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


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