Grain Brain - a Great Resource to help you go gluten free easily

Gluten Free Easily, Thanks to Grain Brain

I’ve been gluten free for about seven years now and it’s made a tremendous difference in my life, but I can’t really say it was easy – especially at first.  Honestly, I really just wish I’d had Kristen Loberg and David Perlmutter’s book Grain Brain. Not so much for the information about gluten and your brain – honestly at that point in my life I didn’t care what it was doing to my brain, I just wanted my joints to stop hurting (great success, by the way). But the problem was, that it wasn’t easy at all to find the gluten hiding in things. Because due to some inconvenient labeling, they don’t just say “gluten” – in fact they work really really hard NOT to say “gluten” so thanks so much to grain brain for these great tools to make gluten free easy.

I am sharing this information from Grain Brain, simply because I so wish it had been around in such a clear way when I was starting out. This will help you to go gluten free easily. Or at least with fewer accidental gluten episodes.

Grains and starches which contain gluten:

  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Farina
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Matzo
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Wheat
  • Wheat germ
  • Wheat grass (I’m including it here because although there is some debate about whether or not it contains enough gluten to trigger a reaction, it most certainly triggers a reaction in me – so count this one as a just-in-case)

Gluten-Free Grains and Starches (Stick to This List and You’ll be Fine!)

  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat (Best. Pancakes. Ever.)
  • Corn
  • Millet
  • Potato
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Soy
  • Tapioca
  • Teff

These Prepared Foods Often Contain Hidden Gluten:

  • Canned baked beans (sigh. Camp food.)
  • Beer
  • Blue cheese
  • Bouillons/broths that are premade
  • Breaded foods
  • Cereals (not so hidden in this one – but even the ones that claim to be “rice” or “corn” are often a mix)
  • Chocolate milk (store bought, not home-made)
  • Cold cuts (weird that those aren’t just meat.)
  • Communion wafers
  • Egg substitute (sigh)
  • Energy bars
  • Flavored coffees and teas
  • French fries (apparently often dusted with flour before freezing, but it usually isn’t listed on the label)
  • Fried vegetables/tempura
  • Fruit fillings and puddings
  • Gravy
  • Hot dogs
  • Ice cream (eek!!! Thank god Hagen Daz makes some really clean ones.)
  • Imitation crabmeat, bacon, etc…
  • Instant hot drinks
  • Ketchup
  • Malt, malt flavoring, malt vinegar, hydrolized malt extract
  • Marinades or pre-marinated meat
  • Mayonnaise
  • Pre-made meatballs or meatloaf
  • Non-dairy creamer
  • Oatmeal, oat bran or oats unless certified gluten free
  • Processed cheese (easy-melt, velveeta – this means queso! Arg!!)
  • Roasted nuts (why? why?)
  • Root beer
  • Salad dressings
  • Sausage
  • Seitan
  • Soups (store bought – no worries if you’re cooking at home)
  • Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, Bragg’s liquid aminos  (try coconut aminos – they’re delicious)
  • Syrups
  • Tabbouleh
  • Trail mix
  • Veggie burgers
  • Vodka (blarg. The good news is that there are several great gluten free vodkas – one of which is Texas’ own Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which is 100% corn. Also Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka, which is 100% from grapes, and Smironff Vodka, which is also 100% corn.)
  • Wheatgrass
  • Wine coolers




    Grain Brain - a Great Resource to help you go gluten free easily

    Grain Brain – a Great Resource to help you go gluten free easily

Non-Food Sources of Gluten

  • Makeup
  • Lipstick and lip balm
  • Medications (sigh. Check the package insert)
  • Play-Doh
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Vitamins and supplements (also check the label – the good ones don’t have it.)
  • Volumizing hair products
  • Dog biscuits (hopefully you’re not eating these, but for some people – one dear friend included – even handling them is enough to trigger a reaction)

Secret Names for Gluten (Hidden Gluten in Food)

  • Amino peptide complex
  • Avena sativa (this should be wild oats, but sometimes it’s wild whatever-grass-they-happen-to-grab)
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Caramel color (often made from barley)
  • Cyclodextrin, dextrin, maltodextrin (could also be from corn)
  • Fermented grain extract
  • Hordeum distichon or Hordeum vulgare (I’ve never stumbled across these words, but apparently they’re types of grasses).
  • Hydrolysate
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, textured vegetable protein, vegetable protein, HVP, TVP.
  • Modified food starch
  • Natural flavoring (this is in everything)
  • Phytosphingosine extract
  • Secale cereale
  • Soy protein (!!)
  • Triticum aestivum and Triticum vulgare
  • Yeast extract

The Biggest Tip to Going Gluten Free Easily

The biggest thing you can do to make sure you’re gluten free is to only shop on the outer edge of the grocery store – fruits, veggies, meats, and most dairy are typically pretty gluten-free.  I head into the aisle part for things like nuts, cleaning products, pickles and pickled veggies, the occasional GF baking mix, and paper products and that’s about it. Of course this means I cook at home a lot, but it also means that my body feels better every day because I’m not getting the gluten that causes so much inflammation.

Going gluten free is always a big change, because as you can see there are a shocking number of things that we come in contact with every day that have gluten in them outside of the obvious bread, cookies, cakes, crackers and pasta. Hopefully thanks to Grain Brain you can do gluten free easily and start out with fewer accidental gluten-ings.



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