A Hunt for the Gluten Monster

Give me a pitchfork and a torch because I’m on a hunt for a terrible monster! The Gluten Monster!

Okay, a bit dramatic, but I live for drama, so it’s all good. I swear I’ve been on a witch hunt for gluten since I first began the alkaline diet. Emma Goodman, my beloved nutritionist, told me gluten can stay in your body for up to six months. That fact combined with all of the alarmingly negative effects the stuff can do to your body set me in motion. A motion to see if what I’m eating has gluten in it. What I learned? Gluten is everywhere and in everything. It’s frustrating how prevalent the stuff is. When I learned it can even pop up in vodka, I about busted a gut (no pun intended.)

That’s when I decided that I was going to get responsible in regards to reading labels and hunting the pesky stuff down. I swear food peeps get tricky with how they sprinkle it in to the ingredients. You’ll rarely see the word “gluten.” So I had to get clever and put on my research hat.

Words That Mean “Gluten”

  • Wheat
  • Tricticum
  • Spelt
  • Bran
  • Farina
  • Malt
  • Barley

According to the lovely blogger/author Brittany Angell, these words can stand alone or be sprinkled into other words such as “barley grass” or “disodium wheatgermamido Peg-2 Sulfosuccinate.” See how sneaky gluten can be? If you read Brittany’s whole post, you’ll see a long and informative list of all the other gluten-ous words to watch out for.

I swear my friends think I’ve gone crazy, but I care not. I’ve got my pitch fork in hand ready as a mother trucker to avoid the g-word like it’s the plague! Gluten Monster begone!

Care for a challenge? I dare you to hunt for gluten for a week. Everything you eat, check the labels and when you go to a restaurant ask about gluten-free foods. The list of what you actually CAN eat will astonish you. Come back here and report your findings! —Tish


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This article was originally published on fitbottomedgirls.com.

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19 Comments

  1. It’s nearly impossible to eat out, or eat prepared foods, when you’re checking labels and asking at restaurants. I learned that when doing a Wellness Cleanse that kept us off gluten and certain sugars and minimized sodium for a portion of the time. I couldn’t find anything to eat unless i made witch’s brew, soup, broth, smoothies and juices, from scratch. Good luck with that pitch fork 😉

  2. ha! Kate I know right! I don’t know where you reside, but LA is getting better at offering gluten-free menus. P.F. Changs even had one! I was in heaven!

  3. It is so hard to read everything, I was just diagnosed with Celiacs and find that we hardly eat out anymore and I prepare everything myself, I make a lot of fruit smoothies with frozen fruit and juice my vegetables and that is the safest way for me to eat.

  4. We’re a little luckier over the big blue in the UK. By law every label of every kind of food stuff must highlight and put a warning on of potential allergens. E.g. you go to the supermarket bread section and a standard loaf of bread will have on the label, made with wheat flour, water, salt, yeast, butter and seeds, . Allergy advice, this product contains wheat, gluten, cow’s milk, lactose and may not be suitable for nut allergy sufferers due to manufacture methods.

    So in general is very easy and quick to see as they are legally required to list.!!!

  5. It is soooo much better than it use to be…. I went to Italian restaurant in Columbus Ohio last night and had a fantastic mean including bread and oil while everyone else was eating theirs…. but you’re right, gluten is in everything. Asia food is still troublesome because of the soy sauce. I’ve had them say they use corn starch and I still get sick so it’s stir fry at home for me. Watch for thinks with caramel coloring… it will get you everytime.

  6. This is something in the last two months I have come to realize is very hard, I recently was diagnosed after ten years of hell and countless doctors misdiagnosing me with everything from a spastic colon to IBS to it’s all in your head with celiac….(they never thought to do a blood test for celiac) that said Thrive Market (online) and my local Sprouts market have all gluten free products marked and if you have not tried Thrive market – great prices – makes shopping for groceries way easier, plus free delivery, also you can go on celiac.com and put in any brand, any food and it will let you know if it has gluten. Have been out to eat once since being diagnosed, almost ended up in the emergency room because of so much pain (and this after the server assured me it was gluten free) and sadly have not been out since, much easier to cook at home – will venture out eventually, but I need to heal first. My functional medical doctor said six months at the least to get gluten out and in reality more like a year for the gut to heal. I will say taking probiotics and using enzymes helps along with supplements for all the deficiencies I have from celiac – it’s month two and I am finally starting to feel human again.

  7. Depends on where you live, but finding celiac safe places to eat can be a nightmare or rather simple.

    As a celiac, I don’t really have an issue finding food that I can eat be it when eating out (McDonalds fries are always an option, here in Canada – yet are not in the US) or buying my food in general (I don’t buy a lot of processed foods to start with, mostly because of my other food allergies that I do deal with).

    The labeling laws that they have to follow here in Canada make it much easier to find the foods one can’t eat because they have to tell you by law what the product is made from, so if it contains wheat, barley, oats, etc then you know it likely contains gluten.

    However that isn’t always true, since some processes do eliminate the gluten but they have to by law say wheat because it is an allergy and there are those who are allergic to wheat, so something can be actually gluten free and still contain the label of wheat for all the gluten in the wheat doesn’t exist – this gets confusing for those who are new to being celiac or living with a gluten intolerance.

  8. Even vitamin supplements and medications can contain gluten . WHY?! I don’t understand why it is added to so many things. Spices are huge on sneaking it in as well.

  9. Don’t be fooled by chain restaurants that offer gluten free foods! I have been gluten free (due to intolerance ) for 7 years. Once your body is truly cleansed, you’ll give up dining at any place that isn’t organic and gluten free. You’ll know immediately if you get something in your diet that is wrong.

  10. I just got diagnosed with Celiac Disease after a go around with Cervical Cancer. I’m 3 weeks post op next week from a total hysterectomy. It feels like I can’t catch a break in all things concerning my health. I’m so angry and annoyed and frustrated but I’m trying to do some research on gluten free eating and hopefully in the next 6 months or so I’ll start feeling a lot better. Your post was very helpful so thank you!