Did you know that your soy sauce probably contains wheat? Your lipstick might too. Most of us are pretty naive about how many foods actually contain wheat and/or gluten. Yes, I know lipstick isn’t a food but if you wear it, then you ingest it. It happens when you lick your lips or eat something that touches your lips. Probably not a big deal unless you’re allergic to gluten. Let’s get back to that soy sauce…

Wheat is typically found as an ingredient in soy sauce. It’s also found in an abundance of other foods you probably wouldn’t expect to see it in including…

  • Soups
  • Cereals
  • Crackers
  • Salad dressings
  • Pasta
  • Potato Chips
  • French fries
  • Energy bars
  • Candy and candy bars
  • Tortilla chips
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Meat substitutes like veggie burgers
  • Pre-seasoned meats like rotisserie chickens and many lunch meats
  • Then of course all baked goods, pastas, and most breakfast cereals

Why Is Wheat Found in all These Foods?

Some of the foods on the list make sense, right? Pasta is made from flour so it makes sense that it contains wheat. But what about things like French fries, tortilla chips and meat? Why do they have wheat in them? It depends on the food but many foods contain wheat starch for thickening or they contain things like malt. Malt is made from soaking grains in water and then drying them. Malted milk shakes for example, have wheat in them.

So the trick to avoiding wheat is to look on the label. Look for things like wheat, flour, starch, and malt. But what if you’re avoiding gluten? Then the path gets a little trickier. And here’s the thing, if you’re going through the process to eliminate wheat, then it only makes sense to eliminate gluten too. Here’s why…

The vast majority of people who have problems with wheat do so because of the gluten. Yes, there are other reasons why people have problems with wheat. However, if you only eliminate wheat you may not experience the benefits. Eliminate gluten, which is found in some additional foods and grains, and you’ll be sure to get rid of any aggravating proteins.

Sources of Gluten

Gluten isn’t just in wheat. It’s in a number of grains including:

  • Durum
  • Emmer
  • Spelt
  • Farina
  • Farro
  • Kamut® khorasan wheat
  • Einkorn
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Triticale

At the grocery you’ll find gluten in beer, vinegars, food coloring, condiments, and even some dairy products like cheesecake filling. Get used to reading labels. Look for signs on products that say “gluten free.”

Whole Foods Make Gluten Free Easy

If you eat a lot of packaged and processed foods then eliminating wheat and gluten is going to be a tremendously rewarding lifestyle change. You can make the transition a whole lot easier on yourself by simply heading to the produce section of your market. Because here’s the thing, other than grains, gluten doesn’t naturally occur in other plants or animals. You can eat any meat, fruit, or vegetable without worrying about gluten.

Of course the transition from a life of processed foods to whole foods does have its challenges. In the next post we’ll talk about some substitutes for grains and gluten and then we’ll take a look at some tips to help you make the transition to a gluten free lifestyle an easier one.