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.

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