Beyond Food (Day 5)

Going gluten free goes far beyond the food you eat! Gluten can hide in cosmetics, medications, alcohol and skin care products. Unfortunately if you have celiac disease paying attention to these small details could mean the difference between staying sick and getting better. So today we're going to talk about the sneaky places gluten hides and how to protect yourself from ingesting gluten accidentally.

Beyond Food F.A.Q

1. Is there actually gluten in some medication?
Short answer yes. Around 30% of medications contain a starch. The starch can either be corn, potato, tapioca or wheat. So even though it’s not a large number of medications that contain gluten you still need to research and make sure your’s gluten free.

2. Is it enough to make you sick?
Absolutely, if you have a pill that contains wheat starch then it can cause symptoms and damage to your small intestine.

3. What about gel capsules or liquid medications?
These are usually made from sugar starch and there's no protein so therefor no gluten. But there is a rare chance it can contain gluten so if in doubt check with the manufacturer.

4. Does cross contamination matter?
While cross contamination is a big issue with food, in medication the risk isn't as high. You may get an answer from the drug company that they can't guarantee no cross contamination. What makes medication less of a risk is the fact the drug manufacturing is done in a sterile room and follows strict rules from the FDA. If two drugs are manufactured in the same room the FDA requires careful cleaning procedures. So it lowers the risk of cross contamination.  


Cosmetics/ Skin Care

In the gluten free world whether or not to use gluten free skin care and cosmetics is a controversial topic. Technically you have to ingest gluten for it to be a problem, if it sits on your skin then you will be fine. So many experts/ celiac community members say that using gluten free skin care is unnecessary. In real life day to day it’s pretty easy to get these products into your mouth. Think about how many times you are putting on foundation and it gets on your lips or spraying hairspray and it gets in your mouth. Remember if you have celiac disease, a little bit does matter.

If you don’t want to give up your favourite products then following these steps can help keep you safe:

  1. Avoid gluten-containing lip products like the plague

  2. Never use a gluten-containing product anywhere near your mouth.

  3. Skip powders that contain gluten, since they could become airborne

  4. Wash your hands thoroughly, including under your nails (especially if you bite your nails), every time you touch the gluten-containing product.

  5. Make sure you don't rub your face and then touch your lips without washing your hands again first


1.  Do I really need gluten free makeup and skincare?
This is a controversial issue like I mentioned above. Some things are more important the others like for example lip products, foundation, powder are more important than say eye liner or mascara. With the amazing affordable gluten free skincare and makeup products out there it makes the products easy to find.  

2. What about lip products?
No matter what lip products must be gluten free. You always end up ingesting some of whatever is on your lips so make sure that the products are labelled gluten free or at the very least don’t have any gluten containing ingredients.

3. Do my hair products need to be gluten free?
Not necessarily. They do sell gluten free shampoo and conditioners but as long as you keep your mouth shut while rinsing and remember to wash your hands you should be fine. Hair spray and other products are a little bit risky. Make sure you keep your mouth closed while spraying and again, wash your hands after. Personally I use all gluten free hair care just for peace of mind and so I don’t have to worry about getting sick.  



Alcohol can be a confused subject on a gluten free diet. While I suggest especially while healing to greatly limit your alcohol intake I understand that most people have a drink here and there. So i’m here so simplify it for you.

  • Avoid beer unless it's specifically labeled "gluten-free”.       

  • Wine and brandy are almost always gluten-free, but double check ingredients on fruit-flavored wine and wine cocktails since those may contain gluten. When in doubt, stick with plain wine.

  • Some people who can't consume gluten react to liquor that's made with gluten grains, including vodka, whiskey, bourbon, and gin. Look for liquor that is distilled from something other than wheat, barley, or rye.

  • Most plain rum and tequilas are gluten-free. Top-shelf brands are more likely to be safe than cheaper options.

  • Hard cider is usually (but not always) gluten-free. Choose gluten-free-labeled ciders to be safe.

  • Mixed drinks are especially problematic because they often include gluten-containing ingredients. When in doubt, stick with mixers you know are gluten-free, such as gluten-free soda or fruit juice.