What the gluten?

“So, what is gluten?”

I realized after being asked the question that I didn’t really have a good answer, so I did some research.

Gluten is a binding protein.  For people with celiac disease, it is the cause of intestinal damage and an array of other symptoms, for which the only cure is lifelong gluten-free eating.  Gluten sensitivity doesn’t necessarily cause damage, but the symptoms can be just as uncomfortable.   Gluten is found in certain grains such as wheat, barley, and rye and is what keeps things like muffins from becoming crumbly messes. You might be surprised to know some of the things that contain gluten. For more information, check out this website by the Canadian Celiac Association.

Here’s a starting list of some foods to be careful of when starting a gluten free diet:

  • White Flour
  • Durum Wheat
  • Graham Flour
  • Triticale
  • Kamut
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Wheat Germ
  • Wheat Bran
  • Beer
    – there are quite a few gluten free beer brands available.  I’ve tried both Bard’s and New Grist, both of which were decent, but if you’re a beer expert you may want to do some more testing
  • Gravy
  • Dressing
  • Sauces
  • Lunch meats and processed meat
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Some cheese rinds (Like brie, for example. Double check the brand just in case)
  • Chips
    – Lays has gluten free chips, as does Old Dutch brand and Kettle Chips
  • Candy
  • Soy Sauce
    – Kikkoman has a gluten free version
  • Rice and Pasta mixes
  • Oats (A bit of a touchy subject, but generally they seem to be ok for people with a sensitivity, although a lot of professionals recommend limiting oats as the factories they’re processed in generally process wheat.  Hopefully more information will be available about this soon.)

The best way to make sure what you’re eating is gluten free is to check the label.  Most gluten free brands will advertise as being gluten free, but if you’re not sure, do a quick search on their website.  If you’re new to being gluten free, check out my other post Starting Gluten-free.

Until next time!

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