When I first discovered I had celiac disease, I started the gluten purge in my house. I got rid of all the obvious things, and then I got rid of the less-obvious things.
However, months into the process, I was still getting sick and I couldn’t figure out why. So I began my search for the hidden gluten that was evading me.
After much trial and error I learned that there was hidden gluten in all kinds of items I never even considered. It was then that I began to understand how extensively gluten has permeated the manufacturing process in our country and the insidiousness of cross-contamination.
In an effort to hopefully spare you some of that, I’ve put together the top items I overlooked and some gluten free alternatives.
When I learned I had celiac disease, no one really helped me out. So it was an epiphany for me when I realized that just because I wasn’t eating it, didn’t mean it couldn’t make me sick. If you’re in the market for a gum upgrade, some gluten free options are Pur, B-Fresh, and Spry.
Toothpaste is the same concept as gum–you don’t technically eat it (hopefully!), but it can still gluten you. I will also say, there are toxic ingredients in most toothpaste brands. This article has outstanding information if you’re interested in learning more about that.
3. BREATH MINTS/SPRAY
A good rule of thumb is to always stick to products labeled gluten free. Meltzer’s Puremints, VerMints (certified GF), Simply Natural, Pur Mints, EO Refresh Breath Spray (certified GF), and Spry mints are all great options.
5. DENTAL FLOSS
This was a hidden gluten item I didn’t figure out for about a year! Radius is the only brand I’ve been able to find that has gluten free labeling—it’s in very tiny writing on the back of the box.
If anyone knows of another brand labeled gluten free, please let me know. I’d love to add some more options to this list!
There is a lot of information/conversation out there about how many pounds of lipstick a woman eats in her lifetime (yuck!). Suffice it to say lipstick ingestion does occur and, for this reason, celiacs and gluten intolerant individuals want to make sure they’re using gluten free lipstick.
Some brands I currently use are Red Apple, Gabriel, and Zuzu Luxe (Gabriel and Zuzu are certified gluten free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization). I will say I’m very partial to Red Apple as it’s formulated in a way that I can wear it all the time and it doesn’t give me chapped lips!
7. HAND LOTION
I overlooked this hidden gluten item for a very long time as well. If you slather gluten-full lotion all over your hands and then eat some chips, crackers, nuts…voilà, cross-contamination! I’m a huge fan of Vintage Tradition Tallow Balm and Dr. Bronner’s hand lotion.
8. HAND SANITIZER
I don’t really use hand sanitizer, but for those of you who do, EO hand sanitizer is gluten free.
9. HAND SOAP
Can hidden gluten in hand soap really make you sick? I honestly think it depends how thoroughly you rinse your hands after soaping them and how sensitive you are to gluten.
I’ve been sick enough that I don’t like to take chances, so if I’m going to eat with my hands I’m very careful to wash them with gluten free soap. Could it be overkill? For some it probably is. For others it might be necessary.
I use Dr. Bronner’s hand soap, as I try to avoid a lot of chemicals and soaps, like toothpaste, tend to have a lot of unhealthy chemicals in them.
10. FOOD & SUPPLEMENT ITEMS CLAIMING TO BE GLUTEN FREE
Believe it or not, FDA regulation does not require manufacturers to test for the presence of gluten in their starting ingredients or finished foods that are labeled gluten-free.
And the FDA does not have plans to authorize third-parties to inspect facilities of manufacturers that label foods gluten-free or to verify if such foods meet the regulatory definition of gluten-free. So please be aware, unless you buy certified gluten free products, you’re taking a risk.
Now, even more risky are the companies that will say their product is gluten free if you call and ask them, or will claim it’s gluten free somewhere other than the product label. BEWARE! You’re taking a decent risk when you ingest anything processed that isn’t labeled gluten free as it does not have to comply with the FDA standard of 20ppm or less of gluten.
Though the food and drug administration (FDA) issued a ﬁnal ruling deﬁning the term “gluten free” for food labeling and for vitamin and supplement labeling, there is no such ruling in place for medication.
The FDA has issued draft gluten free labeling guidelines for pharmaceuticals, but it’s not binding. Companies can claim medicines are gluten free, and since that term is not codiﬁed or regulated, it doesn’t mean anything.
12. BAMBOO PLATES AND UTENSILS
Eco-friendly bamboo dinnerware often uses wheat or wheat starch during production. So, be careful if you’re offered dinnerware that appears “green” as it may make you sick!
13. AIRBORNE GLUTEN
This is usually only an issue if you’re extremely sensitive. When you breathe through your mouth and nose, particles of flour can be captured in your saliva and mucus and swallowed. Then, of course, it enters your digestive system.
Flour can hang in the air for up to 24 hours, so you don’t have to walk through a cloud of flour for this to occur. If this is a concern for you, check any hairspray in your home for wheat ingredients (yes, some hairsprays contain them!).
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