Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My first heartbreak..

Today was almost tragic! It's a shame I don't have a reality TV show because this would have been entertaining. I nearly had a breakdown in the grocery store when I momentarily thought that Splenda was not gluten free. I have had many of my patients ask me about Splenda and I always assure them that it is gluten free, and I myself am a Splenda devotee for my daily cup of coffee. So I experienced something close to heartbreak when I saw that the one of the main ingredients is "maltodextrin." I think the hard part was that I wasn't prepared for it. I had already amicably parted ways with bread, pasta, and my beloved Healthy Choice frozen dinners, but this was unexpected! After a solid 5 minutes of staring at the box in disbelief, I purchased (begrudingly) a different sugar substitute and came home to immediately google the situation.

(Side note: If I learned nothing else from grad school or in working at a research-based hospital, I learned the importance of deciphering quality, trustworthy health information from credible resources. And much of my training as a dietitian is to learn how to navigate and distinguish between the true and the false when it comes to such information. One of the things I don't want my patients to do is go straight to the internet for all their nutrition advice. With that being said, I feel confident that I did a thorough review of the information available for Splenda!)

According to Splenda's website (and various others), Splenda has no gluten-containing products. The maltodextrin actually is a corn-derivative. However, they do note that they do not test the finished product, and it is currently not gluten free certified. So this is one of those many "grey areas" that individuals need to ultimately decide for themselves. I personally feel that I am confident recommending Splenda as a "safe" gluten free food.

While I'm mentioning the grocery store, I want to also point out another grey area: My wonderful mother informed me that all of the Boar's Head deli meats were advertised as gluten-free (which they are). However, my particular deli did not wash the meat slicer between slicing my GF order and the previous person's non-GF order. I did not specifically request that they do so, and they may very well have been willing to. But nonetheless- something to take into consideration. This was definitely a potential for cross-contamination!

That is all for now. I'm having a GF kick-off dinner tomorrow night (nothing crazy, just chicken, rice, veggies and homemade ice cream!) before I launch the full-fledged Sept 1st! I'm hoping the ice cream works out, and I'll post it if it does!

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