I've learned so much about hidden sources of gluten as a result of meeting people on gluten-free diets. Soy sauce - who'd have thought that? One of my friends explained it to me when I asked why a brownie mix called for "gluten-free vanilla." Turns out that some brands use wheat during fermentation or as a thickener.
Restaurants I know my friends go to frequently are: Wendy's, offering baked potatoes and salads. PF Chang's is very accomodating and has a lot of menu options. A diner is also a good option, you can order eggs without breads or toast. Just ask if they can cook the food separately because some places use one grill for everything, so you again have to worry about contamination. Fondue restaurants are pretty good, but you have to ask for gluten-free options. The chain places have a few choices.
You have to watch for gluten in candy as well(I found this out shopping for holiday candy for my kids).All of the Willy Wonka brand candy is processed in a facility that also processes wheat.Twizzlers have wheat in them.Alot of candies and even chocolates have wheat in them.I have fun every holiday when they bring treat bags home from parties...I have to weed out all the "bad" candy before they get into it. The point being,if you are wheat free,you have to read,every-thing.
That reminds me,check the labels on store brand foods...one very large chain store I will not name,almost ALL of their store brand foods are processed with wheat.
Possibly because someone I'm related to works for them and it would be in bad taste.
they used to have a smiley face in their logo
Honestly, I think most of the major chains use wheat in the majority of their store brand foods. Processed foods in general often have wheat.
I have found a few that don't,we do buy the 365 canned green beans and other veg with no added salt from Whole Foods,but I generally try to avoid processed food as much as possible.
Agree with everyone else who has said not to try a gluten free diet if it's not medically necessary.
I have two friends with celiac disease. One of them keeps kosher as much as possible as well, so it's a double challenge (Kosher for Passover matzah is available, but very expensive, and needs to be special ordered, which could take weeks). Fortunately this friend has adjusted reasonably well to the gluten free foods at this point. My other friend has found a decent Italian restaurant in Voorhees, NJ (Southern NJ, near Cherry Hill) where there's a restaurant that has pretty tasty gluten free pizza in addition to gluten items on the menu, so we're all comfortable going there.
It's written by someone who discovered she had celiac disease in her 30s. It's very well written and highly informative. Spend a day or two going through her posts (I believe she has a list of the key celiac-related posts somewhere) and you'll have all the information you need.
Best of luck.
This book helped me when I was first trying to understand gluten-related problems and figuring out what I could eat:
Although you can find some very good information online, some people are overly paranoid and you can get some misinformation. Getting a book with a good list of what foods to avoid is a good idea. Take a look at what you can find at the library or your local book store. There are a number of books and cookbooks about gluten-free eating.
One thing to watch is gluten free vs. certified gluten free. Some companies produce foods they claim are gluten free. However, they have no verfication of this via an outside source. There is some argument about that now with certain cereals. The only ones that are certified are Chex. Rumor has it there will be a gluten free version of Rice Krispies soon too. If so, I can't wait because they are a comfort food to me after a hard day at work. I would love to incorporate those back into my diet.
Without going into specifics, I've had GI issues since puberty. FINALLY evaluated for celiac last year. Doctors are really learning about this in leaps and bounds.
In any event, I was tested for 7 gluten antibodies, and tested positive for only one. Then I had both of the invasive tests under sedation with biopsies. I'm told this is "the gold standard" for celiac testing. No celiac.
But my symptoms are out of a textbook on gluten and wheat intolerance. So I just started going gluten free a few weeks ago. Almost immediately, I noticed relief. Sorry for the TMI, but I'm having a bizarre, cramp free period and I'm wondering if it's related. When I fell off the wagon at Chick-fil-a (oh, for shame!!!), the results were way more drastic and unpleasant than they were in my gluten eating days. So, if you're going to go GF and you end up needing to be GF, beware.
A lot of GF foods that aren't "naturally" gluten free have loads of fat and other carbs in them to make up for the taste. So on a GF diet, you definitely don't lose weight unless you stick to unprocessed foods and eat sensibly.
If you or someone you know has "wierd" health issues that doctors can't figure out or provide relief for, I can't urge you strongly enough to look into changing the diet for a few weeks. High oxalate foods can cause a lot of pelvic pain, for example, and the effects of gluten are well documented online.
"Puccini cries out for spirals, but really good ones." ~ Dick Button, 1998 Worlds
Yes,tolerance levels do vary.
One of my pet peeves is foods that have written in BIG BOLD letters across the fron "GLUTEN FREE!" or "WHEAT FREE!" but you read the small print on the back "Processed in a facility that processed wheat"...which pretty much means that it's not totally gluten free.There was one particular pizza I used to enjoy,and one time i ate it and I felt pretty horrible and I dug the box out of the trash and checked and it had been processed on equipment that processes wheat.If it's processed with it,it shouldn't say 'gluten/wheat free' on the front.