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8 Things You Didn't Know About Gluten (Slideshow)

8 Things You Didn't Know About Gluten (Slideshow)

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Here's what you should know before you make a decision about going gluten-free

Gluten is a naturally occurring elastic protein found in a number of foods. Though foods like corn also contain forms of gluten, gluten-free eating has come to mean the avoidance of gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye products. This means avoiding beer, many types of bread, baked goods, pastas, and cereals as well as certain salad dressings, sauces, soups, and food colorings.

The Source of Gluten

Gluten is a naturally occurring elastic protein found in a number of foods. This means avoiding beer, many types of bread, baked goods, pastas, and cereals as well as certain salad dressings, sauces, soups, and food colorings.

Gluten-Free Eating May Alleviate Migraines

Studies have shown that a gluten-free diet is an effective treatment for migraine headaches. One study even showed the total disappearance of severe migraine attacks when participants adopted a gluten-free diet.

Gluten-Free Foods Won’t Necessarily Help You Lose Weight

Gluten-Free Products Often Have More Salt and Sugar

There’s Gluten in Some Cosmetics

Cosmetics and beauty products can contain gluten. Though the gluten can’t be absorbed through your skin, most people unknowingly ingest small amounts of cosmetics and toiletries when they use a product on their hands or around their mouth. Basically, anyone with diagnosed Celiac disease should be wary of gluten in cosmetics as well.

Gluten is Hiding in Some Foods

There are a number of surprising sources of gluten. If you’re trying to go gluten-free be sure to check the label on processed foods, such as lunch meats, soups, sauces, salad dressings, and syrups. They can all contain gluten.

Going Gluten-Free Isn’t Necessarily Healthy

Unless going gluten-free has encouraged you to eat more fruits vegetables and gluten-free whole grains, you may actually be harming your health. If you’re going gluten-free, be sure to pay extra attention to your fiber, iron, and vitamin B intake.

It is the Only Way to See if You’re Gluten-Intolerant

Because gluten sensitivity and intolerance aren’t medically diagnosable, the best way to determine whether you’re having health problems from eating gluten is to try a gluten-free diet. Just be sure to talk to your doctor if you’re considering going gluten-free.

15 Surprising Foods You Didn't Know Had Gluten in Them

Whether you have a gluten sensitivity, Celiac Disease, or an allergy, it can feel confusing to those who don't know what foods gluten-free folks can or can't eat. Having to look through every label of food to see if a product is gluten-free or not can get tedious, especially products you normally don't think would contain it.

Gluten is a specific, naturally-occurring protein found in wheat, barley, spelt, and rye. Not all carb-rich foods contain gluten—for example, rice and potatoes are naturally gluten-free. But some foods you've been eating could be giving you a fix of gluten and been initially undetected…until now.

The fact of the matter is, gluten is a very commonly found ingredient in many of our foods. Bread is without a doubt the most common food one has to avoid when going gluten-free. But we bet you didn't know there are other common foods you might be eating that still contain it but going undetected—unless you read the label, that is.

Here, we found a list of 15 foods and products you might not have known contain gluten, or at least can contain traces of it. Who knows, maybe avoiding these could finally mean relief from the pain and suffering you've been experiencing. And if you already knew about these gluten foods, spread the word! These are just some of the ones we found most shocking to contain gluten in them.

16 Things You Didn’t Know About Smirnoff

For some, the thought of Smirnoff might conjure up a visceral and unwelcome memory of their head resting on a toilet seat — a byproduct of its reputation as a party-centric booze. But in fact, Smirnoff is a liquor to be taken seriously. It’s the top selling vodka in the world, making it a force to be reckoned with. The brand sold over 25.6 million nine-liter cases in 2019, a number that is unfathomable to even its closest competitors.

Even though you’re likely to find it at any frat party (or in the lyrics of any number of rap songs), Smirnoff has a notable global history. So before you go to the liquor store to pick up a bottle, read on for 16 things you should know about this vodka superpower.

There is a guy named Smirnoff — kind of.

Actually, his name is Pyotr Smirnov. He started out life as a Russian serf (basically at the bottom of a feudal totem pole) and went on to create the best-selling vodka in the world. When he died, he was worth $130 million and was one of the richest men in Russia. Sound familiar? Smirnov’s origin story is similar to that of the founder of Grey Goose vodka, who was born into a poor farming family and became a billionaire.

Smirnov was a marketing genius.

Smirnov started selling his vodka in 1864, but considering this was over a century before the invention of social media, he had to get creative with his marketing techniques. His solution: give panhandlers food and drink and in return, ask them to fan out around the city of Moscow demanding Smirnoff vodka. (It worked.)

Smirnov wanted to sell his vodka to the tsar.

The vodka producer wasn’t just looking to get everyday people tipsy. Smirnov wanted to earn the exclusive contract to supply vodka to the tsar of Russia at the time, Aleksandr III Aleksandrovich. And he did, in 1886. Next time you see someone wincing after a shot of Smirnoff, remind them they’re drinking the preferred libation of royalty.

Tolstoy and Chekhov tried to shut Smirnoff down.

When they weren’t busy writing literary masterpieces, these guys were out trying to find a way to take down the booze industry. In the late 19th Century, Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov led an anti-alcohol campaign. Fortunately for Smirnoff drinkers, Pyotr’s son Vladimir Smirnov was able to escape the country and bring his vodka recipe with him to France.

Smirnoff’s spelling is a result of the Bolshevik revolution.

Since he ran a capitalist enterprise — and was selling booze, to boot — Vladimir Smirnov was forced to flee Russia after the Bolshevik revolution, resettling his base of operations in Europe. “Smirnoff” is the French spelling of the Russian vodka.

At one point, Russia was in charge of Smirnoff.

Before the Smirnovs fled Russia, there was a brief period in which the state took control of the business. (In theory it was to rein in corruption and alcoholism, but it did end up making the country hundreds of millions of dollars).

Smirnoff is gluten-free.

Well, the unflavored version is. The “natural flavorings” in the flavored versions might contain trace amounts of gluten, but Smirnoff vodka is made from corn, making it totally gluten-free.

Smirnoff is charcoal-filtered.

Which is the same thing they do to the bourbon that becomes “Tennessee Whiskey.” Charcoal filtration is thought to mellow a spirit by removing further impurities. Smirnoff is also triple-distilled, although there’s no real evidence that the number of times vodka is distilled impacts its purity or quality.

There are 33 currently marketed flavors of Smirnoff.

The brand offers everything from a commonplace Raspberry flavor, to gimmicky Whipped Cream. Don’t worry Smirnoff, we’re pretty sure that one’s burned into our brains forever. Sure, we’ve all seen fruit flavored vodka. But what about “Root Beer Float”? We’re terrified, but intrigued.

Those crazy flavors are consumed all over the world

Today, over 150 years after the brand was created, Smirnoff vodka is sold in 130 countries.

Smirnoff Ice was used in frat hazing. But what is actually in a Smirnoff Ice?

Smirnoff Ice — everyone’s favorite malt liquor soda — was created in 1999. And while it saw sales slump in the 2000s, it saw a mild, and weird, resurgence when frats (and bros generally) started a tradition called “Icing a Bro.” This 2010 trend has infiltrated the masses over the past decade — you may even find people outside of Greek life that know what being “iced” means.

Smirnoff comes in three proofs, in case the baseline wasn’t enough for you.

While the most popular Smirnoff No. 21 is 80 proof, the brand also makes 90 and 100 proof vodkas.

Smirnoff is kosher.

We’re not sure whether to say “Na Zdorovie” or “L’Chaim.”

James Bond loves Smirnoff.

Bond revealed his preference for the vodka brand in the 1962 film Dr. No. If you want to make sure you’re imbibing 007 style, use Smirnoff vodka in your Bond-inspired vodka Martini (shaken, not stirred).

Smirnoff has options for health nuts.

Gather your granola-eating friends and order them a round of shots. Smirnoff has a line of zero-sugar flavor infusions and sugar-free Smirnoff ices. We always knew a bit of vodka was good for us.

It absolutely crushed the competition in blind taste tests.

Smirnoff claimed the throne when pitted against 20 other vodkas, ranking above premium vodkas that were over double its price. The New York Times praised its “smooth neutrality and pleasing texture,” citing it as proof that not all spirits benefit from artisanal manufacturing.

8 Things You Didn't Know About Going Gluten-Free

Learn whether or not ditching wheat is a smart move for you.

Everyone seems to be on a gluten-free diet, and new gluten-free products keep cropping up on store shelves. But is gluten really bad for you? And can nixing it help you lose weight? "Many people are misinformed about who should be on a gluten-free diet," says KT Park, MD, a clinical researcher and gastroenterologist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. "Unless you have celiac disease or another medical reason to avoid gluten, a gluten-free diet isn't beneficial." So before loading your shopping cart with gluten-free foods, here's what to keep in mind.

1. Some folks need to go gluten-free.

About 1% of people have celiac disease, a hereditary autoimmune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating and damage to the small intestine's lining. Celiac disease is diagnosed with a blood test, looking for celiac-specific antibodies, and an intestinal biopsy. The only treatment: avoiding all gluten-containing products. People with celiac disease who continue eating gluten have a higher risk of certain serious conditions, like osteoporosis, anemia and some cancers, says Dr. Park.

2. Others may benefit from going gluten-free.

Experts believe about 6% of people have gluten sensitivity. The symptoms mimic celiac disease, but blood tests don't show celiac-specific antibodies and biopsies don't reveal intestinal damage. Because research on gluten sensitivity still is emerging, treatment depends on the person, says Dr. Park. For example, your doctor may suggest trying a gluten-free diet and keeping a symptom diary.

3. Going gluten-free doesn't help most people.

"There's no medical evidence that avoiding gluten is a healthier way to eat," says Molly Cooke, MD, president of the American College of Physicians. What if you feel healthier on a gluten-free diet? "If you're eating more brightly colored foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and eating fewer processed foods, like white bread, you may feel better because you're eating more nutritiously&mdashnot because you're avoiding gluten," explains Dr. Cooke.

4. Avoiding gluten doesn't promote weight loss.

Despite celebrities who swear going gluten-free sheds pounds, it's not a magic bullet. "There's no scientific evidence to show that removing gluten from your diet results in weight loss," says Rachel Begun, a registered dietitian specializing in gluten-related disorders. In fact, many gluten-free foods have extra sugar and fat to improve their taste, which could make you gain weight, adds Dr. Park.

5. You should consult your doctor before going gluten-free.

If you suspect you have celiac disease, get tested instead of changing your diet on your own. "If you eliminate gluten before a simple blood test, the antibodies decline and results can be skewed," says Dr. Cooke. "We can get a false negative even if the disease is present."

6. Gluten pops up in more places than you'd think.

If your doctor recommends going gluten-free, read food labels to learn where gluten hides. While you probably know it's in bread, pasta and cold cereal, you may not realize it's in rye, barley, beer, wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, graham flour and semolina too. More foods with gluten: candy, chips, baked goods, cold cuts, fries, soups and even soy sauce.

7. You must eat a balanced diet if you go gluten-free.

Many gluten-free foods are made from refined grains and starches that don't contain important nutrients, like iron, B vitamins and fiber, says Begun. To get what you need, boost your intake of B vitamins by eating fish, lean beef and lowfat dairy. Get iron from beans and greens, such as spinach, and fiber from legumes, fruits and vegetables.

8. It's not impossible to stick to a gluten-free diet.

Eliminating gluten may seem overwhelming. But you can still eat many different foods, like most dairy products, eggs, meat (without processed sauces), poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, rice, corn, nuts, potatoes and seeds, to name a few. "Work with your doctor and a dietitian to implement gluten-free foods into your lifestyle," suggests Dr. Park. "The long-term health benefits outweigh the inconvenience."

8 Things You Didn't Know About Corn

It's hard to believe that before its domestication roughly nine thousand years ago corn looked more like wheat than the meaty golden kernels we know today.

For one thing, it makes for a great sleeping bag. Photo: Dennis Brekke / Flickr

We owe a lot to corn. It’s hard to believe that before its domestication roughly nine thousand years ago corn looked more like wheat than the meaty golden kernels we know today.

After many millennia of human manipulation, corn began being cultivated in Mesoamerica sometime around 2,500 B.C. In that time, Native Americans grew to consider it one of the Three Sister plants (along with squash and beans) and it remains the most widely grown grain crop in the Americas.

Let’s shuck away at this husky crop for more intel.

1. Corn Was So Valuable Settlers Used It To Barter For Fur And Meat

This kid = striking it rich. Photo: Boston Public Library / Flickr

When Spanish explorers first made their way to the New World, along with gold, the Aztecs offered them thousands of bushels of corn as a tribute.

When European settlers finally came to North America, corn was so valuable they bartered it for furs and meat. At 1,300 kernels per pound, feed bags were the first wallet. Even today, Croatia’s one lipa coin shows a maize stalk with two ripe ears.

Anyone else wonder what the today’s exchange rate is from corn to dollars?

2. We Grow Enough Corn To Cover All Of California

When you look at it from this angle, it’s not quite as impressive.

Corn is used to feed us, our livestock and even our automobiles, so we need a lot of it. How much? In the U.S. alone, corn covers 97 million acres, which is about the same size as California.

Just imagine how much land we’d cover if all that corn were popped at once.

3. Archaeologists Were Able To Pop Thousand-Year-Old Kernels

“By golly, I think it’s popping!” - one of the archaeologists (probably). Photo: theilr / Flickr

On average, dried corn will last a surprisingly decent 10 to 12 years, but they’ve discovered nearly 6,000-year-old corn in caves of New Mexico. And well-­preserved tombs along the coast of Peru confirmed that corn kernels have one heck of a shelf life – at nearly a thousand-years-old, the kernels were still able to be popped.

Makes you seriously reconsider that “ancient” bag of Orville Redenbacker’s hiding in the back of your pantry for the last few years, doesn’t it?

4. We Eat Less Than 1% Of The Corn That We Grow

Well, if you consider the fact that we eat the pig that eats the corn, we’re still eating a lot of corn. Photo: Leo Fung / Flickr

The corn we actually eat (popped or on the cob) makes up less than 1% of the total yield produced. As of 2013, just 15% of corn grown is used for some form of human consumption that includes corn syrup and whiskey.

So where does the rest go? Forty percent goes to making ethanol, and the remaining 45% is used to feed livestock.

5. More Than 260 Cornfield Mazes Exist

And they’re all as evil as they look. Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism / Flickr

Mazes are becoming big business. Farmers can expect to make thousands to tens of thousand in supplemental income, and there are even software programs that use GPS technology to design them.

In business since 1996, Utah-based The MAiZE Inc. matches points created on their computers with rows in a field (similar to a connect­-the-­dots game) to determine the pathways to cut out. To date, they’ve designed just under 3,000 paths to find your way out of. A-maize-ing.

6. Native Americans Made Beer From Corn

World’s prettiest beer! Photo: Anthony Tong Lee / Flickr

If barley, malt and rice can be used to make beer, why not corn? Native Americans made beer from it, and even today you can find a fermented corn drink called tejuino in parts of Mexico while chicha de jora is a popular drink in Peru.

Just don’t expect to get wasted on the stuff. Typical alcohol content for either is somewhere between 1%-3% ABV, so be prepared to drink A LOT.

7. Skiers Use Corn As A Way To Describe Snow

Just chillin’, analyzing the snow in terms of corn. Photo: Zach Dischner / Flickr

Corn snow is the repeating cycle of it melting during the day and refreezing in the evening that create small pellets. The resulting rough, granular consistency, which often occurs in spring, is ideal for shredding down the mountainside.

8. Corn Is Over Taking Rice In Asia

The corn conspiracy lives on. Photo: Luz / Flickr

While we tend to equate rice with Asia, corn is quickly becoming the grain of choice and is already China’s top grain, although the majority of it goes to feed livestock.

Compared to rice, corn grows quicker, is far less labor intensive, requires less water and can be grown in more climates.

17 Foods you didn’t know contain gluten

We all know sticking to a gluten-free diet means avoiding grains, but there’s actually a lot more to it than that.

Gluten can sneak up on you from some unexpected sources &mdash and these 17 foods are the proof. Watch your labels carefully to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

1. Soy sauce

There’s a lot more in your soy sauce than beans &mdash and that probably includes wheat. Stick to tamari sauce, which is naturally gluten-free, instead. Be wary of sauces and marinades, including those served at restaurants, because soy sauce is often an ingredient.

2. Gravy

Of course, homemade gravy is thickened with flour, but you might not realize that those easy little ready-to-mix gravy packets also contain gluten. Stick to the homemade version and use corn starch as a thickener.

3. Bouillon cubes

Premixed spice packets are usually pretty gluten-heavy and bouillon cubes are no exception. Skip the cubes and make your own broth instead.

4. Processed meats

Processed meats like sausages, meatballs, bologna, hot dogs and preformed hamburger patties are usually held together by non-gluten-free products. Check labels carefully before purchasing these products.

5. Deli meats

Deli meats themselves may not contain gluten, but they may be cross-contaminated by the slicer. Most deli counters also contain processed meats like bologna and are usually sliced using the same equipment. If you can’t skip that packet of freshly sliced turkey, ask the person at the counter if they have a dedicated gluten-free slicer.

6. Soups

The canned soup aisle is full of hidden gluten. You know to avoid the soups with noodles, but creamy soups are often thickened with wheat products, and broths are often filled with gluten, as well.

7. Pickles

No, the pickles themselves don’t contain gluten, but the pickling process often involves malt-vinegar, which you probably know is often gluten-heavy.

8. French fries

Say it isn’t so! French fries on their own are safe &mdash they’re just innocent potatoes. But if you’re ordering them from a restaurant, they may be dusted with flour or fried in the same oil as breaded items, which kind of ruins the whole gluten-free thing.

9. Eggs and omelets from restaurants

Ever wonder how your favorite restaurant gets their eggs so dang fluffy? There’s a good chance they mix in some pancake batter. Double-check before you place your order.

10. Vegetarian meats

Many vegetarian-friendly meats use wheat products as binders. Check your label to make sure those meat-free products are gluten-free, too.

11. Salad dressing

You may want to find an alternative for your favorite salad dressing. Many dressings use gluten in some form as a thickener.

12. Pudding

Yep, you guessed it. Some puddings use wheat as a thickener. Are you seeing a pattern here? Fortunately, there are some brands that use gluten-free thickeners, so your pudding-eating days aren’t completely over.

13. Ice cream

The ice cream probably doesn’t have gluten, but the extra ingredients definitely might. If you’re gluten-free, check the labels carefully before you indulge in your favorite cookie dough or brownie batter flavors, just to name a few.

14. Crab

You probably don’t realize how often imitation crab is used in place of the real deal in recipes, but it happens more than you might think. Imitation crab looks and tastes a lot like real crab &mdash unfortunately, it doesn’t share its gluten-free qualities.

15. Butter

Plain-old butter is gluten-free, but real butter is hard to come by these days. Many brands use additives that contain gluten, so again, check your labels.

16. Medications and vitamins

Many of these use products containing gluten as a binding agent. Talk to your pharmacist before taking any new medicines, vitamins or supplements.

17. Lipstick

OK, so you don’t eat your lipstick (we hope), but there’s a good chance some of it gets in your mouth when you eat or lick your lips. Many beauty products contain gluten for a number of reasons, sometimes in just trace amounts. If you have a serious gluten sensitivity, even that small amount might be enough to give you symptoms.

3. They chose their distinct name to stand out from the crowd

If you’re wondering about the company’s unique spelling of porridge, then that’s a marketing trick: to distinguish themselves from their rivals, they combined the spellings of “porridge” and “potage” – a French word for a thick soup – and ran with it from 1914 onwards.

They even made an advertising campaign based on the fact with the slogan "spell it either way and it means a delicious hot breakfast, but there is a difference. There's something special about Porage because Scott's Porage is made from genuine Scottish oats, the real stuff".

7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Graham Crackers

With marshmallow-roasting season now in full swing, we figured it was as good a time as any to contemplate the spongy s’mores most structurally important bedfellow: the Graham cracker. After all, you probably haven’t given this crunchy snack much thought beyond picking up a box for your next woodland adventure, or giving them to hungry kids between meals. But, there’s a lot more going on with this story. Like, can you even describe the flavor of a Graham? Thought so. In case it’s been a while since you’ve cracked into a box, let us refresh your memory. Each rectangular piece proves slightly sweet while being wholesome, and you can eat them plain, slathered with peanut butter or crumbled up as a crust for a tasty pie. No matter what you do with the food, here are seven things to make your next run in with Graham crackers more interesting.

1. Graham was, in fact, a real person: You may have noticed the name Graham is always capitalized when referring to the cracker. That’s because, unlike other snack foods, this one is actually named after a real person: the evangelical minister who created the recipe in 1829. His name was Sylvester Graham, and he was well before his time when it came to diets and healthy eating. For one, he was a vegetarian, a strange concept at the time, and promoted foods one should eat to maintain physical, spiritual and mental health. He even had followers called the Grahamites, and they adhered to his special lifestyle that promoted eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and high fiber foods. They also eschewed animal products and alcohol. Yup, he was the original straight-edge guy, and obviously charismatic enough that people still follow his teachings and have kept Graham crackers around in mainstream culture for more than a century.

2. The original Graham crackers were kind of gross: Far from the slightly sweet and satisfying Graham cracker you buy today, authentic article was actually rather bland, dry and unappealing. Made from unrefined flour, this biscuit-like substance lacked the flavor and finesse of its contemporary descendant. But, then again, it did fit in with the teachings of its health-nut creator.

3. Commercially made Graham crackers date back to the 1900s: Before Honey Maid dominated the Graham cracker market, this snack was made by bakeries all over the United States. In 1898, many of these independent operations joined together to form the National Biscuit Company, aka Nabisco. It was through this merger that, by 1925, the Graham cracker we know and love today was created and sold under the name Sugar Honey Grahams. The name was changed to the currently recognized moniker Honey Maid in 1976. Over the decades, Nabisco has tweaked the recipe a bit, adding a cinnamon variety in 1986, low-fat crackers in 1995 and doubling the amount of whole grains in each serving in 2006. Still, it has remained a recognized food for generations, and we doubt that will change in the years to come.

4. Grahams may help you fight sexual urges: While Sylvester Graham preached temperance and eating healthy, he also was firm believer in abstaining from sex and masturbation. The reverend believed carnal desires were inspired by the rich, fatty foods that Americans were consuming. So, his push to maintain a healthy, plant-based diet was in part to curb physical arousal. His poplar Graham crackers were part of this, and while there is no scientific evidence to back up the correlation between eating this food and a lack of romantic intimacy, Graham amassed thousands of followers who believed in it. And, truth be told, even today there isn’t anything too sexy about eating a Graham cracker.

5. Graham crackers have been used in s’mores for 87 years: Ever since s’mores were supposedly created by the Girl Scouts in 1927, the tasty treat has involved the famous Graham cracker, as well as a toasted marshmallow and hunk of chocolate. The first recorded recipe for this dish appeared in the publication Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts, though it didn’t gain mainstream popularity until the late 1960s and early 1970s.

6. You can use Graham crackers in savory dishes: Many people relegate the Graham cracker to key lime pie crust, crumbled as an ice cream topper, s’mores and s’more-like dishes. But, you can actually turn them into a savory treat, as well. “Graham crackers have all those nice maillard-y flavors, they are roasty, toasty and gently sweet,” says chef Justin Warner of Brooklyn’s Do or Dine, who suggests pulverizing and scattering them over foie gras. “You wouldn’t bat an eye if I told you to cook with stout beer. So, I’m pretty sure Graham crackers have some untapped potential, although the Reverend Graham would not approve.” At Sticky’s Finger Joint in New York City, the staff takes hot, salty french fries and tops them with Graham crackers, marshmallow and chocolate to make a savory-sweet side dish. You can also crush them up and use as a coating for pork chops or chicken, or simply slather some peanut butter on top and dish out as a healthy and hearty snack.

7. You can make them at home: Leave the box of commercial crackers on the shelf and try your hand at making them in your own kitchen. It’s not as hard as you think. At the Smith in New York City, pastry chef Thea Habjanic makes the crackers by beating a mixture of cream, butter, white sugar, brown sugar and honey until it’s creamy. Then, she adds flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt, rolls the dough into thin sheets and bakes until golden brown. Once the mixture is cool, you can break the product into pieces for crackers, or mash it up to make a tasty Graham cracker crust. It’s basically like making pie dough, but with less butter and worry about making the product tough.

30 Foods You Probably Didn't Know Were Vegan

Being vegan is easier than ever. The amount of trendy restaurants, food blogs, and vegan-friendly products has exploded in recent years, making those who are meat, dairy, and egg free smile from ear to ear. But it turns out a lot of things are coincidentally vegan that may shock you. If you think vegans only eat kale, brown rice, and vegetables in pretty bowls that look oh-so-pretty in Instagram pictures, you’ve got another thing coming.

For example: did you know Baco-Bits and Oreos are vegan? We know, we were shocked and fascinated as well, and lead to question exactly what is in these food products. That buttery taste you love in Ritz Crackers and Pillsbury Crescent Rolls? Same deal. We’re scratching our heads and itchin’ to look at ingredient lists. Take a look at these common and surprisingly vegan foods, just don’t try to convince yourself they’re healthy.

1. Oreos

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America’s Favorite Cookie is vegan-friendly!

#SpoonTip: Be aware of cross-contamination with milk.

2. Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Frosting

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The Home-Style Butter Cream, Caramel, Classic Chocolate, Vanilla, Coconut Pecan, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Lemon Supreme and Strawberry Cream varieties are all vegan. Cheers to vegan buttercream! Now hand us the spoon.

3. Duncan Hines Cake Mixes

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In Classic Carrot, Moist Deluxe Butter Golden, Classic Yellow, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Devil’s Food, Fudge Marble, German Chocolate, Red Velvet, Swiss chocolate, Coconut Supreme, Lemon Supreme, Pineapple Supreme AND Strawberry Supreme all contain no dairy or eggs. Some people may get finicky about food dye sources, but for most, all of the above are vegan-friendly. Swap out the eggs and butter/oil for a can of soda or sparkling water and you’ve got yourself the fluffiest vegan cake you could ever want.

4. Jell-O Instant Pudding Mix

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Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon, Pistachio, and Banana Creame are all vegan! Add your favorite non-dairy milk and you’re good to go.

5. Smucker’s Marshmallow Ice Cream Topping

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As marshmallows contain gelatin (made from cow hooves), lots of vegans pass them up. But now vegans can rejoice – Smucker’s has made a gelatin-free version AKA vegan marshmallow fix is possible.

6. Taco Bell’s Bean Burrito (minus the cheese)

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No lard in these beans, bitches!

7. Taco Bell’s Cinnamon Twists

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For after the lard-free burrito.

8. Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup

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For your soy milk, almond milk and non-dairy ice cream delight.

9. Chipotle Sofritas

Which honestly everyone should try.

10. Betty Crocker’s Bac-O’s Bacon Flavor Bits

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We’re not sure if this is something to celebrate or be very, very afraid of.

11. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

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Ahh, the buttery taste of vegetable oils.

12. Ritz Crackers

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Another food that prides itself on butter flavor, yet has none. Pass us a sleeve with some soy cheese, please!

13. Unfrosted Pop-Tarts

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In Brown Sugar, Blueberry and Strawberry. Because Pop-Tarts are important.

14. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets

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A great shortcut to a delicious vegan dessert or appetizer.

15. Lindt Excellence Cocoa Bars in 70%, 85% and 90%

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16. Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies

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In Chocolate, Oatmeal Macaroon, Peanut Butter and Vanilla.

17. Goya Flan

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Yeah, another thing we’re not going to try to explain.

18. Nutter Butters

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19. Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars

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In Apple Crisp, Cinnamon, Peanut Butter, Pean Crunch, Roasted Almond AND Maple Brown Sugar. We are so darn excited it hurts. Bring on the crumbs!

20. Nabisco Original Graham Crackers

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We suggest you pair these with some of that chocolate frosting mentioned above. #yum

21. Krispy Kreme Fruit Pies

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In Apple, Cherry and Peach. PIE ME.

22. Thomas’s New York Style Bagels

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In Blueberry, Cinnamon Swirl, Everything and Plain. Because carbs. And tofu cream cheese.

23. Super Pretzel Baked Soft Pretzel

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Glorious, glorious salty carbs.

24. Chocolate Chip Teddy Grahams

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Delicious and vegan. And so darn cute we can BEARly stand it.

25. DQ Star Kiss Bar

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A non-dairy ice cream bar at Dairy Queen. Paradoxical, but we dig it.

26. Sara Lee’s Frozen Pies

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In Cherry and Apple. We’ll take both.

22. Mast Brother’s Chocolate

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No dairy in most varieties. WIN. WIN. WIN.

27. Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookies

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Spicy sweet perfection. Pro tip: dip in almond butter.

28. Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Chocolate Bars

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Dark Chocolate, 72% Dark Chocolate and Bittersweet with Almonds. We love you Trader Joe’s.

29. Trader Joe’s Soft-Baked Snickerdoodles

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Again, we love you Trader Joe’s.

30. Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

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Just sub an egg substitute like a tablespoon chia seeds and some almond milk or a few tablespoons of apple sauce and you’re seconds away from gooey vegan brownies.

French Fries

French fries, when not coated in any glutenous ingredients, are gluten-free. But the moment those babies are tossed into a fryer cooking other foods containing gluten, all bets are off. French fries are not gluten-free unless you are dining at a restaurant with a dedicated gluten-free foods fryer. If the fries are marked on a gluten-free menu, be sure to ask if the restaurant takes all proper precautions to avoid cross-contamination. Or make your own at home -- they&aposre healthier for you anyhow. Start with this recipe for my favorite Old Bay baked fries with creamy onion dipping sauce. They&aposre gluten-free and vegan!

Malt flavors, malt syrups, malt beverages, and malt vinegar all contain gluten, and you can find malt flavoring in everything from cereal to ice cream to alcoholic beverages. Malt is a germinated cereal grain, usually barley, that&aposs dried in a process known as malting. If you see the word malt, be sure to avoid that product altogether.

Oats are naturally gluten-free, but they can become cross-contaminated out in the fields at various stages of growth and harvest or in the factory during processing. Be sure to purchase certified gluten-free oats, and ask or read labels before you consume granola and other oat-base foods outside of your own kitchen. You can start eating more oats at home by buying certified gluten-free oats and making your own granola.


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