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Gluten in my tea?!?

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  • Gluten in my tea?!?

    I was just about to sing the praises of Roastaroma, this new tea I picked up at Whole Foods tonight. I was even gonna write a Shakespearean Sonnet about it...

    I've been taking a break from coffee and dairy lately, and recently discovered the hot yumminess of Chai Tea bags with unsweetened almond milk, vanilla extract, some stevia drops, and a T of Coconut Oil. This is a delicious start to my day, and gives me a more grounded caffeine buzz than my usual coffee dose.

    Being SO satisfied with that, I was yearning for a caffeine- free version to serve as an after dinner drink. I don't keep anything sweet in the house, even taking a break from fruit for a few weeks. My diet consists of organic veggies (some fermented), all kinds of grassfed/ free range/ wild caught animals and their glorious fats, coconut oil and olive oil, apple cider vinegar, herbs and spices, celtic sea salt, stevia drops and almond milk in my hot beverages, and that's about it for now.

    SO....I went back to whole foods (feel like I live there these days), in search of an evening brew sans caffeine. And there it was....Roastaroma! A Celestial Seasonings caffeine-free version of a coffee stand in. I looked no more.

    I finished my dinner of a bison steak seasoned and cooked in coconut oil over a bed of spinach dressed in olive and walnut oil and ACV. Not a very exciting meal, which made me even more excited to brew a few bags of my new friend in a tea pot. I added my same concoction as the morning version, and took a heavenly sip. Delicious! I wanted to share the glories of this simple pleasure, so I picked up the box and read the ingredients....

    ( I realize I should have done that at the market, but for an herbal tea, I guess I just automatically trusted...)

    Grains in my tea?!? Good Grief!

    Ingredients: Roasted barley, roasted carob, roasted chicory, and some woodsy spices.

    And written on the bottom: "contains gluten."

    So, I know this may seem ridiculous, and trivial, and not worthy of a post, but I'm wondering if it's really not a big deal, or if I should really not drink it. It's tea, so it has no nutritional value, but it kinda irks me that it has gluten, since I've cleaned up my diet and lifetstyle so much over the past 3 months, gluten being the first thing to go, and with ease.

    As I greatly respect the collective insights, knowledge, experience and humor of this forum, I could use some tonight. I know it's silly, and I could chalk it up to my 20%, or just not drink it. I guess, I just wanted to share the incident with the only people that would understand and have a laugh with me! The irony! My diet is the cleanest it's ever been, which led me to seek an herbal tea as my dessert!

    Gluten in my tea. It's actually pretty funny!

    Thanks for reading.

  • #2
    I have a soy allergy and often come across soy in herbal teas too. No idea why.
    The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. - Thomas Edison

    Vancouver Island Primal and Paleo Living <<< join our Facebook Group


    • #3
      <whine>When I was first dealing with grain sensitivities, they were fierce and I would get quite acutely ill. I found that I reacted to many loose and bagged teas, both herbal and Camellia sinensis, which had no obvious ingredients of concern on the label.

      This was just one of many, many apparently non-sensical experiences which eventually made sense when researched deeply enough, but never ceased to be incredibly frustrating. What I learned was that flavorings, which themselves alone might be gluten-free, might come to the manufacturer in a vehicle (liquid or powder) that is grain based. The vehicle need not be described in the ingredients. The ingredients list is considered accurate if it lists the flavoring agent by name. In liquid foods, flavorings usually come in a grain alcohol vehicle, for instance. The grain alcohol needn't be listed. You just have to know! Crazy.

      In teas, I learned that nothing incorporated into the packaging, like corn starch used to finish the tea bag (FCOL!) needn't be listed. </whine>


      • #4
        That sucks, although it shouldn't suprise me that a corporation would be so cheap they'd put it in there. I know the chicory's supposed to perk the flavor a bit, but I'm guessing soy, barley, etc. are tossed in to cut the product. Just like cutting coke w/ baking soda.


        • #5
          I don't think it's necessarily to make production cheaper. Roasted grains can taste GOOD. I've always been very fond of the roasted rice/green tea combo.

          Don't beat yourself up about not reading the ingredients. I wouldn't have thought herbal tea had gluten either.

          But, no, do not consume. 20% should never include gluten, in my opinion.

          Very good and entertaining post, btw.
          Because if you didn't know, of that is life made: only of moments; Don't lose the now.


          • #6
            I would say it depends on your reaction to it. I personally wouldn't sweat it unless you are quite sensitive to it. Here is why.

            Gluten is a protein. That means it is fairly large. I rather doubt that drinking a brewed tea is going to end up containing a large amount of gluten.

            If however you are sensitive to it it might not be worth the risk. Me? I'd drink it. But then I'm not 100% strict about things that keep me from ever eating pizza!


            • #7
              ya, I actually was given a packet of "relaxation" herbal tea recently that had barley. I'd been very excited about it but checked the ingredients mainly to see if it had Valerian (Which tends to knock me out pretty hard, so I would have wanted to set a back up alarm clock.)

              Apparently roasted barely is a common ingredient in Korean tea. who knew?


              • #8
                Thanks everyone for your replies. I decided I'm not gonna drink it. I'm sure there's another caffeine free (GLUTEN FREE) option that has a rich woodsy flavor (suggestions would be awesome!). Or even decaf Chai. I will certainly be reading tea ingredients in the we know what happens when we assume (ASS +U+ME)!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SOBE Grok-Star View Post
                  Grains in my tea?!? Good Grief!

                  Ingredients: Roasted barley, roasted carob, roasted chicory, and some woodsy spices.

                  And written on the bottom: "contains gluten."

                  So, I know this may seem ridiculous, and trivial, and not worthy of a post, but I'm wondering if it's really not a big deal, or if I should really not drink it. It's tea, so it has no nutritional value, but it kinda irks me that it has gluten, since I've cleaned up my diet and lifetstyle so much over the past 3 months, gluten being the first thing to go, and with ease.
                  Myself I think that additives like awful glucose syrup and ghastly rapeseed oil cropping up in just about any processed food is a kind of imposition on the public.

                  Roasted barley in a "herbal tea"? No, I don't think so. If people want to avoid coffee (even decaffeinated), then the replacement has to have something that will give it a bit of body. I think using roasted barley as a coffee-substitute probably goes back some way.

                  You could argue that it shouldn't be called tea - that tea should be made from camellia sinensis. But calling all hot drinks "tea" is just common English usage. Once tea began to be imported and drunk in any quantity, it's name just became something familiar that was extended to pretty much all existing hot drinks - herbal "teas" as they'd be called now. So nowadays we get "camomile tea", "lime flower tea", etc. Heck, people even began to call beef broth "beef tea"! If soup can be "tea", I guess anything can.

                  As for whether infusions of roasted barley are harmful - there are probably opinions on that but whether there's a hard-and-fast rule that applies to everyone ... well, I'd be sceptical. Do you notice any reaction? If you do, maybe coffee is the lesser of two weevils.

                  Sorry, you also said is there another coffee-substitute which is gluten-free?

                  Robb Wolf who does a "Paleo" podcast recommends something called Rajah's Cup. I don't listen to his podcast any more, as I find him a little fanatical and his podcast a bit repetitive, but I do recall that. Actually, his accent tripped me up and I wondered why anyone would call a drink "Roger's Cup". But it's Rajah. You should be able to find it by googling - it's very expensive and it does come from the "Maharishi", so you will be subsidizing a bunch of loonies run by a large-scale exploiter if you do buy it. But there's an option.
                  Last edited by Lewis; 12-08-2010, 11:21 AM.


                  • #10
                    I haven't even seen Roastaroma for sale in years, but I always loved it!

                    Roasted chicory gives just about everything that "rich woodsy flavor" so look for teas containing it as an ingredient - Yogi Tea has a couple blends.

                    I also like rooibos teas for that kind of flavor - Celestial Seasonings' Madagascar Vanilla Red Tea is pretty good. My local coffee shop carries an incredible rooibos blend called "African Elixer," but I have no idea what the brand is - maybe this one?

                    Anyway, happy steeping!
                    The Primal Holla! Eating fat. Getting lean. Being awesome.

                    You were sick, but now you're well, and there's work to do. - Kilgore Trout


                    • #11
                      Great suggestions, guys and dolls!

                      I will try some rooibos on my next visit to Whole Foods (my 2nd home). I don't have a gluten intolerance, but when I read the PB cover to cover back in september, it resonated so much that I gave up all of the poisons immediately and never looked back (ok, maybe some sweets on a rare, self-sabotaging occasion, but not grains). I've now eliminated everything except animals, non-starchy veg, and some unrefined oils (some almond milk in my hot "teas"). While I didn't do this for weight-loss, my body is clinging onto my reserves for dear life. I've recently accepted the fact that I will lose these stubborn 5-7 pounds when I stop paying so much attention to them, or simply not lose them at all. I'm not overweight, just would really prefer to be a little leaner. No big deal. (I'm 31, 5'3, 120 lbs, 22% body fat, BMI 20). I do live in one of the sexiest places in the country, Miami Beach, and there are fricken models EVERYWHERE! But that's ok.

                      The important thing is that I am healthy and believe in this lifestyle for the long run. I do think my bones and organs are denser now, and I would like to have children in the near future, so in terms of health and vitality, I'm there. It's the vanity thing I'm workin on! Progress, not perfection! And the realization that we are all perfect in our imperfections.

                      Maybe that was a little TMI for a tea post, but I was on a roll.



                      • #12
                        Small quantities of gluten aren't trivial. Here's a cite:

                        A milligram of gluten a day keeps the mucosal recovery away: a case report.
                        Biagi F, Campanella J, Martucci S, Pezzimenti D, Ciclitira PJ, Ellis HJ, Corazza GR.
                        IRCCS Policlinico S Matteo, University of Pavia, Italy.

                        This paper can be accessed at: ""

                        The author reports a case of a celiac patient in whom the ingestion of a milligram of gluten every day for 2 years prevented recovery.