How to be wheat and gluten free

There is a lot of talk about the various intolerances humans have to foodstuffs. Like milk (shame). Today’s tremendous trivia post gives one such intolerance-activating substance the limelight. Hello, Gluten.

Gluten is the elastic protein present in wheat, rye and barley (and oats, to a lesser degree). It binds the dough in bread and other baked goods, giving them their spongy consistency.

Many people are realising that they have an intolerance to Gluten – which can cause mild to serious discomfort, but is fortunately not life threatening. In these instances, people can be guided by how they feel. Feelings, you know.

Then there are people who are actually allergic to Gluten, which is a different story.

Known as Coeliac disease, a full blown allergy to Gluten means consumption of it causes permanent damage to the small intestines. This is a dangerous thing indeed, and untreated can cause serious complications. In such cases, people can’t be guided by how they feel and need to avoid Gluten like the plague. The good news is, that if you have Coeliac disease you’d know all about it, as the symptoms are clear and persistent and present in children during their first two years.

Intolerance and allergies aside, many people are choosing to go Gluten-free anyway. Research is showing that eating large amounts of Gluten regularly irritates the small intestines (even if we don’t notice on a day to day basis) and hinders vitamin uptake leading to nutritional deficiencies over time. Eish.

Some easy ways to start kicking Gluten out of your diet:

– Prepare your meats simply (roasted and boiling) and avoid crumbing them
– have plain salads and veggies (avoid sauces and coutons)
– replace wheaty stuff with sweet and plan potatoes, corn, rice and beans
– eat lots of fruit (will that ever change?)
– buy breads and baked goodies that are made from alternative flours
– use alternative flours when you bake (rice, soy, tapioca, potato flours)
– Buy breakfast cereals that are made from rice or corn.

Finally, justification for eating Coco pops for breakfast. Some things to look out for in product ingredient lists if you want to avoid Gluten (check the packets people):

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein; Vegetable protein; Malt and malt flavorings; Starches (unless specified as corn starch, which does not contain gluten); Various flavorings; Vegetable gum and Emulsifiers*

If you are wanting to make the switch, the Wellness Warehouse foodmarket is a great place to start. They sell a range of gluten-free breads, flours and other products.

Also, the Wellness Warehouse has a cool blog about being healthy. That’s the wrap on Gluten. Over.

* some info taken from this site.