One of the tasks I’ve had on my To Do list for ages is to sort out my herbs and spices. You might think that spices are naturally gluten free but many are cross-contaminated and ‘cut’ with starches to make them cheaper. There are definitely some I find that affect me when they should only really contain the pure spice – cinnamon, for some reason, gets me every time. Interestingly, I saw in a Science Daily article that cinnamon and garlic are two of the most common spices you can develop sensitivities to. Garlic was one of my first ever problem foods – it makes my ears bleed!
It’s also useful to note that many herbs and spices have a high salicylate content and that can be the problem if you have issues with quite a few. Worth looking at. FoodsMatter has a good section on Salicylate Intolerance that you might find useful.
I love spicy food and avoiding the chilli for the Barrier Plan is a difficult one for me – it does creep in about once a week, naughty girl ;). But, I want to be able to make sure the flavours I’m adding to my food are not going to make me ill.
I read an interesting piece on gluten free spices in the US from Jane A the other day, which might help give you more info on the issue as a whole, and provide you with suppliers if you live across the pond.
But what about here in the UK. What do you do? Which brands do you trust?
I have started to look at herb and spice suppliers. I contacted Steenbergs recently as theirs looked like a good range. Here’s the conversation we had:
Q: I am looking to buy and recommend grain-free herbs and spices to my hyper-sensitive readers and patients. There is always a risk that spice blends especially have been mixed with cheap wheat or corn starch to bulk it out and bring cost down, which would then cause a reaction. This has happened to me and my patients in the past. Can you please advise if yours are safe, or labelled as containing any additions?
Lovely to hear from you. We don’t “bulk” out our spices with anything. The spice blends don’t have wheat in it, apart from the obvious ie stuffings and as it’s an allergen these are packed at separate times. We try to put all the ingredients on any product on the website but we don’t use flour or corn starch generally anyway.
So, I then asked them to confirm if there was any risk of cross-contamination then. And heard nothing back. Sigh. Probably not wanting to commit themselves.
I quite fancy looking at Hambleden Herbs
soon too when I get a chance – any of you use them?
My strategy is going to be to use the fresh plants for herbs and to dry my own when I have some. Makes the garage smell lovely! I used to do this yonks ago when life was a little less hectic and I was getting into herbal medicine and aromatherapy in my early 20s. Ah, my tiny flat had herb bunches hanging everywhere – happy memories!
For spices, I have been buying the whole spices and have bought a second grinder to whizz them up fresh when I need some. I have a coffee grinder and a spice grinder now. The spice one has a gold sticker on it so I know which is which. I don’t bother to clean them out every time now and it has made life that little bit easier.
So, can anyone help? Who do you use? What do you do?