Friday, April 15, 2011

Hidden sources of gluten

My husband and I like to think of ourselves as “gluten-savvy.” Just a few examples:

  • I religiously read all food labels. If an item isn’t labeled gluten free, I’ll look online, or someone in our family will call the manufacturer to ask about the product and their gluten labeling policy.
  • When we first “de-glutened” our kitchen, I tossed all of the wooden spoons, colanders, etc. into a big box to give to my cousin who was just settling into a brand new apartment.
  • We own a dedicated gluten free toaster as well as a second, older toaster is boxed away in our basement in the event we need to toast wheat bread).
  • I – as the non-gluten free member of the household – always lick the envelopes when it’s time to pay bills every month. (Always thinking of the Seinfeld episode with the wedding invitations, but that’s an entirely different situation).
  • If I have to bake something containing wheat for an event, my mother allows me to use her kitchen instead.
  • I make sure the lipstick I wear is gluten free.

All that said – of course, we do have some gluten in the house. I don’t have celiac disease, and I’ve read there can be negative dietary consequences of eliminating all gluten entirely from your diet if you don’t have to for medical reasons. Now, I’ve never been much of a bread eater and my household rule is that my husband won’t eat anything that I – as a gluten eater – don’t think is sub-par. (The exception being Ian’s Waffle-wiches, which he absolutely loves). I also won’t keep any of the food that he used to love in the house, because that’s just too cruel. I’d say as a result, 95% of my diet is naturally gluten free.

The gluten in our house tends to be packed away – Chicken noodle soups that I keep on hand for when I’m sick, alongside the chicken and rice soups we keep on hand for my husband. Frozen meals and Velveeta Easy-Mac bowls for quick office lunches every now and then.  Beer in the fridge for when company comes over. Stuff that I’ve never bothered verifying to be gluten free, like Skinny cow chocolate ice creams (which he would never eat, since they’re chocolate). Or, crackers – because, let’s face it, I’m perfectly happy to shell out $$ for my husband to have good crackers,  but spending $5+ on a pack of crackers when I am perfectly fine eating the $1 box is insane to me. So I keep my own crackers, far away from anything else, and a dedicated jar of non-GF peanut butter for when the craving hits.

99% of the time I eat gluten away from home, but on the rare occasions when I do have it at home, I act like it’s a level 4 containment zone, wiping off counters with Clorox wipes, brushing my teeth, etc.

That said? We found another “gotcha” in the house. We buy Wellness dog food, some of which contains barley, and the puggle’s dog biscuits contain wheat. We never gave it a moment’s thought – since it never goes near my husband’s mouth – until one day when we were watching a movie and making popcorn. My husband gave the puggle a chew, and I absentmindedly called out “Make sure to wash your hands before you touch the popcorn.” My husband stopped, stared at me for a second, and exclaimed “I never thought of getting glutened by dog bones!”

1 comment:

Crow said...

Its funny, but I knew there were certain types of grains in dog foods (fillers, ya know) but I guess it hadn't occurred to me that they could actually bother someone who wasn't eating them.

Also, licking envelopes - isn't vegetarian or vegan either. So that is something I don't do. Yucky :P

Hope all is well with you guys!