Okay, so you've gotten through the first few weeks somewhat unscathed. Now what? What's next?
Now it's time for a deeper dive into the world of gluten free food and more "guidelines" on what to eat or not eat.
By now you should understand that anything food-related that uses the words "Wheat" "Rye" or "Barley" anywhere on the package is bad. Please add "Malt" to your list. This is a
rarely mentioned No-No that hides in things like popular cereals and alcoholic beverages.
These are the obvious "No!" choices and should be easy enough to avoid. If you're still counting on the "Certified Gluten Free" logo to survive, that's a great place to start! However, since the Certification process is expensive and time consuming for manufacturers, they don't always go to those lengths. Eventually you're going to want and need to move on to some products which are not labeled "Certified Gluten Free". Don't panic yet, you can do this too!
Most products that say "Gluten Free" have good intentions. They've probably done some basic research on what that term means, and they tried, they really tried. M-hm. Unlike "Certified Gluten Free", there are no laws precluding anyone from stating "Gluten Free" on their products. Most of the time this label indicates that the ingredients used in the product are inherently gluten free. Good start! But how are they processed? What other products are processed in the same facility or on the same production lines? This is where it gets tricky.
Let's take oatmeal as an example: Oats themselves are inherently gluten free. However, where are oats typically grown? Next to...you got it...wheat, rye and barley. :( Yep, those are definite "No" ingredients, so how does that work? Well, to keep it short and sweet...it doesn't. If you read the website of a very popular and advertised "gluten free" cereal, it basically admits that their oats are grown with poisonous neighbors (to us), but promises that all pieces of those OTHER products have been filtered out. Okay, but what about the dust or broken pieces of husk, etc., that may still be adhering to your oats? I find it hard to believe that any filtering system which relies on "picking out" the bad pieces is safe for us. Unless you look at every individual grain to make sure they're all safe, and then wash, dry and repeat a few times, in my opinion, there's still danger involved. Cross Contamination is just as dangerous for us as eating a piece of wheat toast. This brand, I do NOT trust.
For oats specifically, you need to watch for packaging that either does indicate "Certified Gluten Free", which means that it has been tested to ensure very minimal amounts of gluten are present, or brands which advertise a "Purity Protocol", which means that these oats have not been grown or processed with other ingredients. They should be pure and free of gluten.
This is just one example of foods that you need to watch very carefully to keep safe. Another common one is the most popular brand of peanut butter cups, which are safe if purchased in their original form (cups) but NOT safe if purchased in shapes... like holiday trees or pumpkins or eggs.
Whew! This is a lot of information, so remember to breathe deeply and go with the flow. I know you can do this, and we're here to help if we can.