About Me

Vivica Menegaz

Nutritionist, Author, & Blogger

Hi I am Vivica, welcome to my blog! I am a certified nutritionist and the creator of the Healing Foods Method. My philosophy of healing is to let the right foods delight you, nourish you and make you healthy!

The Hidden Ingredient Lurking In Your Restaurant Food

The hidden ingredient lurking in your restaurant food....do you know what it is and how it will impact your health? - The Nourished Caveman

The Hidden Ingredient Lurking In Your Restaurant Food

For many people with varying levels of gluten intolerance, eating out at a restaurant is like running a gauntlet. The thought of being ‘glutened’ leaves you in fearful sweats. If you feel that locking yourself within the safe, gluten-free confines of your home is your only option to avoid gluten in restaurant food, take heed.

Thankfully, there are certain precautions you can take that will enable you to go out into the world and socialize again without fearing the thought of running to the bathroom or breaking out in hives.

For those with Celiac, gluten is the obvious culprit to be avoided at all costs. On a KetoPaleo diet I advise my clients to remove gluten containing foods from their diet as it frequently causes digestive stress and aggravation even for those without intestinal disorders (Source:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21224837). As part of my Healing Foods Methods, we remove foods that are not conducive to the healing process and cause inflammation in the body.

Why Is There Hidden Gluten In Restaurant Food?

Gluten is a wheat protein found in many grains including wheat, barley, rye and spelt but it’s certainly not limited to your slice of bread. Unfortunately, gluten has found its way into many processed foods as a cheap and effective stabilizer and thickener. Think of it as the ‘glue’ and ‘gel’ that gives consistency to many restaurant food items we’ve grown to love. While restaurants are becoming more conscientiousness about the hidden gluten in restaurant food and labeling gluten-free on their menus for patrons, it’s not always that easy to avoid it.

Here is a list of some common culprits for hidden gluten in restaurant food you should be cautious of.

Sauces and Marinades

Many major restaurant chains that specialize in Asian cuisines (but certainly not limited to) use pre-packaged sauces and marinades that contain gluten as an ingredient because it’s an effective thickener. While an independent restaurant may be more likely to make their own sauces from scratch, it always pays to question whether the sauces used in their dishes are in fact gluten-free.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is processed using fermented wheat so before you dab your sashimi in it, think twice. Tamari and Coconut Aminos are good gluten-free alternatives.


Ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard often contain maltodextrin, modified starches and vinegars which can be wheat derived unless otherwise stated.

Fried Food

We all know fried foods aren’t conducive to your health because the oils used are often genetically modified and rancid. Another reason to ditch this American delicacy is to avoid the wheat flour which is commonly used in the batter.

Hamburger Patties

You may think that by opting for a bunless burger you’re adhering to your KetoPaleo template. Unfortunately, many burger patties are made using wheat breadcrumbs as a filler. Opt for the unprocessed meat instead.

Salad Dressings

If you think by opting for a simple salad you can avoid hidden gluten in restaurant food, think again. Unfortunately even some salad dressings are processed using malt or distilled grain vinegar. The best way to avoid having any gluten sneak into your food is by sticking with a pure, one ingredient dressing like Extra Virgin Olive Oil with a fresh squeeze of lemon.


Believe it or not, some mixed herb and spice blends contain traces of gluten along with a host of other fillers to prevent clumping. Common examples include taco, curry and barbecue mixes.

While it goes without saying, many large restaurant chains should be avoided for varying reasons, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the occasional dinner out with friends at a local restaurant. Most restaurants list menus on their websites so a little research goes a long way to avoid the confusion of knowing what is gluten-free friendly and what is not.

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