I have read elsewhere on the internet that “natural flavors” rarely contain gluten. This is simply not true.

I am writing on this topic today because I have been rather miserably spending the evening in the bathroom yet again. I won’t revolt you with the details but suffice it to say that once again I got up this morning and looked at the sort of belly that comes only from a gluten reaction or a second trimester pregnancy. And now I am getting my normal body back again the hard way.

And what, you may wonder, was the offending food?

A pre-made margarita.

Now on the one hand, there is no need for cocktails to profess their gluten status or their nut status or really give us any information whatsoever about their ingredients. That said, margaritas are generally a combination of tequila (gluten-free) triple-sec (gluten-free) and lime juice (allergen-free). Salt is also not an issue.

And sure, sometimes they use sweet and sour mix but in general I drink margaritas without any gluten issues. I may have tequila issues, but no gluten issues. Margaritas may cause me to be more opinionated, but not sleepy or bloated. However last night, I ate only my own food prepared at home and these margaritas. And I had so little margaritas that there were literally zero tequila issues.

But boy howdy were there gluten issues.

Now here is the thing, if you saw “natural flavors” on margarita mix, wouldn’t you think that they were related to citrus? I would. But no, based on the evening I have had, somehow, some way, they got gluten in them there “natural flavors”

I also felt the need to post on this topic because a month ago, I contacted Hain’s Foods which makes a Safflower Oil Mayonnaise that I love. It did not say gluten-free but really the only possible source of gluten on that label was “natural flavors”. Everything else could not possibly contain gluten. That said someone told me it had gluten in it. Two phone calls and two emails later I had my answer.

The natural flavors contained gluten. The manufacturer themselves told me to stop eating it.

I did not. I tried instead to see if I reacted. Normally I don’t eat a lot of mayonnaise. A tablespoon a day is a big day. So to see if there was an issue I went on and tried eating a lot of it. Macaroni salad anyone?

Sure enough, there it was. The pot belly of doom.

So to make a long story short, if you see natural flavors on a label and you do NOT see the GF symbol or other attestations to the gluten-free status of a food, do not eat it. Call the manufacturer. Email them. Get a straight answer.

Eventually they will get the message.

And in the meantime have some nice American wine.