Getting Accustomed to Gluten Free Shopping

Article by Mark Etinger

For those with celiac disease (an autoimmune disease where ingested gluten causes a toxic reaction), or those who choose a gluten free diet for health benefits (i.e. avoiding processed foods), it will surely take some time getting used to gluten free shopping. There has been an influx in gluten free products being sold in grocery stores. No longer do you have to make the trip to specialty shops. However, not all products are clearly labeled “gluten free.” This is when you have to learn how to decipher the list of ingredients and know what is and isn’t safe for you to eat.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. You can’t eat food that contains wheat, barley, and rye. This translates to any wheat-based bread, pasta, cookies, crackers, and pizza -everyone’s favorite foods. Gluten is what gives bread it’s elasticity and texture. It keeps pasta from disintegrating, acts as a thickener in soups, and is at the heart of beer brewing. Getting rid of the obvious is, well obvious, but gluten hides under other ingredients. Unfortunately, the U.S Food and Drug Administration do not require labels to disclose gluten. Although they do have to mention wheat, rye and barely are not required.

You might luck out with certain manufacturers who choose to disclose the information. You might find on the label, “starch (wheat)” listed or “flavoring (barely)” to let you know. There are also independent organizations that can certify gluten free products. Foods that are always safe include fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. When it comes to meats though, make sure they don’t contain any added ingredients, such as a marinade. A few examples of ingredients to always avoid on any product include, triticum vulgare (wheat), hordeum vulgare (barley), secale cereale (rye), and triticum spelta (a form of wheat). These are all Latin terms for wheat, rye, and barley products. Other products that need to be avoided are malt, bulgur, couscous, and farina.

When you first begin eating gluten free foods, the best way to go about shopping is to stick to fresh fruits and veggies and meat. Also look for specially labeled products that are labeled gluten free. Now you can easily find gluten free pasta, breads, and baking mixes. Until you feel comfortable knowing what ingredients to watch out for, it’s best to stick with foods that are guaranteed safe. You will make mistakes and eat something your shouldn’t have. But it’s best not to get upset over it, even though your stomach will. After you’ve gone gluten free shopping for years, you’ll know exactly what products to steer clear of and you can have a more fulfilling diet.

Gluten Free Palace is your online shop for a wide variety of gluten free foods including gluten free recipes, gift baskets and other gluten free snacks.

Gluten Free Handbook