Thursday, March 14, 2013

How much gluten is gluten free?

Lately I’ve been pondering some…big questions.

Maybe it’s my upcoming BIG birthday.

Or maybe it’s my new job finally settling in.

Who knows. But whatever it is, I’ve found myself in a questioning mood lately.

One question that keeps bothering me is…

how much

It seems sort of obvious.

But I asked GHM Facebook friends, and we all agreed it’s hard to be completely certain.

My first instinct is ZERO.

No gluten. NO parts per million or ppm.

But in a world FILLED with wheat, how do we get to ZERO? And how can we ever be totally sure we are getting…ZERO?

For example, I used to eat these french fries at my favorite local restaurant. They have THE BEST gluten free pimento cheese sandwiches, and I would always order that delicious sandwich with a side of their homemade fries.

But here’s the thing:

shared fryer

Those fries are made in a shared fryer.

The first few times after eating them, I felt fine. BUT then I didn’t.

A shared fryer seems like an obvious no-no. But then, why didn’t my body react every time?

My reaction to gluten is typically physical. It can go one of two ways: severely PAINFUL bloating or severely disgusting diarrhea. Either way, I usually know right away.


question mark

do I?

What if I’ve already killed off my tiny friends in my gut? What if it’s only enough gluten to cause a mild reaction, meaning I don’t feel it but it is doing damage.

So back to those fries.

I stopped ordering them. Fries are bad for me anyway. And I got stricter. I don’t eat anything that is processed in a shared facility, and I try to only eat foods that are certified gluten free.

However, a processed food product can still have less than 10 ppm of gluten and still be certified.

There are even a few beers out on the market now that claim to be brewed using gluten ingredients but they are processed in a way to remove gluten free. However, they aren’t “legally” allowed to put that gluten free on the label. Would you drink it?

I don’t eat a ton of processed gluten free foods, but I do have a few favorites. So does this mean… I mean…

Am I gluten free? Really?

Am I limited to fresh fruit, veggies, and local meats?

Can I truly ever be 100% gluten free, and if I wasn’t – would I know?

What do you think? How much gluten can still be gluten free?