I was doing an analysis of my website and was surprised that the “gluten containing foods” page was the most commonly read. Having seen some of the other websites and blogs on the internet I realized that there remains a lot of confusion about what does and does not contain gluten.
While from one perspective it could be quite easy (all fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, beans and animal protein is gluten-free), our pre-prepared, pre-packaged foods add a great deal of complexity.
My daughter was away for a few days and called me from the airport today informing me that she didn’t feel well and suspects she was exposed to gluten. She went on to explain that she was very careful but in hindsight suspects a salad dressing was the root of the problem.
So let’s address the two most common pitfalls I see patients fall into:
1. They don’t speak up and ask enough questions. My daughter is a perfect example of this. Maybe she didn’t even consider that a salad dressing COULD have gluten in it. But remember that gluten is a great thickener so unless that salad dressing is oil and vinegar that you personally pour from a bottle – ask about the ingredients.
When you’re outside your own kitchen ask questions about ingredients. If it’s not easy to find out, don’t chance it, eat something else. While some people think they’re “being difficult” asking questions at a restaurant, think of it this way instead: you may be very well saving the health of the waitperson or a member of their family by enlightening them about gluten. That exact situation has happened to me on several occasions in restaurants. Similarly, your dining partners may very well learn something about their health.
Americans are not particularly healthy and gluten is playing a role in that a large percentage of the time. So asking questions and being vocal about gluten is not only good for you but likely also for someone who’s within earshot!
2. Patients haven’t committed to memory what the glutinous grains are. I was amazed this past week when a longtime patient was about to start eating barley. She and her entire family are gluten sensitive and they know it. Yet she didn’t know that barley was a no-no.
Please visit my website at: www.healthnowmedical.com for the most comprehensive list of grains and other foods that contain gluten. I am updating the list constantly to keep it as current as possible.
I hope this helps.
To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”