The Symptoms Of ‘Glutening’ As A Celiac | And What To Do When It Happens

When you are diagnosed with celiac disease, you typically do everything in your power to not eat gluten. Unfortunately, sometimes this is inevitable and will happen at some point in your life, especially if you eat out.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the tissues in the small intestine in response to gluten. One crumb is sometimes all it takes to flare and cause symptoms in an individual who is celiac. However, how every individual person reacts to gluten when they have celiac disease differs in severity. Some may not feel any symptoms at all, others may get all of the symptoms associated with the disease and others it depends on how much they have consumed.

In my experience with the disease, it seems to be changing as time goes by and my gut continues to heal. When I was first diagnosed, a year later I was given 2 slices of gluten bread and I had awful symptoms that lasted about 8 months. However, now 5 years into my diagnosis, a week ago I was glutened again at a restaurant but this time I had stabbing sharp pains in my gut immediately after eating along with instant bloating. The pain lasted for about 3 hours and I was fatigued with my stomach feeling a bit off and bloated for about 3-7 days after and I seem to be back to my regular self again. Was it less gluten than before? Is it because my stomach has healed more that it did not hit me as hard or last as long? Only time and experience will tell me for sure as every individual reacts differently. However, listed below are some symptoms to look out for if you have eaten out or eaten something new and seem to be having a reaction.

How do I know if I have eaten gluten?

As mentioned above, depending on your severity and how long you are into your healing journey, what you will feel when you have been glutened will vary.

For myself, when I ate the two slices of bread a year after diagnosis at a restaurant, it was within 30-40 min after eating there I started getting symptoms. I felt like I was going to be sick, the typical signs and symptoms you get just before you’re going to throw up. I did throw up and immediately after I had sharp pains in my gut which feel as if I just swallowed a bunch of razor blades. That pain happened on and off, along with distended bloating. The pain was on and off for about a week, and the bloating lasted for about 2-3 months. However, the mental and physical symptoms I got (most of which are listed below) lasted for about 8 months. This exposure shot my TTG blood levels (anti-body blood test for celiac) back up to greater than 300. For those of you who do not know, this is very high and a good indication that I definitely ate a lot of gluten that day.

However, recently I believe I had just a smaller exposure at a restaurant and I had the sharp pains instantly after eating, this was my first sign. They progressively became worse as the night went and lasted for about 3 hours if I had to guess. I bloated instantly and was left feeling very fatigued that night. The next few days I had a few sharp pains when I ate anything but not like the night before, more just a reminder to take it easy on the food that day. My appetite was lower and my stomach felt sore and inflamed for about 3 days, but the bloating lasted for about 5-7 days along with some digestion upset. I did not have as much brain fog or mental health issues pop up, but I did have a few skin conditions pop up minorly. I had a very red sore pop up on my chin and small red bumps on my arms. But no dermatits herpetiformis on my hands like I usually get. Now, 2 weeks after, I’m seeing that it may have had an effect on my digestion just a bit longer than a week and it has thrown off my menstrual cycle as well. However, all of my symptoms did not last as long as the last time which is really encouraging. I was also told by my dietician that a once in a while exposure to gluten does not reverse all of the healing you have done in your gut, that will only happen when you have multiple exposures in a row (as if you are eating it on a regular basis).

Depending on how you individually react to gluten, one or more of the symptoms below can occur. Remember that everyone reacts differently, and it also depends where you are in your healing journey to know how you will react to gluten. It seems like the more your gut heals over time, the quicker you will heal when you are exposed to gluten. Hurray for our superhuman healing powers!

What are the symptoms of gluten exposure?

Listed below are just a few of the symptoms one can experience when they have celiac disease and have eaten gluten. Keep in mind that there are more than 300 known symptoms of celiac disease. So this is the short of the long list of them all.

  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue/tiredness
  • Brain Fog
  • Irritability
  • Bloating or Gas
  • Sharp Abdomen Pain
  • Depression
  • Delayed Growth in Children
  • Diarrhea
  • Discoloured Teeth
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Infertility
  • Irregular periods
  • PMS
  • Itchy Skin Rash (Dermatitis Herpetiformis)
  • Joint Pain
  • Mouth Sores
  • Poor weight gain or loss
  • Thin bones
  • Neropathy suchs as tingling and numbness into the arms and legs
  • Vomiting
  • And so much more

What do I do if I think I have been glutened?

  1. Don’t Panic: First step is to not panic. The more you stress, the more your gut will become affected through the gut-brain axis. I’ve learned to sit with my symptoms for a bit and see what pops up, because it could be gluten, but it could also very well be something else.
  2. Wait it out: Continuing my point from above, it might be something else causing your symptoms. I’ve learned over the last 6 months working with a dietician that there are a wide range of reasons why you may be experiencing symptoms. Try to not think that it is always gluten that is out to get you, believe me, I know this is a hard mindset to get to. However, if your symptoms do become worse over time or more start to pop up, then I would either make an appointment with you doctor to see if they feel you need to be tested for gluten exposure, or ride it out and try the tips listed below.
  3. Listen to your body: Our bodies have an amazing way of letting us know what we need. If you feel you need to eat more plain food after a glutening, then go for it. Eat foods that are easier to digest to help your body out when it is already working hard. However, if you feel you need more food than you can do that too.
  4. Hydrate: Keeping yourself hydrated will help to flush out the gluten but also to help keep your systems running efficiently. Your body is already working hard to get everything back to equilibrium, give it a little help in return. For the first few days after the last glutening I had I was drinking elecrolytes once a day and about 10-12 cups of water a day along with some bone broth as well for the vitamins, minerals and collagen to further help my body out. But if you don’t have the others, plain old H2O is a fantastic help.
  5. Rest: This is probably one of the most important steps when you’ve been glutened. Your body is going through a lot when this happens, a full autoimmune reaction can occur which means all of your systems in your body is working in over drive. Help your body out and don’t put any unneccessary stress on it until you start to recover and feel better. You’ll most likely recover faster if you listen to your body and give it what it needs. Grab a book, relax with a nice tea and a blanket and relax.

Final thoughts

Don’t be hard on yourself, things happen and unfortunately, it’s almost inevitable to happen when you’re not eating in your own kitchen as a celiac. Take it easy and try the tips above for hopefully what will be a faster recovery. That way you can get back to doing what you love and enjoy in life.

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Diagnosed With Celiac Disease

Today is my five-year anniversary of being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I look back on that day and think about how relieved I was to finally have an answer of why I was not feeling great and why I had the symptoms that I did. I left that doctor’s office and immediately started researching everything I could about Celiac Disease. However, now that I’m 5 years into my diagnosis, I’m going to write about 5 things I wish I was told when I was first diagnosed. This was a hard list to make, as there are hundreds of topics I wish I knew about, but that’s the simplest part of life, we need to take it one step at a time. All of the answers will come with experience and time. There is more to the disease than just going gluten-free. Celiac disease, for those who do not know, is an autoimmune disease of the small intestine, and gluten is its trigger.

First off, go gluten-free, right this second, if you have been diagnosed with celiac disease and DO NOT look back. I hate to tell you, but this is a life-long disease that will never go away, I’m just going to be straight with you. There is no cure for celiac disease as of yet, other than following a strict 100% gluten-free diet. I have met some people who “cheat” on their gluten-free diet even though they have been diagnosed with celiac disease. This is a hard no, just one crumb can cause an autoimmune reaction in your body and have you not feeling your best again. So just avoid the stuff as much as you physically can in your own home and out to eat.

When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease I was told by the doctor to “just follow a gluten-free diet.” And even though he was technically correct with this statement, over the years I have learned there I so much more to healing your gut from celiac disease than ‘just going gluten-free.’ Here are 5 things I wish I was also told when I was first diagnosed.

  1. Give Yourself Time To Heal

    This is my first point for you because I did not realize just how long it takes the gut to heal from something like the damages of celiac disease. Depending on how long you have had symptoms and how long it took you to get diagnosed, there is damage in your gut that needs time to heal. Your doctor may have you do a TTG test every 3 or 6 months to see where your progress is, but do not get discouraged if it’s taking a bit longer than you thought to get your TTG levels to fully drop to a normal level. Typically it takes anywhere from 6-18 months to heal, however, if you have had the symptoms longer or had a high TTG test result (such as, greater than 300), it can take up to 5 years to get your TTG levels to fully drop. For example, when I was first diagnosed my TTG blood result was greater than 300. Now 5 years later my TTG result is now 17.5, and continues to drop with a diligent lifestyle. Nothing happens over night, so try to be patient and kind with yourself as sometimes there are things in life that we have no control over.
  2. Be Wary Of Cross-Contamination

    If you have on-going symptoms, cross contamination of gluten may be the cuplrit. I had no idea this was even a possibility when I was first diagnosed. This is an important point to make because as I have mentioned, it just takes one crumb to cause you symptoms and that one crumb can be hidden in the most sneaky places. I have written a whole blog post on cross contamination and celiac disease which you can find here, however here is the quick version of it.

    It is not just the act of eating wheat, barley, rye or oats that can cause your TTG levels to rise and cause you symptoms, but you can also get small contaminations of gluten that may not rise your TTG levels but can definitely still cause your on-going symptoms. Gluten can be hidden in ingredients, products, and kitchen equipment just to name a few. Now before I continue, this is not a fear mongering point, more one just to make you aware.

    Be sure to go through your kitchen equipment and replace what could have come into contact with gluten before your diagnosis. Equipment such as chopping boards, toasters, rolling pin and wooden spoons, pasta strainers, sifter, old plastic utensils, waffle irons, teflon pans that are heavily stratched, baking sheets, loaf pans and muffin tins are all objects that can conceal gluten in them. Even looking into your condements to be sure there is no ‘double dipping’ of a utensil from a slice of gluten bread into that condiment jar as it can leave behind gluten crumbs. Finally, products like toothpaste, lipchap, mouthwash, and dental floss should also be looked into.

    Getting little micro contamnations consistently can cause your symptoms to stick around and keep your TTG levels raised. So being sure you are reading food labels correctly and replacing what you need to in your home along with asking all of the right questions when you are out to eat can help you prevent getting glutened. This actally brings me to my next point…
  3. Start Working With The Right Healthcare Providers Right Away

    I cannot emphasis this point enough! Over the years I have worked with a list of different healthcare providers and there are two of which I would suggest to see.

    A Gastroenterologist

    I wish the doctor I saw at the walk in told me to go and see a gastroenterologist right away. I was not sent to see a gastroenterologist when I was first diagnosed as I was told it would take up to 2 years for me to even get in with one (that’s here in Canada). So I was not referred to one until I was given the wrong sandwich bread at a restaurant a year after my diagnosis and my now family doctor started the referral process to get me in with a specialist. When I did get in to see her a year later, she saw my first test results and said I should have seen her at that point, and not 2 years later. I’m also suggesting to see a gastroenterologist right away as the blood test alone is not the ‘solid’ diagnosis of celiac disease; you need to get a gastroscopy and biopsy completed to know for sure if you are 100% celiac. The reason for this is the blood test that can be a false positive or vice versa, and the only way to know for sure is testing your small intestine directly. Your specialist can also take a look at your test results and decide if any further testing needs to be done.

    A Dietician

    The second professional I highly suggest working with right away is a dietician. But not just any dietician, one that specializes in celiac disease. I started working with one that specializes in celiac disease because the first dietician I worked with did not, and she taught me the basics but did not continue to work with me to help me with my on-going symptoms. I am now working with a dietician that does specialize in celiac disease and it has made a world of a difference, so much so that I wish I had started to work with her sooner. They will be able to work with you and let you know if you are eating the correct foods, meal portion sizes, meal spacing, how to eat balanced meals, teach you how to read food labels correctly, and so much more. I personally have had on-going symptoms even with following a gluten free diet for the last 5 years, but she has taught me information I’m not sure I would have figured out without her help and guidance. And I’m happy to say I have less symptoms than I did when I first started working with her.
    This is not a promotion or plug in anyway, but if you’d like to work with the same dietician I am, she can be found here. She also has celiac disease and can relate with what you are going through.
  4. Continue To Live Your Life Without Fear And Speak Up For Yourself – Some tips on how to do this

    This doesn’t seem like a big one for most, and it didn’t seem like one for myself, but it’s a important part of the healing process. When you are first diagnosed it can be daunting to know that you have to avoid gluten for your physical and mental health, but it can be hard to avoid it when it is a main ingredient in a lot of products and foods. However, if you follow a few simple lifestyle changes, it will be smooth sailing. Here are a few examples:

    – Read labels of foods before you buy them and eat them to be sure they do not contain gluten
    – Ask the right questions when you are out to eat or at a friends place. Do not be afraid to speak up for yourself, this is afterall your health and you are the one who will suffer the consequences, so please do not feel embarassed to tell people what needs to be done to keep you safe. This is personally one I’m still working on myself but with time it will become easier and more natural.
    – Prepare for road trips and always carry a snack on you. This is something I learned the hard way, I’ve hit hangry Lauren way too many times but this can all be stopped by preparing ahead and being sure you always leave your home with a snack. Having bars, fruit or veg, nut and seed mixes, etc on you can be life changning when you cannot find somewhere safe to eat. This can also decrease the anxiety placed on yourself when you are hungry.
    – Along with the last point, travel your little heart out! Do not be afraid to travel, there are so many places you can go to eat safely now, and if there is not, bring snacks and prepare for the trip. You can also travel with health cards that are typed out in the language of the country that you are going to explaining your condition and what needs to be done to keep you safe. Go see the world!

    Just know that if you are doing your best and continuing to educate yourself, you’re already way ahead. I know it can be scary with a new condition, but take it from me, it’s livable and it can become your new adventure in life!
  5. The Mind-Gut Connection

    Okay last but certainly not least, the mind-gut connection. There is more and more research coming out showing how closely the mind and gut work together. Celiac disease does not just effect the gut, it affects every system in the body due to the fact that it damages our main organ that absorbes the nutrients from the food we eat, the small intestine. Therefore, it won’t just cause symptoms physically but also mentally. When the gut is damaged, it will cause a domino-effect throughout the rest of the body. All the same, if the brain is damaged it can do the same thing.

    The following is from the book, The Mind-Gut Connection: “We know today that 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is actually contained in specialized cells in the gut, and these serotonin-containing cells are influenced by what we eat, by chemicals released from certain species of gut microbes, and by signals that the brain sends to them, informing them about our emotional state.” Essentially, if our gut is unhappy, so will our brain be and vice versa.

    The reason I am bringing this point into view is due to my own struggles in this department over the last 5 years. I did not realize until 6 months ago just how anxious I was about my gut and just how much it was affecting my over all physical and mental state. If you are anxious, nervous, fatigued, or scared, your gut will act up. But if you make this chronic, over time more and more symptoms can occur. Those symptoms are very similar to a celiac eating gluten, in whichcase you may be thinking you are eating gluten when your stomach is upset but sometimes it might be due to your menal state causing those symptoms. Breathwork and meditation has been a saving grace for me, and thankfully in this day and age there are a lot of videos, tutorials, apps, books and people out there that can help you get started.

Those are the first 5 tips that I would give anyone who has just been diagnosed with celiac disease. All in all, know that you are a rockstar and this is an amazing opportunity for a lifestyle change that will better suit you. There are many positives to being celiac which I wrote about, and now there are so many amazing communities to be a part of as well. Know that you are never alone and there is always help out there.

As I have mentioned there is so much more that I would love to share with you, as I truly believe that experience is knowledge and knowledge is power. Stay tuned for more helpful tips coming in the near future on this blog and more!

Much love coming your way,

LEW oxox

If you are interested in reading my story here are some blog posts I wrote about my journey with celiac disease:

Part 1: The beginning of a positive lifestyle change

Part 2: The first year after diagnosis

Part 3: My first accidental exposure to gluten that lead to a gastroscopy

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.

What is Dermatitis Herpetiformis?

If you have been recently diagnosed with Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) or Celiac Disease, you most likely have a bubbly rash on your skin.

Here is everything you need to know about this extremely itchy rash…

This is DH on my hands

What is Dermaitis Herpetiformis (DH)?

Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is an autoimmune reaction and can cause a common rash among anyone with or without celiac disease and is bumpy, bubbly, and can be very itchy. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in the small intestine that flares when a protein called gluten is consumed. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats.

DH is also known as Duhring’s disease, and it causes blisters that look very similar to herpes or warts, but this condition does not come from the herpes virus, instead it is triggered by gluten for anyone with a gluten sensitivity, or celiac disease.

Who is affected by Dermatitis Herpetiformis?

Dermatitis Herpetiformis affects 10-15% of people with celiac disease. DH can affect people of all ages but primarily will show up in people between the ages of 20-40 or in your teens. People of northern European descent are more likely than those of African or Asian heritage to develop DH. This condition is also more common in men than women.

Can you have DH if you do not have Celiac Disease?

Yes, if you have DH it does not mean that you also have celiac disease, and vice versa. People with DH are having an autoimmune reaction after consuming gluten. IgA antibodies are produced in the body and will show up on the skin through the DH rash.

Your family genetics plays a role in if you get DH and you are 5% more likely to get DH and/or celiac disease if a first-degree relative also has either conditions. The genes related to both celiac disease and DH is: HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8.

What causes a DH flare in the body?

The main culprit of a DH flare in the body is consuming gluten.

There has also been research done on if iodine can cause DH. As mentioned on the Celiac Disease Foundation website, “According to John J. Zone, MD, Professor and Dermatology Chair at the University of Utah and CDF Medical Advisory Board member, “There is little question that ingestion of large amounts of iodine dramatically worsens DH. It should be understood,” he continues, “that iodine does not cause DH. It worsens DH. Gluten causes DH.” Dr. Zone explains that through seeing hundreds of celiac disease patients over the years, he has found that some react to highly concentrated solutions of iodine in cough medicines, shellfish, and kelp, often found in sushi. He also cautions that dietary supplements may contain large amounts of kelp or iodine (usually in the form of potassium iodide or sodium iodide) which can worsen DH.”

A note about stress, dermatitis itself can be brought on by stress. It can also be brought on by hormonal changes, the environment and irritating substances. HOWEVER, there is no research that I have been able to find about stress triggering dermatitis herpetiformis on it’s own. Consuming gluten is a very stressful event in the body of someone with celiac disease. Therefore, it is the act of eating gluten that flares the DH and the stress that comes with it could potentially exacerbate the symptoms.

How long after gluten exposure does Dermatitis Herpetiformis show up on the skin?

Typically, the rash will present itself within a few hours or up to 12-72 hours after consuming gluten. But keep in mind that it all depends on your individual body and how it reacts to gluten. For some, you may get the rash or you may not. The rash will usually always show up in the same location as the time before.

For people with a wheat allergy the rash may begin within minutes or up to 2 hours after eating gluten.

How does Dermatitis Herpetiformis present itself?

Above is DH on my buttocks

Dermatitis Herpetiformis looks like a cluster of bumps that can also have blisters form on it with clear fluid. It is an extremely itchy rash and can sometimes cause a burning or stinging sensation as well. More likely than not, it will show up bilaterally but it can sometimes be unilateral as well. Before the actual dermatitis herpetiformis rash breaks out, your skin may itch in that location, or it might feel as if it’s burning. This rash is most commonly found on:

  • Elbows
  • Knees
  • Buttocks
  • Back
  • Abdomen
  • Hairline
  • Hands

The locations above is not the full list, as the rash has been found on other parts of the body as well.

Not everyone with DH has celiac disease and vice versa. Inline with that fact, not everyone with DH will have the digestive symptoms that comes with having celiac disease either.

As mentioned above, it is sometimes mistaken as herpes, as it does look similar, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the herpes virus. This is however, why it is called “herpetiformis.” It is also commonly mistaken as warts if they are on the hands, acne, psoriasis, shingles, scabies, eczema, papular urticaria and other types of dermatitis. To properly know what it is, your doctor may send you for a biopsy of your skin and have some testing done on it.

How is Dermatitis Herpetiformis diagnosed?

DH is diagnosed through a skin biopsy and a blood test. A local anesthetic is used before they use a tool that looks similar to a small cookie cutter to punch a part of your skin out to be tested. It is only a 4mm sample of skin and can be stitched back up with minimal scaring.

It is important to have this test done by someone who has experience with it as the sample needs to be taken directly adjacent to the site of the rash. If the sample is taken right over the rash there may be a false negative as the rash itself is inflamed and this can destroy the Immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies they are looking for in the test.

A supplemental tissue transglutaminase (TTG) blood test can be done as well to check for the antibodies that are commonly found in people with celiac disease. If the blood test comes back positive and the biopsy has the regular findings of DH, then patients do not need to go for intestinal biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of celiac disease (this information can be found here).

What is the treatment for Dermatitis Herpetiformis?

Now that you are well rounded with the information about DH, you may be asking how is it treated?

Your dermatologist may prescribe you a drug called Dapsone. This can be prescribed as an oral tablet or as a topical gel to put directly on the lesion site. This medication is used to treat DH and helps by decreasing the swelling brought on by inflammation and helps to stop the growth of bacteria. This medication is also helpful to decrease the itching that can occur with DH and will start to take effect within 48-72 hours after starting to take the medication.

However, even with taking dapsone, you still need to follow a strict gluten free diet. Following a gluten free diet for life is what will help to put your DH rash into remission. There is an exception however, in some cases people may need to heal from DH and continue taking dapsone for up to 1-2 years to stop further outbreaks of the rash.

“Dapsone carries some significant risks, so healthcare providers generally recommend you stay on it only for long enough to bring the rash under control and to learn to eat gluten-free (Reference from Very Well Health).”

All in all, the only long-term treatment for Dermatitis Herpetiformis is following a gluten free diet for life.

A word from LEW to you

Whenever you have a new rash pop up on your body that you have not had before, ALWAYS get your rash looked at by your family doctor or a dermatologist. A rash is your bodies way of telling you that there is something wrong within your body. Even if you have had this rash before, it may look like it is presenting as something else that needs to be taken care of right away. Take it from me, listen to your body and get help right away.

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.


How Tea Can Help With Mental Health: Featuring The Genuine Tea Company

There are not enough words in the world for me to write about how much I love this tea company.

Genuine Tea is ethically sourced, free of artificial flavouring and colours, and the best part for people who may have celiac disease, they are 100% gluten free! This Toronto, Ontario based company hand packages their tea with love, care and excitement to all orders of their super flavourful tea.

Another big reason I support Genuine Tea, is for every cup of their tea that you enjoy, 1% of proceeds will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

With the uprise in mental health awareness, it is really refreshing to see a company that supports such an important cause. Recently there have been many studies showing the many major benefits of tea with overall health. Some of these benefits are listed below.

The Benefits of Tea on Mental and Physical Health:

Tea not only tastes great, but there is a lot of research backing the many health benefits found within the nutrients in tea. The bioactive compounds found in tea are called flavonoids, which are plant compounds with a variety of health benefits. Researchers have found a decrease risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, and some cancers with a diet rich in flavonoids. If this was not reason enough to add more flavonoids into your diet, they also have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects that protect your cells from oxidative damage that can lead to disease.

The amino acid, L-theanine, which is found in tea has been found in some studies to alter the attention networks in the brain and also has clear-cut effects on brain waves. This then leads to a feeling of relaxation without having any drowsiness. A placebo-controlled study was done to show how the people who drank tea were better at doing an attention task than those who drank the placebo drink. Green tea for instance has been shown to help with concentration and relaxation without having the jittery side effects that can occur with coffee. Even more fascinatingly, there have been studies showing that theanine has some success of reducing anxiety and other symptoms in people with schizophrenia!

There are also polyphenols found in tea that can contribute to better cognition and working memory. There have been many studies on people with Alzheimer’s disease that shows drinking green tea can lead to promising results with improving a decline in memory, cognitive impairment and dementia.

Tea has also been shown to help with a decline in stressful situations. One study showed that drinking 4 cups of oolong tea everyday for a week helped to decrease the symptoms of stiffness in the shoulders and neck, fatigue of the eyes and headaches. Black tea has also been shown to decrease stress hormones if consumed regularly.

It is safe to say, when we are in and out of stressful situations we can all learn a lesson from those in England who have a cuppa close in hand!

Regardless of the type of tea you like to consume on a regular basis I can “guarantea” that it will have many positive beneficial outcomes for your overall health!

If you are considering adding tea to your daily routine or looking for another company to try and enjoy, check out Genuine Tea and support their amazing Canadian small business!


Life Update: Celiac Disease and Strength Rehab Program

It’s been a little while since I have done a life update blog post on here. It has also been a whirlwind of a few months piecing it all together, but here it goes.

I have had a pretty big epiphany lately. One in which I have realized that the ongoing symptoms I have had over the last few years may not only have to do with me consuming gluten when going out to eat as a celiac, but it may also have to do with my relationship with food. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love food, but I think deep down I have been anxious about what I have been eating inside and outside of my own home.

Hear me out.

When I was first diagnosed 4.5 years ago with celiac disease, I started reading and researching everything I could in knowing all of the information about my newly diagnosed condition. So much so, that I started making that my number one priority. I stopped playing sports, working out and taking care of my mental health and prioritized learning about gut health to correct the damage that has been done in my small intestine. With doing this though, I lost my main stress outlet, exercise and meditation. I became antisocial, where I did not want to go out to eat with friends because I could not partake due to the fear of consuming gluten in the food I was eating.

For those of you reading this and do not know, one crumb of gluten is all it takes to cause my autoimmune disease to flare up and make me not feel well for a few weeks to months. You can find more information about celiac disease here.

There is more and more information and research being released on the connection between the gut and the brain. If either the gut or brain is not functioning optimally, they both suffer. For example, if you have ever been really nervous for something, like a presentation, you may have had the sensation of butterflies in your stomach. Usually having to go to the bathroom accompanies this feeling, but once it is over the butterflies go away and your digestion starts to go back to normal.

However, if you are in this chronic state of stress and fight or flight, your body will eventually start to signal to you to slow down through symptoms. Those symptoms can be pain, bloating, fatigue, and indigestion just to name a few.

Since I have started my daily meditation practice and I have slowly started moving my body everyday, I can feel some of the symptoms starting to subside and dissipate.

Currently right now, I have on and off fatigue and bloating with silent reflux, along with a pain in my upper right abdomen. When I palpate my gut it feels rock hard in some spots, and I don’t mean abdomen muscle tone, I mean inflamed intestinal tone. Also, due to not working out and taking care of my body through exercise, I have started getting anatomical discomfort and injuries occurring like back and neck pain, along with neurological discomfort. I even started to notice myself holding my diaphragm in when I was sitting down to eat anything put in front of me. I’ve had to consciously work at letting my abdomen go while I sit down to eat.

My goals for the next few months will be to work with my dietician to heal my gut and symptoms through diet, exercise and mindfulness. Along with this I will be working on my own strength rehab program to correct any anatomical imbalances that have occurred over the last few years.

I’ll keep you posted on instagram of my progress incase you want to follow along and I’ll be starting to write regular weekly blog posts on celiac disease and athletic therapy.

Thank you for your continued support and love 🙂

LEW xoxo

Which Tea Companies Are Gluten Free?

As a continuation from last week’s post of what can make tea not gluten free, here are some companies I have contacted to find out if they are 100% gluten free or not. As a disclaimer, I was not sponsored by any of the companies in this blog post.

First, let’s start with the companies that cannot make any claims that their tea is safe for someone with celiac disease. As a disclaimer, do your own research into all of the companies listed if you need to in order to feel more comfortable. The information below is the replies I received from the individual companies. I asked if they can 100% guarantee that their tea is gluten free within the ingredients AND the facility they are made in. Every person with celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity has different comfort levels when it comes to ordering out or buying processed products.

The tea companies that potentially have gluten – Sip at your own risk

Starbucks Teavana

This company uses Teavana tea, which used to be a solo store franchise but back in 2017 Starbucks closed all locations. Since then you can still purchase certain select Teavana tea’s at Starbucks store locations and when you order a tea from the barista it is from Teavana. Starbucks cannot 100% guarantee the tea or tea lattes made in house are 100% gluten free. They also did not mention if their tea bags are sealed with wheat paste. This is the reply I received from Starbucks:

“Please note that Starbucks locations cannot guarantee a gluten-free environment due to the possibility of cross-contamination. Products made with no gluten-containing ingredients does not mean the item is gluten-free. It means the item was not made with any ingredients derived from wheat, rye, barley, or oats, but may contain gluten due to the risk of cross contact.”

As mentioned in my last post, gluten can be hidden ingredients like ‘flavourings,’ which most of the teas from Teavana have included. If it contains or may contain any gluten or wheat ingredients this has to be stated on the packaging by law. So be sure to read the labels before you consume your tasty drink and be aware that possible cross contamination can occur in house as the baristas do not typically do a deep clean of the machinery before making any of your drinks. You can also ask to read the ingredients before you order as well. I personally did this with their hot chocolate mix and the bag stated that it may contain gluten, so I personally passed on the mocha. However, if you are in dire need of a warm drink, getting a tea bag and hot water may be a safe option.

Website found here.

Tim Hortons

I was a bit disappointed with Tim Hortons customer service as the only answer I received was a link to the ‘Nutrition and Wellness’ section of their website which is not very detailed. Therefore, I am going to presume they will be similar to Starbucks where they cannot 100% guarantee their tea and drinks will be gluten free due to cross contamination in the facility it is being made. The boxes of the tea does not state anything about gluten or ‘may contain.’ However, some of the teas do have flavourings added and as mentioned above if it contains wheat or gluten it must be stated in the ingredients. As for if the tea bags are sealed with wheat paste, I did not get an answer so I cannot say ‘yay or nay’ for sure. As always, do your own due diligence and contact the companies yourself to be sure you are comfortable with consuming their tea products at the restaurants or in the individual boxes you can purchase at select stores and in Tim Hortons locations.

Website found here.

Blenz Tea

This was one of my favourite cafe’s to go into for a tea latte. Unfortunately, this will be no longer as they cannot guarantee no gluten cross contamination. Here was their response:

“Sorry for the delay in getting back to you Lauren, we just wanted to do our due diligence on this as we can understand it is a sensitive case. Our teas are gluten free however, we’re unable to guarantee that there will be no gluten traces as the production facility they are put together in may contain other gluten products. Our stores also do serve gluten products so there may be some cross contamination that can occur. I’m sorry that it seems we cannot accommodate your particular needs but we will make note of this as feedback for us to take into consideration as we move forward with new products and store openings.”

So as unfortunate as it is, at least they will be taking it into consideration for future reference.

Website found here.

David’s Tea

I have always loved the tea but also the great customer service from David’s Tea. The representative responded to my email as so:

Although most of our teas do not contain gluten, they are not produced in dedicated gluten-free facilities. There is always a risk of cross-contamination with all our teas. 

At this time we suggest that all people with severe allergies avoid consuming our products. Even though there may not be allergens in a particular tea blend, there is always a chance that somewhere along the line they may have come in contact with potential allergens as our producers do not have allergen-free facilities.

They did mention that the chances of their ‘straight teas’ coming into contact with gluten is very low, however, they do not regularly test their products for allergens. If you feel comfortable with those odds, have at ‘er!

Website found here.

Marks and Spencer Tea

I only asked about their ‘luxury gold loose leaf tea,’ so if you have any questions about any other teas or flavours, please contact M&S to find out.

Unfortunately, these products don’t have the symbol for ‘gluten free.’  Consequently,  we couldn’t  ensure that products are safe for you.

In any case I suggest to you visit our on-line shop and search for the category ‘Gluten free.'”

As mentioned in the reply, visit the online shop and look under the gluten free category to find out more about any other teas at the store.

Website found here.

Lipton Tea

Similar to other companies, Lipton cannot guarantee their products are gluten free at this time.

Many Unilever products are produced using ingredients which naturally do not contain gluten. However, at this time we have not validated that our suppliers can guarantee the elimination of any potential cross-contamination risks from other materials within their production facility which may contain gluten or from shared equipment. Unilever products labeled as gluten-free contain gluten-free ingredients and no cross-contact of ingredients during processing. We apologize we cannot be of more assistance. 

Therefore, if you are to buy a Lipton tea product, look for a ‘gluten free’ label. If this label is not on the product, make your own judgement if you are comfortable with trying the tea or not.

Website found here.


This company unfortunately does not test for any traces of gluten and therefore cannot guarantee their products to be gluten free. As stated by the companies reply:

Unfortunately we do not test for gluten. Because Tazo products and ingredients are not tested for gluten content, we are unable to say that they are gluten-free.

Website found here.

T by Daniel

The response of this one did make me a bit sad as this is a tea company from my hometown, regardless of allergens, it is bloody good tea.

Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately I cannot guarantee that our teas are 100% Gluten Free. Although many of the teas do not contain any known traces of gluten, they are not manufactured in a 100% certified gluten free facility.

He did say that there are no ‘known’ traces of gluten, however this does not mean the tea is 100% gluten free as they do not actively test for any traces of allergens including gluten at this time. I’m keeping my fingers crossed they may change their minds and start testing their products in the near future.

Website found here.

The tea companies may not have gluten

The tea companies listed below are not tested or can say that their tea is 100% gluten free, however they do have strict measures in place to decrease the likelihood of any gluten in their tea products.

Traditional Medicinals

This company does not actively test for gluten, but they do have allergen policies that they follow as stated below:

Thanks for reaching out to us. While we don’t make any gluten-free label claims and don’t actively test our products for gluten, we take precautions to prevent gluten cross-contamination. All of our ingredients – including the tea bags and packaging – are naturally gluten-free and we do not process/use gluten ingredients in our supplement manufacturing facility. In order to prevent cross-contamination before the herbs enter our facility, we actively maintain allergen policies with all of our suppliers.

As they do take precautions to prevent gluten cross contamination, you may be comfortable consuming their products. If you are not, look for teas that have gluten free written on the label or the certified gluten free symbol on the product’s box.

Website found here.

Stash Tea Company

This one is a bit of a tricky one. They can confirm that their suppliers ingredients are gluten free, but they cannot guarantee because they do not test the products themselves for any traces of gluten.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We do not test our teas for the presence of gluten, nor do we certify them as gluten free.
We have collected statements from our ingredient suppliers stating that all ingredients we purchase are gluten free. Therefore, to the best of our knowledge all of our teas are gluten free. However, we cannot guarantee that our teas are gluten free due to not testing them ourselves, at this time.
Our tea bag products do not directly come into contact with gluten-producing production equipment, but are manufactured in a facility that also processes wheat-containing products. We do have an allergen control program in place to minimize any risk of cross contamination.
Our loose leaf tea production facility is allergen-free from the eight major US allergens: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat or soybeans.

I personally, as a celiac, have never had and issue with consuming Stash tea. However, they cannot fully guarantee their products are gluten free as they do not test the products themselves. Therefore, I had to put this company in the ‘may not be’ gluten free section of this blog but if you are comfortable with the response above, their tea is delicious. I do make sure I only buy their tea that does not have any questionable ingredients such as added flavouring.

Website found here.

The Tea Haus

This one was a bit tricky, but here we are representing another Canadian company on the gluten free list. Their suppliers cannot 100% guarantee their tea’s are gluten free due to how it is handled in the facility. However! The company themselves do have specific measures in place, and has mentioned that their flavourings are even gluten free. Read the following reply for the full response:

Thanks for your message. Unfortunately, none of our suppliers offer a 100% gluten-free guarantee. They don’t want to take the risk that somebody down the line has a sandwich before handling your tea and causes cross-contamination. That being said, they have very stringent measures in place. Even the flavours that are being used, don’t contain gluten. If you really want to be on the safe side, only purchase teas and herbs that are pure, without any flavours.

As mentioned in the paragraph above, if you are concerned about any gluten contamination, you can opt for their plain teas without any flavourings. But if you are really concerned and do not want to take the risk, go for the companies on this gluten free list that can 100% guarantee that their teas are all gluten free.

Website found here.

Celestial Seasonings

They replied with a very detailed email explaining their protocols with the processing and labeling of their teas. I have shortened it a bit as follows:

We do not have lists of products that are specifically considered to be gluten free. Reading the label is the best way to check for the presence of ingredients which contain gluten. If gluten is a major ingredient, it will be specified in the ingredient list. For consumers concerned about the presence of trace amounts of gluten, we suggest avoiding products that include oats, natural flavors or spices.

Hain Celestial Group products that make a gluten-free claim are declared as such by utilizing the a triangular Gluten-Free symbol, by carrying the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) Seal, or stating “gluten free” on packaging. 

In addition to meeting the FDA’s standard for ‘Gluten Free’ of less than 20 parts per million of gluten, all of our gluten free products are formulated without the presence of any gluten containing ingredients. All manufacturing facilities for Hain Celestial’s products employ good manufacturing processes and procedures to prevent allergen cross-contact.  Each facility has established rigid allergen control programs that include staff training, segregation of allergen containing ingredients, production scheduling, and thorough cleaning and sanitation. These allergen and sanitation programs are verified by our Quality Assurance department.

Therefore, read the labels of their teas and look for ones that are labeled ‘gluten free’ or have the gluten free symbol on them.

Website found here.

The tea companies that are 100% gluten free

The tea companies listed below are 100% positively, no questions asked gluten free.

Yorkshire Tea

Their response was very short and sweet and right to the point:

We can confirm that all our Yorkshire Teas are Gluten free.

I asked if all loose leaf and bagged tea was gluten free, so I am assuming this means the tea bags, tea leaves, flavourings and the facility is all free of gluten. If you need more confirmation, please contact the company.

Website found here.

Tetley Tea

This company can 100% guarantee their tea’s are for sure gluten free.

None of our teas contain gluten.

We obtain allergen declarations for all ingredients and any factory we use them in and for any co-manufactured product. Suppliers must disclose whether the products contain any allergens and whether there is any risk of cross-contamination from other ingredients or products that our teas may come into contact with.

If the supplier answers yes to this second question and cannot guarantee that cross-contamination can be avoided, then we would include a “may contain” warning on pack.

Based on these declarations, if the product does not have a “contains” or “may contain” statement on pack, then it does not contain an allergen. Such pack warnings would also be bolded so they’re easy to see.

As always, be sure to read the labels of the products you are buying to look out for any gluten containing ingredients or ‘contain’ or ‘may contain’ statements on the package.

Website found here.


This company does not permit any of the top allergens into their facilities. Therefore, you will know while you are sipping on your great cuppa, that your belly will be free of not just gluten but other allergens as well. As the company stated in their reply:

Twinings does not permit the presence of any of the allergens that require declaring under allergen labeling regulations.
• Gluten • Egg • Milk (except for Chai Latte & French Vanilla Chai Latte K-Cups®) • Crustacean • Fish • Mollusc • Nuts • Sesame seeds • Soy • Mustard • Celery • Sulphur dioxide • Lupin • Wheat • Coconut (Except for our Comfort blend)
Therefore all our teas and infusions are free from those components and their derivatives.

Website found here.

Genuine Tea

Representing another amazing Canadian tea company that I personally am obsessed with. They originate out of my home city of Toronto, and even though I may be biased, I can genuinely (pun intended!) can confirm that this may be some of the best tea you get your hands on. This is not a sponsored blog post at all, however I wanted to give this company a shout out on my gluten free list of teas as they are 100% gluten free! The best part about purchasing from this company as well is 1% of all proceeds will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), how amazing is that! I originally contacted this company through Instagram to find out about the possibility of cross contamination of gluten in their teas. Their response is as follows:

All of our teas are 100% gluten free, no trace of gluten or cross contamination. The taste notes listed on the packages are simply notes regarding the flavour and those ingredients are not actually in the tea.

There are ‘tasting notes’ listed on the front of their packaging, and one of the ingredients can be malt. As we learned in my last post, malt can sometimes be a sneaky ingredient for hidden gluten. But rest assured, in this case it is just what the tea ‘tastes’ like and does not actually contain those ingredients. I would highly recommend giving this tea company a try!

Website found here.

Mighty Leaf Tea

This is another fantastic gluten free tea company. The certified gluten free symbol is on their boxes so you can be assured that their teas are all 100% gluten free and celiac safe! Not to mention that their teas are absolutely delicious as well. Be sure to read the labels and look for the certified gluten free symbol on the boxes when you purchase to be sure that at the time you buy them the company has continued to certify their products.

Website found here.

Choice Organic Tea

Yet another great tea company choice (again, pun intended). Their teas are flavourful and are gluten free! Therefore, you can be assured that their teas are all 100% gluten free. Be sure to read the labels and look for the certified gluten free symbol on the boxes when you purchase as the company seems to have moved their processing facility, read the response below:

All our teas and packaging materials are still gluten free. Our East West Tea facility, where Choice Organics teas are now being produced, is a brand new LEED certified building and is gluten free. However, given that East West Tea Company has not gone through the process to obtain official gluten free certification, our products are not labeled as such.

Even though their new packaging does not have the certified symbol on it anymore, they have ensured that their teas and packaging materials are all still gluten free, as mentioned above.

Website found here.

Numi Tea

I drink this tea every single day, and it is absolutely lovely. The company has ensured that all ingredients and the facility that the tea’s are made in are all 100% gluten free.

Thank you for contacting us! Numi Tea’s, across the board, are safe from all of the most common known allergens:

milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, soybeans, gluten

Our teas do not contain these ingredients and are processed in facilities that are free from these ingredients.

Their company also gives back to the community, “Your purchase helps fight global warming, reduce plastic waste, and provide fair wages and opportunities for tea farmers around the world.” It is nice to know a portion of the proceeds of your purchase will be going to some good in the world.

This is a fantastic tea company, I would highly recommend!

Website found here.


If you want an incredibly smooth and delicious matcha, this is the one! I spoke with the company over Instagram about their gluten free policies:

Yes our teas are gluten free. Only green tea is processed in our facilities.

I was never a fan of matcha before, but this company has made me fall in love with it. It is an absolute bonus that their teas are 100% gluten free. The quality of their matcha is one of the best in my opinion. As mentioned on their website, “DōMatcha® is 100% authentic Japanese stone-ground green tea, directly from Kagoshima and Uji, Kyoto where Japanese matcha originated, and most premium matcha is produced today. Our supplier is based in Uji, Kyoto and has been in the tea business for 300 years. DōMatcha® is partnered with the famous 16th-generation Japanese tea master Kazunori Handa-san, whose family’s knowledge and expertise has been handed down generation after generation for over 400 years. We are very grateful and continuously excited to work with such illustrious Japanese experts to bring superior matcha to North American and international markets.”

I would highly recommend this matcha for your gluten free enjoyment!

Website found here.

Pukka Tea

I am still waiting a response from the company at this time and will update the blog post once I do get a response. However, on the companies website they have a ‘frequently asked’ section which talks about gluten in their products:

“All Pukka teas are free from gluten containing ingredients. However, we want to point out that Night Time and Relax contain oat straw flowering tops. Although the analytical tests undertaken on these teas show that gluten is absent, consumers who are extremely sensitive may want to check the suitability of oat straw further for related gluten allergies like avenin.”

I do really like that they brought in the awareness to oat in some of their products as some individuals with celiac disease may react to the protein avenin found in oats. I’ll write a blog post more on this subject at a later time. I personally drink their teas and have never had an issue with them, but I do steer clear of the ones with oats in them.

Website found here.


If you are a lover of tea but have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, be sure to do your research into the teas you are consuming on a regular basis to see if there are any potential cross contamination risks of gluten. Whichever your comfort level of cross contamination, be sure to read the labels of the products you are buying to look for any gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ statements. Continue to sip and be happy!

If you have any other tea companies you would like me to look into regarding gluten contamination, please feel free to write them in the comments below 🙂

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.

References and Stores Mentioned

Where Gluten Can Be Hidden: Tea

Of all the places that gluten can be hiding, would you expect tea? Me neither! This is one area I did not look into as a celiac, and I am very sure this was one of the products I was consuming daily that had me cross contaminated with gluten.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats. Hidden sources of gluten can have substantial consequences for anyone suffering from celiac disease (also spelt coeliac disease) and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (also known as gluten intolerance). Even just one grain of gluten can provoke gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, joint pain, migraines or headaches, brain fog and a long list of other health symptoms. Doing regular ingredient list checks and asking for preparation details at restaurants can help to limit any cross contamination of gluten.

Tea leaves have gluten?

Camellia Sinensis plant

So what’s the deal with tea and gluten contamination? Well, first things first – Most teas come from the leaves off of the Camellia Sinensis plant. This plant is naturally gluten free, it is when added flavourings and other ingredients are added that can put this food source off of the gluten free list.

Most flavourings used contain barley seeds such as Boricha which is a type of Korean tea. Any teas that are ‘malted’ may contain gluten as malt is commonly made from barley. Fun fact, the FDA labeling laws does not declare barely, rye and malt as allergens on labels here in Canada and the USA. On top of that, anything containing “flavouring” in the ingredient list can also be a hidden source of gluten. Be sure to contact the manufacturing company to be sure the flavouring does not contain any hidden gluten ingredients like barley malt. However, if the flavouring does contain wheat, this has to be declared on the label as per the Food Allergen Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). Therefore, be sure to ALWAYS read the labels of anything you are buying from the store, especially if it is not labeled “gluten free” or have a certified gluten free symbol on the packaging.

Herbal teas may contain flavourings or other ingredients and grains containing gluten. Matcha tea which is a ground up green tea, can sometimes have wheat added as a filler. As mentioned before, start a regular practice of ALWAYS checking the labels of foods you want to purchase to see if it is containing any hidden gluten.

What’s the deal with tea bags?

You may have heard that tea bags can potentially contain hidden sources of gluten, unfortunately, that would be correct. Some tea bags can be sealed with a paste that is made with wheat. Therefore, if you like to use tea bags, I would contact the tea company and ask how the tea bags are sealed. Another option, is switching to using loose leaf tea and having a tea filter for steeping, but make sure there are no gluten containing ingredients in the loose leaf tea.

Can cross contamination happen with tea?

It most certainly can, cross-contamination is a common cause of gluten contamination in tea. This can start a the factories they are processed at. If an ingredient with gluten was on the line before the tea you will be consuming it could potentially transfer over into the tea. Another common place of cross-contamination with tea is at the cafe or at home. If the server, a friend or family member at the cafe or even at home uses the same spoon or container that was just used for something with gluten and uses it in your tea, this can potentially transfer gluten into your tea as well. To avoid this from happening, do not share your cups, tea filters and spoons with someone who is not gluten free. Also, be sure the equipment you use to prepare and drink your tea is completely clean.

What tea is gluten free?

After all of that, you may be thinking there are no teas left that are safe for someone with celiac disease and gluten free. However! The good news, there are plenty of options. Sticking to teas made from simple ingredients, such as black, oolong, green, and rooibos tea are all naturally gluten free, so long as they do not have any other added ingredients as mentioned above. Also, using loose leaf tea will take away the possibility of gluten in the tea bags. It is also in my opinion, a better quality and more flavourful tea. On top of that, using a loose leaf tea will help to decrease the environmental waste of the tea bags. Here is a chart to make things a bit more simple in deciding about what tea to get:

Naturally Gluten-FreeMay Contain GlutenContains Gluten
Pure black teaFlavored teaBarley seed tea
Pure green teaChai teaBoricha tea (Korean tea)
Pure white teaHerbal teaMalted tea
Pure oolong teaMatcha tea
Pure puerh teaSprouted seed tea
Pure rooibos tea

All in all, tea is a great beverage to be enjoyed. Follow what was mentioned above and you should be good to go to have a great gluten free cuppa!

If you are curious what tea companies contain and do not contain gluten? Click here for the full post.

Signing off until next time,

LEW xxx 🙂

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

We do not collect any personal information or store cookies.  You can turn off cookies on your web browsers.


The Positives of Celiac Disease and Having a Chronic Illness

When some one hears the word “disease” it is automatically seen as an awful thing. Even though no one is ever wishing and praying for a disease to pop up in their body, life does happen and you cannot choose your genetics. So instead of only ever seeing the awful side of the disease you have, why not see the positives.

I was diagnosed with celiac disease just over 3.5 years ago, and in spite of having my ups and downs I have decided to change my mindset and start seeing the disease not as a blessing or a curse but something I am in control of (excluding going out to eat and being cross contaminated with food). I believe that my diagnosis of celiac disease has changed my lifestyle habits for the better, and here is why.

  1. My diet has improved immensely.
    I’m not sure about you, but before I knew I had celiac disease I could eat the whole kitchen, including the sink. What’s even funnier, I never felt full, my stomach was a black hole. So when I saw a box of donuts I would eat the whole box, or go for seconds with dinner – sometimes even thirds. Even though I had a pretty well balanced diet, I still had the urge and craving to eat fast foods and sugar. All I wanted was the simple fast carbs and sugars to give me the quick energy because my body needed it after not absorbing any nutrients.

    These days, I eat less processed foods (try to not eat too much of the processed gf products as most of them have a huge amount of sugar in them – you will learn how to make things gf in your own kitchen soon enough!). I eat a more whole food diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some beans (be careful of lentils as wheat can sometimes be found mixed in them), and lean meats. I’ve never eaten better, and I no longer have the urge to eat any fast foods or junk food as it usually is not gluten free.

  2. I take sleep much more seriously and have so much more energy!
    I was always tired, really tired, taking naps in the day or falling asleep once 2pm hit. Growing up I was anemic and could never get my levels any higher no matter what I did. After going gluten free my iron levels are the highest they have ever been and I no longer feel the need to take a nap in the middle of the day. I usually have energy to last me the entire day now.

    Before I knew about my celiac disease I was also having awful nights sleep. Not only was I exhausted throughout the day, but my body was not allowing me to sleep at night. Sleep is a huge component to increasing one’s immune system amongst many other functions within the body. I now take sleep very seriously as it helps my body heal from the damages within my gut. But also because I realize just how important it is for every day function and life.

  3. I have picked up my meditation practice where I left it.
    I started meditating back in university to help me be more calm getting through my classes and exams. Once I passed and became a certified athletic therapist, my meditation practice slowly became something of the past for me.

    Having a chronic illness can become exhausting, especially with having to think about what you are eating on a regular basis. As we all know by now, stress causes havoc on the body and it’s systems. Anything that may stress you out with your health, job, relationships or just life will have an effect on your bodies immune system along with all other systems. One way I have found to decrease this stress is through meditation, I really feel it on the days that I do not meditate. I can think clearer, make better decisions and my anxiety has decreased.

  4. I have learned what real patience is.
    I have developed so much more patience for finding, waiting and making food. I have more patience for letting my body heal from it’s symptoms. I have more patience for not having as good of a day as yesterday knowing that next great day is just around the corner.

    Everyone’s healing time is different, and because of this you will learn your very own patience with allowing it to heal in it’s own time. As I mentioned, I am 3.5 years into following a gluten free diet after my diagnosis and I still have symptoms pop up here and there. This may not be the same for you, but depending how long you were an active celiac before you found out, this may make your healing time a bit longer or shorter then someone else. Remember to be kind to yourself, you will make it over every hurdle, and every speed bump in the road.

    Repeat after me: “My body will heal in it’s own time. Everyday is better than the last. My body is amazing.”

  5. I no longer take the simple things in life for granted.
    I think back to the days when I went to a restaurant and would be so picky with the food options. If I could tell my younger past self to eat everything off the menu I would. One of the simple things I’m referring to is going to a restaurant and being able to order whatever you would like off the menu, and not have to worry about how it is being made in the kitchen. Simple things like going to a friends place or a party and not being nervous about how the food was made or what everyone else is dipping into the salsa while you are not watching it. Or even being able to go traveling and not have to worry a head of time about where you are going to eat when you get to your location.

    The simple things I absolutely adore now is when I have food made for me by a chef and they bring it to me themselves, or having a friend or relative clean down the entire kitchen before they make me anything as a sign of love and respect. I get really excited when traveling and find a certified gluten free product in the store, or when I get to a restaurant and they tell me that everything on the menu is gluten free. If there is one thing that celiac disease has taught me in a great way is to never take anything for granted, so now even life events outside of food, I enjoy fully.

  6. I am more aware of my body and listen to it more.
    I have had aches and pains before, but I never used to listen to them. When you have celiac disease and it feels like 20 small kittens are inside your gut scratching away at the lining of it, you begin to listen. I have learned what claws feel like and I know what my gut should feel like now on a gluten free diet. I do not see every symptom I feel as an autoimmune reaction to gluten anymore. I have calmed down and have started to take a few seconds to think through what it is that I am feeling and why it may be there. Then I do what I need to do for what my body is asking. My mindfulness practice has helped immensely with this one.

    I have also started to learn to listen to my hunger cues through intuitive eating. This seems to be a trendy word now a days, but this is an important part of digestion and a happy body. As I mentioned, before I knew I had celiac disease I would binge eat everything in sight as I never felt full. I now know this was because I may not have been getting the nutrients my body needed. Until a few months ago, I kept up with this same habit, and it has brought on some other health issues because of it.

    With the good news that my gut is healing, this means that my villi within the small intestine are able to absorb nutrients and my body can now become full. I have learned the hard way of listening to this cue, I was eating until I was overly full and to the point that my stomach was distended and very uncomfortable. I believe this has brought on the acid reflux I have been experiencing the last few months. Learn to listen to your hunger cues, your body will let you know when it needs food and when you need to stop. This comes with practice and I am no where near an expert at it as this can take a few years to truly perfect.

  7. I have learned a whole new way of cooking and baking that is fun and delicious!
    I grew up working in a bakery and I would always stick to the baking and cooking rules of gluten. However, going gluten free threw a curve ball I was not expecting right at my gut but I have learned a whole new way of making food. To be honest, it’s so much fun! Experimenting with different GF grains, different fruits and vegetables that I had never heard of before 3.5 years ago, and experimenting with vegan, vegetarian, paleo and every cultured food there is. I have learned a new and great respect for all types of foods from all over the world, now that I cannot be choosy and picky with the food I eat. My diet is so much more varied, so much more interesting and delicious. The best part is that my gut microbiome is loving all the different nutrients it can digest now. Just wait, your taste buds are going to explode into happiness!

  8. I have learned, and am still practicing, how to change my mindset from negative to positive.
    This is so unbelievably hard to do. Day in and day out I will have multiple negative thoughts run through my head. Mental health issues can be a part of celiac disease, but learning how to over come them is so very important. When a negative thought comes in I instantly tell myself, no. Then think of the positives of every situation or conversation I am in. Consistent negative thoughts everyday will have a long term effect on your mental health. Your body is going through enough as it is healing, there is no need to add more for it to think about. One way you can tackle this is by wearing an elastic band around your wrist and every time a negative thought comes in, snap it against your wrist lightly to stop your thinking process. Then replace it with a positive thought.

  9. I have more of an understanding for anyone in pain, especially chronic pain.
    Regardless if you have an autoimmune disease, a chronic injury, or something your body is currently going through, being in pain everyday will wear on you. With what my body has been through so far, I have so much more respect for the people in the world that have not found the answer to no pain just yet. This has made me a better and more understanding therapist, friend, sister, daughter, niece, partner and stranger. Until you have been through it yourself, you will never truly understand what someone is going through. Not to mention everyone experiences the same thing different ways. Just always know that the end is near and your answer will come to you soon enough. You are feeling what you are feeling for a reason, it is not all in your head and you are not alone.

  10. The most important one, I feel so much better! And you will too.
    I never knew what it was like to feel “normal” until I felt normal. I thought everything I was feeling was how it was supposed to be, and now that I know it is not, I am on cloud nine. I can think clearly, I’m not bloated everyday, my hair has never been so thick, my energy is back, my strength is coming back, and I’m starting to become motivated again. I truly cannot think of a better way to live and I wouldn’t trade it for the world because this is my world and I have worked so hard to learn how to navigate through it. Now I have the opportunity to maybe help just one human find their way through it too. And that is such an empowering feeling.

I know being diagnosed with a chronic condition at first can seem scary, unbelievable and leave you saying, “why me?” But once you start to live your new life, you will see and feel how much better you are and start to see the positives of having celiac disease or any chronic condition you may have. Don’t loose hope, there is always a rainbow after the storm. You will come to see it soon, and you will kick ass when it does.

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

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Acid Reflux vs. GERD and How Can I Decrease it? | Celiac Disease

There are many symptoms that come along with celiac disease, but did you know that acid reflux and heartburn can be one of them? The last few months I have personally been experiencing more bloating after eating, waking up with phlegm in the mornings or coughing at night, and the newest symptom I have been getting is a sharp pain in my upper right abdomen.

I am still in the process of healing my gut as my TTG level is now at 28 (it should be 0-12), so it’s still high and causing damage to my small intestine. I have been having a wide range of symptoms which has caused me to try a wide range of different diets to fix the issue. One of the diets was paleo, for those of you who do not know, it is high in fats and low in carbs (no grains at all). I believe this caused havoc on my gallbladder and stomach having to break down so much good fats in my diet that I now have added issues (more on this in a different blog post). 

Acid Reflux vs. GERD

Acid reflux can range in severity from mild to serious. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is chronic and a more severe form of acid reflux. There is also heartburn which is a symptom of both acid reflux and GERD. 

Acid Reflux

The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a muscle that connects the esophagus and the stomach. It is the muscle that is in charge of tightening the esophagus after food passes by it so the food does not come back up. If the muscle is weak or doesn’t tighten properly, the food can make it’s way back up the esophagus and thus making the effects of acid reflux.

Symptoms of acid reflux:

  • Heartburn
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Bitter or sour taste in the mouth
  • Burning and pressure into the breastbone


The chronic form of acid reflux is known as GERD. This is diagnosed when acid reflux happens more then twice a week or there is inflammation in the esophagus. The pain caused by GERD may or may not be relieved with antacids or over the counter medications.

Symptoms of GERD: 

  • Bad breath
  • Damage to tooth enamel
  • Heartburn
  • Feeling of food coming back up into your mouth or regurgitation
  • Chest pain
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Asthma
  • Trouble swallowing

Most people will experience heartburn right after something they ate or laying down right after they eat.

What can I do to decrease acid reflux?


In April 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Trusted Source

requested that all forms of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine (Zantac) be removed from the U.S. market. This recommendation was made because unacceptable levels of NDMA, a probable carcinogen (cancer-causing chemical), were found in some ranitidine products. If you’re prescribed ranitidine, talk with your doctor about safe alternative options before stopping the drug. If you’re taking OTC ranitidine, stop taking the drug and talk with your healthcare provider about alternative options. Instead of taking unused ranitidine products to a drug take-back site, dispose of them according to the product’s instructions or by following the FDA’s guidance

Trusted Source


From the Healthline website

There are over the counter drug and prescription drug options. However, if you don’t want to be stuck taking drugs for a long period of time or want a more natural alternative, you could try the following:

First off, stop eating big meals before bed time. Eating huge meals, especially fatty or greasy foods right before bed is a huge recipe for disaster when you have acid reflux. Your body needs time to digest the food with you up right, the minute you lay down after a big meal it will increase the chances of the food coming back up your esophagus. Try to stop eating and consuming anything at least 2-3 hours before bed time to allow your body to properly digest the food you have eaten. The three top triggers for heartburn is large meals, fatty foods and late-night meals.

So onto the next point, large portions of food. When you eat a lot of food at once and your stomach becomes stretched causing the stuffed feeling and a distended stomach, this puts a lot of pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This will happen with any large amounts of food, not just specific foods that will trigger your heart burn.

Now, fatty foods. This type of food sits around in your stomach longer which makes your body produce more acid to break it down and this will irritate your digestive system. Science has also shown that fatty foods will relax your LES which will in turn cause that increased amount of stomach acid to shoot back up your esophagus. This isn’t just the “bad” fatty foods either, this counts for the good fats as well like avocado, nuts, seeds, and oils. The good fats are good for your body, just everything in moderation…maybe don’t sit there with a jar of nut butter and a spoon until half the jar is gone like I have…whoops.

Common food that trigger heartburn:

  • Peppermint
  • Alcohol, specifically red wine
  • Caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea and energy drinks
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, amongst many others
  • Tomatoes
  • Black pepper, raw onion, garlic, and spicy foods
  • Some meats, as they are high in fatty acids and cholesterol
  • Some oils, small amounts of olive oil seems to be okay
  • High amounts of salt
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Some medications like Ibuprofen, asthma medications, progesterone, medicines for Parkinson’s disease, and certain supplements like iron and potassium

You might be thinking, what can I eat? Here are some foods to include in your diet:

  • Proteins from low-cholesterol sources such as salmon, trout, almonds, lean poultry, beans and lentils
  • Certain carbohydrates like fruit, vegetables, potatoes and some whole grains
  • Vitamin C rich foods from fruits and vegetables
  • Fruits high in fiber, magnesium, and potassium like apples, berries, pears, avocado, melons, peaches and bananas
  • Eggs, in spite of their cholesterol content, you could also opt for egg whites
  • Green vegetables like kale, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts

Other lifestyle changes to help decrease acid reflux:

  1. Do not over eat. Try having 5 to 6 smaller meals throughout the day instead of 3 massive meals a day.
  2. Do not eat before bedtime and do not lay down right after eating. Allow 2-3 hours of digestion before you head to bed, once you lay down it’s harder on your body to digest the food you have just eaten. Allow the food to pass through your stomach first to the small intestine before you lay down.
  3. Exercise. If you are over weight this will put pressure on the LES and therefore cause heartburn. But also keep in mind you should allow your body to digest the food for 2 hours before you exercise vigorously as this may increase the likelihood of acid reflux. Abdominal work such as sit ups or leg lifts will irritate the stomach, same with jogging as this will have the contents in your stomach slush around and this will cause the contents in your stomach to go back up if you have a weak LES. However, this is not an excuse to not workout, physical exercise is a must need in each day, just be sure you allow your food to digest for at least 2 hours before you do any exercising, a light walk will be okay right after eating.
  4. Going along with exercise, try to not sit in a crunched position at your desk or in poor posture right after eating as this will put pressure on the LES. Also, try to not wear any clothes that are restricting on your belt line as this will also cause pressure to your stomach.
  5. Eat intuitively. Do not eat with the TV going or YouTube, no distractions such as your phone or reading. Just you and your food should be at the table. This will allow your body to be more aware of it’s hunger cues so you do not eat so much food that you end up with a distended stomach.

Remember that learning why your acid reflux happens and how to control it may help decrease discomfort of acid reflux. Try some simple lifestyle changes to decrease your acid reflux, and know that having it every once in a while is no cause for concern, but when you are experiencing it 1-2 times a week for an extended period of time, it is time to call your doctor to speak about your symptoms. Pain in your upper right abdomen can be acid reflux but it may be another condition including your liver or gallbladder, so it is always a good idea to consult with your family physician.


Cross Contamination and Celiac Disease

This is a bit of a controversial but very important topic to bring up in the celiac community and to the rest of the world. This is important because when I was first diagnosed I was not told of the possibilities of cross contamination and how it would effect my overall healing. 

It does not take very much gluten to make a celiac very sick, only one crumb to be in fact. One crumb will start an autoimmune response in the body, and the symptoms could or could not be present. Cross contamination could possibly be one of the hardest things to keeping a 100% gluten free diet for someone who has celiac disease as there are so many hidden places gluten can possibly be found.

I did not know of all the places that could be an issue and I am still learning over 3 years later. Places such as a cutting board, wooden spoons, or even kissing your boyfriend after he dinks a glass of beer or eats one of those massive kebabs he loves so much . Coming up next are all of the places I wish I knew to be careful of sooner, including some possible problems with the FDA (this will be a post all on it’s own, coming soon).

Where can hidden places of gluten be found?

  1. Kitchen:

Cutting Boards: Any cutting boards that have cuts in them could be hiding unknown gluten, especially wooden cutting boards. Replace these for a cutting board that does not produce deep cuts, like a wood fibre cutting board. I bought one of these a while back and love them because the cuts in them push out rather then in. This is not affiliated, but the cutting board I found is called a Epicurean and can be found here. But also, when you get new cutting boards – label them gluten free specific just like anything in the kitchen so it cannot and will not come into contact with gluten.

Wooden Spoons: Gluten can become stuck to porous products in the kitchen, one of which can be wooden spoons.

Pots and pans, colander, panini press, waffle maker, bread maker, BBQ racks, stovetop, tabletop, iron pans and pizza stones: This may seem over the top, however gluten is very good at hiding in equipment with any scratches, small holes or crevices. Therefore, scratches in non-stick pots or pans will be a perfect area for gluten to hang out, same with a porous rock pan or pot. Small crevices on a stove top or inside a panini press or a waffle maker along with a bread maker (ie. imagine a pot of pasta water over flowing onto the stove top – I know we have all been there). No you do not need to go buy a new oven, however I would scrub every inch of the top and inside of that oven before you use it again for a gluten free meal, and replace any other equipment you can that was originally used for gluten containing food. Use a designated countertop, and if this is not possible, then wipe down and clean the area of any flour or gluten containing left overs of another meal or food preparation.

Note: Although this doesn’t fall into the cross-contamination area, it is worth noting that celiacs should take precautions against breathing in flour dust when using flours with gluten. Flour dust in the nasal passages can be swallowed and end up being digested. So be careful walking into gluten containing bakeries.

Kitchen Wash cloths, sponges, rags, brushes and dish towels: HUGE spot for cross contamination, be sure to be using a gluten free only sponge or cleaning utensil for washing dishes in your sink. The gluten will soak and stick to the wash cloth, sponge, brush, towel or rag. Label one that is gluten free and keep it away from anything gluten.

Toaster and Convection Oven: This was one of the first things I replaced in my kitchen when I first learned of cross contamination. The gluten crumbs will sit on the side, top and bottom of the toaster and oven and will then make its way into your gluten free toast. Remember: it just takes one crumb to cause an autoimmune response in your body as a celiac, have a dedicated gluten free toaster and convection oven.

Utensils: For forks, knives and spoons – be sure to wash these in warm soapy water and scrub well to decease the chances of a gluten meal transferring to your gluten free meal by mistake. I’ve looked into getting a travel set of utensils for out at restaurants – may seem like a bit much, but sometimes I get a utensil with left over food on them.

Pantry and Fridge: Spills or damaged packaging can spread all over a pantry or fridge (ie. flour). Be sure that if you do not have a gluten free specific cupboard or fridge to put all gluten free products on the top shelf so nothing can spill or spread from above down into your food. Best practice is to have a separate pantry and fridge, if you can, that is a dedicated gluten free space. 

Spices, processed foods, teas, condiments: These are sneaky areas that can and usually do contain a hidden source of gluten. Always be sure that you read the label of any processed foods you buy and be sure to buy the ones that do not have any gluten containing ingredients, it can be hidden as an ingredient that does not necessarily say “gluten or wheat.”

My rule of thumb, if the package says “may contain gluten” “processed in the same facility as gluten” I stay away from them. Being 3 years into my diagnosis, my TTG levels are still higher then they should be, and I have recently just been able to get them down lower than I have been able to in the last 2 years. My secret? I have cut out processed foods, and if I need to use them, I will only buy them if they say or have a “certified gluten free” label on it. Do your research on the product you are going to buy, contact the seller and find out where that food is being processed, you are not being a pain for protecting your health and asking questions. I know for me, the reasons I could not lower my TTG levels is because I was going out to eat at restaurants and eating processed foods. Do what you feel is right, but be sure the food you are buying is certified gluten free or do your research into the company because not all good companies have the certified symbol on their product.

Butter, margarin, jam, condiments jars; Avoid ‘double dipping”: Another huge area of cross contamination, when one uses a knife or other utensil and spreads the jam or condiment on to a gluten containing piece of toast then puts that utensil back into the jar, there will be crumbs going into that same jar. As I have mentioned, it just takes one crumb to make someone violently ill with celiac disease. The crumbs that have now been transferred into that jar or onto the slab of butter, can now make its way onto a piece of gluten free toast later. Be sure to label all condiments gluten free, to avoid any crumbs from getting mixed into them.

Lentils: This one deserved a mention on it’s own because a can or bag of lentils is known for having kernels of wheat or oats (or pebbles) within the product. Be sure to buy certified gluten free lentils only.

2. Other:

Body products like soap, shampoo, conditioner, tooth paste, floss, mouth wash, face wash, makeup, hand lotion, lip stick and lip balm, sunscreen, moisturizers for face and body: First things first, there is not a lot of research showing that gluten is absorbed through the skin. HOWEVER, using gluten free body products can decrease the chances of gluten mistakenly getting into your body. Lip chaps, tooth paste, floss and mouthwash is not an area of argument – all of these products NEED to be gluten free as they go into the mouth and can be swallowed. Shampoo and conditioner is to your discretion, however, if a kid sucks on their hair, or you are sweating from a good workout and it makes its way into your mouth, there could be a reason for cross contamination. Same goes for face products, sunscreen, hand or body lotion, or nail polish, if it contains gluten and you eat with your hands, or rub the lotion on your lips and you lick them, or again, you are sweating and the sweat goes to your lips, there could be a chance of cross contamination.

Playdough: This was one that shocked me as I work as an athletic therapist and would use playdough for hand exercises and rehab all the time. This fun dough to play with contains gluten, be sure to look for ones that are labeled gluten free or make your own at home. Another option is if you work as a therapist, you could wear gloves to avoid it making contact with your hands.

Envelopes and stamps: “Web site after web site, story after story, and book after book about celiac disease, repeat the statement that gluten can be found in envelopes and stamps. But it’s not true. Tonya Muse, senior vice president of the Envelope Manufacturers Association, states that adhesives used on envelopes do not contain gluten.” -Gluten-Free Living. This is an ongoing debate and I think there needs to be more research done in this area to get a definitive answer.

Plastic in orthodontic retainers: This was another area that shocked me as I have a retainer I used every night (thankfully mine does not contain any gluten). There is a plastic called, “plasticized methacrylate polymer,” this is a plastic additive that is sometimes used in plastic and contains gluten. Be sure to check with your orthodontist that your retainer does not contain this plastic.

Friends and family in your kitchen: Even though they can mean well, they may not know the nitty gritty on exactly how to keep your food and kitchen gluten free. Just be sure to be there when they are preparing food to help them along the way if they need it.

Kisses from a loved one: Regardless if it is your other half, your parents, a sibling, an aunt or uncle or a friend, if they have just consumed gluten of any kind, there can be a chance that they will transfer it to you. Generally, I think if they brush their teeth and use mouthwash, it should get the gluten out of there and be safe to accept a kiss from them, but I think more research needs to be done in this area.

3. Cross contact away from home:

Bulk Bins: The utensils used in bulk bins can be transferred from bin to bin and with that gluten can be transferred as well. Gluten can be transferred also by hands if someone is not using the utensils and uses their hands to grab the food instead. I would recommend not eating or purchasing any foods out of a bulk bin, and be sure to only buy foods in a separate certified gluten free package.

Deli-counters: Because some processed meats can contain gluten, the equipment they use can also contain gluten when they slice the meat. Be sure that the processed meats you are buying are certified gluten free and sliced on dedicated gluten free equipment.

Buffet: Another great place for possible cross contamination due to the utensils used. There is always a chance that someone who doesn’t know any better, could have used the same spoon to pick up pasta then used that same spoon in the salad next to that pasta. Or someone is grabbing something that contains gluten and the crumbs of it falls into your gluten free food as it passes over it. If you are at a buffet, I would personally ask to talk with the chef about your options. When I went to Vegas, the chef at the buffet was absolutely amazing with me, he walked me around the whole buffet explaining what I could eat and at the end of it saw that I was still uncomfortable so he personally made me food in the back and served it to me. Always speak with the owners or chefs before you eat at a restaurant or buffet.

Gluten free products: Products that are labeled gluten free (without being certified) could possibly still contain gluten. The product itself could be gluten free, however if it is processed in the same facility as something with gluten, it can contaminate the food. If there is not a dedicated line or equipment that is 100% gluten free, the processed food can become contaminated with gluten. So be sure to contact the company to know more about how the food is processed and where it is processed. If they cannot 100% guarantee the food is gluten free, do not eat it or purchase it.

Fried foods: When ordering fried foods, such as French fries, out at a restaurant, be sure that they use a dedicated gluten free frier, as a frier that is used for gluten containing foods will contaminate your gluten free food if used in the same frier. Always be sure to talk with your server about how the food is prepared in the kitchen.

Airplanes and traveling: Always travel with your own food from home or certified gluten free bars or products that you can easily travel with. If this is not possible, be sure to contact the airline ahead of time to sort out gluten free meals for you on the plane. You do not want to be stuck on a plane without a meal for 11+ hours, believe me, I’ve been there.

FDA and Gluten Free Labeling

This is a controversial topic that needs a post on it’s own, which I will begin writing and get up on this blog very soon. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the US states: “The rule specifies, among other criteria, that any foods that carry the label ‘gluten-free,’ ‘no gluten,’ ‘free of gluten,’ or ‘without gluten’ must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. This level is the lowest that can be reliably detected in foods using scientifically validated analytical methods. Other countries and international bodies use these same criteria, as most people with celiac disease can tolerate foods with very small amounts of gluten.” They state that ‘most people’ with celiac disease can tolerate these levels which means not all can tolerate it. Also, not all countries use the same labeling criteria, take Australia and New Zealand for instance, they have a 0% tolerance of gluten found in gluten free foods, probably why I felt great while eating over there. I’m not trying to pick a fight with the FDA, I just believe more research needs to be done on this topic. Blog on this coming soon, I need to do more research into studies on this topic to give you the right information.

There are more and more studies coming out on the cross contamination of gluten with celiac disease. Some studies showing that cross contamination does or does not happen in the areas I mentioned above. However, I believe more studies need to be done to know for sure, so in the mean time, it doesn’t hurt to follow general rules and guidelines given to you by your dietician, nutritionist or doctor on what foods to avoid and where cross contamination can occur. 

Please Keep This Disclaimer in Mind:

Articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. We cannot and do not provide medical advice or specific advice on products related to treatments of a disease or illness.

You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.

You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.

It is your responsibility to consult with your professional health care providers before starting any diet changes, exercise or supplementation program, and before taking; varying the dosage and / or ceasing to take any medication.

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