HIdden Sources of Gluten/Allergens

Whatever foods you are trying to avoid could be hiding in unexpected things and causing problems. I was at a friends house the other day and they used a salad dressing with soy sauce, but did not realize it contained gluten. So glad I asked. Be sure to read this list/print it out and be your own advocate by reading labels and asking about it.

Did you know that only a few molecules, unseen to the human eye, or the size of a 100th of a fingernail of gluten can be enough to cause your body to react? Yes, according to scientific published studies confirm this, and you can look it up on http://www.pubmed.com

If you think you are 100% free of gluten or any other food, here are some hidden sources. Check your kitchen and bathroom to find out!

Gluten are the proteins(there are 26 proteins) in Barely, Rye, Wheat, Spelt,  Oats(that are not gluten-free). Oats do not contain gluten naturally, but they often get contaminate in fields, equipment or transportation. Be sure to buy gluten-free oats which are tested. Don’t eat oatmeal in a restaurant unless you confirm it is gluten-free oats.

Hidden Sources of Gluten:

  • Rx, prescription and over the counter medications often contain gluten. Ask the Pharmacist. This includes vitamins, herbs etc…
  • Skin care often contains wheat germ oil, aka triticum vulgare, or wheat protein. This includes hair color, shampoo, soaps, lotions, conditioner. Anything that goes on the skin is directly absorbed into the blood stream, and this is enough to cause a reaction.
  • Food:
  • soy sauce(use gluten-free Tamari instead or Bragg’s Amino Acids)
  • lunch meats/sausages
  • Imitation Crab
  • soba noodles, often contain wheat
  • Cereal(even gluten-free sounding things like corn or amaranth or rice can contain barley malt which is gluten)!
  • Oatmeal(unless it is labeled “gluten-free” it may be contaminated)
  • frozen foods
  • maltodexterin can be made from wheat, sometimes corn
  • salad dressings
  • soups
  • broth/stock/bouillon cubes
  • sauces
  • anything in a package/or container
  • French Fries(often coated with flour). You must always ask in restaurants. If they are fried in the same fryer as other gluten/battered/breaded foods then they will contain gluten.
  • Meatloaf/Meatballs, anything with bread crumbs
  • coconut shrimp or fish-coconut is combined with flour or bread crumbs/panko
  • Panko (Japanese bread crumbs made from wheat)
  • Chips(potato, corn)
  • Corn Chips often contain flour…be sure to ask at restaurants
  • Spouted Bread(if it is sprouted wheat it still contains gluten!)
  • Pizza, if it is baking in the same oven as regular pizza or prepared in the same kitchen as flour, it is contaminated!
  • Beverages:
  • Teas (some contain barley)
  • alcohol(vodka, malt liquor, liquors, beer, wine coolers etc…this is very debated and some say it is distilled off. I say if you are allergic or very sensitive, it is still gray area. If you are still healing a leaky gut, I would not recommend it.
  • Wheatgrass does not contain gluten when it is very young before it develops gluten(before it has a kernel or it branches off), but many people may react if they are allergic to wheat. Be careful with this.

Hidden Sources of Dairy:

  • dark chocolate(often contains milk fat) cocoa butter is from the cocoa pod and is dairy-free
  • chips(any flavored chips)
  • snacks
  • Smart Balance/Butter substitues may contain butter or whey
  • Whey
  • Protein powders-may contain dairy/whey/ whey protein
  • skin care

Hidden sources of yeast:

  • bouillion cubes/broth/stock
  • nutritional yeast is the same as brewers yeast

Is your kitchen safe? Are you cross contaminating by accident?

I suggest you use all separate tools, cutting boards and especially anything porous like plastic that can never be completely cleaned. If someone dips their knife or spatula into a condiment like mayonnaise and then spread it on wheat/rye/barley/sprouted wheat/spelt bread and then dips the knife/spatula back into the mayo to get more…guess what? The mayo is now contaminated with gluten!

The toaster is another place….remember just a crumb is enough to cause a reaction! You need a separate toaster for gluten-free items ONLY.

Use the dishwasher on high heat to sanitize everything. Be sure to get separate and different color containers for your gluten-free items. You can get tags online that say gluten-free to hang on your pots and pans. Or you can go to the pet store and instead of saying “fido” ask them to engrave them to say “gluten-free”.

Honestly, I have given up eating out b/c even if they say it’s gluten-free, I am never 100% sure. Suffering is not worth it. I know that getting gluten, in any amount, can cause problems that are shown to lead to much more serious health issues like various autoimmune diseases and early death! Now, that is a good reason to avoid gluten 100%.

10 Sources of Hidden Gluten!

1. Body and beauty products & Haircare/hair color/bleach!

Lipstick, toothpaste, body lotion, shampoo, hair color soap, conditioner, baby powder and sunscreen can all contain gluten. Because of this, I stick with beauty brands that are committed to offering both gluten-free and toxin-free products! You can look them up on www.ewg.org

Be sure to read labels and know the various names of wheat like the botanical name, Triticum Vulgare(wheat germ oil)! England and EU label wheat as Triticum! If you don’t know what something is on a label, look it up.

My favorites include:

You can find these at health food stores, Pharmaca and www.ThriveMarket.com

Acure(body soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, facial products)

Mineral Fusion for hair and make-up

My Chelle or Acure for facial products

Babo Baby or Goddess Garden or Badger Sunscreen

Top Chic Permanent hair color (not semi or demi or any other) by Goldwell


2. Medications, supplements and herbal formulas

Many of these have fillers like dextrin, which can come from corn or wheat.  There are several websites, such as http://glutenfreedrugs.com/ that list gluten-free medications. If you are taking thyroid, be sure it is Westhroid and Levothyroxine if needed which are the least allergenic of all of them. Synthroid contains gluten and doesn’t convert as well as Westhroid(natural) in most people!


3. Play-Doh and paints

Play-Doh is made from wheat flour, salt and water, and many paints also have wheat-derived ingredients. I make my own play dough with gluten-free oat flour. I use only No VOC paints in our house.


4. Sauces and condiments

Ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, tomato sauce, gravy and salad dressings can all contain gluten. Distilled vinegar begins with grain! They cannot distill 100% of the gluten out, so look for ones that use apple cider vinegar or wine vinegar instead of distilled vinegar or white vinegar! Or, make your own!


5. Scrambled eggs

Some restaurants add pancake batter to make eggs, or buy packaged egg products that already contain batter in order to make the eggs fluffier. The chef & foodservice staff, may be unaware they’re using a product that contains wheat or gluten, so make sure to ask questions!


6. Stamps and envelopes

The adhesive that makes stamps and envelopes stick can come from gluten. I always use a wet paper towel to dampen the envelope seal or better yet, use self adhesive kind. Many glues are also made from gluten!


7. Luncheon meats, imitation crab and vegan meat substitutes, soy sauce

Wheat can be used as a filler in luncheon meats, and of course most meat jerky contains soy sauce. The “crab meat” used in many sushi rolls, like California rolls, is imitation crabmeat and contains wheat as a stabilizer. Many vegan “meats” and veggie burgers are either made from wheat or contain one of the these ingredients listed below.

Other hidden sources of gluten:

  1.  Artificial color
  2. Baking powder
  3. Caramel color/flavoring
  4. Citric acid (can be fermented from wheat, corn, molasses or beets)
  5. Coloring
  6. Dextrin
  7. Diglycerides
  8. Emulsifiers
  9. Enzymes
  10. Fat replacers
  11. Flavorings
  12. Food starch
  13. Glucose syrup
  14. Glycerides
  15. Maltodextrin
  16. Modified food starch
  17. Natural juices
  18. Stabilizers
  19. Starch
  20. Wheat starch


8. Alcohol

Beer contains gluten, of course, but distilled liquors such as vodka can also be made from wheat or rye or barley. Depending on your sensitivity, you may need to steer clear of these. I recommend eliminating alcohol entirely during the first 30 days on any of my programs or until your symptoms have resolved. However, if you have eliminated your symptoms and want to enjoy alcohol occasionally, I usually stick with tequila, potato vodka, GF Rum or Organic/No Sulfites added wine and gluten-free beer made from Sorghum. Do not drink gluten-free beers that the gluten has been “removed”, b/c it’s still there and only a molecule can trigger antibody production which take 6 weeks to clear the system/blood stream! Check out a full list of gluten-free alcohol and foods on www.celiac.com


9. Mashed potatoes & Soups

Flour is sometimes added to thicken mashed potatoes. Often flour is added to thicken soups!


  1. Sprouted Bread

All bread, sprouted or not, that contains gluten(wheat in all forms both modern and ancient, Rye, Barley, Spelt, Kamut, and any oats that are not certified gluten-free can be contaminated with gluten.

11. Candy

You must read the ingredients! Licorice and many other solid candies are made from wheat flour. Wheat and gluten have many names they can be labeled as such as the botanical name Triticum or Triticum Vulgare(wheat germ oil)!

Be Well and Thrive(not just survive), Lauren

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