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Hidden Gluten: Shredded Cheese July 12, 2010

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in Hidden Gluten.
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Prepackaged shredded cheese can contain wheat flour. It is used to prevent the cheese shreds from sticking together. Read your product labels to be sure. If eating cafeteria style avoid any melted cheese and shredded cheese toppings. (you can ask but they will probably tell you they don’t know it comes in a big bag)

Hidden Gluten: Licorice July 5, 2010

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in Hidden Gluten.
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You will not find licorice listed on many forbidden lists and from its texture and flavor you’d never know it’s made with wheat flour. It is. I know, when I read the label one day my bubble was busted too.

Someone please make a gluten free licorice it would be a gold mine.

Hidden Gluten: French Fries June 21, 2010

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in Hidden Gluten.
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This is the most frustrating one for me because I love french fries! And potatoes are gluten free, as are many frozen french fries you’d buy from the grocery story. The problem can occur in some frozen grocery store fries and in most restaurants I’ve experienced. Here’s what to look for:

  • Coated Fries: Some prepackaged and many restaurant french fries are coated with ingredients that are not gluten free. One hidden ingredient to be aware of is modified food starch which may or may not contain gluten depending on how well the package is labeled. McDonald’s french fries are not gluten free they contain wheat outright. I believe In-N-Out french fries are gluten free. Since they do not have an online ingredients list I’ve contacted them to confirm.
  • Cross Contamination: This will very much depend on your level of sensitivity. If the restaurant fries anything breaded (calamari, chicken fingers, buffalo wings – yep this excludes most grills and brew houses) it’s not likely they use a separate fryer for their fries. Your fries will come cross contaminated with bits of flour all over them. Yummy, I know. Tummy, no.
  • In Mexican restaurants ask how they make their chili relleno. My grandma used to bake hers but others use a fryer. If they fry their chile relleno in the same place they fry your fry it’s a no go.

The Solution

Verify with the restaurant if their french fries are gluten free or cross contaminated (if that is an issue for you). And, read the labels on frozen potato products. Here’s a trick for reading labels:

  1. Look up ingredients online to plan your grocery list ahead of time.
  2. Once you’ve done that you might be thinking “scary” because there are often a ton of chemical sounding ingredients you’ve never heard of. Remember modified food starch is a no go. If in doubt look it up here to find if each unknown ingredient is safe or or forbidden. Or move on to a more natural brand. Each brand and each brand’s product will be different. Ore Ida’s Skinless Fast Fries contain the hidden modified food starch ingredient. But, their Steak Fries do not.

I wonder why they have to mess with a good thing in the first place. Good luck out there!

Hidden Gluten: Chicken Stock June 14, 2010

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in Hidden Gluten.
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Chicken stock is a hidden culprit in many restaurants turning typical foods on your gluten free “safe list” poisonous. Like all processed foods you have to read the store label on prepared stock but in restaurants we’re lucky to get even the chef to read a label. The ingredient to watch for is modified food starch which may or may not be derived from wheat, and of course wheat flour. If it does not contain this ingredient chicken stock is in theory safe. If you are not successful in confirming a restaurant’s chicken stock is gluten free here are a few items on the menu to be weary of that can contain chicken stock:

  • Soup
  • All Sauces (enchilada sauce, etc.)
  • Rice (spanish rice, rice pilaf etc. plain white rice made with water is fine)
  • Vegetables cooked in chicken broth