One of the first things you learn about Celiac Disease is that you must avoid wheat, barley, rye and maybe oats. The next thing you learn is that wheat and barley are often hiding in products you’d never expect them to be in. For example – soup. A few weeks after I was diagnosed and went gluten free I was accidentally “glutened” by a can of soup. Before I had eaten more than 1/3 cup of that soup I started getting the stabbing pains and ended up sick (as in “please, honey, use the other bathroom for the next week”, sick) for the next 10 days. As the soup was the only packaged item I’d eaten for days and the reaction was so immediate I knew it had to be the source of the pain and sure enough, wheat was mentioned in the list of ingredients. It was my own fault for not reading that label but serviced to underline to me the importance of checking the label on everything already in your kitchen and on the label of everything you buy from now on.
Please note – the image above is a just a symbol of condiments, packaged foods and other pantry items. This is not a comment on Heinz products and their status on gluten in their products at all. It’s just a picture, not a statement
If you have Celiac Disease, NCGS (non-celiac gluten sensitivity) or are eliminating gluten from your diet for any reason do not overlook the jars, bottles, cans and packaged foods in your fridge, freezer or pantry. Soy sauce, ketchup, barbecue sauce, soup, chili seasoning packets, frozen vegetable medleys, peanutbutter and pretty much any other thing can and likely does include gluten in the list of ingredients.
I’ve recently donated unopened grocery items to a food bank and I’ve had to toss nearly a full grocery bag full of opened condiments and other things in the garbage. It’s heartbreaking to have to throw out food you’ve bought but trust me, you don’t want to suffer accidental glutening and you don’t want to continue to be sick because you’re ingesting gluten accidentally on a regular basis.
Once you’ve cleaned out your kitchen you’ll have less worry about cross contamination and accidental glutening. At that point you need only be vigilant about reading labels on any packaged items you buy.
And by vigilant I mean ready the ingredients on the label, call the manufacturer if you have questions and don’t think a “gluten free” label means it’s really gluten free. The internet forums are filled with people who’ve bought something labeled “gluten free” that find either wheat or another gluten ingredient on the ingredients list or a disclaimer “may contain gluten” elsewhere on the packages.
Also remember, just because something was safe the last time you bought it, doesn’t mean the ingredients didn’t change or the manufacturing process or facility hasn’t changed. Read the labels every time.