How to be a Savvy Gluten-Free Shopper with Jennifer Fugo

“When you go to the grocery store, the first spot you should go is the wall of green”

     Jennifer Fugo     

Dr. Veronica Anderson, Host, Functional Medicine Specialist and Medical Intuitive interviews Jennifer Fugo on How to be a Savvy Gluten Free Shopper. Do you want to regain your health? Certified Health Coach and founder of Gluten Free School, Jennifer Fugo, has created the number one spot for those living a gluten-free life seeking community, simple & clear information about their condition, and ways to become empowered and finally feel better. She is dedicated to teach gluten-sensitive individuals simple, savvy and empowering steps to get healthy.

In this episode, Jennifer will talk about how she healed her gluten sensitivity in 3 days, the issue with the food supply in America and how choosing certified gluten free product can simplify your life. She will also share the biggest tips that will help you transition into a gluten-free lifestyle, key GF products and companies and how to order food when eating at restaurants. Listen to the end to access to the 9 Homemade & Store-bought Gluten Free Breads cheat sheet.

Listen to episode 5 on iTunes, or your favorite podcast app on your phone.

iTunes Dr. Veronica's Wellness Revolution




5: Show Notes

Dr. Veronica Anderson’s Links


Recommended Books:

Jennifer Fugo: The Savvy Gluten-Free Shopper-



9 Homemade & Store-bought Gluten Free Breads –

Show Notes:

01:50 – Is gluten free a weight loss program?
02:45 – Developing gluten symptoms  
07:00 – Gluten sensitivity 3-day cure
09:30 – Why Jennifer started the Gluten Free School
14:00 – Severe IGG sensitivity to eggs
15:00 – Celiac disease vs. gluten sensitivity
16:55 – Non-invasive Celiac test
18:00 – Leaky gut and digestive repair
23:00 – The issue with the food supply in America
29:30 – What is Certified Gluten Free?
31:00 – Biggest tips when transitioning to gluten free
35:52 – Gluten free products and companies
40:00 – Ordering food at PF Chang’s restaurants
49:00 – Finding the right practitioner
52:00 – Eating GF free bread



Female VO: Welcome to the Wellness Revolution Podcast, the radio show all about wellness in your mind, body, spirit, personal growth, sex, and relationships. Stay tuned for weekly interviews featuring guests that have achieved physical, mental, and spiritual health in their lives.

If you’d like to have access to our entire back catalog visit for instant access. Here’s your host, Dr. Veronica.
Dr. Veronica: Welcome to another episode of Dr. Veronica’s Wellness Revolution. It’s hot where I am today. It’s humid and me and my guest are having bad hair days. This is why you say, “Dr. Veronica, you don’t look as good as you usually look.”

Jennifer: Bad hair day.

Dr. Veronica: But you’re not looking at us because we have good hair or bad hair you are listening to the Wellness Revolution because you need knowledge about a particular subject. So I’m going to talk about a subject today with my guest. We’re going to talk about gluten once again. Why am I going to hit gluten again? Because there’s so much everything going around with the gluten. So much everything that I can’t talk to enough people.

Why? Because there’s myths, there’s facts, there’s different ways to go about it. And if you are struggling with figuring out, “Can I do this? How do I do this?” The more people that you hear, you might hear that piece of information that helps you get on the road because this is crucial to your health.

Let me say one other thing about this. Although a lot of people go gluten free because they want to lose weight, this is not why we do the program. Going gluten free is not a weight loss program. Pure end of the discussion. So if you think I’m going off gluten because I want to drop a lot of pounds, go ahead off of gluten.

But if you can keep gluten in your eating plan I recommend that you do it because that group of foods has particular nutrients in it. And if you’re not gluten sensitive you should keep eating them. Not excessively but everything, pretty much unless you have a sensitivity you should be in your eating plan.

Having said that I would like to introduce to you the founder of the Gluten Free School. How about that? The Gluten Free School where you can go and learn how to do this. It’s a little bit more. Now we have a school about it. Jennifer, oh my gosh. I always come across this. Jennifer Fugo?

Jennifer: Yes, Fugo.
Dr. Veronica: People have these names and everybody tells me I’m very good at pronouncing people’s names. But Jennifer Fugo?

Jennifer: Fugo… My family’s name got shortened on Ellis Island so…

Dr. Veronica: So Jennifer Fugo, Gluten Free School. We’re going to talk… But instead of me telling you all her accolades I want you to hear her story about how she founded the Gluten Free School. Jennifer, welcome to the Wellness Revolution and jump right in and just start talking to the viewers about where you started on this gluten free journey.

Jennifer: First I want to thank you so much Dr. Veronica for the invitation to come on your show and get to educate people about this because I know that where I started I had never heard of gluten before. And I come from an Italian… I just mentioned my name got shortened on Ellis Island. My great grandparents came here from Italy. We still have relatives that we’re connected to in Italy. There’s a lot of traditional things about my… I never heard of gluten. I was like, “What, gluten? What is that? Glue?” I had no idea.

Dr. Veronica: It is like glue.

Jennifer: Right, it is. More like breads and all sorts of things because of the nature of the protein. But I think a lot of people come at this from reading things online that are incorrect, and sometimes make them afraid to eat. That sort of what happened to me. I was 27 when I was actually diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity which is different than celiac disease. And we can certainly talk about that if you haven’t talked about that before.

I had terrible brain fog. I couldn’t remember things. I had acne. I had round rashes on my arms and on my legs. I would sleep for 9 to 12 hours a day and I still couldn’t get up. So my husband would have to shake me and pull me out of bed and I still could’ve taken a nap in the afternoon. And then I was just so fatigued.

I have these digestive problems that I just thought were normal. How many of us are like, “I have stomach problems. It’s natural. Whatever.” It wasn’t. I would get diarrhea all the time. I had terrible gas. I know people start to chuckle. They’re like, “Oh my gosh, she’s going to talk about this.” But if I don’t talk about it who’s going to talk about it.

My gas actually smelled so bad that my husband got to a point where he didn’t want to be around me. It’s funny but it’s not funny because can you imagine if you’re in a business meeting, or you’re with family or friends, so you’re trying to hold that in and it causes stomach pains and all sorts of problems.

Occasionally we get constipated but my issues with gluten were more of the spectrum of just diarrhea. Like in the middle of a meal I’d be running to the bathroom five, six, seven, eight times, doubled over in pain. I had to go now or I would have had an accident, like bathroom emergency.

And so I really didn’t know that any of this was abnormal because I’d had it so long. And what I also didn’t know that was connected to this was that I had chronic headaches since I was a teenager. So I’ve been taking Tylenol for a very long time. And about a year period I had gained almost 20 pounds despite being a total gym rat and trying to eat really well, eat organic, whole grains, and all that stuff. I had kept putting on weight that I couldn’t get rid of and I felt very puffy.

Bloated, yes, but it was more just all over. It’s just an all over puffiness that no matter how much I exercised, no matter how much I tried to diet, the needle wasn’t going in the direction I wanted it to ahead. It kept going up and I was starting to get really concerned that something… I’m like, “Did I break me? What’s going on? I’m so out of control and I don’t know what to do.” I’ve tried everything that I think I needed to do like cutting calories, and watching my fat intake, and doing all of these… and it just wasn’t working at all.
Anyway, after going through a rigmarole of doctors and things and they didn’t know what was wrong I landed in a nutritionist’s office and she looked at my diet and said, “Have you ever heard of gluten? And do you know what gluten sensitivity is?” And I was like, “No, no clue. You have to enlighten me.”

This is full disclosure that is not the case with everyone. My journey is my own and I don’t want people to think, “I have all these symptoms the same as Jen. So if do what she does I’m going to feel magically better in three days.” That’s not true. Some people it takes longer than that.

But my story is that within three days the terrible gas stopped. The explosive diarrhea stopped. The stomach pain stopped. And I just felt overall more with it. That was the initial thing, and after a week I was like… even my husband said something’s different.
We did blood spot testing and it turned out that I had not just sensitivity to gluten, I have an even more severe reaction to eggs. And I’m also sensitive to the casein protein which is found in all dairy products including goat, or sheep, or anything else. The cashew family, the cruciferous family, I had a lot of things that I had to take out of my diet.

Again, I mentioned, I didn’t put together the pieces that the headaches were connected, or the weight gain was connected, or the fact that I was getting sick about every six weeks with whatever cold or flu or bug that was going around. I didn’t know that all these things were connected to what was happening in my digestive system. And by taking them out my life changed.

If you go to my website you can see a before and after picture and it’s not one of those things where you’re like, “Is that person sucking in?” I’m not sure, the lighting’s hard to tell. I look very different. I looked so different at that point that I had friends that I haven’t seen in about a year who are like, “Are you okay? You look so different than I’m used to seeing you. Are you sick? What’s going on because I lost a lot of weight.”

My husband and I hadn’t put it together until he happened to be… he was on Photoshop going through photos that we were taking on our trip and have those two pictures up side by side and he was like, “Now I know why people think you look different.”

It takes time, number one. But when I went gluten free back in 2008 when all this happened to me there was some books they weren’t that great. I was given three websites. “Best of luck. I’ll talk to you in eight weeks.” And I had to figure it out myself.

And so the whole point of founding Gluten Free School, and I also want to share too. I’m not just coming at this from what my experience has been. I worked for 10 years for my father who’s an MD and a surgeon, an ophthalmologist just like yourself. And so I worked right with patients with him. I have a lot of experience first-hand of what patients go through, not just for myself but also what a patient goes through when they go to the doctor’s office. I understand a lot about that.

And then I decided to go back and become a certified health coach because I wanted to help people with their diet. And now I’m in the process of finishing my final semester of Masters in Nutrition program. I’m so excited. I’m almost close to [Unintelligible 00:10:38] done that. And I actually just started an internship yesterday with a functional medicine doctor.

I have continued to take this very seriously because I understand that there’s an incredible knowledge gap. And it can seem so daunting and so impractical, and so inconvenient, and so hard, and so expensive, and we could go on and on and on about all the barriers that prevent people from actually making this lifestyle change.

The reason that Gluten Free School exists is not only just to educate people but to empower them to make better choices to be able to talk to their doctors with confidence. And to also know that the decisions that they’re making aren’t nuts, that they’re practical for their own lives, that you don’t have to go broke doing this, and that you can be incredibly happy and incredibly satisfied living a life that happens to be gluten free.

And by the way it benefits your health if that’s what you need. And I agree with you, you shouldn’t ever do this diet just to lose weight. Just because that was my experience does not mean that that’s going to happen for everyone. It does not mean that everybody’s migraines are going to away if they go gluten free or any number of things. There are maybe other…

For me I had multiple food sensitivities. I have gut issues that needed to be resolved. So it’s not a quick fix. It’s not a miracle. It’s not some heaven sent thing. Yes, people who are sensitive to it are going to experience changes but I’m also very cautious and pragmatic about how I talk about this because there are a lot of emotional implications. There’s a lot of stuff that frankly sucks especially when you’re dealing with family and friends that don’t care about how you’re eating now and it’s an inconvenience to them about dining out and all that stuff. So I want to make it easy and simple. But I also want to make sure that people feel happy and satisfied in their lives. And that the diet isn’t going to drive you nuts.

Dr. Veronica: Let’s sort of transition, and I always like to add on a little bit to what people say because everybody brings out a little bit of different nuggets. And so first of all when you went to a professional because you didn’t know what was going on. And so now gluten free and everything is all over the place so people may want to say, “I don’t want to go to a professional. I just want to do it myself. There’s more resources out there.”

However, let me just point out one piece of your story that was quite important, you found out you were sensitive to gluten but this, and this, and this, and this too. And that’s what happens with people, sometimes people go off gluten and they have sensitivities in other areas. And they say, “I went gluten free and it didn’t work.” They may be the persons that are not sensitive to gluten.

I say that in that you ended up finding out not only is it gluten, it’s all these other things too. And I have all these other things affecting my digestion, and that’s a completely different issue than just I’m sensitive to gluten.

Jennifer: Right. And Dr. Veronica to add to that, remember I said I took gluten out. That first week I was like whoa, it’s different. The thing was I kept getting really sick, like that explosive, painful diarrhea, like everyone once in a while I can’t figure out what it was. I was like, “I don’t have any gluten in my diet. I don’t know why this is still happening.” I want to tell her that I feel better and maybe it’s gluten, maybe it’s not.

If I was doing this on my own I might have concluded that I kind of feel better but not 100%. It turns out and I didn’t know this until I got those blood results back that I have a severe sensitivity and IgG sensitivity to eggs. And I eat a lot of eggs. And the last time I ever ate eggs which I remember because I still to this day, that was 2008 I still have not eaten eggs.

I had egg salad with mayo in it and I got so sick that I thought I was having a heart attack. I was at the gym working out and I was jamming my fist into my stomach because I was like oh my gosh, and it started here. I could feel the pain moving down and I need to go home, I need to go home. And part way home I had to pull over the car because I thought I was going to pass out. I was in so much agonizing pain.

It goes to show you, and you’re right, that’s a very good point to make and to clarify for people that if you go it alone it can be a real challenge to pinpoint exactly what’s going on. And then also too, and this is one my biggest regrets, my practitioner never told me what celiac disease was. And celiac disease is different than being sensitive to gluten, because celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. So there’s a lot more implications if you have an autoimmune reaction to something. So I never got tested.

So could I go and get genetic testing now to find out if I have one of the two or both of the celiac genes? Sure. At this point [Unintelligible 00:15:48]. But I’m not going to go any gluten for six weeks in order to get an endoscopy with a biopsy. That’s considered the gold standard. I would advise somebody if you’re going to go it alone just be aware, if you find gluten bothers you you got to go back to a gastroenterologist and find out if you have an issue beyond just being sensitive to gluten. Because having celiac disease predisposes you to developing other autoimmune conditions.

Like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis for example, you’re four times more likely to develop Hashimoto’s. So most people who develop one autoimmune disease are more likely to end up with multiples. And that’s not good. That’s a state where you’re body’s attacking itself. So my biggest regret, that’s why I say to people, it’s not good to go this alone is that you can end up being in a state of uncertainty for a very long time. And that can catch up with you down the road if you don’t do it the right way. I always think the most efficient way to do it is the right way from the get-go, not have to figure it out later on when there’s a huge problem.

Dr. Veronica: One thing I just want to clarify for people, you said the only way to get diagnosed with celiac is to get an endoscopy. There are other tests that you can get that are not invasive now, that are very, very predictive of it. If you have one of these sensitivities then you have to go to a doctor. And it’s not usually a gastroenterologist. It’s usually a functional wellness specialist type doctor that’s going to know, “Okay, we need to get this or that to figure out whether or not you look like you have celiac versus you don’t have celiac.”

And so understand there are other ways to test this other than cleaning yourself out and having somebody scope you. Because I know that prospect will scare people right away. There are many invasive ways that are not painful to figure it out and then you could be on the road. And you want to know, because if you’re feeling miserable you’re making yourself sicker, and autoimmune diseases have all kinds of ugly complications including organ failure. So you don’t want to just do it.

And let me just say, the number one cause of these autoimmune disease are food sensitivity. Food sensitivity is what’s causing a lot of this so you have to understand what you’re sensitive to. Let’s talk a little bit more as we’re talking about gluten some of the big terms right now. You mentioned one of them. I see it a lot of time, leaky gut.

I talked to people about leaky gut, and whenever I see somebody like Jennifer, their tests come back after I do testing, and they’re sensitive too. There’s 90 foods tested, they’re sensitive to 80 of them. I don’t say, “Stop eating everything.” I say, “They have leaky gut and so therefore we have to do a digestive repair.” And there’s a particular protocol for that. That’s what I say.

You’re sensitive to everything, leaky gut. Jennifer, in layman’s terms to the audience tell people what I just and why I said it from your perspective.

Jennifer: Essentially from my perspective as well, to give people a little bit more of clarity. If you go to a regular doctor and you say, “I think I have leaky gut.” They’re going to be like, “You have what? What is that? Excuse me? That’s not a real thing.”

You’d want to use the term gut permeability because that’s the correct medical term for it. And there actually is a lot of data out there and a lot of research around gut permeability. One really interesting study that came up recently, and maybe I’ll talk about this in a moment after I explain what leaky gut is just in layman’s terms. But there is a lot of interesting research as you said to go back to that whole thing about autoimmune disease. That food sensitivity specifically gluten actually play a huge role in altering what can essentially stay within your digestive track and what sneaks out into your body.

Realize that you’re digestive system, that tube if you want to think it as a host, so the stomach to the small intestine, to the large intestine, etc., technically the outside of your body. Even though we think of inside it’s the outside. And that hose there’s only one cell layer of thickness that constitutes that host. So you’ve got one cell layer that’s preventing you from getting exposed to bacteria, parasites, viruses, food particles, all sorts of things.

What can happen with gluten, and actually this is the study that I was talking about. They said they took three different groups of people, three or four actually. They took people with celiac disease, individuals who were I believe gluten sensitive and then healthy individuals who reacted not at all to gluten. And they exposed them all to gluten and looked at the gut permeability. That means essentially could particles pass from the host into the body. They shouldn’t be able to do that. That’s not actually good. In all cases, no matter whether you are healthy or not gluten increased the permeability of everybody’s digestive track, AKA, the hose.

Dr. Veronica: I’m going to reiterate this. I want to reiterate this. I’m familiar with the study obviously and I heard one doctor say it at a conference gluten will eventually get everybody. Gluten will eventually get everybody. What Jennifer told you, here’s what the study says, what the bottom line is gluten will get you even if you’re not sensitive today, ultimately you will begotten.

There’s three groups of people here. You have celiac disease, you have a genetic predisposition. You’re never going to be able to handle it. Horrible for a gluten. Then there’s other people who just are more sensitive. Their system’s more sensitive and it gets turned on. And those depended usually. And so if you’re eating less you might not even realize that it was gluten.

I’m one of those people. I’m sensitive to wheat. I never even realized it because I didn’t have a ton of wheat in my diet. So I never realized what was happening. I couldn’t put it together. There it is. Because I eat it today three days later is when you’re having a problem.

Group number two, sensitive, they go from people like me who it’s relatively mild, to the Jennifer’s of the world who, oh my god, you can’t even stand in a room with her when she eats wheat. And then there’s the third group of people that they have the iron stomach, and the iron stomach means they can pretty much take everything they’re not really sensitive. But what we found is in all of these people, even in the people with the iron stomachs who are not sensitive, it will begin to breakdown their digestive system if they eat enough of it.

And so people have to understand you eat too much gluten eventually it will get you. And this is why if you’re somebody who you noticed over the years has gotten worst, and worst, and worst, this is how food sensitivities work. And that’s what happens to the iron clad people. Gluten will get everybody and especially in this country, where it’s genetically modified. And so let’s go into the segue about what you know about the food supply here. You talked about traditional versus non-traditional. This is important in you schooling people. Talk about that Jennifer.

Jennifer: I guess the issue with the food supply, I have a lot of friends at work in the food industry. One thing that I came to learn as a result of their deciding to start food companies was that our food supply is inundated with wheat. There’s wheat everywhere. It’s in most factories. They find wheat or contamination of gluten.

By the way, just to be clear with everyone, gluten is not necessarily wheat. It can be other gluten-bearing grains. You have wheat, you have barley, and rye. Oats are an example of a contaminated grain. Spelt is a form of wheat. Farro, einkorn, those are all forms of wheat.

And so unfortunately you can’t just pick a product off the shelf that isn’t more gluten free and look at the ingredients on the back. Let’s just pretend it’s nuts for example. You’re at the grocery store and you want to pick up a package of nuts. People will see maybe a warning on the back that’ll say, “Made in the same facility that contains wheat, eggs, dairy, soy…”

They don’t legally have to disclose that information to you. That’s something that a company will put on the back of the product. But the reason they do that is because wheat is just everywhere, and so is gluten. And it becomes a problem for people who are not just allergic to wheat itself but also people who are sensitive to gluten, people who have celiac disease and other autoimmune diseases.

It’s important to understand this is where the knowledge gap really becomes quite apparent with people. Consumers especially don’t understand any of this. They think that this was made in a facility that is sterilized and clean so there shouldn’t be any risk of gluten being in this because it’s rice. Unfortunately if the bag of rice isn’t marked gluten free believe it or not there’s about a 30% chance that that rice is contaminated with gluten.

There was a study done of gluten free grains that were tested for gluten contamination. This was several years ago and they found that about 32% of those grains have gluten in them because they were exposed or contaminated at some point along the way. It’s why if you go gluten free and you’re still going to eat oats you have to find oats that are certified gluten free. Because the processing that goes on, it’s typically on same equipment. The fields are usually, oats and wheat are side by side. So there’s a lot of issues with that. And no, Quaker Oats, unless they’re marked certified gluten free are not gluten free. I’ve had friends actually test them with testing kits, they’re not gluten free.

So it’s important to understand, you think that a sterilized facility is going to eliminate your gluten problem, that’s not true. And that’s actually not the case of your kitchen either. Because gluten can hide in a number of different areas like cutting boards, toasters, pasta strainers. We think that we just do a once over and it’s good. “I’m just going to brush off the cutting board after I cut some bread and I’m going to make my gluten free whatever.”

That’s not how this works. Gluten’s not a virus. It’s not bacteria. You can’t cook it away. You can’t just brush things off and say, “It looks clean. I don’t see any gluten. There’s no crumbs.” It actually only takes a very small amount to make most people sick. A small crumb actually is the amount that it takes to make people sick. So it’s important to understand the ins and outs not only in your own kitchen but also what happens in the food industry. It forces you essentially to become your own advocate not just for your health when you go to the doctor’s office, but additionally when you go to buy food.

And so one thing that I advise people of just to keep things simple, to keep your sanity is to buy foods that happen to be gluten free. There’s plenty of healthy gluten free… because if you’re sitting here thinking, what can I eat. Gluten’s in everything. There’s a lot of food that’s gluten free. The problem is when it’s packaged.

The first thing I always tell people, and Dr. Veronica I’m sure you’re a big fan of this. I tell people when you go to the grocery store the first spot you should go is to the wall of green along the one side and fill your cart with that. Don’t go to the fruit section. Don’t head into the cereal aisle or the packaged fruit area, go to the wall of green and start eating real fruit. Vegetables more so than fruit, but you want to have a variety of different colors in your diet. Those items are all gluten free naturally.

You can have poultry, you can have fish, you can have beef, you can have all sorts of meats, eggs. Most dairy, you just have to be kind of careful with yogurts and stuff that’s, again, very processed. And nuts, seeds, legumes, and there are gluten free grains. There’s plenty of them out there. There are plenty of gluten free products as well.

It’s just important that you look for a gluten free label. If you’re a celiac you should look for certified gluten free because there is always that issue that nobody’s regulating the gluten free claim that is made on packaged products. It’s required by the FDA that a product test under a specific threshold in order to qualify as gluten free, and that threshold’s 20 parts per million.

That said unless the FDA gets enough complaints that people have gotten sick, which is what happened with Cheerios, they don’t do anything. They’re not randomly going and testing the company or saying, “Hey, are you checking where your ingredients came from?”
That’s why certified gluten free is always better because there’s a protocol in place. They’re actually testing those products to be 10 parts per million, sometimes five, sometimes three parts per million. They do it regularly. They check the batches. They find out if the raw ingredients are gluten free. They store them in a particular manner that makes sure that there’s no cross circulation of air, believe it or not.

Because think about it, a flower floats through the air that doesn’t contaminate the ingredients, it doesn’t contaminate the equipment. And that if it is processed, and I would tell people don’t flip out if something is made on the same equipment as other things that are made with wheat because if it’s certified gluten free they, number one, have to make sure that the equipment is really cleaned appropriately. And number two, they’re testing the batches.

There’s accountability there’s all that stuff. And yes, every once in a while there’s a recall. It’s not often but as with anything in life. So that’s why you want to focus your diet around real food. And if you want to indulge in a gluten free food product once in a while that’s alright. It’s not the end of the world. But I believe that real food is the best way to go. Plus, if you’ve been sick for a long time you want to get the most bang for your buck with nutrition. And frankly there’s a lot more nutrition in real food than there is in something like processed rice bar.

Dr. Veronica: Okay. Let’s talk about you have particular tips that I think are just excellent for people to think about. You ran over some of those tips as you were talking but let’s go through the few pointers that you like to tell people, when you’re going gluten free here are some tips that I want you to think about ahead of time. Not just looking at the gluten, you’ve talked about the certified versus the not certified rate. What other tips do you tell people when they’re going gluten free?

Jennifer: My number one rule that goes with that is don’t be a food detective. You’re not Food Babe. I know everybody’s like, Food Babe, she helped us find yoga mat material in our Subway sandwiches. That’s all well and good but you can’t find gluten in your food. I’m sorry. It does not work. You can’t scan an ingredients list…

Dr. Veronica: I’m in multiple of these very large gluten free Facebook groups and I cannot tell you, it angers me so much that people keep posting up pictures of the product with the ingredients and they’re like, “Do you think this is safe?” I’m like, “I’m sorry. Do any of us work for these companies? I don’t know what’s in this. I don’t know how it was processed. I don’t know anything.” Maybe the garlic was contaminated with gluten. Maybe the pasta sauce was contaminated with gluten because of [Unintelligible 00:32:11]

Dr. Veronica: I really think rule number one, because…

Jennifer: Don’t be a food detective.

Dr. Veronica: You hit a pain point for me with the Facebook groups. You have to realize being a physician who has holistic, real education and clinical experience, real, not just my experience of one, I go into these groups and it’s a peer-to-peer. And I see the reason why you’re sick is because you’re listening to your peer and not somebody who really knows something.

Jennifer: Correct.

Dr. Veronica: Rule number one should be don’t get your advice from Facebook. You need support but you need to invest some time into getting advice from people who really have some knowledge and background. So rule number one is going to be don’t get your advice from Facebook. What’s the matter with you?

Jennifer: Correct, I agree with you.

Dr. Veronica: Number one, don’t be the food label. Number two, let’s go and see some more.

Jennifer: Number two, do not buy from bulk bins. Even if you’re like, “Oh, but it’s rice but it’s nuts.” You don’t know where the spoon was put. You don’t know if they were cleaned. You don’t know anything. So no bulk bins unless you go into a dedicated gluten free grocery store.
You have to swap out your cutting board, any utensils. And yes, if you have bamboo or whatever, anything that’s wooden, wood-like has to go. You cannot use it anymore. If you’re going to do a toaster you got to get your own that’s separate from the other toaster. You can’t clean it. There’s no way. It’s not worth it.

And a pasta strainer is non-negotiable, unless it’s one of those really nice ceramic ones where it doesn’t have little tiny crevices. I would just say you got to get new ones because you’re never going to be able to clean all those little nooks and crannies if it’s like a wire or even a plastic one.

As far as condiments are concerned you have to have your own condiment jars. Here’s the thing. If you’re family is willing to do this with you and get on-board that makes life a whole lot easier, because then you’re just buying one of everything and everyone is agreeing within the household to just keep it gluten free. And that’s cool and that’s usually the easiest and the best way to go. And when everybody goes out they can eat whatever they want. The gluten free person eats gluten free and you can have a hamburger with a bun fine.

But if people are not willing to do that you have to have multiple condiments. You have to have ones that are marked for gluten free only and ones for everybody else. You cannot even share those squeeze bottles because if you actually watch people with squeeze bottles they touch the bread. So those bottles are contaminated so you can’t use those. Again, you have to get all new condiments any time the knife goes in new condiments. So it’s got to be brand new peanut butter, brand new jam, brand new whatever. And make sure they stay gluten free only.
You want to pay attention to body care products and especially lip products. Because ladies, Dr. Veronica, you know that you’re eating your lipstick. I eat my lipstick. We all know we’re all eating lipstick and it’s very common that gluten is added to lipstick to keep the… It’s like a binder as you said. It’s like glue. It helps hold things together.

Dr. Veronica: That’s the question about that when you’re talking about those products. What should people be looking for on the label to know whether or not it’s okay. Because you…

Jennifer: You really can’t.

Dr. Veronica: …and I can’t tell… This is what I tell to people. People say, “What should I buy and how do I know it’s good?” I said, “Listen, I don’t know. And so I know you don’t know.” If you think you know that’s fine but I can’t figure out this so you can’t figure out either. What do you tell people? Nobody wants to go like [Unintelligible 00:35:56], so what do you tell people about it? Are there products that are better or…?

Jennifer: Yes. There are products and companies that do serve these… We’re considered a specialty group, right? Anybody’ that’s looking for vegan cosmetics, or gluten free cosmetics, or allergen free cosmetics, any of that kind of stuff you’re a specialty group. And yes, there are companies that help work with us and are willing to go that extra mile.

That means that you really need to do some research. As far as I’m not the best resource for what makeup has gluten free in it but there is somebody who is. I don’t know her name but her website is And she is constantly reviewing stuff.

I’ll use Red Apple Lipstick. They’re really good. I apologize. There’s a bunch of companies, like I don’t even know their names anymore that will send me stuff and I’ll use. But I’m mainly concerned with what goes on or around or in my mouth. Anything dental I want to make sure my toothpaste is gluten free. My floss is gluten free. My mouthwash is gluten free. Lipstick, ChapStick, lip balm. I’m not personally so concerned with all the rest of my face like foundation and all that stuff because I don’t react to it. Some people have that issue where they do. And so for them it’s important to go all out.

That said with body care products I do have to use gluten free shampoo because my scalp gets incredibly scaly when it’s exposed to gluten. There are a few companies now that do offer really great gluten free body care products, Mineral Fusion is one. There are two companies that have certified their products as gluten free. Jason has a whole line that’s certified as does Avalon Organics. They were actually the first two body care products ever to get certified.

Dr. Veronica: Alright, I’m familiar with some of those…

Jennifer: Yeah, and they’re sold at Whole Foods and you can buy them on Amazon if you’re not in your Whole Foods. These aren’t crazy wackadoo companies. They’re major brands. Nature’s Gate is another good one. Kiss My Face is another good company as well. There’s a lot of companies now that they’re offering this.

And you also want to be careful of sunscreen because sunscreen does run down your face. You don’t realize if you’re rubbing it on who on earth goes to wash their hands after putting on sunscreen? Nobody. Actually I do have a list of gluten free sunscreens on my website that I posted a few weeks ago that I personally called the companies.

I checked the list that were old because everyone was referencing these lists from 2005 and I was like, that seems kind of old. I should call these companies. And I came to find that 85% of those lists were wrong. They weren’t correct. I have an updated list of all the companies that I personally contacted, that I spoke to somebody, or I got an email back explaining exactly what they did. That’s up on my website.

You have to be careful of supplements, over-the-counter drugs, and prescription drugs. So you need to speak, if you are gluten sensitive or you have celiac, you’ve got to avoid gluten, you have to tell your pharmacist every single time like, “Hey, can’t have gluten. Does this have gluten in it?” Remind them because sometimes they’ll change the formulary. Sometimes they’ll change suppliers. There can be all sorts of problems.

Your doctor’s not going to know that you’re now gluten sensitive. Dentists actually are a lot better about it than traditional doctors because they’re operating in your mouth. And so yes. Gloves are safe. Powdered gloves are okay. I actually called because of my dad, I thought, “Oh my gosh, all those powdered gloves,” and I was wearing the powdered gloves, and I thought I was getting gluten on my hands. And it turns out that they’re well aware of it. And so it’s cornstarch. If you have a corn allergy just FYI, powdered gloves have cornstarch on them.

Dr. Veronica: So true. There’s a couple of other things that you talk about like being aware of pet treats and things like that. And also if you’re gluten free to make sure you do your gluten free cooking first. And so that’s a great thing. Remember if you’re making multiple meals. But some other type of stuff that’s going on out here are for instance going to restaurants and apps and things like that. First, apps, what do you say about apps that help people with a gluten free lifestyle?

Jennifer: Apps can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. They are great because they give you options and it helps narrow down your search especially in whatever area you’re in, whether it’s your local area you’re traveling. The downside is that they’re crowd sourced. So just like you don’t like Facebook groups it’s sort of a similar situation that you have all these people who don’t know how to dine out, going to restaurants, don’t know how to ask the right questions, or just simply don’t know what to ask at all.

And then posting up the reviews, saying, “Oh my gosh, that food was amazing. The fries were fantastic.” I’ll show up to the restaurant and I’ll be like, “Do you have a dedicated fryer? Do you have this? Do you use that?” And then I’m like, “That review is completely wrong. The fries aren’t safe. Why are these people saying this is safe?” Because they don’t know.

You have to take the apps and any reviews with a total grain of salt and do your own homework. And to be honest with you I train clients on how to dine out. Because once you know how to do it it’s a lot easier. But it’s not as simple as just going and like, “I need gluten free.” That’s not enough to ensure that you’re [Unintelligible 00:41:39]

Dr. Veronica: When you say double and triple check your meal what do you mean by double and triple check your meal? How do you do that?

Jennifer: When a waiter comes to your table with your meal you say, “Wow, that looks great. That’s gluten free, right?” And then he’ll go, “I think it is.” “Okay. Could you double check that with the chef? Can you just double check that I got the right plate?”

The thing that’s always a concern is that when restaurants don’t serve on different plates… Some restaurants like P.F. Chang’s have totally different set of plates that identifies your meal. It separates your meal from the other people’s meal at the table.

Dr. Veronica: I’m glad you mentioned P.F. Chang’s because P.F. Chang’s is great at that, and how do I know why? Because I’m very sensitive to soy. Not all but I don’t know what P.F. Chang’s is doing. I would go to P.F. Chang’s I love to taste their food. I love it. And I’d get so sick always. I ate at another Chinese restaurant and eat a little bit of soy and I’d be fine. P.F. Chang’s I feel like I was going to die.

So one day everybody decided they were going to P.F. Chang’s. I’m not going to be the party pooper and say I can’t go there. I went. I got their menu that was gluten free, soy free, and I was absolutely fine. They obviously know how to do it. Because before I can tell you eat in that same restaurant I feel like we have to stop on the side of the road like you said because I thought I was going to die. I would have those kind of reactions.

Jennifer: There’s extra preparations that restaurants will go through. That’s why people get mad when their food takes so long to come out. I’m like, you know what, I’m getting a safe meal. I don’t care if I have to pay a dollar, two dollars, or three dollars extra. If I know that, number one, I’m not going to be running to the bathroom every 10 minutes, which is by the way embarrassing and humiliating depending on who you’re out with. And it just feels awful and you want to go home. So it doesn’t make dining out fun.

Number two, if it’s safe I’d rather eat safe food if it cost me a little bit extra than complain. I just thing we have to look at the bright side of things in life. I think a lot of people get very negative and skeptical, and they nitpick on things that don’t really matter. To me it’s more important to have safe food even if it means taking an extra five or ten minutes, or that it costs a little bit extra. I’d rather the restaurant go the extra mile.

Dr. Veronica: We mentioned P.F. Chang’s particularly because we have both found whatever they’re doing to keep people safe is working. In your experience have you found any other restaurant names that you know that you feel also have a really good protocol to keep people safe, or is it just restaurant to restaurant? Because I found P.F. Chang’s to be in the different ones, they seem to know how to do it.

Jennifer: There’s a protocol in place that restaurants as a chain will create. Some are certified by consultants to be able to handle gluten free diners like you and I. There’s a program through Beyond Celiac. They were formerly called the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. They have a program called Great Kitchens. And they train restaurants on how to handle gluten and such in the kitchen so that we will get safe food.

In the Philadelphia area The Couch Tomato is a great restaurant to go to. They’ve been trained. They proudly put emblem of the The Great Kitchen seal because they have to go through a process and keep getting that updated and renewed every so often. They’re great. There are some chains that are pretty good about it. I know Maggiano’s is really great about it.

Dr. Veronica: Oh really? Okay.

Jennifer: Seriously, go on a gluten free app like Find Me Gluten Free and start checking things out. They’ll usually be marked. They’ll tell you if they’ve gone through The Great Kitchen Program. Let me just give you one quick example.

There’s a restaurant in Philadelphia called Sazon. They’re amazing. It’s a Venezuelan restaurant. They’re certified gluten free through the The Great Kitchen Program. I thought that because I was ordering something off the menu, this is a while back and it was marked in the gluten free section that it was automatically gluten free. And I didn’t have to tell them that I was gluten free.

It turns out that what I ordered was fried in a shared fryer. That was the lesson to me, that if you’re gluten free no matter where you eat you have to tell them upfront. Even if you see it’s marked gluten free next to it, a kitchen has to go an extra mile when they know that you need to be gluten free. The responsibility is on to communicate that clearly, not just to pick something that looks good and call it a day and hope for the best. They’re not mind readers.

That was just [Unintelligible 00:46:35] and I’ve shared that with clients ever since then is to be very clear, be very upfront. The best thing to do is make reservations. Tell the person who takes the reservation, “Hey, by the way we have somebody in our party or I’m in the party and I’m gluten free.” Let them know upfront. Try not to dine out at the prime times. Don’t go to lunch at noon. Go at 11:45 when they’re not busy. Then you’re going to get more attention and they’re not going to be a rush in the back.

Or if you go out to dinner, depending on where you are just don’t go at the prime time. Make a reservation when you can. Be very clear with the waiter upfront. Ask for help if you need it. Talk to the chef if need be. And if you’re really just uncomfortable then thank them so much for trying to help you but say, “I’m not comfortable eating this.” It is what it is.

But there’s a lot more restaurants out there that are trying to cater to dietary needs than they were three years ago especially depending on where you live. But again, I don’t have any issues traveling anywhere. I traveled on a book tour and I was okay. You can go in any grocery store and find plenty of gluten free food even if they don’t have a gluten free section, because what, the whole produce section is gluten free.
And so I don’t want people to leave this conversation thinking this is like massively hard. So I guess it’s like becoming a parent, you got to figure it out. And to be honest with you, it shouldn’t take you more than two to three months to get this down. If you don’t have the time to do the research then you need to go get help and you need to ask somebody to help you that way you can get it done. Because the longer you expose yourself to gluten the leakier your gut will be. So take it back full circle.

The leakier your gut will be that unfortunately increase your risk as you share Dr. Veronica of increased food sensitivity. So increased reactions, increased being sick, increased autoimmunity, all sorts of things. It’s not like, “Oh I ate gluten in this one. I’ll wake up tomorrow and be fine.” No, it is a process that happens through your body over a series of days, weeks, months. So no one exposure is not just like, “Oops, that was this one meal and now I’m fine.” Not like that. Learn how to do it right the first time is the most efficient way and you’re going to get better faster.

Dr. Veronica: When we talk about doing it right I’m going to tell you from my perspective as a physician and doing coaching, very high level health coaching where I’m helping people with strategic eating and targeted supplement, what is doing it right to me look like?

First of all as Jennifer pointed out, going to somebody who knows how to ferret out the diagnosis in the first place or what’s going on or the sensitivity in the first place. This doesn’t happen in regular doctor’s offices. It just doesn’t happen at regular doctor offices. Realize it, deal with it, get over it. [Unintelligible 00:49:36] you’re going to have to make an investment of both time and money to find somebody who knows what they’re doing.

Why do I say the investment of time? Because people who know about this are just not around every corner so you may have to travel. They invest enough money because those of us who do this realize that insurance is not friendly to anybody who has these issues. And so therefore we don’t deal with insurance because they just make life more of a headache and say no, no, no. So upfront instead of dealing with insurances all day we say, “Here’s what it’s going to be. Here’s what we’re going to get. And we move in life.” So you’re going to have to make some type of financial investment.

So understand I just upfront want people to know that, if you’re not willing to make the investment… First of all you got to make the investment in good quality food. So if you’re willing to make the investment in good quality food then you’re going to stay sick. That’s just the bottom line.

But then expanding your team, so what else does the team look like? Once I’ve said, “Hey, this is what you’re sensitive to and you need to figure out how to do it.” And I give you the initial coaching and some initial background. And I’ve sent you to the computer with every day email about your first day it’s been gluten free. And here’s your little manual which is… Most doctors you realize they’re not doing it on this level. Then you have to find somebody to partner with you who’s going to help you do it even better level. And those are people like Jennifer. That’s why I say we got to have somebody here to start on the path.

But most of the time a lot of practitioners will say, “You have this. Don’t eat this.” And then they don’t tell you how to do it. And so when I do coaching, which is different than just giving out a diagnosis it’s, “Here’s how you start down the pathway.” But then you have to have partners for life.

You said to me, I know you hate these Facebook groups. No, I don’t hate Facebook groups. I think they’re very entertaining because there’s a lot of misinformation on it. So I don’t hate them because they make me laugh most of the time. But on the other side, the more serious side I get concerned that people rather than going to experts, true experts who know…

Listen, I’m not an expert. I’m not authority. An expert is somebody who’s self-proclaimed. I have no education, training, and experience. I’m an authority, you’re an expert. Stop it with the Facebook experts and get people who have real background authority. Jennifer would be one of those people too because she has some real education and training that backs up her personal experience, and now she’s worked with a lot of people. Plus she was in there with that seeing real patients.

If I can’t say it anymore, where people fail the most, number one secret is you have to have the right team.

Jennifer: You do.

Dr. Veronica: People fail. You go to university of Google. You have all the pieces, you’ve done all the reading, you’re a cocktail party expert but yet you can’t implement it and you’re running to the bathroom every other day. Here we are.

Now, here’s the good piece about this. Jennifer has a gift. She has her free cheat sheet for her favorite gluten free brands. Everybody goes wild because, “I want to eat bread. I love bread.” People are addicted to bread.

Jennifer: I know.

Dr. Veronica: If you’re addicted to bread and think you can’t go off of it, that’s a neurotransmitter hormonal problem and we need to straighten that out. And then that makes your gluten free journey better.

Let me just say it again. If you feel like you can’t give up, and I say give up gluten. And you feel like you want to murder me because I told you to get off of gluten. That means your hormones or your neurotransmitters are out of balance and there’s ways through strategic heating and targeted supplements getting back in the balance and then you can do it. But then you’re going to go You get that free gift from Jennifer. Gluten Free School. If you Google just Gluten Free School, Jennifer’s going to come up.

I was just surfing the web one day and I just found her. And then we found out we’re close to each other geographically and that was pretty cool. Jennifer I thank you. I’m sorry that you were sick in the beginning of your life but it’s ended up being a blessing for a lot of people. And so for people like me, I can hand them off to you because I don’t want to sit around and talk about gluten all day and all night. Go to Jennifer. What you have, talk to Jennifer.

Jennifer: There’s tons of free, great content on Gluten Free School. I went through the work and I’ve compiled everything. I keep it up to date. Like I said, I called the sunscreen companies. You don’t have to do that. I believe that if I’m going to give out information it’s something that I’ve referenced, that if I’m going to make a claim there’s going to be a scientific reference that’s based in real evidence to back things up. Not just something like mouse study and say, this is…

No, we’ve got to look at this from a real science perspective. If we want to be taken seriously as a community then we need to do the diligence behind, ensuring that the information we’re providing people is accurate. And I know people are busy. I know that they don’t know all this stuff. They don’t have time to go get a master’s degree in nutrition. They don’t have time to go and just do everything that you’ve done Dr. Veronica.

And so I think that’s the real big piece to this is being willing to get a team together than help you navigate from point A to point B, my goodness think about all the time you save not being sick anymore.

Dr. Veronica: Yeah, that’s right. We take our knowledge together. I tell people, “Listen, by the time I’ve gotten to this point in my career I go… My wheels are turning and those are half a million dollar cogs in there and I’m willing to shortcut and give you my half a million dollars of information. You add it all with other people who have that kind of information that really works. And they get results.

Jennifer has all these tools to help you get results in your life. I want to thank you for being on the Wellness revolution, that gluten free is not just a weight loss plan, it’s not a weight loss plan. It’s a way of life for people who have sensitivities. Thank you Jennifer.

Jennifer: Thank you so much Dr. Veronica for having me. I really appreciate it.

Female VO: Thank you for listening to the Wellness Revolution Podcast. If you want to hear more on how to bring wellness into your life visit See you all next week. Take care.


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Medical Intuitive, Functional Medicine Doctor, Functional Medicine New York, ManhattanDr. Veronica Anderson is an MD, Functional Medicine practitioner, Homeopath. and Medical Intuitive. As a national speaker and designer of the Functional Fix and Rejuvenation Journey programs, she helps people who feel like their doctors have failed them. She advocates science-based natural, holistic, and complementary treatments to address the root cause of disease. Dr. Veronica is a highly-sought guest on national television and syndicated radio and hosts her own radio show, Wellness for the REAL World, on FOX Sports 920 AM “the Jersey” on Mondays at 7:00 pm ET.