Gluten free dish soap? I’d love your advice!

August 1, 2018

I feel stuck, and Google hasn’t helped at all. It feels like every day, I find some new non-food thing that needs to be gluten-free. Or I need to check a new purchase of something that I used in the past, because just because something is gluten-free once doesn’t mean that it will be again. My current challenge: dish soap.

Two weeks ago I went on a search for gluten-free lipstick and found a bunch of brands that will be safe (though I still haven’t chosen which colors to get – that’s the harder part!) Last week I found gluten-free hand sanitizer after only a few attempts. But now I’m trying to figure out dish soap.

I want to get Dawn dish soap, but when I called the company, they couldn’t make any guarantees. They don’t add any gluten ingredients, but they can’t guarantee that the raw ingredients they get from other manufacturers are gluten-free. So it might be safe, but we can’t be sure.

But then I started thinking, does it matter? Wouldn’t it just be tiniest trace amounts? And I wash it off the dishes before I eat from them anyway, right? And when I eat gluten-free dishes at restaurants, I don’t check that they use gluten-free dish soap. Ditto for when my mom cooks for me. And I’m fine with those. So maybe it isn’t an issue?

I just don’t know, and I don’t know who to ask. I don’t have a medical professional I can turn to. So I’m asking you, dear readers, for your experiences. Some of you might say it matters and some might say it doesn’t, but either way, I’d love to know what you think. Please share in the comments: if you have Celiac or non-Celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), do you get gluten-free dish soap? Do you think it matters?

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First kisses and gluten ghosts

January 10, 2018

I recently went on two first dates. And both times, the gluten ghost haunted me.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I date, but not very often. So going on 2 first dates in a short span is really unusual! And each time I have a promising first date, it’s the same story: how can I tell the person about my gluten issues without making it sound too scary?

I went off gluten 6 years ago, in February 2012, and within months I saw signs of my health improving. It was slow going, and as I eventually learned about the many places gluten was hiding, I got sick less often. Still, I noticed that I often got sick after dates. Not every time, but a fair amount. Maybe it was from stress? Maybe I was overdoing things by going out and having to be “on” for so long?

It took 2.5 years after I first went gluten free, but finally I figured out the problem: kissing! There I was, sitting down with my then-boyfriend, watching him open a beer, when it hit me: he was going to drink that gluten-filled beer, then kiss me, and I bet that would make me sick! I told him my theory and asked him to brush his teeth after the beer, but instead he said he would just skip it. I didn’t get sick that night.

Or any other night I went out with him.

Then we broke up. And the next first date I had went great. I wanted to kiss him and thought, maybe I was wrong. Maybe it was a coincidence. We had met up for ice cream and he only had vanilla, so maybe it’s gluten free anyway! We kissed that night and a few hours later, I was really sick. Huh. So much for wishful thinking.

Ever since then, I have avoided first date kisses. Even if we don’t eat anything, maybe they’re wearing chapstick or lipstick that contains gluten. It’s a big risk.

I asked a friend with Celiac about this and she said she, also, can’t kiss someone who has eating and drunk something with gluten. But she said first dates aren’t a problem, because she doesn’t kiss on the first date anyway. I guess that makes it a bit simpler. For me, though, it’s an issue. I often kiss on the first date if I like the person and it’s reciprocated.

So that brings me to my two recent first dates.

The first went very well. We met for coffee and tea, and totally hit it off. After a couple hours, I suggested we eat lunch. I had already mentioned the Celiac Disease, and suggested a nearby restaurant where I knew I could eat. Over lunch, I found a way to slip in a mention about the kissing issue. I’ve been getting better at that over the years, but it still feels awkward.

After a looooong first date, almost 6 hours together, I knew I wanted to kiss her. But I couldn’t, because we’d just eaten lunch and her lunch was definitely not gluten free! Plus, she was wearing lipstick. Damn!

Thankfully, on our second date she didn’t wear lipstick (I took this as a promising sign) and we did eventually have our first kiss, with no fear of getting glutened. Yay!

Then I went out with the other person. Again, we met for coffee. It was a good first date, but not amazing. I was pretty sure I would go out with him again, though. We had met in the evening, and after an hour and a half the coffee shop was closing, so we said goodnight. I had found a way to mention the Celiac Disease, but not the kissing issue. Not that it was relevant – we had just met (we met online, so this was our first in-person meeting) and it felt more like a get-to-know-you kind of thing than a real date.

So there we were, standing on the sidewalk saying goodnight, when suddenly he was kissing me. I didn’t see it coming! We separated, and while my brain was still trying to figure out what just happened, he kissed me again, and his tongue was in my mouth! Yikes! This was too much. Forgetting the gluten issue, it just didn’t feel right at all. We said goodnight and I walked to my car feeling very confused…. and nervous!

I only saw him drink tea, but had he eaten before that? Would I get really sick? It was nerve-wracking to not know!

The gluten ghost haunted me that night and the next day, and when I didn’t get sick, I was finally able to relax.

These two dates were so different. They felt different both at the time and after the fact. But both had the same gluten ghost haunting them. The first time the ghost prevented me from kissing my date (assuming I wouldn’t have chickened out, that is) and the second time it haunted me afterward from the unexpected and unwanted kisses I received.

Dating is hard enough. I really wish I didn’t have to deal with the gluten ghost complicating it even more!


Places that gluten hides

April 18, 2014

The other day I wrote about how thanks to gluten’s many hiding places, I continued to consume it even after I thought I was gluten-free. There are many places online to find gluten’s hiding places, but it’s hard to come up with a list that makes sense for me. Some things from those lists are relevant and some aren’t, so I decided to make my own list.

Use this list however you want. I’m making it for my own reference, but I hope it helps others. If you don’t have a gluten intolerance but you sometimes cook for someone who does, please be sure to consider this list. And please please please comment with anything you think should be added! Thanks!

Some unexpected places that gluten hides (gluten-free versions can often be found if you look for them)

  • soy sauce
  • lemon juice from concentrate
  • lipstick
  • chapstick
  • sunscreen
  • chocolate
  • salad dressing
  • sauces
  • broths and bullions
  • hand lotion
  • medications, both prescription and non-prescription
  • cooking spray
  • dish detergent
  • liquor
  • oats and oatmeal unless they’re specifically marked gluten-free
  • toasters and toaster ovens where gluten breads were toasted
  • wooden cutting boards and utensils that used gluten
  • oil in restaurants that has been used to fry gluten items
  • rubber dish gloves

Some other terms for gluten (from a handout my nutritionist gave me and an informational email from a body lotion company)

  • atta (chapatti flour)
  • barley (flakes, flour, pearl) or any ingredients containing the genus species name Hordeum Distichon
  • beer, ale, lager
  • breading and bread stuffing
  • brewers yeast
  • bulger
  • communion wafers
  • couscous
  • croutons
  • dinkel
  • durum
  • einkorn
  • emmer
  • farina
  • farro or faro
  • fu
  • graham flour
  • hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • kamut
  • malt, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring
  • malt vinegar
  • malted milk
  • matzoh, matzoh meal
  • modified wheat starch
  • oatmeal, oat bran, oats (but it’s possible to get gluten-free oats) or any ingredients containing the genus species name Avena Sativa
  • pastas
  • rye bread and flour or any ingredients containing the genus species name Secale Cereale
  • seitan
  • semolina
  • spelt
  • triticale
  • wheat or any ingredients containing the genus species name Triticum Vulgare
  • wheat bran
  • wheat flour
  • wheat germ
  • wheat starch

What other places have you found gluten unexpectedly? What other names does it hide under?

Edit: Four months after this was originally published, I’m now adding a new hidden source of gluten that I had missed before: kissing! Watch out for kissing someone who just ate or drank gluten-containing foods or liquids, or who might be wearing gluten-containing chapstick or lipstick.

Edit 2 (12/19/14): After all this time, I’m still finding more hiding places for gluten. Check out this list of dental considerations, including floss and the powder on your dentist’s gloves.

Edit 3 (12/23/2014): Oh boy, here’s another list of places gluten hides. There are so damn many!

Edit 4 (10/26/17): This is a fantastic list of places gluten hides, and it even included a couple of things I didn’t know. I thought that by now I knew them all, so this both amazed and worried me. Still, better to know than to not know!

Edit 5 (7/14/18): Gluten hides in a lot of non-foods that are still super-important to check. Here are ingredients to watch out for in lipsticks (and links to gluten-free lipsticks, which I’m finding very helpful today!) Here‘s a list of ingredients to watch for in hair products like shampoos and conditioners.


So much for “gluten-free”

April 13, 2014

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?


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