Friday, July 20, 2012

Gluten-Free Friday: Triumph Dining Grocery Guide

As anyone in the gluten-free community can tell you, it’s a minefield out there.  Gluten is in all kinds of products where you wouldn’t expect to find it, and even if it’s not on the ingredient list you can still potentially get cross-contaminated by shared equipment or facilities. 

There are laws in place that require companies to clearly disclose whether there are ingredients containing major food allergens, including wheat, in their products.  Unfortunately there is no requirement to disclose shared equipment or facilities (although some companies do voluntarily provide this information on their packaging).  On top of all that, while wheat is a major allergen, gluten is not, so you still have to watch out for items like malt, barley, rye etc on the ingredient lists even if it doesn’t contain wheat.  As I said, a total minefield!

You can contact manufacturers and ask them directly about their gluten-free status and hope that they care enough to give you a complete and honest answer, but who has the time for that?  Just get Triumph’s Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide

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Triumph Dining contacts food-manufacturing companies to inquire about the gluten-free status of their products and publishes their findings in an annual Grocery Guide (currently in its 5th edition).  The guide includes 44,000 gluten-free products from 3,300 brand names, laid out in an organized manner with useful symbols to note the varying types of gluten-free claims.

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The guide starts off with useful reference lists and a great introduction to gluten-free grocery shopping and common areas where cross-contamination occurs.  They also fully explain how to use the guide, and provide detailed definitions of the symbols they use.

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The bulk of the guide, obviously, is the food listings.  The lists are divided into categories similar to grocery aisles, such as condiments, beverages, and snacks & convenience foods.  They take the user-friendly format a step further by color coding the categories and adding the color to the top of each page, so you can quickly find a category without having to use page numbers.

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Within each category they break it down further into specific products, such as mayonnaise, crackers, bars, etc.  Then under each product type the brands are listed alphabetically, so it’s easy to quickly find what you’re looking for.  They even include lots of store brands along with the more well-known name brands. 

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While the Grocery Guide is very comprehensive, please be aware that you should still check labels carefully as manufacturers can change ingredients or facilities at any time – you always have to be the last line of defense!

The guide can be purchased for $27.95 on the Triumph website, or you can come visit me at the Triumph table at Raleigh’s first Gluten-Free Expo on August 12th and buy it for a discounted price of just $20!  It’s a great resource for those of us on a gluten-free diet, and would also make a great gift for our loved ones who have to try to feed us Smile 

I will be selling other Triumph products as well, so be sure to stop by and check it out if you come to the expo!

I know I’ve been pretty quiet this week – I got caught up visiting with my family and didn’t take the time to post, but I did go to a couple new fitness classes with my mom that I plan to tell you all about tomorrow!

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