Sunday, January 3, 2016

Freefrom food still making you ill?...

If you're one of those Celiac's who can eat codex wheat products, gluten free oats, uses toaster bags in a normal toaster, and eat foods that say "may contain gluten" with out any long term health problems.....well I'm happy for you, but this blog is not for you!

I've had a difficult year regarding gluten and discovering i need to be careful about what i even put on my skin, from shampoo and toothpaste to wallpaper paste and polyfiller and that's not even mentioning playgroups filled with biscuit/toast/playdough wielding toddlers! Ive definitely had a bad run of it. But I've also learnt so much and am determined to have a better 2016. I'm sharing this blog post in the hope of helping others like me who are gluten free but are still not symptom free.

There's nothing like a good run of gluten free wellness. When it happens...! While there are many reasons it can take you a while to recover once you've gone gluten free (e.g. gut candidiasis, lactose intolerance, histamine intolerance, and fodmaps to name a few complications) you may not have considered what's actually going into your free from foods or how carefully they are produced.

1. Field/storage/factory cross  contamination:
Most dried pulses now have a may contain gluten statement on their packets because cross contamination is likely with gluten grains. I have to agree since i once found an ear of wheat in my bag of lentils and was already starting to suspect i was reacting to them. This does not mean that packs without a "may contain" statement are safe. say that rinsing should be sufficient but i disagree. Some say they wash in slightly soapy water and then rinse well. Something to consider, but obviously you'd need a long period of wellness to test this out in. Nuts from the whole food aisle also seem to be a lottery of cc for me, altho they usually dont contain a "may contain" statement on their packets. Pretty much all pulses are a no for me at the moment :0(

2 Barley malt/yeast extract:
This must be most asked question from newly diagnosed coeliacs! Some of the breakfast cereals in the cuk food directory (of approved gf foods) contain barley malt extract. Do you go to buy a "gf" cereal only to see it contains barley on the label! Confusing! This is when you discover the cuk directory has two categories of food but nit all coeliacs van eat category 2 foods which contain barley malt. tbh ten yrs on i still find this unclear and confusing, so...always read the label. As far as i know barley malt is always stated in the ingredients of cereals.

Gluten free beer is a completely different minefield though! Most (if not all) contain barley malt but do not say so on the label. I've also been ill after having kopparberg fruit ciders for the same reason. The only way to be sure is to contact the producers and most of their websites tell you in a round about way somewhere on their FAQs page.

Marmite. Despite this being a by-product of beermaking, i was in denial that this was making me ill for years! When the level of gluten allowed for gf food changed from 200ppm to 20ppm in europe, suspiciously, marmite was dropped from the cuk directory. The only yeast extract you'll find in there now is tesco own brand and i personally cant tolerate it. Some gf gravy powders contain yeast extract.

3 dextrose, maltodextrin, glucose syrup, unspecified starch:
While all these highly processed ingredients can be made from gf grains (and often is in america where so much corn is grown) they are most commonly made from wheat in Europe. These are technically below the 20ppm permitted amount of gluten, but sensitive coeliacs like me react to them.
Many freefrom baked goods contain wheat derived forms of these, even products labelled wheat free. Many cooked, sliced meats contain them too and watch out for hydrolysed starch in cheap toothpastes.
Helpfully, waitrose label the source of these ingredients in their food products, so you can actually buy salami that contains corn dextrose instead of playing russian roulette with undisclosed ingredients.

4 DIY:
Always feel glutened when you're doing diy despite washing your hands thoroughly afterwards? Consider wearing gloves and if at all possible get someone else to sand down filler (to avoid breathing it in). Diy products don't need to list their ingredients but wall paper pastes, wall fillers and plasterboard are all very likely to contain wheat starch/gluten. I find I'm ok wallpapering if i don't get it on my skin. Poly filler is a bit of a nightmare though!