IS IT SAFE TO EAT FOODS COOKED IN THE SAME OIL USED TO FRY FOODS COATED IN BATTERS OR CRUMB COATING CONTAINING GLUTEN?
Of course is not. The oil is already contaminated with gluten from batter used to coat fish, chicken and other foods. Look out out for gluten free evenings, however, which are becoming popular with local fast food outlets, when they use gluten-free batter and clean oil to prevent cross contamination.
ARE PRODUCTS LABELLED AS WHEAT-FREE SUITABLE FOR SOMEONE ON A GLUTEN FREE DIET?
Not necessarily. Wheat is not the only gluten containing grain and the products may still have rye, barley and other based gluten ingredients or oats contaminated with gluten.
IS MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE (MSG) GLUTEN FREE?
MSG is a flavour enhancer used in many ready meals, stock cubes, and savoury snacks and can be made from wheat.
CAN I USE MALT VINEGAR?
Although malt vinegar created from barley, the end product only contains a trace amount of gluten, well below the level that is safe for most people with celiac disease, and is fine to use. Balsamic, cider, sherry, white wine, and red wine vinegar are all safe (always pay attention to the labelling and country of manufacturing)
DO SOME MEDICINES AND SUPPLEMENTS CONTAIN GLUTEN?
Most of medicines and drugs prescribed in the Western country are gluten-free. Although they can sometimes contain wheat starch as a filter, it is highly processed and safe for anyone on a gluten free diet. If you are buying non-prescription medicines and supplements, however, you should check with a pharmacist or the manufacturer.
WHAT IS CODEX WHEAT STARCH?
Codex wheat starch is added to processed foods to improve their taste and texture. Though made from wheat, it has been processed to contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. Research shows this tiny amount of gluten is not toxic to celiacs.
IS YEAST GLUTEN FREE?
It depends on the yeast and from where it was derived. Yeast usually comes from barley which contains gluten and yeast extract may also contain gluten. Some brands of dried yeast may list wheat starch in the ingredients and are not gluten-free. It still very important to read the food label and check where the product comes from. For those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity it is best just avoid yeast extract unless you can confidently conclude that is gluten-free.
IS OAT GLUTEN FREE?
Oats contain a protein similar to gluten but it doesn’t seem to cause the same adverse reaction. Celiacs wishing to introduce oats into their diet should start by adding small amounts, but children and severe sufferers should consult their doctor first. Oats are often contaminated with gluten during processing, so you must buy oats certified gluten-free from trusted manufactured brands.
It is a legal requirement, in western countries, for manufacturers to list all ingredients on the ingredients list, even if used in a small amount, so the word ‘oats’ must be listed on the ingredients list if they are in the product.
DOES CELIAC DISEASE ONLY AFFECT PEOPLE WITH EUROPEAN ANCESTRY?
It is a well-established fact that Celiac disease is common in Caucasians but recent studies show that it is also becoming a serious issue for Asians, possibly driven by the increase in consumption of Western foods containing gluten. One such study from China screened 395 adult patients on 2003 with irritable bowel syndrome and 363 healthy adults without any symptoms for celiac disease. Of these individuals, 9 were suspected to have celiac disease and 5 were confirmed to have celiac disease, including 1% (4/395) of the individuals with irritable bowel syndrome and 1 (0.28%) of the healthy adults. This study illustrates the presence of celiac disease in China and highlights the pressing need for much larger screening efforts in others Asia’s countries.
HOW DO I STAY GLUTEN FREE TRAVELLING ABROAD?
If you have joined a celiac organisation, it should be able to provide you with country-specific leaflets about gluten-free eating abroad, including language translations with useful phrases to help when you are dining out. It’s always worth packing emergency gluten-free snacks, however, and items such as pasta, bread, and toaster bags in your suitcase.
BYO: Usually, while eating out, will Bring My Own gluten free bread or crackers to eat at the start of the meal, do ask ahead and confirm with waiter in case they do have some options available. Just in case they don’t, I’ll have mine to enjoy eating.
IS ORGANIC, VEGETARAN OR VEGAN FOOD ALSO GLUTEN-FREE?
I have been invited to restaurants specialising in organic, vegetarian or vegan food. Even though it was a very kind thought from a friends who want to bring me out to enjoying some meals, healthy foods are not necessarily gluten free 🙁
Grains containing gluten can still be declared organic so again we must always check which are the dishes gluten free. However, if there are gluten free options for organic, vegetarian or vegan meals, celiac people can enjoy super healthy meals once in a while !!!!
Be careful of some restaurants in Malaysia where gluten free options are listed on the menu. I suggest always asking if the kitchen can ensure the preparation won’t be cross contaminated and if the chef is aware of rules for cooking Gluten Free.