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From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, watch out for these foods and products where the problematic protein lurks
10 Hidden Sources of Gluten During the Holidays From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, the problematic protein lurks in a host of unlikely places.
e1 You’d be surprised: Gluten, a protein found in many grains such as wheat, spelt, kamut, rye, barley, and most commercial oat products, lurks in all kinds of unsuspected places. The following is a list of the top gluten- sneaky foods and products to watch out for during this festive time of year:
Soup— Gluten is found in a variety of ingredients in many commercial soups, from thick “cream ofs” to clear broths and bouillon cubes, so it’s safest to avoid soup altogether if you’re a guest for a holiday meal or eating in a restaurant. At home, make soup out of homemade broth, or use broth or soup that’s certifi ed gluten- free.
Gravy— Gravy is another common source of gluten: A roux made with wheat- based fl our and fat is typically used to prepare it. For gluten- free gravy, start with coconut fl our, then add stock and mix with an immersion blender. Or simply make a slurry by whisking 1 Tbs. of arrowroot powder into cup water and stir until completely dissolved. Add the slurry to a hot mixture of turkey drippings and gluten- free stock or broth, and whisk until thickened and smooth.
Mashed Potatoes— Here’s one that surprised even me! If they’re homemade, most mashed potatoes are gluten- free. But some people ( and certain restaurants) add a little fl our to thicken their mashed potatoes. Ask to be sure.
Cream- based Dishes— Be wary of any dish with a cream base, because a gluten- containing cream soup was likely used to prepare it. For example, traditional green bean casserole is made with gluten- containing cream of mushroom soup. For a healthier, gluten- free choice, make green beans with toasted slivered almonds instead.
Turkey— Unprocessed, plain turkey is gluten- free. But read labels carefully, and make sure the turkey hasn’t been seasoned or marinated with something that contains gluten, or injected with brine that contains gluten. If you aren’t sure, ask. Also make sure that the turkey isn’t packed with glutencontaining bread stuffi ng. If you plan to eat out at a restaurant, always call and ask the chef or manager.
Just a few months ago, I learned that avoiding gluten dramatically improves my depression and achy joints. I know the basics of staying away from obvious sources, such as croutons, bread, stuffing, and regular baked goods. However, this will be my first holiday season avoiding gluten, and I’m wondering if you could clue me in on hidden or notso- obvious gluten sources to watch out for during the holidays.
Imitation turkey and meat products— Many plant- based faux turkey products, including Tofurky Veggie Roast, and other meat substitutes, are made from vital wheat gluten, a concentrated source of the problematic protein. Skip the meat alternative, and use naturally gluten- free or certifi ed glutenfree ingredients to prepare an assortment of meatless seasonal dishes instead.
Scrambled eggs and omelets— Traveling during the holidays and eating out in restaurants? Beware that some add pancake batter when making scrambled eggs and omelets, or use packaged egg products that already contain batter or fl our to make the eggs fl uffi er. They also tend to cook these egg dishes, as well as plain old fried eggs, on the same grill where pancakes were made. Ask questions before ordering eggs. Based on your sensitivity to gluten, you may want to choose the safer route by ordering poached or hard- boiled eggs.
Some teas— Watch out for special holiday tea blends, some of which contain gluten- based fl avors or barley malt as a sweetener. Know that single- ingredient teas, such as black tea, green tea, white tea, and rooibos tea, are naturally gluten- free. But some fl avored teas whose base ingredients are naturally gluten- free contain added gluten ingredients. Read the ingredients before you buy, or seek out certifi ed gluten- free varieties or teas labeled gluten- free.
Alcohol— Commercial beer, unless labeled otherwise, contains gluten. Rye, whiskey, bourbon, and scotch also are made from gluten grains. The distillation process used to make these beverages generally makes them safe to consume, but some people with celiac disease ( an autoimmune reaction to gluten) report adverse reactions when drinking these liquors. If you’d prefer to drink alcohol made completely without ingredients containing gluten, opt for rum, potato vodka, or tequila.
While wine is inherently gluten- free as it is made from grapes, some wines that contain added colorings or fl avorings might not be gluten- free. You’ll need to contact the manufacturer to be sure.
Also be aware that some wine coolers contain additional ingredients that aren’t gluten- free.
Stamps and envelopes— Do you like to mail out Christmas or holiday greeting cards to friends and family? Be careful! The adhesive that makes stamps and envelopes stick can contain gluten. To avoid taking a chance, use a sponge to dampen envelopes, or try the self- adhering kind.