What about wheat on the low nickel diet?

Do you love bread, crackers and pasta? I sure do and I wasn’t about to give them up when I diagnosed with a systemic nickel allergy. You’ve probably seen how I enjoy baking all kinds of homemade pies, breads and other desserts with gluten. Perhaps you’ve wondered or noticed a distinction between white flour and whole grain flour on the various low nickel diet lists.

White flour, often also called all-purpose flour, is lower in nickel than whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour, flaxseed flour and nut based flour. Is white flour the same as bleached or enriched flour? The short answer is most often yes, but always check the label to make sure. Here’s a great article about the difference between bleached and unbleached flour. As long as I eat something made with white flour and not whole wheat flour, I haven’t experienced issues with it being unbleached or bleached white flour. My preferred brands are Gold Medal unbleached all purpose white flour or King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour.

Cooking at home using low nickel cookware is recommended to be the best option for those of us with nickel allergies. Processed foods can contain hidden ingredients that aren’t always properly labeled or the manufacturer will change the ingredients and unless you read the label each time you might not notice.

Processed breads even made with white flour can be a challenge to find without soybean oil or soy lecithin. I used to purchase bread from a local bakery that used olive oil instead of soybean oil. Overtime it became really expensive and a hassle, so I began making my own homemade bread using a Cuisinart Bread maker I found at a local thrift store for $15.00. I didn’t want to purchase it new, because it does contain stainless steel and I didn’t know if I skin would tolerate it. So far, I love cooking my own white bread and using the bread maker and bread flour and neither seem to impact my skin.

Bread flour tends to be flour with more gluten or protein than traditional all-purpose white flours and can be white or whole grain. My favorite homemade roll recipe is this Sweet Dinner Rolls bread machine recipe that’s an absolute hit whenever we take it to a gathering!

Rice flour and banana flour are gluten free low nickel alternatives. I’ve wanted to try them both, but haven’t yet. I know some of us with nickel food allergies go gluten free as they cannot tolerate any wheat products. What’s tricky about processed gluten free products is many rely on the high nickel foods of seeds, nuts or soy to remain gluten free, which can pose problems for those with nickel food allergies. Gluten is also hidden in all kinds of things, like malt vinegar, medications and cosmetic products like lip balm and toothpaste.

My favorite low nickel sweet dinner rolls that literally melt in your mouth!

In 2017 a study was published arguing that as celiacs disease becomes more common, there’s been an increase in individuals self-diagnosing themselves as gluten intolerant when they may not actually have celiacs disease. Though the study’s finding are intriguing, what I don’t like about this study is that 6 out of 60 experienced both a “non-celiac wheat sensitivity” (NCWS) and contact nickel allergy. The low sample of participants overall and who meet both requirements is such a small sample I question whether the data can be replicated with a larger sample. The authors do note “Consequently, our results cannot be extended to the broad population of self-treated or diagnosed NCWS patients. The sample size of NCWS patients was relatively small and it must be remembered that the general prevalence of nickel allergy in western countries is high and similar to the prevalence reported in NCWS patients in our study.”

Despite the study’s low sample, the question still remains. Can you tolerate white flour or do you avoid all wheat products by choice or because you do have celiacs disease or are gluten intolerant? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below!

12 comments
  1. It is common for women with nickel food allergy to also have hashimotos. In that case eating gluten causes the body to attack the thyroid. I have this. Mold in environment (inside walls and under floorin, was hidden) triggered my nickel contact allergy to become systemic and gave me hashimotos which makes me not tolerate gluten. Symptoms the day after eating gluten are a soreness in the thyroid, anxiety and depression. I am not usually anxious or depressed.

    1. Hi Greta,
      Thanks for your comment. That all sounds awful. I forgot I lived in an apartment with terrible mold in the walls, especially in thr bathroom in 2007. It was a serious health hazard and could have contributed to my systemic nickel allergy diagnosis in 2009. I did move out of there mid-2008 thankfully. It’s a great reminder how our environment impacts our overall health.
      Warm rewards,
      Christy

  2. I’ve found rice flour to be a problem. Rice flour can be made with either white rice or brown rice with no difference on the label. Actually, I’m currently riding out a reaction from something that must have been made with brown rice flour. It took us a while to figure out the source, because I’d had things with rice flour before and been perfectly fine, but that particular soup base set me off every time. This time I looked up exactly what rice flour meant and found the problem. I’m just glad that it’s not some new allergy. I’m having a hard enough time avoiding nickel, lactose, onions/aloe, cobalt, fluoride, ect.

    Please share the name of the store where you bought the bread! Hopefully it’s close. I live in Utah too, but it’s been a real struggle for me to find baked goods that didn’t have seed oil or bran or sprouted wheat or soy, and I haven’t found a single bakery that was willing to specially make something without those things either. I’ve found a cookie shop that makes amazing lemon glazed cookies, and that’s it. I’ve bought a bread maker too, but with my long list of debilitating illnesses I have to spend my upright time very, very frugally. With my current energy levels, making bread means I’m not making any meals that day, so it’s just not a good idea. No one is willing to make bread for me either, but getting someone to go buy me some bread is much easier.

    1. Hi Lanae,
      Thanks for your comment. I don’t think I’ve tried bread from rice flour. I bet it tastes good. I’ve able to tolerate Rice Dream Rice Milk, which is made from brown rice, but otherwise I rarely eat brown rice. 

      I like to buy the white french loaf from Harmon’s. It’s expensive, but if you buy 10 they’ll give you one loaf free of charge if you use their foodie card. Many of their other breads contain soy and they will slice it for you on a metal machine. Before you buy it, I’d ask them to give you a list of the ingredients used to make sure they still don’t use soy in it.

      Warm regards,
      Christy

  3. After living with nickel allergies for the past 46 years I have discovered 3 natural items that have been life changing. The first is EDTA, (available over the counter) which is an amino acid. I used EDTA to detox and remove nickel from my body (chelation therapy). Your doctor can also prescribe medication for chelation therapy, such as Disulfiram. The second is iron. Getting enough iron makes it more difficult for the body to absorb nickel from the foods that you eat. The third item is vitamin C. Taking 250 mg of vitamin C each time you eat is a little like a person who is lactose intolerant taking a Lactaid pill. The vitamin C causes the body to not absorb nickel. Seriously, I can eat chocolate pie, nuts, baking soda or soy in baked goods, without getting a migraine/vomiting/diarrhea for the first time in 20+ years. I still can get the fidgety, all over itchiness and rashes or occasional hive but to have foods high in nickel occasionayl or not get sick from eating out is something I had thought I’d never do again. Here is a source of good info: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2923958/

    1. Hi Suzanne,
      Thanks for your comment and appreciation for my website. I have heard from some others who’ve tried EDTA successfully as a chelation therapy for systemic nickel allergies. I have never tried it, so I haven’t written about it. I have written about how vitamin C reduces your body’s nickel absorption. That wonderful that method helps you so much that you can continue to eat foods higher in nickel occasionally!
      Warm regards
      ,Christy

  4. Can you tell me if grape seed oil has nickel. I think it maybe causing me a problem; that or and olive oil as I cook with live oil.

    1. Hi Judy,
      Thanks for your comment. I cook often with olive oil, practically every day if not more than once a day, as it’s lower in nickel. Grapeseed is also lower in nickel.
      Warm regards,
      Christy

  5. I was recently finally diagnosed with a nickel allergy. Thank you for this site which I just discovered. Along your journey did you have an allergist do skin testing for food allergies? I am also a Type I diabetic. In my initial quest for diet information I see the base of my usual diet is mostly included in the “avoid” lists. I am trying to narrow down the list of fruits and vegetables that trigger my allergy.

    1. Stefanie,
      Thanks for your comment. Skin patch testing is the most accurate type of test for diagnosing a nickel allergy and then follow-up with an elimination diet, which would be the low nickel diet for 4-6 weeks. I talk more about my story in this post. It may be beneficial to use a food journal to identify what foods you can tolerate overtime and then to meet with a nutritionist. You might find my low nickel shopping list useful
      place to begin and eliminate foods you know to avoid as a diabetic.
      Warm regards,
      Christy

  6. Hi Christy,

    Thank you for this wonderful site. It makes me smile every time I read another category . I was just diagnosed with a nickel allergy. I am a little confused about the Flour. Each King Arthur and Gold Medal unbleached all purpose white flour I have seen at the stores stated bleached wheat flour. Would this still be ok since it states wheat? I want to make your banana bread but was hesitate to buy this flour. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Again thank you for putting up this site to help so many people.

    1. Hi Cristina,
      Thanks for your comment and appreciation for my website. Using white flour and not whole wheat flour is the goal. I have used both bleached and unbleached white flour without any issues. Personally I prefer to use unbleached flour as it isn’t treated with (as many) chemicals, like bleached flour.
      Warm regards,
      Christy

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