The book begins with a table of contents, introduction, General Tips for Shopping, An Overview of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, Using the Product List and the Limitation of the Guide.
Each of these chapters is then broken down further into sections. The guidebook has taken one step out of your gluten-free shopping experience – they have contacted manufacturers to confirm which products they may produce that are gluten-free.
But, as I was reminded of just last week as a matter of fact, manufacturers are not always correct. I had phoned a manufacturer to ask about possible allergens in their product and was told emphatically that there weren't any. Tell that to my nauseas, bloated stomach and brain fog. Unfortunately, too, manufacturers often change their ingredients and the person who handles customer service and answers your phone calls or your emails isn't always aware of this.
How to Use this Gluten-Free Guide Book
It’s in the best interest of those following a gluten-free diet to use this book for what it was meant to be - a guide. Look through the hundreds of pages of gluten-free products. Find those you'd like to use. Then follow-up and do some research on the products you find. When you find the products in the stores, read the labels – are there any questionable ingredients that could possibly contain gluten? Search the internet for possible gluten reactions
. It’s as simple as doing a search on google: “name of product” and the words “gluten reaction” and you can do the search with the quotes and also without – and then see what results you turn up. And also be sure to check out the gluten free product database at Gluten Zap
to see what the gluten-free community there may have found out about a certain food or product.
My main concern with gluten-free guidebooks is that often people, especially those new to the gluten-free lifestyle, rely heavily on the book and think “Well, if it’s in the book, it’s safe for me to eat.” You have to remember this is a guidebook and will help you find products that could possibly be safe for you to eat but you really have to do some follow-up work yourself.
The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide reminds readers of this and several other points in their "Limitations of the Guide" on pages 23 - 24. After reading over these pages then use this book as a starting point:
- Look through the gluten-free grocery guide
- Find products you’d like to try
- Research them further on the internet
- Read their ingredient labels
- Try only one new food or products at time to gauge if you have any reaction to it
We have several other food intolerances and sensitivities so once we discover that a food is gluten-free, then we need to check is it dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, yeast-free and nut-free? As you can imagine, few processed foods can meet the above criteria, but still through the guide I was able to find several more possibilities to check out further.
has been helping the gluten-free community since 2005. They are publishers of the most comprehensive gluten-free restaurant guide
in North America. They also produce gluten-free dining cards
that come in several languages to help you order gluten-free at restaurants where language barriers can often make things even more difficult.