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trinity said

Gluten in teas - other Celiac or Gluten-Intolerant people want to start a master list?

Hi – I’m new here, hello. I had loads of health problems for about 6 or 7 years until I finally figured out I was gluten intolerant/likely have celiac/have the gene for celiac disease. I had PCOS, Ovarian cancer, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, Concentration issues, Dysautonomia, POTS, IBS, Tachycardia….you name it….I saw every specialist in the hospital. Finally I went to an allergist after reading Doctor Davis’ book “Wheat Belly” and eliminated wheat from my diet. I got better after just 4 weeks, and thought that I was allergic to wheat. I had no idea there was such a thing as Celiac disease. I tested negative to the wheat allergy, but did test positive for the anti-endomysial antibodies. I had a gut biopsy three weeks later, but by then my gut had healed. I have the celiac gene HLA-DQ2.

So you’re thinking, what does this have to do with tea? Lots. I have radically changed everything, drinking only coffee, tea, and water. My diet is primarily fruit, veg, good quality protein. No alcohol, no fun carbonated bevvies. I am now a tea hoarder. And I feel amazing. :)

But my challenge is finding Gluten-Free tea. I adore Republic of Tea. Their teas are certified Gluten-Free, and the Gluten Intolerance Group circle mark of certification on their tins is a life saver. There are some RoT that have roasted barley (one of the chocolate varieties), but I’ve never had a cross-contamination issue.

Any celiac will tell you to watch for things like “natural flavor,” which can hide gluten derived from wheat, barley, oats, or rye. (I can’t eat gluten free oats because I’m also sensitive to avenin.) I’ve also heard roasted grains are added to seasonal holiday teas to give it that “bread/cookie/cake/pastry” aroma and taste.

Every time I go to a tea site, I look straightaway for the FAQ. Most are pretty good about describing their gluten status. But usually, especially for the smaller blenders, I have to write, wait a day or two, decipher if they actually know what they are talking about, and if it’s worth the risk. Then you have to assess if you trust their production process is free from cross-contamination.

So, if there are other celiacs or gluten intolerant people out there that would like to commisserate here and start a sticky thread on gluten-free and trusted teas, please respond! I’d love to share what I find and hear from you as well. It would likely save loads of time.

Thanks,
Amy

32 Replies

I never thought about gluten hiding in my teas. I have a gluten intolerance too. I never thought to look at the natural flavors as hiding gluten there. But I can safely say I have been fortunate not to have my customary reaction (migraines) after having any tea currently in my cabinet.

trinity said

I get migraines from gluten too…The whopper kind that last three days…Usual onset is about 12 hours after consumption, going on for another 48 hours. I guess the good news is that because the timing is so consistent, it’s fairly easy to trace back what I ate and drank during the pre-migraine period.

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trinity said

Here’s info (albeit a bit old) on Tazo tea (some flavors not safe):
http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/89968-tazo-tea/

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trinity said

Celestial Seasonings (some flavors not safe)
http://www.celestialseasonings.com/node/244

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trinity said

Mighty Leaf (risk of cross-contamination):
http://www.mightyleaf.com/frequently-asked-questions

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trinity said

Republic of Tea – Super celiac friendly (majority are certified gluten-free; look for the circle logo on each product you wish to sip)
http://the.republicoftea.com/about/

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trinity said

Health King Chinese medicinal herbal tea – safe
I purchase their tea at my local health food store. I contacted the company and spoke to a person who said that no roasted grains are used in their teas; just herbs and tea. I will say that I have found the white paper tab on the end of the string sticking to the bag. I toss those bags out. Celiacs cannot lick envelopes because gluten is sometimes used as the adhesive agent in the paste.
http://www.healthkingenterprise.com/v2/product/tea/tea_main.asp

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Lynxiebrat said

Should keep an eye on this, my sweetie has Celiac, among a bunch of other stuff, and is slowly getting into tea. I’ve been suspecting for a while that I might have IBS, with a possible milk intolerance, and generally looking to reduce my gluten intake as well as processed foods.

trinity said

Lynxiegirl, you can get a lactose intolerance test. My GI doc ordered one to rule that out before settling on celiac. It’s easy…you just go to the hospital in the morning after a fast, drink a cup of straight lactose, and wait around for four hours. They measure the amount of hydrogen gas in your breath to see how your body is breaking down (or not breaking down as the case may be) the lactose. If you suspect celiac (like you also get a rash, called dermatitis herpetiformis), you must be eating gluten to get a positive result. I had been too wheat-free for too long. I tried doing a gluten challenge – going back to wheat one meal a day — and I got too sick and couldn’t proceed. If you suspect, always good to get the test before eliminating it from your diet. I wish I would have known.

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Claire said

David’s Tea states their teas are gluten free, but their teas do not come from certified gluten free facilities. Something to be careful of if you’re really sensitive to gluten.

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Janefan said

Frank from 52teas recently told me via email: “I double-checked with my flavors guy and ALL of our flavors are 100% Vegan and gluten-free.”

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Looks like Bigelow, Celestial Seasonings, Honest Tea, Rishi, Republic of Tea are some gluten free brands to name a few. The best bet is to contact the company directly and ask. If they are smart and want your business they will get back to you asap.

Thankfully I haven’t had any issues yet with any of the teas I’ve purchased from companies like Harney and Sons, DavidsTEA, and others. But it is good to check. You never know what’s hiding in those “natural flavors”.

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