Back in February 2012 I thought I was going to stop eating gluten. As it turns out, what I did was stop intentionally eating gluten. I was still consuming it, though.
In my first year being gluten-free I avoided the obvious sources, like breads and pastas made with wheat flour. I also went online to figure out some of the less obvious sources of gluten to avoid, like soy sauce, lipstick, chocolate, salad dressing, and chicken broth. I found gluten-free versions of all of these, and I thought I was doing pretty well.
Then in the second year, I was horrified to realize how many other sources I hadn’t considered, like sunscreen, hand lotion, cough syrup, lemon juice, cooking spray, vitamins, and dish detergent. Oops!
Now I’m at the start of my third year, and I’m still learning. There are so many areas to consider. Yesterday I reviewed relatives’ recipes they were using for a big family dinner. Hours later it occurred to me: I hadn’t asked about cooking spray. And it’s a good thing I asked, because one person was going to use a type that I couldn’t have. She’s kindly using butter instead.
There are a lot of sources online that list areas to watch out for, but some are incomplete and it’s hard to remember them all. I have a list of food allergies in a Google Drive document so that I can share it with friends when they want to cook for me. I think I’ll make a list of hidden gluten sources on there, too. That way, I won’t have to worry about forgetting to mention something – I can just look at the list!
Where have you found gluten that you hadn’t expected? How have you kept track of all the places it hides?
I haven’t addressed most of the other sources. I know it is unfortunately in my conditioner (hydrolyzed wheat protein), but I have allergic contact dermatitis and there are very, very, few hair products I can use. Is there a list of alternative names for gluten, by the way? Someone told me it was in Synthroid, which I don’t take anymore.
There are a lot of lists online, but the best thing is to contact the manufacturer, whether it’s a food, makeup, or medication. Given the high correlation between gluten intolerance and hypothyroid, it really pisses me off that any of the thyroid meds have gluten in them, but they do. It’s discussed a bit here, but I’m not sure how up to date it is:
I started a list here, too:
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