If you have an autoimmune disease, or any inflammatory condition, you shouldn’t be eating gluten – period. However, there are some people with celiac disease (and other autoimmune diseases) that may continue to feel unwell, even when they eliminate all sources of gluten from their diet.
One explanation for this is ‘gluten cross-reactivity’. Try thinking of gluten cross-reactivity like an Austin Powers impersonator. Imagine that your immune system is like a grouchy old person who really dislikes like Austin Power movies and finds his funny accent irritating and annoying. Austin Powers is like gluten. He gets the immune system irritated and inflamed.
In this example, gluten cross-reactive foods are like an Austin Power impersonator. Even though he’s not the real deal, the immune system can’t tell the difference. Cross-reactive foods look like Austin Powers and illicit the same immune response as if they were. And over time, the immune system becomes more upset by the presence of cross-reactive foods the more it’s exposed to them.
So, thanks to gluten cross-reactivity, your diet can be 100% gluten-free, but you can still suffer all of the symptoms of gluten consumption because your body still thinks you are eating it. Not groovy, baby.
It’s important to note that cross-reactivity isn’t something that happens to everyone. And very few people cross-react to all of the potential foods listed below. It’s simply something to explore when giving up gluten isn’t enough to relieve your symptoms.
10 Foods That Can Mimic Gluten
- Potato (and other nightshade veggies like tomato, eggplant and chilli)
- Instant coffee
- Yeast (brewer’s, baker’s, nutritional)
- Milk chocolate
If you’ve followed a gluten-free diet consistently for 3-4 months or more and you’re still struggling with symptoms such as brain fog, joint aches, digestive issues, skin issues and headaches (to name just a few), you may want to consider eliminating these cross-reactive foods for a period of time to see if your symptoms improve.
After three months you can try reintroducing these foods one at a time and watch carefully for any symptoms or reactions. If you’ve done an elimination diet before, then you may know that reactions can be delayed by up to 3 days. So make sure you allow 3-4 days between introducing each new food so you can see exactly which foods cause which symptoms, and which ones are okay for you to eat.
Have you eliminated gluten mimics before, and did you notice an improvement in your symptoms?
By Jordan Pie
Nutritionist & GAPS Practitioner
Can I presume if I am doing the 4PFL protocol I will discover this when introducing these foods?
Yes the whole point of the 4th phase in the protocol is to determine exactly what your individual body is or isn’t reacting to.
Excellent explanation Jordan Pie.
Your information is truly impressive…and your delivery of that is done with ease. Thank you so very much.
There are so many study programs out thre today, are you one….as well?
Thank you for such kind words Donna. I’m not 100% sure what you mean when you’re asking if I’m a study program though? Are you looking for a Nutrition Education Program so you can undertake study with Changing Habits? If so, have a look at this link to see if it’s what you’re looking for; https://fn.academy/
Your list “10 Foods That Can Mimic Gluten” list oats, I used gluten free oats. Is it the same? My grandson loves oatmeal. I thought it was safe to eat.
If they’re certified gluten free oats they will be fine 🙂
Gluten is wheat/barley/rye..oats/corn/rice. Rice is low in gluten. They are different types of gluten. If you can’t have gluten you may not be able to have dairy. Grain free for pets/people may help health issues go away/help the immune system and nutrients absorbed and help a person have a long healthy/happy life. Gluten may affect the brain/body after it hurts the gut lining. Glands maybe hurt and all cells. I eat Wild rice a grass that has no gluten.
There is no gluten found naturally in rice or corn. Cross contamination in the fields or manufacturing plants can have these come into contact with gluten though.
I suspect that each of these “gluten mimickers” are all related in that they are most likely traded with Glyphosate, and therefore that is really the culprit in these issues we are seeing today. Yes, our wheat has changed dramatically over the decades (protein molecules content) but lets realize that wheat has been consumed for 1000’s of years. Only in this past century have we been seeing the problems associated with its consumption and even more recently, the spaying of round-up (glyphosate) creating the gut and micro biome disruptions leading to the strange health issues we see today.
What is a inflammatory condition?
Hi Allyse. Thanks for getting in touch. You may find this blog useful: https://changinghabits.com.au/blog/2016/11/01/inflammation-explained-what-exactly-is-it/ Hope this helps 🙂
Can anyone advise me on a book to follow. I’m allergic to wheat and want help with any information and advice on what can and cannot be eaten.
You could read the book ‘Wheat Belly’, or we do have a 6 Weeks No Wheat Program that you can read more about here; https://whatswithwheat.com/6-weeks-no-wheat-challenge/
This is a great list. I never thought about crops that can mimic gluten. I always read about gluten-free diets.
Brilliant explanation. I learned something from reading this article. Thanks for sharing!