As someone who is often a victim of gluten cross contamination, or having gluten sneak into something I was told was gluten-free, I can vouch for how miserable that can make the next few days of your life. So read on to learn more about how you can better prepare yourself so that restaurant outings are fun and delicious, rather than leaving you hanging out in the bathroom.
One of the more potentially dangerous places to find gluten lurking is in a restaurant kitchen, which is true primarily for 2 reasons. First, there is a level of ignorance around which products are safe for gluten-sensitive folks, and second, because great care with food handling has to occur to reduce the risk of cross contamination in any kitchen.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) offers a gluten-free training course to food service professionals so they can learn what it takes to meet gluten-free needs and how to serve gluten-free meals safely and confidently. I love that this resource is available now, and I hope more restaurants will jump on board to make sure their customers are safe. Another great resource is the Gluten Intolerance Group who offers several programs to help restaurant professionals ensure the safety of their gluten sensitive guests.
The Gluten-Free Food Service Training and Management Certification Program is a GIG Industrial Program designed to work with food service establishments of all types who are, or want to serve gluten-free consumers through the development and use of Best Practices training and management strategies that provide a high level of consumer confidence. Pretty cool, right?
If you’re wondering why this would be necessary, take this quick quiz used for chefs and restaurateurs to familiarize themselves with gluten safety protocols (which a friend forwarded me):
- Celiac disease is a genetic, auto-immune disease that is triggered by glucose.True or False
- Gluten is a protein found in which three common grains?
- What kind of oats can be used in a gluten-free dish?A. Steel-cut
D. All of these
E. None of these
- Look at the list of pantry items. Find the list that is most likely to contain gluten:A. Cornstarch, tomatoes, lentils
B. Olive oil, oregano, walnuts, apple cider vinegar
C. Rice vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, curry paste
D. Canned pears, basmati rice, tomato juice
How did you do on the quiz? Here are the answers:
1. False. Celiac disease is triggered by gluten, not glucose. 2. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye. 3. None of the above. Only oats that are certified gluten-free are acceptable. 4. Rice vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and curry paste may contain gluten, which is why it’s wise to verify ingredients with the manufacturer.
If you’re like most, you probably got 1 or 2 of them wrong. Honestly, many of us are unaware of where gluten in lurking, and how to safely avoid using it when we cook, let alone how to avoid it in skin care, hair care and beauty products. Here’s a recent post we shard with 5 quick tips for living gluten-free, and you can also check out our online shop for allergy-friendly foods and sample products here. While restaurants are a key place to be on the lookout for gluten contamination, it’s wise to read labels in all food and body care products, and avoid anything with wheat or any of these other known ingredients to contain hidden gluten:
- Artificial color
- Baking powder
- Caramel color/flavoring
- Citric acid (can be fermented from wheat, corn, molasses or beets)
- Fat replacers
- Food starch
- Glucose syrup
- Modified food starch
- Natural juices
- Wheat starch
Here’s a helpful Facebook page to follow for tips and tricks on avoiding gluten, and some of our other favorite resources are below. Let us know which ones you love that we’ve left off!
Celiac Central Toolkit for helpful tips and tricks on living GF: http://www.celiaccentral.org/awarenessmonth/#toolkit
Celiac Central Symptom Quiz to check for Celiac/ Gluten Sensitivities symptoms: http://www.celiaccentral.org/disease-symptoms-checklist/
GIG (Gluten Intolerance Group): http://www.gluten.net/
Gluten free Resource Directory: http://glutenfreeresourcedirectory.com/uid/4df6c6a2-2750-4966-a17d-540b30b115c5/
Gluten free digital magazine, Easyeats: http://www.easyeats.com/
Happybelly Allergy-friendly shop: http://happybellybox.com/