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Your clearinghouse for all that’s gluten free

by Mia Crews

Aka Grammy to Nicholas, Olivia, Miranda and Chloe

Before you can rid your life of gluten, you have to know what it is and where it hides.  

What exactly is gluten? The Merriam-Webster dictionary states that gluten is “a tenacious elastic protein substance that gives cohesiveness to dough.” That’s dough usually made of wheat flour. Gluten also exists in other grass-like grains, including barley, rye, kamut and spelt. I could go into a more detailed scientific explanation of how and why gluten affects certain people, but that would be what I call “reinventing the wheel.”  

I am not a health-care professional, I’m just a mom and a grandmother to four wonderful kids who call me Grammy. So I cannot and will not talk about the science behind the trend to go gluten free. I had to go gluten free because I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, as was my mother who passed away a few years ago from side affects from not eating gluten free. There are so many valuable organizations with websites that contain all the information you need to learn about gluten and the various medical issues some people have when they ingest it. I have a list of my favorite sites on my About Celiac Disease page.

My focus for this website is to share my experiences about my journey to go gluten free, or GF. The task seems simple, but I encountered many glitches along the way. I hope to make your going-gluten free experience far easier.

Simple means DO NOT ingest anything that contains wheat, rye, barley, kamut, spelt, or any product made with or from these, including products that may be contaminated with minute particles of gluten. (I have to stay away from bakeries because the flour in the air makes me sick.)

Stick with fresh unprocessed foods such as meat, milk, eggs, potatoes, rice, vegetables – well, you get my drift. Do not season or bread your food with any products with wheat in them, such as certain soy sauces, gravies, canned soups or seasoning packets or, of course, bread crumbs or Panko. Use fresh herbs and check the labels on any seasonings you think you can’t live without. Make fresh salads with greens, tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, peppers, mushrooms, but skip the croutons!

I do not drink beer or protein shakes, as most have gluten in them. Hard liquors are made from grains, but the distilling process takes most of the gluten out of the products made from gluten containing grains. However, not all brands are gluten free. Check the label, and to be safe, stick with the alcohols distilled from potatoes or corn.  Beware of malt beverages such as Smirnoff Ice or Mike's Hard Lemonade. They taste great, but contain gluten.  

Food and drink are a no-brainer, but did you know that some lipsticks contain gluten? All my careful plans to eliminate gluten from my kitchen were for naught, because I did not know about gluten hiding in non-food items. So as I spent way too much money on GF foods, I continued using lipstick that I discovered later had wheat as an ingredient.

Other products that might contain wheat include vitamins. Most reputable vitamin companies make gluten free varieties, but to make certain, I now purchase my vitamins from a local health food store that has a very knowledgeable staff. They are always happy to check with the manufacturer to make sure the products I buy are gluten free. As always, read the label!

Gone with the Gluten

Gluten can hide anywhere:

Beauty products

Do not use any product containing gluten around your lips or tongue! Many lipsticks contain not only gluten but undesirable ingredients such as lead or arsenic. Contact the manufacturer for detailed ingredients, asking specifically about gluten.

Wheat is found in many products, not just food.

Vitamins, medications, and makeup just to name a few. Always check the ingredient list of your favorite products, and talk to your doctor about your medications.


Alcoholic Beverages


Beware of beer or other alcoholic drinks such as the hard lemonades on the market. Many contain wheat or barley.

But do not despair, beer manufacturers are now making gluten free beer from sorghum, which are getting great reviews.

Distilled alcohol such as vodka or gin may be gluten free, but check this article before consuming these products.