Once you discover that you and gluten must part ways — for whatever reason — you realize how daunting the task of eliminating all sources of gluten is. You scour labels on food and condiments and beverages — yes, even beverages. Frustration becomes an unwelcome friend as you experience many hits and misses on your journey to better health.
Maybe you’ve had an experience like this one. You successfully eliminate gluten from everything you can think of. You feel proud of yourself for finding safe alternatives to everything from flour blends to spices. You’re beginning to heal. Your energy returns. Your mind clears. The fog lifts. And then … you feel it. The pain. The familiar twinge returns.
But how? You think through everything you’ve consumed and find no culprits. Maybe it’s in your head? Maybe you’re going crazy now, too? But you know that feeling. You know the pain, and you know it signals the beginning of a serious stretch of downtime. You feel defeated as you run through everything that has come within six feet of you.
And, as you reach for your daily vitamin, it hits you. You didn’t think even think to check the label. You quickly turn the bottle over to see the dreaded words staring back at you: CONTAINS: WHEAT.
Avoiding gluten seems impossible at times, but setbacks happen. You’ve done your homework with food. Now, you just need to do the same with medications and supplements. You will figure this part out, too. When you’ve had too many unexplained exposures to gluten, you become hyper-aware of everything that enters your body. You have to.
Thankfully, with every passing year, companies are learning that gluten-free customers are a loyal bunch. When we find a safe brand, we cling to it. So find your safe brands, and stick to them. You can find drug lists online, but I stopped trusting those lists blindly because so many companies use starch as a binder for drugs. Sometimes that starch comes from potatoes, corn, or rice, but other times, it comes from wheat that may or may not be disclosed.
Looking for safe alternatives? Make sure whatever you ingest is marked gluten-free. Two brands I trust are Target Up & Up and Kroger generics because they clearly label their packages. If you’re ever unsure, call the customer service number listed on the package. They will be happy to clarify a product’s ingredients. Whatever you do, don’t chance it. Your health is too important.
You will find products you can trust. Be patient, and your go-to list will grow with time.
Check labels every single time you buy. Companies sometimes change ingredients without warning.
More from Lori about being gluten-free:
Gluten-free and Still Sick? Where to Find Hidden Gluten Sources
Gluten and Dairy-Free Wraps: Easiest Recipe Ever