Where is Gluten Hiding in Your Life?

We live in America and gluten is everywhere!

Below are just a few of the places gluten can hide…

kidsYour Significant Other:

Can you get gluten contaminated from kissing someone?

The answer is yes.

When my husband reaches over for a kiss… I always have to stop and ask him; do you have gluten mouth? Although this might not seem very romantic, either is the horrible aftermath that will occur if he kisses me with a mouth full of gluten.

Update: Shortly after this post my husband went 100% gluten free. Our entire house is now gluten free including the pet food  

Gluten CAN be transferred from one mouth to the next! If your significant partner is not ready to make the switch to a gluten free lifestyle they can take a few precautions, to ensure they do not poison you.

We keep mouthwash in almost every room of the house, that way my husband can be lazy, and wash out his mouth no matter where he is. We also tote around a travel size mouthwash, and toothbrush. We also take other precautions in our home. My husband has his own gluten everything! He has his own cupboard, cabinet, pans, utensils, and plates. He also washes his hands after touching anything that has gluten in it.  We also keep gluten free sanitizer wipes in every room in case of any over spills.

Beauty products:

Gluten is hidden a lot of beauty, and cosmetic products. See our cosmetic blog:

Beer and distilled liquor:

Beverages can be tricky. Many people make the mistake of thinking their beverages must be gluten free when in fact they are not. This includes juices, smoothies, milkshakes, and any other beverages. Always make sure you know how your product is made and all the ingredients that go into that product. Some red flag ingredients in beverages are; natural flavors, caramel coloring, added preservative and manufactured in a facility with wheat.

Almost all beer does contain gluten. Luckily, there are now a large number of quality gluten free beers on the market, and the number of safe options is growing. It is also an option to try hard ciders. However, it is important to make sure the cider is labeled gluten free. Not all hard ciders are free of gluten, and wheat!

Most distilled liquors are considered “gluten free”. It is said that the gluten protein is “washed” out of the alcohol through the distillation process. However, not only have we found that many celiacs cannot tolerate grain alcohol, it is also important to be aware of cheap liquor. Several of the cheap liquors do not use a thorough distillation process, and some of the gluten proteins may still be present.

It is also important to be aware of any alcohol with coloring or flavors as these may contain some source of gluten. If you do decide to drink distilled liquor then we suggest sticking to alcohol that is not derived from a grain. Some suggestions are; rice or potato vodka, tequila, and light rum.


Gluten is used in candy to give it those stretchy elastic properties. All big name brand licorice has gluten in it. This includes; Twizzlers, Good & Plenty, and any other big name brands. There are some brands that make “gluten free” licorice, however it is important to read the label every time, and be aware of cross contamination.


Gum is one of those products that fall into the grey category. It is quite possible that most gum does contain some form of gluten. Trident is one company that is listed as being gluten free.

Soy sauce:

Almost all soy sauce has wheat in it.

San-J and Kikkoman are both companies that do make a line of gluten free soy sauces. Their products can usually be purchased at local grocery stores or through online gluten free stores.


Wheat is used as a thickening agent in almost all soups and sauces. Always read the label, and when in doubt go without. Some companies that offer gluten free soups are: Pacific Natural Foods, and The Gluten Free Café.

Salad dressing:

Salad dressing can often have a hidden source of wheat that is not displayed on the label; many companies will use wheat to help thicken the dressing. Some options for salad dressing are: Olive oil, and lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, purchase a “certified” gluten free option or make a different variety at home.

Tea and coffee:

Many people often make the mistake that all tea, and coffee is gluten free. All plain coffee grounds should be gluten free. The problem arises when flavors are added into the coffee grounds or espresso drinks. Often these flavors will have additional ingredients that may contain gluten. If you choose to drink coffee from places other than home, we suggest finding a place that you trust and knowing all the ingredients that go into your drink.

An example of this is Toroni syrup, Toroni is often used in espresso drinks and other flavored beverages. If you look at Toroni’s ingredient list it states that all their drinks are wheat free. However if you dig a little deeper you will find that five of their syrups do contain gluten. Here are the ingredients for their caramel flavored syrup: Pure cane sugar, water, natural flavors, citric acid, sodium benzoate, and potassium sorbate. Most would look at these ingredients and assume this was gluten free. Unfortunately this is one of the syrups that do contain gluten. The other syrups that contain gluten are; Bacon, SF Caramel, Marshmellow, and SF French Vanilla.

There are two issues that come into play when dealing with tea. The first is the packaging. Many companies will use gluten to help the tea bag stay closed, and this gluten can contaminate your tea bag. The other issue is that many companies often put barley into their herbal teas. There are some great options for gluten free tea; Tazo* and Celestial Seasons both have gluten free options.

*Not all Tazo Teas are gluten free. The following teas do contain gluten: Green Ginger, Honeybush, Lemon Ginger and Tea Lemonade.

Deli meat:

Almost all processed meat has some source of hidden gluten in it. When I buy lunchmeat or any other processed meat I always make sure it says gluten free on the label. If you prefer to purchase deli lunch meat, I suggest going to the supermarket when it first opens so all the counters, cutters, and knifes are clean. Then ask the deli person to help you check ingredients. Make sure that they understand that all surfaces need to be cleaned, and that they will need to change their gloves before helping you with your purchase.

Farmland Foods provides a great example of a lunch meat that may have hidden gluten. When looking at the ingredients on their deli meats you will not find any mention of gluten.

Here are the ingredients from one of their deli meats: Pork liver, pork, bacon (cured with: water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite), water, salt, dextrose, flavorings, sodium nitrite.

With a closer look we found this information under their FAQ section on their website we found the following information: Spice formulations from our suppliers and secondary suppliers can change from time to time and still be correct under USDA labeling requirements. Because of this, along with the possibility of cross-contamination from the secondary suppliers to our own main ingredients, we cannot absolutely guarantee that any of our products will be gluten-free.

Wheat free products

When buying processed products it is important to always read the label. If a product claims it is “wheat free” that does not mean it is gluten free. Remember gluten is not just wheat and can come from several other sources. Only buy products that are; wheat free, gluten free and manufactured in a dedicated or clean facility. Always be cautious of products that claim they are gluten free but are also made in a facility with wheat.


All medicine has the potential to contain gluten.

For prescription medicine:
We recommend always checking with your pharmacist, and doctor before talking any medicine. The Gluten Free RN office can also test any medication for $10. If your pharmacist or doctor refuses to help you find the ingredients in your medicine please let us know.

Over the counter medicine:
Did you know that beano contains gluten? It is essential to always read the label on your medicines! However, some medicines will not list all of their ingredients on the label, it might be necessary to call the manufacture to make sure it is safe.  There are also websites that provide extensive lists of gluten free medication. If you chose to use these lists make sure that all the information is up to date.


All play-doh has gluten in it! Here is a recipe to make your own play-doh at home:

French fries:

French fries from fast food restaurants are NOT gluten free. Nine times out of ten these restaurants will use a common fryer for their fries, chicken nuggets, tater tots, ect. That common fryer WILL contaminated your fries with gluten. We recommend staying away from all fast food. We believe that the risk of cross contamination is just too high. If you are craving burgers and fries it is always an option to make your own at home or find a local restaurant that can adjust to your needs.

*Be aware that not only are McDonalds Fries made in a common fryer. They are also coated with wheat and milk.

Processed food:

To be on a completely 100% gluten free diet taking out processed food may be essential. It is important to remember that even a bread crumb can trigger the same autoimmune reaction as a piece of bread.  Here is a link to an excellent resource on processed food containing gluten:

Cleaning products:

It is important to make sure that all of your cleaning products are gluten free. There are several natural cleaning products out there. Both apple cider vinegar and baking soda make great safe cleaning products.


Lapid, Nancy. “N/A.” Celiac Disease – Gluten-Free Diet. 26 Jan. 2008. Web. 09 Apr. 2011.

Sarros, Connie. “Hidden Sources of Gluten.” Celiac Solution. Web. 09 Apr. 2011.

Get Celiac Handbook Posts Delivered to Your Inbox
100% Privacy. We don't spam.

About Nadine Grzeskowiak, RN

I have been an RN in Oregon for 18 years, working in emergency departments and trauma centers throughout the state. In November 2006, I was finally diagnosed with celiac disease. By that time I thought I would be dead in six months or less. I was 40 years old. I saw and worked with multiple doctors, and still could not figure out what was killing me. Within 2 weeks of being on a gluten-free diet, I felt much better! By February 2007, I started RN On Call, my own business. In March 2007, I became a gluten intolerance/celiac disease educator. I can save more people with this information than I ever could have saved in the emergency department.