Fundamentally, a gluten-free diet involves complete avoidance of wheat, rye, barley, oats and semolina, effectively cutting out staples such as bread, pasta, cereals, pastry, sauces with flour in them and gravy. Those with a sweet tooth should also skip cakes, biscuits and chocolate – although much recent progress has been made in the artisanal production of gluten-free breads and cakes.
Other sources of gluten include processed meats, soy sauce, various condiments and beer. It can even be traced in some medications, toothpastes and shampoos.
When a simple mistake can spark off a painful physical reaction, it pays to be vigilant of what you eat. But never fear; in these days of heightened allergy awareness, there are tight rules on gluten-free labelling in food shops and you’ll find that the majority of European restaurants clearly indicate gluten-free dishes on their menus.