Gluten-free medications

 

There’s gluten in medications? Sometimes, yes. Both prescription and over the counter medications and vitamins can be hidden sources of gluten.

gluten-free medication

 
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Nora has a sinus infection that refuses to go away. First she was on Amoxicillin and when I asked our pharmacy to check if it was gluten-free they said they’d have to call the manufacturer. Probably 5 days later, after she was almost finished with the prescription, they called me back to tell me that the manufacturer’s response was, “No ingredients are derived from gluten; however, we cannot certify the product to be gluten-free.” What does that mean? “You can’t certify it.” I’m not asking for a gold stamp, just some simple information, but thank you for the vague language.

Now, two days later, I’m back at the pediatrician’s office with Nora, still hacking away with her cough, which she’s had for a month now. On to Augmentin. This time, I thought ahead and asked the pediatrician if he could check if it was gluten-free. His response, “I’ve never had anyone ask me that before.” I find that both surprising and frightening. I’m not sure how many celiacs he has in his practice, but I know we aren’t the only ones, and I’m sure there will only be more as doctors become more aware of its prevalence. After all, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease. However, “it is estimated that 85% of Americans who have celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.”

But I digress, back to gluten-free medications. Thankfully, my pediatrician saved me the effort and called Nora’s GI doc to discuss the concerns. She reassured him that Augmentin was indeed gluten-free and that for future inquiries, we could check http://www.glutenfreedrugs.com/.   If you scroll to the bottom there are several PDFs that you can download regarding gluten content in medications and vitamins. Our pediatrician wanted to also give her a probiotic along with the Augmentin, but the one he suggested DID have gluten in it.

When we are faced with adversity, it is often easy to feel helpless. My response to that is find the information I need and to pass it along to others who might also need it.  I now have one more valuable resource that puts the power back in my hands, and I can rest assured that Nora will receive safe medications. And to top it off, I have educated our pediatrician on the dangers of hidden gluten in medications.

Ingredients in any food or medication can change from time to time. For the most up-to-date gluten information, contact the manufacturer directly.

 

Gluten-free all-purpose flour

Bake, if you dare
Gluten-free baking is not for those that get easily discouraged. I’m surprised I have stuck it out this far, quite frankly. After several failed attempts, I have come to view GF baking as a teetering cheerleader pyramid, whose success I imagine depends on the teamwork of many and a solid, strong base.

In my mind, the components of a successful gluten-free baking recipe are much the same. If you want to bake gluten-free goodies from scratch, you’ll need multiple gluten-free flours and starches in order to replace a simple regular all-purpose flour. I find this incredibly annoying. But, without a solid gluten-free flour as your base, your recipe will topple and end up in the trash, due to less-than-appetizing taste and texture.

Can’t I just use a box?
There are several gluten-free all-purpose box mixes out there, and I encourage you to try them. But we haven’t found many that we like better than the Celiac Flour Mix recipe published on Karen Robertson’s blog, Cooking Gluten-Free! For you box-lovers, this very flour mixture is now being sold through Authentic Foods as Multi Blend Gluten Free Flour Mix.

Celiac Flour Mix
*
Originally from Wendy Wark’s book Living Healthy with Celiac Disease (AnAffect, 1998).

celiac flour mixture

Yes, that’s my gluten-free only toaster in the background.

2 1/4 cups brown rice flour
3/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2/3 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum

As cumbersome as it is to use so many flours, once you have your solid base recipe, everything becomes much simpler. You know which flours to buy and which you can skip.

Storage
To make my life easier, I just dump each flour into a ziplock bag, shake it up, and I’m done. I always date it, but it never stays around long enough for me to worry about it going bad. If you don’t bake often, store your flour mixture in the refrigerator or freezer to help it keep longer.

Variations
I have tried replacing sweet rice flour with sweet sorghum flour. It’s ok in a pinch, but the taste of the sweet rice flour is definitely preferred in our home.

  • Other variations are also possible.
    Adding ground flax meal gives the flour a nice nutty taste and amps up the nutritional value with omega 3s and fiber.
  • Or try adding whey protein powder to recipes for gluten-free granola or power bars.
  • Coconut flour is also high in fiber and protein and has a smooth sweet taste.

There are many other flours out there that could be added to the base recipe above. These are just the ones I’ve tried so far.

But what if I make something gross?
We’ve all done it. Actually, I did it today, in an attempt to make gluten-free gnocchi from leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. It ended up in the trashcan, after our girls were nice enough to comment on how good the butter sauce was. LOL.

Gluten-free flour is expensive and can be hard to find, so you might be reluctant to experiment with new recipes or variations. If you are trying something new, try a half-batch of the recipe first. That way, if it turns out like a hockey puck (or a nasty dense gnocchi nugget), you’re only out half the cost.

And I will try GF gnocchi again…

Share the love
Do you have a flour recipe you love? Email your favorite recipe to growingupgf@gmail.com, and if it gets a thumbs up from our family, I’ll feature it as a post on the site!

Happy baking!