Gluten-Free Simplicity

Useful Info, Tasty Anecdotes and Simple Recipes for Attaining Gluten-Free Simplicity

Posts Tagged ‘Food labels’

Way#39: Use Critical Thinking to Facilitate Gluten-Free Simplicity in Your Life

Posted by nepeht on June 20, 2009

Way#39: Use Critical Thinking to Facilitate Gluten-Free Simplicity in Your Life

  Clearing away the B.S. to help illuminate reality might help facilitate simplicity in a gluten-free life.  Life, and in particular life during periods of serious challenges such as going gluten-free, can be unnecessarily difficult when paying too much attention to invalid and unreliable information.

   According to its Wikipedia entry, critical thinking can be defined as:

Critical thinking consists of mental processes of discernment, analysis and evaluation. It includes possible processes of reflecting upon a tangible or intangible item in order to form a solid judgment that reconciles scientific evidence with common sense. In contemporary usage “critical” has a certain negative connotation that does not apply in the present case.[1] Though the term “analytical thinking” may seem to convey the idea more accurately, critical thinking clearly involves synthesis, evaluation, and reconstruction of thinking, in addition to analysis.

Critical thinkers gather information from all senses, verbal and/or written expressions, reflection, observation, experience and reasoning. Critical thinking has its basis in intellectual criteria that go beyond subject-matter divisions and which include: clarity, credibility, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, significance and fairness.

  What does this say to you?

  Well, to me it says in simplifying my gluten-free life I need to frequently rethink my assumptions so that I can better understand the facts.

  For example, I often find myself looking up whether or not a grocery item brand contains gluten.  And this is a good thing.  Why?  Because manufacturers often alter ingredients.  They can do this for their own reasons and they do do this.  Many of them will advise curious consumers that while the current version of a given product is “Gluten-Free”, one should always read the labels in order to rule out a change that has lead to Gluten-Contamination of said product.  See this listing at Gluten-Free Brands for another example.

  So, when using Critical Thinking: even if an item has “TRADITIONALLYNOT contained Gluten, it may be wise to reconsider this possibility each and every time you purchase a new batch. 

  Sure… it is a lot of work… But it can make life much more simple.  At least it is becoming more and more worth it to me.  How about for you?

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Learning to Read Food Labels Can Probably Help One Attain Gluten-Free Simplicity

Posted by nepeht on November 15, 2008

21. Learning to Read Food Labels Can Probably Help One Attain Gluten-Free Simplicity.

  Why?  Because it can help one prevent accidental Gluten exposure.  It can also serve as a gradual way for a person to learn about which foods are safe and which foods are not.  Theoretically, the more one knows or the larger ones repertoire of safe and unsafe foods is; the more simple ones life can me.

  There are those who offer commercial food label analysis, probably for a fee.  i suppose one could contract with such a firm to do one food checking if one can afford that.

  On the other hand, there are other ways.  One can learn a few new terms of ingredients to watch out for.  Then it is just a matter of reading the food labels.  From the Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology website, comes a list of various ingredients to watch out for.  Some contain Gluten and some where made with processes that may have exposed them to Gluten-Containing Ingredients.  Some of these words on a given food label might not necessarily mean that the product contains Gluten, but there should raise red flags which should tell you to consume with caution or better still, to get better information before consuming.  I have alphabetized this list in order to possibly make it easier to remember:

  • Barley.
  • Emulsifier.
  • Flavoring. 
  • Flour or Cereal products, unless made with pure rice flour, corn flour, potato flour, or soy flour.
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein.
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), unless made from soy or corn.
  • Malt vinegar, Malt or Malt Flavoring unless derived from corn.
  • Modified Starch or Modified Food Starch unless arrowroot, corn, potato, tapioca, waxy maize, or maize is used.
  • Oats.
  • Rye.
  • Vegetable Gum unless vegetable gums are carob bean gum, locust bean gum, cellulose gum, guar gum, gum arabic, gum aracia, gum tragacanth, xanthan gum, or vegetable starch.
  • Vegetable Protein unless made from soy or corn.
  • Wheat.
  • Soy Sauce or Soy Sauce Solids unless you know they do not contain wheat.
  • Stabilizer.
  • Starch. 

  There are also those concerned about the reliability of current food labelling  and the issue of  whether or not the label “Gluten Free” really means just that.  Apparently, the U.S. Government allows products with a certain amount of Gluten to still be labelled as “Gluten-Free”.  Go Figure!!!

  So, yes, there is a bit to learn in order to become an efficient and reliable food label scanner, but I promise that this process will become easier as one grows accustomed to it.

  In the meantime, as one is learning to scan food labels for Gluten-related ingredients and processes, one can also begin to make note of other issues such as “Fat”, “Carbohydrates”, “Sugars” and other health-related ingredients.

  Hopefully, practicing such a skill will make ones life easier as one attains Gluten-Free Simplicity.

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Accepting the Context in Attaining Gluten-Free Simplicty

Posted by nepeht on October 17, 2008

  One of the most fundamental concepts in my philosophy of Gluten-Free Simplicity is that of “Accepting Context”.

  On this blog I try to provide valid information in order to help people simplify their effort to live gluten-free.  In a sense, I am offering up additional details, which could be misconstrued as complicating rather than simplifying.

  This is why context is important.  To me, the word context means that which I can gather, summarize and roughly infer from a given situation.  The details tend to be about what is said, what is known as fact, what is assumed etc…

  Look at the picture here.  What do you see. 

What Do You See Here? (c.2008, WTB)

What Do You See Here? (c.2008, WTB)

  Some people would see “Blur” or a lack of focus.  Others, might see a still roadside as the camera is actually moving at about 30 mph.  But still others would see “Green”.  That is what I see. here. 

  I am proposing that attaining gluten-free simplicity requires a bit of practice in accepting context.  For example, when one recommends that consumers read food labels, the recommendation is probably not that every person always read every single word on a given food label.  One still needs to consider the details.  But perhaps most of the energy should go into interpreting the context of a given thing or situation.

  Gradually, a person will learn which food labels warrant more attention, then one will learn where in the list of ingredients one should first look for key ingredients.

  I hope I have put this clearly.  None the less, I will undoubtedly visit this again as we move forward together towards gluten-free simplicity attainment.

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