Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hidden Sources of Dairy in Your Diet

The list below contains some of the places that dairy likes to hide.  It is by no means exhaustive and is only a suggestion of where to look for dairy in your diet.  (I avoid dairy completely, but depending on your reason for avoiding dairy you may not need this entire list.)

Eating out:

Mashed Potatoes - made with milk and butter.

Scrambled Eggs - some restaurants add milk.

Grills - A lot of steakhouses (and others) butter their grill.

Rice - most non-ethnic restaurants add butter to the entire pot of rice while it is cooking.

Vegetables - these can either be cooked with butter, or served with butter so be sure to ask.

Margarine - a number of margarines contain dairy.  I usually avoid this when eating out as I never trust the waitstaff to be sure.

Soups - even non-cream soups can have a cream or milk base to them.

Gravies - just like soups they can be based on a cream or milk base.

Meatballs - a lot of chefs add Parmesan cheese.

High end restaurants - I find the nicer the restaurant the more likely they are to cook with butter and have contaminated every dish.

Demi glace - often this has a butter base.

Ghee - found in Indian cooking, this is clarified butter.

At the supermarket:

Any non-whole food - dairy can be added to just about any processed food and I've found it in some very odd places.

Butter flavor - almost all butter flavor is derived from . . . butter. 

Whey - this is the liquid left when making cheese from milk.

Casein - this is the protein in milk.

Flavored Chips - Tostito's Hint of Lime chips contain milk powder.  I have no idea why!

Generic Over the Counter Medicines - no idea why but most generics contain lactose while the name brands do not.  Oh, and in the United States I've rarely encountered actual medications with lactose in them but it seems to be common overseas.

Sherbet - Sorbet is usually dairy free, Sherbet is usually not dairy free.

Updated 12/11/10

I've created a page for this list so new readers can find it easily:  Hidden Sources of Dairy

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hidden Sources of Gluten in Your Diet

One of the first things people who need to avoid gluten need to do is identify all of the sources of gluten in their diet.  Unfortunately, there are quite a few hiding spots.  The list below is by no means exhaustive and is only a suggestion of where to look for gluten in your diet.

Eating out:

Flour - I still can't believe how many people don't make the connection that flour is made from wheat.

Mashed Potatoes - if a pot of mashed potatoes comes out runny it is not uncommon for a chef to add flour to them to firm them up.

Scrambled Eggs - some restaurants add pancake batter to their scrambled eggs to make them fluffier.

Fish - some restaurants dust their fish with flour to keep it from sticking (in the over, on the grill, anywhere really.)

Vegetables - some restaurants (especially Italian restaurants) steam their vegetables in the same water they use to prepare/reheat their pasta.

Soups - it is not uncommon for the soup base to contain flour.

Meatballs - a lot of people put bread crumbs in meatballs (and meatloaf, and even sometimes in hamburgers).

Oriental sauces - both soy sauce and teriyaki sauce usually contain fermented wheat.

Crab - real crab is gluten free, imitation crab often is not.

Couscous - its a type of pasta.

At the supermarket:

Any non-whole food - really anything that is processed could conceivably contain gluten so always double check the ingredients list.  Oh, and manufacturers do sometimes change their recipes so you have to check every time.

A flour by any other name . . . - sometimes only the strain of wheat will be listed, not the fact that it is indeed wheat - this includes spelt, kamut, triticale, durum, semolina.

Non-wheat bread (for example: corn bread, potato bread) - these breads are almost always wheat flour based.

Malt, Malt Flavoring - both are made from barley.

Candy - some are made from wheat.  Twizzlers for example.

Gluten free flours - According to Living gluten Free Magazine, if these are not specifically labeled gluten free they may be cross contaminated: Soy, sorghum, buckwheat and millet.

At home:

Toaster - if your toaster is used/has been used with gluten containing products the crumbs could get on your bread.

Condiments - if you share these with others crumbs could get mixed in here as well.

Wooden spoons/kitchen items - wood is porous, you should not use any wooden kitchen items when preparing gluten free food.

Makeup - quite a few contain wheat.  (I know someone with celiac who had to have his girlfriend switch to gluten free lipstick.)

Medicines - You'll need to check with your pharmacist on this.

Updated 12/11/10

Broth - some brands of broth contain gluten and some restaurants may use broth for rice, soups, steaming vegetables, etc.

I've also added this as its own page so new readers can find it more easily: Hidden Sources of Gluten

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Welcome to GFDFNJ!

Welcome to Gluten Free / Dairy Free NJ! I'm looking forward to sharing all I know and discover about eating gluten and dairy free in and around New Jersey. I've had digestive problems since I was seventeen. It started first with dairy and expanded from there. After eliminating dairy completely (and pork, citrus, anything carbonated, and cutting back on some other foods) I got my problems to a manageable state and "learned to live with it" - to paraphrase my gastroenterologists.

Five years ago, a friend of mine convinced me to investigate Celiac Disease and sent me an article from the Wall Street Journal which noted that a large number of people with dairy intolerences also had Celiac Disease.  I went gluten free (p.s. don't do this in this order) and started to feel a little better over all.  I attended my first support group meeting The Northern NJ Celiac Disease Support Group in Paramus, NJ.  Now, I knew to get tested I would need to eat gluten again but I figured I could just have a bagel and go for the test.  That evening's guest speaker was a pediatric gastroenterologist who mentioned that the worst part of his job was telling parents who had taken their kids off of gluten that they had to poison their child.  You see, you need to consume gluten (about four slices of bread worth) every day for EIGHT weeks before the getting the test.  I almost fell out of my chair. 

I added back all the wheat I had removed from my diet.  Since I had never had any direct symptoms from wheat products, I didn't have any immediate reactions but overall I didn't feel great.  Of course, by the end of the two months, I was beginning to question whether or not I had really been feeling all that better.  I went for the blood test (the full panel) and again quit gluten.  Within 24 hours I was convinced!  I felt more energetic and more importantly, that constant discomfort I had felt for 15 years was gone.  I swore I'd never eat gluten again!

The entire panel of test were negative and since I would have had to eat wheat again, I skipped the endoscopy.  If you're not sure if you have Celiac or not, do not cut gluten out of your diet before you get both a full celiac panel blood test and an endoscopy.  [I did later get the gene test but this was negative as well.]