When a person is in contact with or ingests a wheat product the body’s immune system reacts. The proteins in the wheat are considered harmful by the body which causes an allergic reaction. Symptoms can occur within seconds or a reaction could be delayed as long as two hours. The severity of the symptoms may vary from mild to as severe as life threatening.
What wheat products should be avoided?
The entire botanical wheat family should be avoided. The wheat family, including cousins of the wheat plant, include: wheat, barley, rye, triticale, spelt and kamut. Some also avoid oats which can be problematic for some but not all and may have trace elements of wheat since some processing facilities process wheat flour and oats on the same equipment or in the same facility.
There are additives to foods like hydrolyzed plant protein (which may be derived from wheat, corn, or soy) however the ingredients label should state whether it is wheat based.
What grains are safe?
Quinoa, millet, rice, tapioca, buckwheat, and corn are all safe but it is important to read the label before you purchase a product to check whether there may be cross contamination. If you do not have a soy allergy or tree nut allergy you can use soy, almond, chestnut, or hazelnut flours for baking.
If you suspect you have food allergies, see your doctor or allergist for testing and diagnosis. Knowing what foods to avoid and carrying emergency medicine like epinephrine, if needed, can save your life if you have a serious allergy.