Here's what I know about Labels on our food, they are deceiving, they tell you half-truths, and if you can't read more than half of the label, don't eat it! Some labels have now put their "better" or "whole" ingredients in bold letters. Why? Because companies know that you are looking for certain things and when letters are in bold they stand out more and your eyes naturally skip over anything that is NOT bold. So, you miss all the "bad" things.
Recently, I decided to go Gluten-Free, so, I'm back to reading labels more. Here's a few things I think you should know if you or anyone you know is considering Gluten-Free or is Gluten-Free.
- As of January 1st, 2006, food products manufactured with Wheat should be listed in an allergy statement below the ingredients on the label or in parentheses following the name of the ingredient. If you suspect that the label is NOT up-to-date, call the company to verify that the item does or does not contain wheat. When in doubt, do not eat it! Barley, Rye, and Oats are NOT covered by this law.
Holy Labels! That statement is SCARY!! Going Gluten-Free is a tidious process for sure, but it just got a whole lot harder. Basically, you should trust no label and eat whole foods. But even that is a challenge because there are some Dairy products that shouldn't be consumed.
Below, I've put together a list of things you should AVOID when you are going Gluten-Free (unless they are otherwise labeled, rule of thumb is to avoid the following):
- Wheat & all parts of Wheat: wheat flour, wheat germ, bran, endosperm (starch), and a blend of Wheat & Rye called triticale.
- Barley & all parts of Barley: malt & malt flavorings, brown rice syrup, brewer's yeast, and beer.
- Rye & all parts of Rye: rye flour and rye bread
- Oats & all products containing Oats: oat flour, oat bran, and oat gums. (Unless these are labeled Gluten-Free and are NOT made in a factory containing Wheat, then you can consume them)
- Bouillon Cubes
- Cold Cuts, Hot Dogs, Sausage, Salami
- French Fries
- Gravies & Sauces
- Imitation Fish
- Imitation Bacon
- Malted Products
- Cereals (including Rice & Soy varieties)
- Meat & Dairy Substitutes
- Seasoned Rice Mixes
- Soy Sauce & Marinades
- Seasoned Tortilla Chips & Potato Chips
- Flavored Beverages
- Self-basting Turkey
- Soup & Soup Bases
- Trail Mixes
- Energy Bars & Supplements
- Some Medications
- Some Vitamin Supplements
These will also be printed on labels and likely hidden in the wording, so keep a sharp eye when shopping! Avoid the following:
- Wheat Starch
- Carmel Coloring
- Natural & Artificial Flavorings
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
- Textured Vegetable Proteins (TVP)
- Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)
- Cereal Extracts
The list of things to avoid is massive! If you'd like a more complete list of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable for a Gluten-Free diet, just ask and I'd be more than happy to send you a pdf that you can print and have on-hand.
For as long as I can remember, we've been taught that homemade food is better, when running late use tv dinners and pre-made foods, ranch dressing goes on everything, cereal is healthy, when sliced bread came out no one questioned if white bread was better, we've been told that wheat is now better but now people have wheat allergies. So, what do we really know about our food? It's safe to say, we know absolutely NOTHING because the FDA keeps changing the rules, the food companies keep their advertising high, and fast food keeps us fat, sick, and nearly dead.
My mission is to educate as many as I can because I have made the same mistakes. I fed my child Gerber crap in a jar because no one told me otherwise. I lived off of fast food and top ramen, both of which have overdosing amounts of sodium and zero nutritional value. I've skipped breakfast and just consumed one meal a day. I've made just as many mistakes as everyone else, but now I know better. I'm not blind to the aliments I have and that they are a direct nutritional issue. The only thing I do different now than before is I take one day at a time. If I slip up and make a mistake, my body lets me know. I don't have to beat myself up about it because my body already knows and makes me sick as can be and I learn not to do it again.
Yes, changing your nutritional lifestyle takes practice. Yes, it's hard. Yes, you will have cravings. BUT, you will feel better. You don't know how good you feel until you start to feel good. Take your nutrition one day at a time and make a Nutrition Vision Board to stay on track. Writing things down is the path to success.
Have a Happy Healthy Day!