Like most parents raising a gluten free child, I am in constant search of hidden and unknown sources of gluten. The web is full of valuable information, however, I have also stumbled along many pieces of inaccurate or misleading information. Perhaps this is because we cannot possibly keep up with all the changes and labeling out there. There are a few things I have found on gluten free menu plans that I feel need addressed.
Carnation Instant Breakfast is recommended as part of the menu plan on Ventura County Celiacs page. The recommendation is to make it in either soy or regular milk. Carnation does of course, contain dairy so this is NOT suitable for a casein free diet so don’t be misled that mixing it with soy milk will be okay. In addition, the companies website states the following in regard to gluten:
“The flavorings used in CARNATION® INSTANT BREAKFAST® Ready-To-Drink contain barley extracts, which contribute less than 1 part per million of barley gluten in the final product. We have recently added a statement to the label indicating the existence of barley in these products. The products have not changed, but, as a service to our consumers, we chose to disclose all sources of gluten. The degree of sensitivity to gluten varies among individuals, please discuss with your physician if you have concerns.”
So, if you are not on a casein free diet and find that tiny sources of gluten do not affect you, then go ahead with the Carnation shakes.
Some other ingredients/condiments that should be brought to light:
Soy Sauce- traditional soy sauces are NOT gluten free. Soy sauce contains 40-60% wheat. Wheat free varieties are available such as Wheat Free Tamari. Read the labels carefully. Traditional Tamari still contains a small amount of wheat, so be sure to purchase “Wheat Free”.
Bouillon- many bouillon cubes contain wheat ingredients. This may not be clearly labeled. Any unknown “modified” ingredient or the words “natural color” may indicate gluten. Be sure to get GLUTEN FREE bouillon. Contact the manufacturer if you are unsure about the labeling. Herb-Ox® Bouillons are gluten free. You can see Hormel’s full GF list here.
TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)- There are Gluten Free TVPs available, such as Bob’s Red Mill. Many TVP’s contain caramel coloring and “natural flavors”. Both of these ingredients MAY contain hidden gluten. In the United States, caramel coloring should be derived from non-gluten sources. However, many varieties of caramel coloring contain sulfite compounds and other nasty ingredients (such as the caramel color used in soft drinks). In our house, we avoid caramel coloring. Remember, the term “Natural Flavors” doesn’t tell us what the flavor is made of and can contain gluten. Read labels carefully.
Oats and Oat Flour- Oats on their own do not contain gluten. However, they are not gluten free because of the potential for contamination during growing and processing. Now there are several options available for gluten free Oats. This makes us thrilled. If you cannot find GF Oat Flour… you can make your own using GF Oats.
I’ve covered the concern with Rice Dream in another post. Like many consumers, I assumed the company had changed their manufacturing process and therefore began to label the products “gluten free”. In reality, nothing about the products changed, the company learned they could use the label of “gluten free”. Even though a barley enzyme is used during the manufacturing process, it is removed and the remaining amount of gluten is minuscule. For those who are hyper sensitive to gluten, this trivial amount may be too much. The choice is yours, but ask questions and be informed. I don’t want to give my child any food that may be poison in her body.
This is just an example of how easy it is to get gluten in your diet. The only way to avoid Gluten is to read labels EVERY time, even on products you use frequently. Contact the manufacturers if you need clarification. Educate yourself.
Be Well. 🙂