Although spices are supposed to be pretty likely to be gluten free, I don’t want to take any chances. Hidden gluten is sneaky! And it only takes one employee in a factory that doesn’t really care to cross-contaminate.
I went through my spice cabinet to do a purge. There was stuff in there that was definately old and needed to go! Thyme from 2006? Ugh, no thank you! I also pulled anything that I had gotten in bulk (since bulk is so easily cross-contaminated), and anything no McCormick’s. Now, I’m not usually into labels, but Gluten Free Girl did a great post about McCormick’s, and a google search lead to much of the same information – McCormick’s goes the extra mile to ensure high quality spices that are gluten free and protected against cross-contamination.
I set aside some spices that I really liked, like my beloved Japanese curry powder!, and tried contacting the manufacturers. Most did not get back to me. The one that did used a lot of confusing language which basically boiled down to they don’t totally protect against cross-contamination.
At first I was super bummed about the curry powder, but I figure this will be the next great challenge – to make it from scratch!
I have always been a pretty good cook. My mom always let my brother and I in the kitchen, so we grew up seeing how to cook and not being afraid of trying. I taught myself a lot of Japanese cooking when I was figuring out my identity in high school and college. And my family has always been foodies – we love going out for a great meal.
But in the last few weeks something has shifted for me. I no longer gravitate to the center of the grocery store – when I look at all the boxed and prepackaged items I no longer see food. It all looks like paper cut outs. Instead, I am drawn to all the bright colors and three-dimensional tactile reality of actual food. The smooth taut deep purple skin of eggplant. The bouncy crunch and sharp smell of green onions. The rugged almost-black soft-yet-firm creamy-treasure-within that is an avocado.
Its not like I didn’t eat vegetables before – I’ve been a vegetarian for 6 years! (and not a french-fries and milkshake vegetarian, although I did that too for awhile) But I didn’t have the relationship to food that I am developing now. From selecting to cooking to eating, I am interacting with food on a much deeper level.
Part of this is probably because I am waking up from the brain fog that comes with being exposed to gluten. It is strange – I am having moments when I spontaneously dance or sing. This has not happened in a long time. But there are also moments of exhaustion. I still get tired easily.
But I am on the mend. I can feel it.
Have you ever been glutenized by spices (or suspect you have)? Do you try to buy gluten free in spices too? Why or why not? Other thoughts?