Is It Gluten Free? Myth Vs. Fact Edition

Those with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity become masters at reading labels and understanding ingredients in order to maintain a strict gluten-free diet. That being said there still seems to be some confusion over some ingredients (I know there was for me). So I'm going to uncover the truth about all the ingredients and items you've wondered about.  

Envelop Glue


There is no gluten in envelope glue, according to the international Envelope Manufacturers Association, which represents makers of envelopes and provides public education about envelope making. 

The association's website lists "Is there gluten in envelope adhesives?" as a Frequently Asked Question, and says in answer: "Remoistenable adhesives are derived from corn starch and do not contain wheat or rye gluten."

Wine


There was a rumor going around that wine barrels were lined with wheat paste. This is an old fashioned way of aging wine that's rarely used. There was a test done on wines that were aged in barrels lined with wheat paste, but they were still under 5 ppm.

In almost every case, wine is gluten-free to well below the legal limit of  20 parts per million of gluten. That includes champagne, since champagne is simply sparkling wine. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule for wine.

Side note: Don't you love that in the gluten free world how everything seems to be gluten free but there is always an exception, like gluten can some how sneak into anything.

If the wine in question has any added coloring or flavoring (fruit-flavored dessert wines, for example, often include added ingredients), then it might not be gluten-free — you'll need to contact the manufacturer to make sure.

Spices


I would always look at ingredient lists with suspicion when they would list spices. With the labeling laws in Canada and the USA, any gluten-based product that was used to make the seasoning or spice mix must be indicated on the label.

On their own, pure spices, herbs and seeds do not naturally contain gluten.

It is when two or more spices/herbs are combined together to create blends, that some manufacturers can add anti-caking ingredients.

Silicon dioxide, calcium silicate or sodium aluminum silica can be added to prevent the mixture from clumping. However cornstarch is more commonly used in North America, and most importantly any additional ingredient added to the herbs/spices must be clearly identified on the label - specifically wheat or gluten.

Fillers can sometimes be added by manufacturers to extend their products. Gluten is rarely, if ever used for this purpose anymore, however it is something to keep in mind when buying spices. If it is used then it will say legally in the labeling.

My favourite brand is Epicure because they're all gluten free and nut free! Plus they're made in my hometown of Victoria.

Pain Killers


Ever had a headache or bad pain and wonder about your pain killers? You look the at ingredient list and it says starch, and that's it. Real helpful right? Even though there are plenty of natural remedies I know that sometimes you need to use pain medication.

Unfortunately, it's usually impossible to tell just by reading the packaging in the drug store — manufacturers often include a gluten grain (wheat, usually) as an inert filler or ingredient in both prescription and non-prescription medications, and they're not required to disclose its presence. If it does say starch they don't have to say which kind.

However, calling them and asking usually produces answers. Here in Canada I have yet to see any brands labeled gluten free but do some research on the companies website and call if you still have questions.

(next time you have a head ache, mix 2-3 drops peppermint essential oil with a 1/4 tsp of coconut oil and rub on your temples, works like a dream).

Toothpaste


Those of us who cannot tolerate gluten must watch everything we put in our mouths (even if we're not supposed to swallow it). So yes, we need to worry a little about gluten in toothpaste.

In traditional toothpastes, these are generally corn- or other grain-based starches that can cause problems for those who suffer from celiac disease. So it is possible for there to be gluten in your toothpaste to it's best to do some research before buying.

Fortunately, there's an abundance of gluten-free toothpaste options available — in fact, the odds are good that the one you're using right now is considered gluten-free to the generally accepted limit of 20 parts per million. Most toothpaste manufacturers have information on their gluten-free alternatives posted on their websites, or toll-free numbers on their products with a knowledgeable staff ready to answer your questions and make it easy for you to do the research and decide which gluten-free brand is right for you.

What's something you've wondered whether or not it's gluten free?