You’re in the Celiac / NCGS Special Club, need to avoid gluten at medical level, and not sure your plan is bulletproof.
First thing to notice is the word “minimize” in the title because unless you’re eating only food you grow and control 100% on your land, there’s always a risk.
Even if you’re raw, how do you know where those almonds were processed? Or if the person making your salad didn’t unknowingly touch a utensil that had trace amounts of gluten on it? There’s always a risk, particularly eating out.
Ways to Minimizing the Risk of Gluten Contamination
This is a reality we live in where foods are prepared and packaged on the equipment shared with other foods which are not gluten free. Here’s a list of ways you or any person who cooks for others with celiac disease needs to have on her finger tips. As it is stated above, there’s always a risk of gluten cross contamination.
1. Use Trusted Safe List for Gluten Free Foods
One of the first things you should do to avoid risks of gluten contamination is check the labels every single time. In fact, check the label even from the brands you’ve been buyig for some time.
Use a trusted safe list and become OCD with checking every label, every time. Not just the front of the package, but A) The ingredients list B) Allergen warning section C) All print around it. This applies even when it says gluten free on the front of the label, here are just two examples of why:
2. Know Exactly What It Means
Know that legally Gluten FREE doesn’t mean 100% gluten free.
20 PPM’s (parts per million) is generally what’s considered Gluten FREE (GF) in most countries. Australia is the most advanced with a zero-tolerance law for products to be certified Gluten FREE (GF).
3. 20 PPM Has Two Major Flaws
The 20 Parts per Million is not risk free. Why? Look at these statistics.
First, studies show some people reacting to less than 20 PPM’s, which is why Australia has taken the position that it has with its regulations.
Second, 20 PPM doesn’t consider the “gluten load.” Meaning for people eating processed Gluten FREE foods, they’re probably not eating just one item a day and probably not just one serving size. Have you ever eaten just six crackers or just one cookie? So, as you keep eating through the day, the gluten load increases, and even if each tiny item is legally Gluten FREE, combined, you wind up with more than your body is safe with.
If you’re new to this, let’s put it in context. The 2 mg of gluten you see next to the penny below is all it takes to get a chemical reaction in your body, whether you feel symptoms or not.
Ideas You Can Use to Minimize Gluten Contamination
These are the suggestions for those sensitive to gluten and those who cook for them as to how to prevent gluten reaction as much as possible.
1. Opt for naturally Gluten FREE (GF) rather than processing methods that promise to remove gluten proteins. General Mills is public about oats coming in at up to 1,000 PPM’s, and then they process it down to 20. For example, Health Canada doesn’t consider oats GF anymore. Chia for breakfast instead of oats is what I mean by naturally Gluten FREE, and I still suggest a good rinse on the chia in case there was contamination in transport or packaging.
2. Opt for Gluten FREE dedicated facilities rather than manufacturing plants that share their processing lines.
3. Behind the scenes at restaurants. If you promise not to shoot the messenger, I’ll let you in on a secret… almost none of them test. They rely on suppliers assuring them the ingredient are gluten free. And almost none of them have proper staff training. Alarming? It should be. It means you need to master asking the right questions and not just trust that because there are Gluten FREE options on the menu you’re safe.
Gluten FREE Foods for Breakfast and Snacks
If you are looking for a nutrient-dense gluten free food consider these few options that you can use for breakfast, snacks and even dinner. Shop for it HERE (affiliate link).
Paleonola granola is an amazing option to get a satiety feeling in no time. Each package of Paleonola guarantees a gluten free environment and ingredients. They products also carry a transparency badge for Non GMO, No Dairy, No Grains, No Fillers, No Oats, No Artificial anything, Soy Free, Preservative Free.
What I like about this brand, you can pick your own flavors of granola and add it to your smoothies, smoothie bowls or even add to your fresh veggie salad. Possibilities are without limits.
And with Paleonola grain free snack bars, you get ample amount of protein, too!
Gluten FREE Muffins and Brownies
For those who are really into muffins with their coffee or tea, gluten free muffins and brownies fro Flax4Life could be a delicious option.
This company takes it seriously when it comes to avoiding cross-contamination. All foods are manufactured separately from any sources of gluten. Because as you know a tiny amount can cause a severe reaction in those people sensitive to this chemical, though so natural.
What I like about these products, you can get them at Whole Foods or order at Amazon HERE. The variety is quite impressive in both muffins and brownies. But my ever favorites are blueberry muffins.
Gluten FREE Pizza for Kids
I like the companies that support women with products they can purchase for their children who have celiac disease. The do-it-from-scratch products like Little GF Chefs teach children to bake while infusing them with confidence that you can live a good quality life with celiac and gluten sensitivities. Check out their products HERE.
Little GF Chef offers allergy-friendly and gluten free baking kits for every season. I think that the company will be making the choices in their products richer as they expand.
So far, you can purchase a gluten free Pizza kit, Super Web Cupcakes kit, Under the Sea Cookie set, Soft Pretzel kit, Rainbow Donuts kit, Cookie Dough Hearts, Rainbow Pop Tarts, S’Mores at Home Camping kit.
Gluten Free and Fiber Rich Dark Chocolate Almond Spread
If you are looking for a snack ample of fiber and protein, then do try a Broma Dark Chocolate Almond spread. You can eat it with apple and pear slices, smother it on a piece of rice cracker or enjoy as is.
Some will enjoy drizzling a bit of this almond spread over their breakfast cereal or oatmeal. In addition, it takes really cool in a smoothie bowl. Be creative and try this truly delicious and gluten free spread with your favorite foods. You can buy it HERE (affiliate link).
Check out benefits of nuts and the nutritional value they bring with their ingredient profile.
What I really like about this product is that it offers a clean nutrition panel and fiber. I am always excited when brands become creative in how they add good quality plant-based fiber into a product. Take a look at these ingredients in this almond spread.
Ingredients in Gluten Free Almond Spread
Roasted Almonds are rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant which nourishes your skin and protects it from free radicals. Taking vitamin E supplements, adding a little bit of it into your homemade skin care adds to your stronger well-being. You can buy NON-GMO roasted almonds HERE.
Lentils add fiber to anything you cook. I have all kinds of lentils in my pantry. Buy small brown lentils HERE.
Check out Lentils Benefits for Woman’s Health in this post.
Cocoa Powder is a potent antioxidant which adds to your cellular protection from free radicals. Magnesium in cocoa protects your skin from external damage and supports cellular regeneration. In addition, magnesium promotes follicle hair growth resulting in stronger, healthier hair. So, adding cocoa powder to your foods goes a long way with health benefits. Choose organic cocoa powder products like This One.
Coconut Sugar is a low glycemic food. It means that it does not push your blood sugar into high spikes. Hence you have low food cravings when you maintain your blood sugar levels stable during the day. Get organic coconut sugar HERE.
Sunflower Oil, like roasted almonds, is rich in vitamin E and nutrients that benefit our skin health. Many of those ingredients are anti-inflammatory. Cooking with sunflower oil, adding it to fresh salads are some of the ways to get the benefits of this amazing ingredient and food by its own right. Get a cold-pressed sun flower oil HERE.
Check out a short video that shows damaging effects of inflammation to our body.
Vanilla Extract contains Vanillin, a powerful polyphenol with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. You can buy organic vanilla extract HERE.
Sea Salt allows all other ingredients to stand out and manifest their true flavors to your taste buds. Check out this organic sea salt flakes for your other cooking HERE.
Celiac Disease is a Detailed Disease
If you need to avoid gluten at medical level, you need to know a lot of details. Certainly more than what could be fit into one article, but this is a good start. By taking care of every detail, you put the odds in your favor. Life’s too short and too precious not to. Stay safe.
Jaqui Karr is a certified gluten practitioner, sports nutritionist, and educator to dietitians and health professionals. Her approach is 100 percent science-based, often referred to as “Where Science Meets Common Sense.” Her work includes writing, speaking, and corporate consulting.
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