

      Thanks so much for raising the awareness of gluten-free living! My wife, a former professional baker started experiencing significant food allergies a few years ago. Found out it was gluten, what a challenge for a baker! In adjusting to her new diet, we found that a large portion of commercial gluten-free foods in specialty stores was often awful in taste and texture. So being a great baker and fabulous cook, she decided she'd start creating recipes of sumptous gluten-free options and post them on her gluten-free blog, Try some of the pancake and muffin recipes for breakfast, they are amazing!

      January 27, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    37. Chrissy

      I've been Gluten Free for 6 mos now, since I found out that I'm gluten intolerant. It's a complete lifestyle change. Being gluten free is NOT A DIET TO LOSE WEIGHT, although you MAY lose a FEW pounds.

      I work in a restaraunt/bar. I had a young female asking about what is on our menu that is gluten free, while she's sitting there drinking a beer. I said to her that she must not understand what being gluten free is really about since she is drinking a beer. I also informed her that she should see her Dr. & be tested for Celiac's Disease or an intolerance. I also told her to SERIOUSLY educate herself about what being gluten free really is about. What was really funny, was the look she gave me, when I told her that if she wanted to be serious about being gluten free that she can't drink beer anymore, LOL!!

      My point is: "Being gluten free is aserious, healthy and nessesary lifestyle change, not a diet fad!!"

      January 27, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    38. Elsie

      I am completely new to living gluten free. In the past month I have found nothing but a world full of no-no's. I am working with a dietician but I swear without clear labeling it makes me want to just go on a starvation diet and eat nothing because even when I think something is safe, I find it is not necessarily so. Who would think that seasoned potatoes at Wendy's would have gluten in them? Or that some yogurts have modified food starch aka gluten? Complete and total frustration.

      January 27, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
      • Jaime

        Totally. I have 3 gluten intolerant friends in my D&D group. We're pretty good at noting what they can eat and what they can't in the snacks that are brought. Believe it or not, some fresh salsa had gluten in it. No one checked the label, because why would any sort of gluten be added. A couple of days later, I was looking to see what all the ingredients were to see if I could replicate the salsa at home, and found out why they had all had a bad reaction after our gaming. We have to be very vigilant.

        January 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
      • SD

        I feel your pain. I've been doing this about 5 months and it sucks. Not only am I gluten intolerant, I also have to be dairy-free and yeast-free. Which means I can't eat any of the gluten-free products in the grocery stores anyway because they contain yeast. EVERYTHING contains yeast. I do find it a lot easier most days to not each much of anything than go through the pain of eating something wrong. Good luck!

        January 27, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
      • lance corporal

        it gets better, I promise. AND after living GF for awhile your health comes back and THAT makes it all worth it!
        it is the first year or two that suck and I know at times it is very hard but after awhile it just becomes 2d nature and cooking for yourself instead of eating at wendy's etc is really alot of fun but you have to shift your perspective you have to start ENJOYING eating your own food and that is it BETTER than wendy's etc because honey you have to completely stop going to all fast food joints as they are a minefield for us, stick with it, I promise it gets better and with the right perspective can even be FUN!

        January 28, 2011 at 8:41 am |
        • Elsie

          Thanks for the encouragement. I need it right now. Besides gluten I am limited by milk (yogurts and hard cheeses in moderation seem ok), tomatoes, melons, raw vegetables, fruits with peels, nuts, avocados and anything hard to digest. I am hoping as my intestines heal maybe I will be able to add some of those back.

          January 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
        • Hawaiikaos

          Elsie, milk intolerance often accompanies gluten intolerance. Give yourself a couple of months completely gluten and dairy free, then slowly try dairy products again. More than likely the milk intolerance will have gone away.

          January 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
      • Mike

        Elsie, I too know the frustration. Diagnosed Celiac in 2006,my first trip to the grocery was disheartening when reading labels. Your frustration with the Wendy's seasoned potatoes is a common thing,why would they put wheat in them? You have to ask at fast food places or better,call the headquarters. Most French fries in FF places have wheat on them to make them crisper when cooked. Some burger kings in my area have dedicated fryers for their gluten free fries,BUT if no ones watching do onion rings go into the fryer by some 16 yr old, when they are rushed? I will not eat at FF places any longer so it's your choice ,but you have to ask! Tell them you have allergies and ask for a fresh batch, my daughter has gotten onion rings(wheat coating) mixed in by accident. Baked potatoes are a good alternative at Wendy's ,their fries are NOT gluten free as they fry onion rings in the same oil,as with most places. If you want seasoned,trick: carry your own spices in a small container!

        January 29, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    39. markymark

      My wife is gluten-intolerant and a vegetarian. Dinners can be a little boring around our house.

      January 27, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
      • FrostKa

        Maybe you should try cooking Indian or Chinese food (with gluten-free soy sauce, of course) – lots of flavor and lots of vegetarian options.

        January 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
      • TK

        And Mexican food with corn tortillas! And Thai with rice noodles!

        January 27, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
      • lance corporal

        doesn't have to be, there are so many options but you have to be a cook because most packaged foods are not GF, consider a cooking class it's fun!

        January 28, 2011 at 8:15 am |
        • jason

          So you think you can tell people what to do? Jerk.

          January 28, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    40. Hmmm

      What doesn't the food allergen labeling and consumer protection act cover (FALCPA)? Gluten is listed as an allergen in it.

      January 27, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
      • living gf

        wheat is on the fda allergin list........barley, rye, malt and most oats also contain gluten and are not on the list. just because something is wheat free does not make it gluten free.

        January 28, 2011 at 8:29 am |
      • Hawaiikaos

        Gluten intolerance isn't an allergy, so it might not be covered (it is indeed very real and very painful).

        January 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    41. Truth

      Not sure I could live without soy sauce. We use it on pretty much dang near everything. I love me a burger marinated in soy sauce...

      January 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
      • Chrissy

        Lachoy Lite is Gluten free. Enjoy!

        January 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm |

        There is a gluten and soy free soy sauce made from coconut called coco aminos that tastes great.

        January 27, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
      • fred

        Most Con Agra "Chinese" food products are gluten free. Real easy to eat gluten free after a few weeks just takes a little product research and label reading in the aisle. Been cooking gluten free for my wife for 5 years now. As far as the authors statements on the rest of the list she made BBQ sauce and some salad dressings you have to read carefully but the last time I cooked shampoo was quite awhile ago and it was a big flop. Thickened soups and sauces (like gravy) especially the ones in TV dinners, the cooking sprays you have to read carefully. Also other surprise items are some frozen french fries and chewing gum and Modified food starch if its made in America its corn but if its made any where else it could be wheat. And as far as the people saying foods shouldn't be labeled just think about this from an economic point of view about, 1 in 133 people have CD, how many households is that and the number is rising as time goes on. That is a lot of cash going by the window that a simple gluten free tag will fix. Besides everyone has the right to know whats in the box before they feed it to themselves or their family.

        January 28, 2011 at 1:06 am |
        • ??

          Why do you cook shampoo?

          January 28, 2011 at 9:30 am |
        • fred@??

          cuz the voices told me to. . .

          January 30, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
        • Helen

          It's the hidden gluten that's that in modified food starches. Where did you find that modified food starch in America is made with corn?

          The FDA needs a small, easily understood symbol guide that can be put on all labels – near the Nutrition label for all allergens.

          April 12, 2011 at 10:49 am |
      • Hope Lewellen

        actually real soy sauce the best kind is without wheat/gluten. Can't think of the name right now.

        January 28, 2011 at 4:13 am |
        • namerequired

          Tamari is the wheat-free/G-free soy sauce...

          January 28, 2011 at 10:23 am |
        • Mike

          San-J is a brand that makes a wheat free Soy sauce. Can't tell the difference.

          January 29, 2011 at 10:11 am |
      • lance corporal

        GF soy sauce is easy to find

        January 28, 2011 at 8:49 am |
      • Missy&John

        We use Yamasa's gluten-free soy in our WildeBerryaki, a tasty gluten-free teriyaki with a blackberry twist. Check out our CNN iReport at or for some great gluten-free and also gluten-filled recipes. Life's too short to eat bland food.

        January 28, 2011 at 11:45 am |
      • Hawaiikaos

        Look for Tamari sauce–tastes virtually the same as soy sauce, but missing the wheat. I couldn't live without sushi.

        January 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
      • Tommy

        Multiple companies make gluten free soy sauce. I would recommend using it, you will be healthier.

        February 14, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
      • BIHT

        Bragg Liquid Aminos is a good substitute for soy sauce. Also Living Without it a good magazine for learning how to live gluten free. While more work to not rely on prepackaged foods/mixes that are gluten free, there is no questioning.

        April 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    42. Glutenista Gluten-Free

      THANK YOU for helping to drive awareness of gluten-free living CNN! We completely agree, we really need the FDA & USDA to help solidify labeling requirements for gluten-free, to help keep all of us who must live gluten-free safe!

      Other sneaky locations: Licorice, Chili Seasoning & seasoning packets in boxed side dishes.
      Glutenista has a downloadable PDF on our website if anyone needs help in knowing what they can or cannot eat when gluten-free:

      Best of luck to you in your gluten-free journey!
      xoxo, Glutenista... making gluten-free fabulous

      January 27, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
      • please.

        There are already full aisles of gluten free foods at grocery stores, for the 1% of the population that has celiac disease. And you want all foods to include gluten content on their labeling? How about whether any of the ingredients have been near a peanut, for those who have peanut allergies? If the FDA expands food labeling to accommodate every percentage we'll need larger packages just to fit the labels.

        January 27, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
        • Alli84

          Which grocery store do you shop at? We have nowhere near full aisles of gluten free items. Also, many items that have been manufactured near peanuts actually are labelled "manufactured in a facility producing products with nuts/soy" Your comment seems to me that you think gluten free is merely a choice some people choose, like deciding to be vegetarian, it absolutely is not. My grandfather is celiac and lost about 30 pounds and became very frail before they found out what was wrong with him, I know of other celiacs who have had sections of their intestinal tract removed because of complications with celiac. Placing gluten free or contains gluten would be of great assistance to many celiacs and gluten intolerant folks, it really is something the FDA should consider!

          January 27, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
        • please.

          Although not my primary stores, I stop in to Harvest Coop regularly because it is just up the street from me, and there is a Whole Foods 50 yards from my house in another direction. (I checked, and Whole Foods will provide a list of their gluten free foods from any of their locations. Trader Joe's, about 15 minutes from me will do the same.) At least in Cambridge, MA, very into organic food, macrobiotic diets, etc., many have chosen a gluten free diet simply because they think it's healthier. The fact that a store would devote 10-12% of its space to this market, when only 1% of the population has celiac disease, verifies this.

          On Whole Foods' site they talk about eating wheat free, and how it's different from gluten free. Does this need to be on the nutritional labeling, too?

          January 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
        • DesertRat

          Not really a big deal to add it to labels, many manufacturers are already doing this. It adds a single line, maybe 2, to the tiny ingredient listing. Those are brands I buy! You'd think you don't need that spelled out, but a lot of labels have "natural flavorings" or something equally vague at the end–and I've found that's often milk, for example, a big problem in our house.

          As to the "aisles," I'm lucky to find a 3X6 section of an aisle that's dedicated to gluten-free products. That's including our local health-food store, and we're in a decent-sized town.

          January 27, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
        • Vicky

          Not all of us are lucky enough to have a Whole Foods or Trader Joes in our town, or closer than a three+ hour drive away. Most of my shopping is done in local grocery stores, with a few hard to find items purchased in the pricier health food store. 10 – 12% of the aisle space devoted to GF foods? Sounds like heaven to me! Remember, 1% of the population is still upwards of 3 million people in this country alone.

          Gluten free foods can be VERY expensive – indeed some countries such as Italy and Norway provide a stipend to those with celiac to help with the cost of food. I would love for more mainstream items to be gluten free (as General Mills has done with Chex cereals). It is VERY helpful when items are clearly marked gluten free, such as Yoplait yogurt, for example. My son is so afraid of cross contamination that it makes a huge difference to know for sure whether or not a food is safe for him to eat.

          January 28, 2011 at 8:28 am |
        • Ryan

          Much less than 1% of the population actually has Celiacs disease. Much less. Even so, it is still being way over diagnosed as are other, hypothetical "gluten insensitivities."

          More delicious gluten for me I guess.

          January 28, 2011 at 8:53 am |
        • Ginny

          Ryan, you are an uneducated a-hole.

          January 28, 2011 at 10:33 am |
        • Ginny?

          "A growing portion of diagnoses are being made in asymptomatic persons as a result of increased screening the condition is thought to affect between 1 in 1,750 and 1 in 105 people in the United States." (Wikipedia) "More than 2 million people in the United States have the disease, or about 1 in 133 people." (National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse)

          January 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
        • Ginny


          A degree in Wikipedia and web surfing? Having a gluten intolerance or allergy is a pain (in the gut) and can land some folks in the hospital for a few days. Sorry this issue doesn't make your top ten list but for those of us who suffer from it's serious. Wanting to know what we are actually eating is not much to ask.

          January 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
        • woodoo

          You have clearly never had a gluten or peanut intolerance. Those are extremely sensitive problems that can be set off by the smallest contamination. It's daunting to be gluten intolerant facing aisles of food that may or may not make me sick. I would love a more clear labeling system as well. Also, though only 1% of the population has celiac's there is a growing awareness of gluten sensitivities beyond celiac's that affect more and more people each year.

          April 13, 2011 at 12:26 am |
      • Evil Grin

        Oh no. Not another person adding "ista" to a random word and thinking it makes them trendy. Ugh.

        (Not to say the information is bad, just the name.)

        January 27, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
        • Rach85

          Haha, my thoughts exactly!

          January 27, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
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