What is Gluten Free?

what is gluten free

It’s such a simple question, isn’t it?

You would think that something either has gluten or it doesn’t have gluten and people with celiac disease wouldn’t need to jump through hoops every time they want to eat something…or drink something…or use a new toothpaste…or try a new lotion…or apply a new lipstick (ummm…not personally speaking of course.)

But the problem is that gluten is not one thing. It’s a lot of things. And it’s in a lot of things. And because the FDA has dragged their asses for years, we simply can’t be sure 100% of the time.

There is the dreaded “artificial coloring” and “natural flavorings” in many ingredients. What the hell does this even mean? It’s like they ran out of words for some of these chemically enhanced ingredients, so they gave it a generic name. And we’ll never know what is in them? Do we risk it? I used to. I don’t anymore.

I’ll tell you what. Let’s play a game. I’m going into my kitchen and grabbing a random food item and then we’ll play “Does this have gluten in it?” Be right back.

(elevator music……)

Ok…thanks for hanging with me. So here is what we have:

Crystal Light Peach Ice Tea Mix

what is gluten freeLooks wholesome…delicious…innocent. Can’t have gluten, right? I mean, look at the image, it’s just peaches. Well, let’s take a looksie at the ingredients, shall we?

  • The first ingredient is “citric acid”. Off to Google we go to see if that has gluten. (Google is a celiacs best friend). Ok, in the first five results, 3 say safe, 1 says iffy and 1 says it makes them ill. Hmmm…next.
  • Instant Tea. No idea what that means but if it’s just tea, we’re good.
  • Corn Syrup Solids. Ok…at this point, even if I didn’t have celiac, I wouldn’t be drinking this stuff. Google seems to think it’s ok.
  • Maltodextrin. Well it depends what kind of starch it came from. If made in the U.S. should be ok.
  • And here’s the rest: Natural Flavor, Artificial Flavor, Magnesium Oxide, Acesulfame Potassium (seriously???), Red 40 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 1 Lake. My god…it sounds like a box of crayons.
  • Ironically, “peach” is not one of the ingredients. Why am I not surprised?

So can I have this? I honestly have no idea. Will I have it? Absolutely not.

So I ask again. What is Gluten Free? And why is it so complicated to answer this simple question?

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5 thoughts on “What is Gluten Free?”

  1. Interesting you posted this. I actually used to drink it all the time. I can drink the generic brands but the actual crystal light causes a reaction. I doubt it is gluten though. I suspect something else that bothers me. Perhaps even the sweetener.

  2. So please tell me Gluten Dude, if you see any of the itmes from the last bunch of ingredients would you eat/drink the product? HOw can I know what the hell is Red 40, or Yellow 6 made of? How do I know “natural flavor” has no gluten? And also when the box doesn’t mention it does not have gluten (but doesn;t say also it does) and there is no metnion “Produced in facility that produces wheat,eggs,blah,blah…) would you eat it? Gluten free diet is so frustariting… I sometimes just want to distry the store becasue it seems nothing is safe for me. I hate the feeling when I stand in the aisle with box and wonder if it is ok to have it or not. It would make life so much easier if it just said “CONATINS GLUTEN”. WHy is it so difficult to label it right? 🙁

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

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I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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