Caught Off Guard

It is fair to say that unnatural additives, sugar and gluten have made their way into just about every processed food on this planet. The vast expanse of food that contains some form of gluten does make it very difficult to eliminate completely. You must constantly be on guard, asking waiters, reading list of ingredients and allergen warnings to be absolutely certain.

Obviously, in the beginning of eliminating gluten you start with the obvious offenders, pasta, bread, cakes, muffins and biscuits, pizza and so on. Once you have safely eliminated all flour or wheat based foods then you start to look for smaller traces of gluten or unexpected ingredients in things you buy and eat. It can be difficult considering wheat and gluten are used to make a wide variety of emulsifiers, raising agents, preservatives and additives, as well as sneaky bits of flour being added to other foods. You can find traces of gluten in just about everything including sauces, marinades, preprepared curries and stews, sausages and soft lollies, most of which are made from glucose which is derived from wheat… At times it may see impossible to stay completely gluten free, let me assure you it’s not.

It’s simply a matter of being as careful and vigilant as you can be, but also not being overly worried about every morsel of food, particularly if you are only slightly intolerant. Of course, if you’re celiac you will need to check everything, because that is a serious allergy, but if not you can breathe a sigh of relief. Do the best you can with what you have is a good way of looking at it. At home it is relatively easy to cook gluten free meals for yourself, but when dining out it can be confusing and frustrating trying to find a meal that is gluten free. I have been gluten free ‘permanently’ since January 2012, however I am quite sure I have been caught off guard and accidentally eaten something I shouldn’t have simply through being blissfully unaware of it’s presence in my food. In fact I remember once ordering a frittata clearly labelled gluten free on the menu, which was served with a suspiciously normal looking piece of bread. And another time I ate a chocolate coconut ball that had a worryingly sticky texture, I asked the cook if it was gluten free and sure enough they had bread crumbs in it! (Thankfully I only at one tiny 1cm ball…phew!)

Anyway, my point is it that eliminating gluten from my diet has certainly done wonders for my health, but in the age of processed food it can be tricky to differentiate between foods you can and can’t eat. Don’t stress, do your best, read labels carefully and don’t be afraid to ask the waiters.

Keep healthy :)

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