Sorghum Flour and Amaranth Flour from Al Adil Trading – Is it gluten free?

Al Adil is a nifty little store that’s been around for ages. I’ve been buying my gluten free flours and Indian specialty foods from there for a long, long time. Only recently did it occur to me, after a few mild reactions from the gluten free flours, that they might have been cross contaminated. I called them up today and spoke to Customer Care. I asked to speak to a supervisor or manager who would know about the allergen status of the products. I was transferred several times and finally reached someone who was very, very helpful.

The person I spoke to said that if the flours are milled on the spot in the store, they are milled on the same machine as wheat. However, the prepackaged flours come from the warehouse where they are milled separately, on dedicated machines, but they are milled in the same facility as wheat. So there might be a chance of gluten in the atmosphere. The rep said that the chances of this type of cross-contamination happening was very slim as the area is a very large area but he could not guarantee it. He suggested buying whole Sorghum and whole Amaranth and milling them at home as that would be the safest option.

I really wish they’d have separate facilities for gluten free products. It would make life so much easier! But this is still a pretty good alternative compared to a lot of other companies out there.

Just so you know, Al Adil also has gluten-free flour. I’ve tried it before and had a reaction, but that’s probably because I have multiple food allergies. But you could try it out and see if it works for you. Ain’t this gluten free life of trial and error just grand? Meh.

But oh well, I was really pleased with how helpful Al Adil was. To be honest, I’ve been so fed up with companies! They just don’t bother to take the time to reply back, or they don’t answer well enough. It all just makes it so hard. But the Al Adil rep was really patient and helpful and I was expecting a response somewhere along the lines of “if you think your food is contaminated with wheat flying in the air, you must be crazy” but he actually agreed with me! That surprised me the most! He actually said, “Yes, you’re right. Wheat in the air could be a problem for you if you’re very sensitive.”

By the way, if you do happen to visit Al Adil, just TRUST ME and buy this soft drink called Limca. It’s lemony and fresh and SO SO GOOD! It’s very popular in India but hasn’t had it’s time to shine here. It’s best served chilled!

Limca

 

AL ADIL TRADING COMPANY INFORMATION

Website: http://www.adildubai.com/ad/index.php

Number: 043973318

Location: Al Nahda, Karama (somewhere around Al Reef Lebanese Bakery), Bur Dubai (again, somewhere around Musalla Post Office), Deira (in Al Mateena around 4-Point Sheraton Hotel and Marco Polo Hotel)

Obviously, as you might have noticed, I have amazing skills when it comes to giving directions. Those are just a few locations. There are many more stores but I don’t know their locations as well as the ones listed above.

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Cosmetics Companies on their Gluten Free Status

I’ve been emailing cosmetics companies to find out about how allergy friendly they are. I am on a mad hunt for safe, gluten free cosmetics. I just can’t find any in Dubai! So far, I have received responses from Annabelle/Marcelle, Avon, Beiersdorf, Boots, Ecco Bella, MaxFactor (P&G), Prestige, and Sephora.

  • ANNABELLE/MARCELLE COSMETICS
  • [22-07-2013]

“We acknowledge receipt of your email and would like to thank you again for your interest in Marcelle®and Annabelle®Cosmetics.

Further to your last email, we are pleased to inform you that the vast majority of Marcelle® products and Annabelle®Cosmetics do not contain any gluten or gluten-derived ingredients.  This should make your next purchases easier.

The products which do contain gluten and/or gluten derivatives and those you should avoid are as follows: (correction from the first email)

Gene Youth Regenerating Eye Care, Gene Youth Regenerating Day Care, Gene Youth Regenerating Night Care, Gene Youth Generating Serum Concentrate,  New.Age Comforting Foaming Cleanser, First Wrinkle Eye Contour Cream, Revival Intense Anti-Aging Eye Contour Care, Revival Intense Anti-Aging Day Care, Revival Intense Anti-Aging Night Care, Roll-On Deodorant and our I-Bronze Self Tanning Cloths.

**Regarding the tocopherol/tocopheryl acetate information ; we received confirmation that are not derived from wheat.

One issue remains: because we do manufacture products which contain gluten and its derivatives, we are unable to claim our facility a gluten-free plant.

For anyone with a known allergy or with sensitive skin, we strongly recommend always performing a patch test before using any new skin care product of any brand.

The patch test is helps determine if one may have allergic sensitivity to a product.  It is best performed by first applying the product on the inside of the wrist or elbow and wait 24 hours to observe any skin reactions or irritations.  If the skin does not present any abnormalities following the first application on the inside of the elbow, then the product may be applied on the neck.   Once again, it is best to keep the product on the skin for a minimum of 24 hours and evaluate how the skin reacts to it.  If there are no reactions on the neck, it is highly unlikely that the product would cause a reaction on facial skin.

All Content within this email is provided for informational purposes only; is not a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis or treatment. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, you should contact your professional healthcare provider through appropriate means.

We take your inquiry very seriously and hope that everything is to your satisfaction. Please do not hesitate to contact us again if we can be of further assistance to you or should you require additional information.”

UPDATED TO ADD:  “Regarding the tocopherol/tocopheryl acetate information ; we can also say that it’s  dairy, soy and corn free.”

  • AVON
  • [23-07-2013]

“We have been looking at your enquiry and unfortunately we could not find any official report about Gluten. Although Avon sells very high quality products, there is always possibility of contamination during manufacturing or changes/substitutions of ingredients. As with everything related to Celiac Disease, Dermatitis Herpetiformis and Gluten Intolerance, products, ingredients and preparation may change over time; your reactions to a specific product, ingredient may be different from the reactions of others. Like eating at a restaurant, you have to make a choice whether to consume/use a product. This means that I cannot guarantee that a product is 100% free of gluten as I have not any official report.”

  • BEIERSDORF [Labello, Nivea]
  • [18-07-2013]

“Please be informed that Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and tocopheryl acetate are widely used as antioxidants in personal care products as well as in foodstuff and in pharmaceuticals. Tocopheryl Acetate we use in our products is derived from chemical synthesis. It is therefore an inorganic ingredient and shouldn’t bear any risk for the consumer.

Moreover, The Lipcare Angel Star does not contain any ingredients derived from wheat, rye, corn, oat (containing gluten) or soy. However, it can never be excluded that small traces may be found for production reasons as our raw materials are not investigated for traces of gluten or soy.

Beiersdorf cosmetics are not specially developed for people with celiac disease. The consumer should consult a physician which cosmetics are suited. In cases of severe allergies, new cosmetic products should be tested at the treating dermatologist.”

  • BOOTS NO7 COSMETICS
  • [02-08-2013]

“Further to my colleague Kirsty’s earlier email, please find below the answers you require.

No7 Stay Precise Liquid Eyeliner – Gluten free
No7 Beautifully Matte Foundation ? contains tocopheryl acetate
No7 Lift and Luminate Foundation ? This product contains oats and soy and tocopheryl acetate
No7 Stay Perfect Blemish Cover – contains tocopheryl acetate
No7 Natural Blush Tint Powder ? contains tocopheryl acetate
No7 Intense Volume Waterproof Mascara ? Gluten free
No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder – contains tocopheryl acetate
No7 Sheer Temptation Lipstick Cuckoo Coral – Gluten free

Can you please confirm if these products are free from gluten, wheat, corn, rye, barley, oat, soy and dairy?
Are they manufactured in a gluten free facility? We cannot guarantee that our manufacturing facilities are gluten free

Do you have a list of gluten free, soy free, corn free cosmetics products available in Boots? ? No This is an ongoing piece of work we are building, however this means contacting and reviewing every raw material from every supplier which will take some time

Also, a lot of your products contain tocopheryl acetate/tocopherol/vitamin E. Where is this derived from? Can you please confirm whether the source is from gluten, soy, or corn? Yes almost all of our mascara?s and foundations contain tocopheryl acetate as it has wide spread benefits. The source that we use is synthetic”

  • ECCO BELLA
  • [19-07-2013]

“Regarding your product questions, all Ecco Bella products are 100% gluten-free, wheat, rye and barley-free and dairy-free. We do use organic extract of oat in the leave-on invisible exfoliant/blemish remedy. There is organic grain alcohol used in the parfums is derived from corn. Our vitamin e tocopherol is derived from soy and the vitamin e tocotrienol is from palm.”

  • MAXFACTOR (P&G)
  • [04-08-2013]

“Hello and thanks for taking the time to write to us.

If we add gluten, wheat or wheat extract to a product, it will be listed in the ingredients on the label. The only exception in which it won’t be listed in the ingredients on the label is if wheat or wheat extract is added to the perfume at a very low level.
If you are concerned about using a product with a perfume, we recommend you use fragrance-free products, not unscented products. Unscented products may contain a fragrance to mask the smell of the ingredients.
As our products are used on the hair and skin, it would be very unlikely that a person with a wheat intolerance or celiac disease would have a reaction from trace amounts of gluten.

If you are not sure, speak to your doctor.

Thank you again for contacting us.”

I wrote back to P&G asking if they could confirm the source of tocopherol/tocopheryl acetate in their products. This was the reply I received:

“Hello and thanks for taking the time to write to us.

All the information regarding the ingredients of our products are available at http://www.P&G.com

Thank you again for contacting us.”

  • PRESTIGE COSMETICS
  • [30-07-2013]

“We apologize for the delay in answering your request as we only just received your e-mail due to a ‘computer’ glitch.

Gluten free products are not necessarily produced in a Gluten free factory.

However, all equipment prior to manufacturing is cleaned and sterilized to prevent cross contamination.

Tocopheryl Acetate and Tocopherol used in our formulas are synthetically produced.”

  • SEPHORA
  • [31-07-2013]

“Thank you for contacting Sephora.com regarding our gluten free products.

To view a list of brands that we carry that are gluten free, please visit this Sephora Advice page:

http://community.sephora.com/t5/Products/Gluten-Free-Products/td-p/142507”

My Glutenscapades – Going gluten free

2 AM.

Late night munchies. Cookies? Gluten intolerant. Chocolate? Lactose intolerant. Air? Sounds delicious… meh.

Ripe banana with spots

Ripe banana with spots

So here I am, snacking on a banana, ready to tell you about why I am gluten free.

By the way, did you know that the black spots on bananas are a good thing? That’s when the bananas are ripe and sweet and less starchy – perfect to eat. Also, eat them in between meals – at least an hour before and an hour after.

In 2011, a few months after I graduated from University, I started experiencing anxiety, brain fog, and gastrointestinal symptoms which included stomach cramps and bloating. I also suffered from horrible back aches. Imagine being 21 years old and groaning every time you sit down or get up because of a swelling ache in your back. Or not being able to hang out with a couple friends because your tummy wasn’t feeling too good.

Oh yeah, and imagine things like that happening almost every single day.

I had no idea what was going on. I was feeling so sick all the time, wouldn’t go out, and I was feeling so out of it.

I lost a LOT of weight. I used to weigh around 50-51 kgs on average. I was down to 46 kgs. I went to see a nutritionist, gained all the weight back, but I was still feeling sick.

A friend suggested I take a closer look at my diet. 3451 google searches later, I began to wonder if I was lactose intolerant.

Farewell, dear dairy, since I must needs be gone. 

That’s what Shakespeare would have said if he were talking to dairy.

Symptoms got better but I still wasn’t feeling that great. It’s like when you’re running a temperature of 103 and it comes down to 102.

I kept a food diary recording everything I ate, the times I ate them, and the symptoms that followed. 2065 more google searches and I found a post by someone who was experiencing similar symptoms say it had reduced by going gluten free.

Exit gluten stage left.

It was so hard. But it was worth it. It was then that I realized…

Gluten is my nemesis.

Barely 2-3 days had passed since having cut out the obvious gluten from my diet and my symptoms were starting to go away. I thought what if I was just gluten intolerant but able to have lactose? I brought the lactose back in. Bad move. Symptoms returned but they weren’t as bad as the symptoms gluten brought on.

A few gluten/lactose free months passed and I wasn’t feeling perfect, but I definitely was feeling better. Then I thought let me try having some gluten and dairy again. I re-introduced the foods. Felt okay for the first couple days. I thought maybe it was all in my head. Maybe I’m not intolerant to these foods. Fast forward 2-3 weeks and I was cancelling plans again, staying home all the time because I was feeling sick, and the anxiety returned. It all happened in such subtle ways that I didn’t even realize I was slowly getting sicker and sicker day by day. By the end of the month, I decided I just didn’t want to eat gluten and dairy anymore. I just couldn’t deal with how sick it was making me feel.

I didn’t know back then that I should have gotten tested for Celiac Disease first to get that ruled out. So I’d encourage you to get tested before you decide to eliminate gluten completely.

I’m still not feeling completely better. Does that happen to the rest of you who are gluten intolerant? I don’t feel as good as I used to before I ever started experiencing these symptoms. I definitely feel better off gluten/dairy but is it normal to not feel as good as I did maybe 5 years ago?  I still feel sick and also suffer from brain fog from time to time. The FODMAPs diet has been really helping me out with minimizing that. Look into that if you’re dealing with any tummy troubles. It’s worth a shot!

I met a doctor here in Dubai who didn’t seem convinced that my problems were food related. I told him I’m pretty certain it has something to do with gluten and dairy but he didn’t seem to believe me. He just prescribed some Fybogel. That was pretty helpful actually, but I don’t know why it was so hard for him to believe it was a food issue. On a holiday to India earlier this year, a family friend recommended an allergist in Mumbai. After the intraderm testing process, where they basically inject you to test your sensitivity to food items, I discovered that I was sensitive to the following:

  • Bengal gram
  • Black pepper
  • Cabbage
  • Red lentils/Masoor dal
  • Garlic
  • Green Peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Dairy
  • Gluten

FINALLY I HAD A DOCTOR’S REPORT SAYING I WAS SENSITIVE TO GLUTEN! For the longest time, no one believed me! Everyone kept saying it was in my head, and to slowly eat a little gluten/wheat every day and build up tolerance and I was just all NOOOOOOOOOOO!

The test results made so much sense. I realized that I had already eliminated almost all the foods on the list because I always had stomach aches after eating them. To be on the safe side, I have also eliminated corn and soy from my diet.

So what do I eat, you ask? Every day is a challenge really. On days I’m feeling off, I tend to stick to eating ‘safe’ foods. Yes I get bored doing that. But it’s just not worth risking the possibility of feeling sick. I eat rice, potatoes, rice pasta, quinoa, beans, vegetables, lentils and fruit. You’d be surprised at how versatile some of these items are!

Anyway, that’s about it for my glutenscapades. Cutting out gluten and dairy has been difficult, especially considering the fact that im a vegetarian. It’s been worth it though. As parting advice, I’d say just listen to your body. It always pays. If you’ve been feeling ill and can’t figure out why, it’s worth looking at your diet and changing things around a bit. If you suspect you might have some food sensitivities, it’s worth going spending some time trying to figure it out. You’ll just be so glad that you did!