More and more chain restaurants are attempting to provide a gluten free option. Dominoes Pizza, P.F. Changs, Outback Steakhouse, etc. Eating out at restaurants is one of the most common areas where hidden gluten or cross contamination exposure occurs. It is virtually impossible to ensure that all staff members are trained appropriately. I visited Outback Steakhouse several years ago because they advertise a gluten free menu. I asked the waiter about gluten and his response was – “what is gluten?” I know that many of you can probably relate to this as well. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend avoiding eating out as much as possible, because it is impossible to control the potential for exposure.
Exposure Goes Deeper Than Food Alone
Many people are not aware of the potential to react to gluten from non-food or air born substances. Handling wheat based dog foods, breathing in flour from the air in a bakery, kissing, and skin lotions are common examples where hidden gluten can be found.
Common Sources of Hidden Gluten and Cross Contamination licking envelopes or stamps sauces for meats, salads, etc tooth paste shampoo frying oils shared cutting boards or utensils grain based sweetener (i.e. malt, corn sugar) Thickening agents used in processed foods
The list goes on and on and on. The bottom line is this – Be Careful and read your labels. Know what you are putting in and on your body. It is a good practice to follow whether we are talking about gluten or not.