Getting ‘glutened’ – why spice mixes are no longer my friend

Getting ‘glutened’ – why spice mixes are no longer my friend

Yesterday, I was glutened. Today I still feel like crap.

And not only that, I realised I have probably been glutened several times in previous weeks.

The culprit?

Oh yes, my friends, the innocent-looking, gluten-wielding spice mix.

spices blog
Down with gluten!

Culprit number one: Schwartz Pilau Rice seasoning.

Mother decided to make me some (regretably, rather yummy) rice dish the other day, but when I woke up the next day with stomach pains, something was amiss.

I quizzed her on what was in it, and there it was, ‘pilau rice seasoning’.

I sighed inwardly – I had already almost been fooled by this mix and as soon as she said it, it all clicked in to place.

Of course, once she found out it had wheat in it she was horrified, and I felt insanely awkward having to tell her she had glutened me.

But the warning of this tale is, check everything! Even something that (really, really) should NOT contain gluten (why!? in a SPICE?) could be hiding some secret evil.

So then, as it turns out, I was making some meatballs today when I found another spice mix, which I know I have had cooked for me recently (several times), that contained gluten.

At least this explains why I have been feeling so rubbish the past few weeks!

The worst thing about that one? This was a ‘spicy Italian mix’, whereas the ‘garlic Italian mix’ by the same brand in the same product line is fine! (Schwartz again, I would like to point out)

So, if you’re new to a gluten free lifestyle, or cooking for a coeliac friend, please, please check your spices – food manufacturers like to put gluten in the stupidest of places.

I mean come on, why do you need to put flour in spice mixes anyway, other than to bulk it out, rip people off and annoy people like me?

Now I have ranted (and drank several mugs of peppermint tea) I think my gut is finally starting to feel a little better.

But it just goes to show, no matter how much of a gluten free veteran you are, make sure you double check everything – and if in doubt, make your own spice mixes without the added crap – I know I will from now on!

Have you ever been caught out by anything? Share your tips on ‘sneaky’ gluten products by commenting below!



  1. Brian Whitelegge
    January 6, 2013 / 20:45

    I just checked my Pilau rice seasoning, no wheat or gluten in it.

    • Sarah Howells (GF Blogger)
      January 6, 2013 / 20:46

      This was a very old mix that had been lurking in the cupboard for some time, not sure if it still has gluten in it now! Just wanted to warn people to be careful.

      • Brian Whitelegge
        January 6, 2013 / 20:49

        Just been on their site allergy advice says wheat etc.

      • Brian Whitelegge
        January 6, 2013 / 20:50

        Nothing on the jar though.

  2. Bernie
    January 6, 2013 / 20:59

    Not yet, although I’ve only been GF since July, so there’s still plenty of time! I have been glutened by a chain restaurant, who clearly read the wrong line in their allergy folder. I now always insist on seeing their paperwork myself!

    • Paul Atkinson
      January 6, 2013 / 22:10

      My best tip for anyone on gluten free is when they find a gluten free item in a supermarket put a label on it where you purchased it so when it’s used you know where to buy a replacement.
      Marks and Spencer’s do great burgers and sausages that are gluten free and are very fare priced, the Aberdeen angus burgers are packs of 4 and 3 packs for £10 the sausages are packs of 20 and 3 packs for £10 and can be mix of any 3
      Sainsbury do a nice selection of frozen gluten free items but are pricey but a very very tasted treat

  3. Paul Atkinson
    January 6, 2013 / 21:56

    Yes I got caught out by Cadbury whole nut chocolate that I had been eating for months and couldn’t understand why I was getting a reaction ! Thinking it must be something else, but they had decided to change the recipe so now I don’t go near any of their products

  4. Shullie H Porter
    January 6, 2013 / 21:00

    M&S had a cola with Gluten in at one time….and I have just checked the packet – and Quorn mince has barley gluten added to it….and I cooked it yesterday without checking the pack. wondered why I look 7 mths pregnant!

  5. Jo Alcock
    January 6, 2013 / 22:07

    The pilau rice seasoning caught me out early on in my gluten free days – I now make my own seasoning in batches and store it in a (thoroughly rinsed!) old jar of the glutenous one. It taught me early on to check everything, even things that really don’t need to have gluten in.

    I was also caught out during my first gluten free Christmas as the in laws (who usually make everything from scratch) used Aunt Bessie’s roast potatoes. I now double check everything when visiting family/friends (or take my own!).

  6. ilse
    January 7, 2013 / 01:04

    Sometimes glucose syrup (which is just about in everything nice) is made from wheat and not corn… but few manufacturers specify which. Sometimes I feel ill for no reason & I’m starting to think the problem lies with wheat glucose syrup.

  7. January 7, 2013 / 07:38

    I hate it when you disocver afterwards that they have added gluten to something that should be gluten free. I’ve recently found it in yogurt, rice cakes and green tea bags! Madness

  8. January 7, 2013 / 09:37

    Happened to me recently, spice mix on the chicken, my wife got her usual pack substituted when it got delivered and she forgot to check before she made them, so easily done. The only good thing about it is I got a chance to see exactly what my symptoms were as I don’t get severe ones. Interestingly they lasted for nearly 2 weeks.

  9. January 7, 2013 / 11:20

    Would be interested to know the producers comments on the spices.

    The glucose syrup…can be made from other things..beet or potato. Depends on producer of the gluten free goodies.
    My bete noir is the soft cheese….

    Cheers ladies and gents to your health in 2013…
    Apricot (goes back to what I should be doing…..)

  10. babs moore
    January 7, 2013 / 15:53

    even after almost 10years its still easy to get caught out – i got caught out when an aunt got me some plain chisken “torn from the bone!” as the packet claimed and it turned out had nothing natural about it at all. i also got quite sick from KNORR stock pots. the label says coeliac friendly but i got sick on them and when i rang them they said that they operate to within the government guidelines for nutritional labeling – be careful as i am avoiding them! i now make my own seasoning mixes and will use organic produce as much as possible. happy healthy 2013 to you all xxx

  11. Sheila
    January 10, 2013 / 12:11

    I used to go to focus groups, tasting/testing products for McCormick (who produce the Schwartz range) but had to stop doing it when I was diagnosed as Coeliac last year. I offered to continue if they wanted anything testing that was gluten-free but they’ve not taken me up on that!

  12. Pingback: Getting fit gluten free style: thai curry, lazy training and cashew nuts « Gluten Free Blogger
  13. Suzanne
    May 5, 2017 / 03:26

    Maltodextrin is my baddie, although it’s supposed to be OK and found in many GF products. Oh and dextrose. I’ve been eating be Free tasty bites, quite delicious of course, but after three days I know that’s the culprit. Anyone else have reaction to this ingredient?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: