Whether you are new to the gluten free diet lifestyle or feel like a seasoned pro, there are 5 common mistakes that can really sidetrack you on the program. Some are based on complacency, others on just not being aware of the way products are prepared. So beware: following are the 5 most common mistakes you can make on the gluten free plan:
1. Not Checking Vitamins and Prescriptions
Most people aren’t aware of it, but prescription medications and vitamins contain additives and fillers that may contain gluten. Make sure your pharmacy is aware of your needs. Most will add it to your file electronically so that a notice pops up every time you have a prescription filled. In addition, make sure the vitamins you take are gluten free. If you are unsure, check with a physician or nutritionist for a good recommendation.
2. Not Checking Beauty Products
This is another commonly overlooked area for people with wheat allergies, gluten intolerances, and the like. Many beauty products such as lipsticks, shampoos and hand sanitizing gels contain wheat germ oil, which has gluten in it. If you ingest these products, then you could have a reaction. For example, you apply lipstick and as you drink your coffee, you ingest a little of the lipstick. Even the tiniest trace can provoke a reaction, so read the labels.
3. The Infamous Peanut Butter Jar
If you have a family peanut butter jar, make sure that you keep crumbs out. It’s best to dip some out with a clean spoon and use a knife to transfer it to your bread. Or have separate jars for the gluten and non-gluten eating folks in your household. Even the tiniest gluten-containing crumb can cause cross-contamination. So, while this seems like a silly thing to watch out for, it’s actually quite serious.
4. Beer and Whiskey
Before you drink any alcoholic beverages, such as beer or whiskey, stop! These two are made of fermented grains that contain gluten. You will need to find a GF substitute, which can be harder than you think. Even vodka, which is made from fermented potatoes, may contain a grain mash. Be sure to do some research before you head to the bar.
5. Fast Food Fries
Fast food fries may seem like a great option for the GF dieter on the run, right? Wrong. Fast food is notorious for containing additives and causing cross-contamination problems. It’s quite possible that the fries are seasoned with a spice mixture that contains gluten, or it is being fried in oil that has recently fried gluten-containing foods. Either way, you are in for a world of hurt, so just bypass the fast food restaurant and bring a GF snack from home.
The best way to protect yourself and your health is to read the labels before you use any products. Even if you have been eating the same GF breakfast cereal for years, read the label before you eat. Manufacturers can change their ingredients or manufacturing processes at any time without having to make a huge statement about it in the press. So arm yourself with a little education and foresight when you are on the gluten free diet.