What is gluten?
Gluten is a natural protein found in wheat, barley, rye, oats.  This is the ingredient that gives foods their elasticity and chewiness.  

Which foods contain gluten?
Gluten is present in many of the foods that are common in the average diet ranging from breads, cereals, pastas, cookies, cakes and pretzels to name a few.  Gluten is also commonly hidden in foods such as salad dressings, chicken stock and soy sauces.
The BEST part about a gluten free diet is that there are so many foods - such as poultry, beef, seafood, veggies and fruits - that are naturally GF and safe for someone with Celiac!  

How do I know if a processed food is actually gluten free? 
Always read labels on the packaging to help you make an informed decision as to whether or not something is gluten free.  I always feel most comfortable when I locate the "Certified Gluten Free" label.  I always steer clear if a label warning states that something was made on shared equipment with wheat and never chance it if the product says that it "may contain" gluten.  Otherwise, taking the time to read through the ingredients list may be tedious but will help you make the best decision.  When you see words such as wheat, barley, rye, malt -- skip it.  If you still need further clarification, you can always call the product’s manufacturer to learn more details.

Can I eat fried foods that are "gluten free" on the menu but prepared in a shared fryer with items that are not gluten free?
If you have Celiac, then I suggest to stay away!  This is commonly overlooked aspect when going out to eat.  You should always ask if certain foods (anything fried and most commonly foods like french fries and buffalo wings) run the risk of having cross contamination by sharing a fryer.  If the restaurant confirms there is a dedicated gluten free fryer, then by all means go for it and indulge (hey-- it's not often we get this type of opportunity!!).  Otherwise, I would recommend to avoid that option and select something else.

What’s the deal with oatmeal and quinoa – are they gluten free or not?
Grains such as oatmeal and quinoa are considered to be naturally gluten free.  HOWEVER, these grains are often cultivated on farms that are filled with wheat, so there is a strong chance of cross contamination from the production.  Before purchasing, always make sure there is a clear “gluten free” label on oatmeal and quinoa before purchasing to ensure no cross contamination would have occurred.
There has been research that those with Celiac disease cannot tolerate or properly digest oats, especially immediately after a diagnosis while your intestines are trying to heal.  This may be a food you want to check with your nutritionist or doctor about before incorporating into your diet.  

Is maltodextrin a safe ingredient on a gluten free diet?
It depends.  Maltodextrin can be derived from many sources including wheat, rice, potato and corn.  If the type of maltodextrin is not specified on the label, I decide to steer clear since I cannot chance even the slightest wheat consumption.  

Is a gluten free diet right for me?
Adopting a strict gluten free diet is the only remedy for someone with Celiac disease.  If you have not been diagnosed with Celiac or been advised to eliminate gluten, please consult your doctor before making any major changes to your diet.

Still have questions?  Drop by the Contact section to send me an email and I would be happy to help in any way I can!

**PLEASE NOTE:  This blog is a representation of my own lifestyle choices and opinions, so please exercise your own judgement when trying different products or suggestions you see on this site.