What is: Gluten

In the last five years the prevalence of gluten intolerance has sky rocketed. It seems like more and more people are becoming educated on Celiac Disease and what it means to be gluten intolerant. Then there are people who have taken on the gluten-free diet without having the intolerance.

There are certain things that everyone knows about gluten – the diet is expensive for one, and people cannot eat simple things like pasta, bread or sweets. But what is gluten? Why are people sensitive to it?

Gluten is a general name for proteins found in wheat products. It is the “glue” that helps food keep their shape. It is found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale. In people with Celiac Disease, the proteins that are gluten make symptoms such as inflammation in the intestines. Typically eating gluten free will alleviate those problems in Celiac patients.

Some people think that gluten free diets are similar to low-carb diets. They can be, but gluten free food is not sugar-free and often not carbohydrate free either, so beware when something is labeled “gluten free” that it is NOT carb free.

For example, people on gluten free diets can indulge in fruit until their heart’s content. Diabetics can not do this.

If you are participating in a gluten free diet, brown or wild rice, millet, buckwheat (kasha), and quinoa are nutritious, high-fiber whole grains that you can still enjoy. They are nutritious and are not full of empty calories and high glycemic carbohydrates. Fruit and vegetables are essential to a gluten free diet to ensure that you are receiving the proper vitamins and nutrients.

A little tip for all of you reading this that are NOT on a gluten free diet. When baking, do not ever overmix your flour because you WILL activate the gluten in it and since gluten gives food shape, it will make your pastry tough. 

For a comprehensive list of what foods to eat and not eat on a gluten free diet, check out this article from the Mayo Clinic website.

Here are some of Quarter Past Normal’s Recipes that are gluten free and delightfully delicious!

Chicken with Yellow Cauli-Rice

Cuban Hamburger and Portabella Mushroom

Pulled Pork and Slaw Tacos (Just omit the shells)

Low Carb Meringue Cookies

Deconstructed Eggroll

Bacon Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Turkey Sausage and Peppers

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Cauliflower Mashed

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