Do you have a burning question in regards to living gluten free or as a coeliac? Not sure if something you read online was from a reputable source? All FAQs listed on The Gluten Free Queen have been thoroughly researched and I have personally contacted authorities such as Coeliac Queensland to obtain this information that I provide.
But I thought gluten was in wheat, rye and barley? Can I eat oats?
Oats contain a protein that is similar to gluten, called avenin. Currently 1 in 5 coeliacs react to this protein. The only way to know if you can safely eat oats is to do a medically supervised ‘oat challenge’ followed by a biopsy to check for damage. This is why oats are not labelled gluten free in Australia. Quinoa flakes and rice flakes are great alternatives to oats.
But seriously though, how much gluten can actually do damage? Seems a bit over the top.
Alright, imagine a slice of bread, now slice that in half, and half again, and again… keep on slicing until you have 100 pieces of that slice of bread. Grab a piece (which is more like a crumb), that is how much gluten can make somebody who has coeliac disease sick and damage their insides. Small, isn’t it!
My sister is adamant that she couldn’t possibly have coeliac disease. So should my family members get tested too?
Absolutely! Even if they are not showing the same type of symptoms as you did, doesn’t mean that they don’t have it. Coeliac disease is hereditary – there’s a gene! As immediate family members have a 1 in 10 chance of also having coeliac disease they should get both the gene test and the antibody test (blood tests) as an initial screening. With a follow up upper endoscopy and biopsy if required or advised.
I read online that I shouldn’t use shampoos or lipsticks that have gluten in them. So what about my bathroom products, do I need to change anything there too?
Gluten must be ingested to cause harm to somebody who has coeliac disease. So long as you don’t snack on a couple of tubes of lipstick or a bottle of moisturiser (which I totally do not recommend regardless of the gluten content 😉 ) then you’ll be ok. If you have a close look then you’ll find that gluten is rare in these products anyway. However, If you are reacting to topical products like these you should seek advice from a medical professional, as this is a separate concern to coeliac disease.
But it says wheat in the description? Doesn’t that mean it’s not safe?
Yes you can have wheat glucose syrup! Glucose syrup from wheat is so highly processed that there is no gluten protein left in it! Other safe ingredients which are highly processed are:
- Glucose or glucose syrup derived from wheat
- Caramel colour (150) derived from wheat
- Dextrose derived from wheat
This opens up a lot more food choices for you.
I’m coeliac, what alcohol is gluten free? What can I drink when I go out with my friends?
The only alcohol that you need to avoid if you are coeliac is beer, as it is made from barley, and cocktails with random food ingredients in them. Beers that claim ‘low gluten’ are not safe to drink regardless if you get visible symptoms or not. But good news – there are more and more gluten free beers available every day. All spirits, wines, ciders, liqueurs and other alcohols are gluten free.
Medicines and vitamins are labeled differently to food – what do the claims mean?
On medications you’ll usually see 1 of 4 statements:
1. No statement at all – in this case ask your pharmacist to look it up online or call the company
2. Gluten free – yay!
3. Free from gluten – another yay, this product is gluten free and safe for coeliacs
4. No added gluten – this is similar to a ‘may contain’ statement that you see on food products. In which case, this product has a cross contamination risk and is therefore not safe for coeliacs.