WHAT IS A GLUTEN FREE DIET?
If you or someone you know has cut out gluten, it can mean a total diet revamp. This can seem a bit overwhelming at first.
In this article we will briefly explain what a gluten free diet means.
As awareness of celiac disease becomes increasingly widespread, the popularity of the gluten free diet continues to grow. Unlike many modern diets, the gluten free diet is more than just a fad –for people with celiac disease and wheat allergies or sensitivities, it’s a medical necessity.
Even a decade ago, the gluten free diet was largely a mystery except to people with celiac disease, who followed it as a matter of medical necessity. Today, however, going gluten free has become something of a trend. Some people mistakenly believe that a gluten free diet is the key to weight loss, though many who follow the diet for this reason have very little knowledge about the diet or about gluten at all.
While there are certainly those who misunderstand the gluten free diet, its rise in popularity has led to a surge in awareness among the general public and the food industry regarding celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten free diet in general. Restaurants have started to offer gluten free menus and gluten free food manufacturers are growing more and more numerous.
Now more than ever, it is possible to follow the gluten free diet without completely overhauling your life. You will have to make certain changes – especially if you have celiac disease – but the transition may be less cataclysmic than it once was.
Gluten is a family of proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye. Glutenin and gliadin are the two primary proteins found in these grains and they play a role in giving gluten-containing foods like dough its elasticity and bread its spongy texture.
On its own, gluten is not a harmful substance. In fact, most people tolerate gluten perfectly well. The problem occurs when the body mistakenly recognizes gluten as a foreign substance and launches a systemic attack against it. Celiac disease, for example, is an autoimmune condition in which the body recognizes gluten as a foreign invader and acts out against it. In the process, however, healthy cells lining the walls of the small intestine sustain damage which inhibits the body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients from food.
A GLUTEN FREE DIET IS SIMPLY A DIET MADE UP OF GLUTEN FREE FOODS
So, what are the foods that are most likely to contain gluten?
Wheat - Spelt - Kamut - Triticale - Durum - Einkorn - Farina - Semolina - Cake Flour - Matzo - Couscous - Barley - Malt - Rye - Cereal - Cakes - Cookies - Crackers - Pretzels - Pasta - Pizza Crust
Many of the foods on the list above may seem like obvious sources of gluten. The foods below contain “hidden” gluten or that may be cross-contaminated with it. Here are some of those foods:
Breaded Meat - Processed Cheese - Fried Foods - Baking Mixes - Cheesecake Filling - Chicken Broth - Granola - Protein Bars - Multigrain Chips - Soy Sauce - Imitation Crab - Artificial Flavors - Licorice and Candy - Creamy Soups - Salad Dressings - Seasonings - Beer - Malt Liquor
Now that you have an idea of which foods contain gluten or are likely to contain gluten you have a foundation of knowledge on which to build your gluten free diet.
YOU CAN FIND 54 OF THE BEST GLUTEN FREE RECIPES HERE