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Tips to Going Gluten-Free

When Katie Falkenmeyer of Sherrill, NY, decided to go gluten-free, the learning curve in front of her was a little daunting. Figuring out which foods were really gluten-free wasn't easy. But after a few trips to the grocery store -- and with the support of her nutritionist -- identifying gluten on an ingredient list is now second nature.

"It took time -- and a lot of ingredient label-reading -- to figure out what foods were gluten-free," Falkenmeyer says.

She and Case offer these tips:

  1. Work with a registered dietitian. A dietitian can help you make sure you get all the nutrients you need and totally eliminate gluten, Case says.
  2. Take your time. Trips to the grocery store might take longer when you first go gluten-free. Plan on spending extra time reading the labels and educating yourself on the key words that signal a gluten ingredient, Falkenmeyer says.
  3. When in doubt, ask. Call food companies to find out if their products include gluten, or the steps they take to make sure their products are gluten-free, Case says.
  4. Watch the cost. Gluten-free products might be a little more expensive than food with gluten, Falkenmeyer says. Bargain shopping and coupons can come in handy.
  5. Ask your pharmacist to find out if your medications contain gluten. If they do, ask your doctor about alternatives.

Everyday Items You Don't Have to Worry About

The good news is that gluten isn’t everywhere, especially once you move beyond the kitchen.

"One of the most common myths out there about gluten is that it’s an ingredient in envelope glue," Case says. "But an analysis of the largest envelope manufacturers in the U.S. showed this isn't true: Envelope glue is made from cornstarch, and is gluten-free." You also don't need to worry about beauty care products, such as shampoo or lotions, that you don't swallow, Case says.

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