You might wonder, why on Earth should I care what foods contain gluten? It is a valid question. First off, here’s a nice detailed, scientific explanation. It’s part of the proteins gliadin and glutenin, which are components of the endosperms of grains like wheat, rye, and barley. Nice, huh? Put simply, gluten is one of the chief ingredients of flour, and all flour-based products.
Now, if you happen to be one of the one in one hundred and thirty-three people who have an allergy to gluten, you have to avoid a great many foods; far more than you might imagine.
They suffer from a disorder known as Celiac Disease, which means their body rejects gluten. Eating it can lead to something as simple as gas, bloating, and diarrhea and fatigue, or what is known as anaphylactic shock. If not treated promptly, it can prove fatal.
So, that brings up the key point, what foods are we talking about?
Foods to Avoid
Some are quite obvious: bread products, pasta, beer, rye, brown rice syrup, chips and potato chips. Yet, there is a little-known fact about gluten; it is used as what is known as a stabilizing agent in many food products. Yet, it is often not listed on the ingredient inventory.
This can pose a real problem for anyone allergic to gluten. As a result, it can turn up in foods like ice cream, ketchup, different kinds of candies, cold cuts, hot dogs, salami, sausage, and even Communion wafer. Many ethnic foods contain it, such as Matzo, seasoned tortilla chips, and soy sauce.
On the plus side, there are many foods that are easy for you to figure out if they are acceptable for a gluten-free diet. But, as mentioned above, others are not so easy. These are the questionable items. Below is only a partial list of some foods that you can still eat, even on a gluten-free diet.
Foods You Can Eat on a Gluten-Free Diet
There is Amaranth, commonly known as pigweed. Not the nicest of names, but it is an ideal wheat substitute, and has a fine flavour. Arrowroot is another one. It’s perfect if you want to make anything from biscuits to hot sauces, from jellies to noodles. It also works as a seasoning, adding a nice flavour to foods.
As a little side note, the Koreans use it quite extensively in their foods. Buckwheat and cassava, also known as yucca or tapioca have similar uses. Also, good, old fashion corn and flax can be substituted for flour in a plethora of dishes.
Some other fine foods are Indian rice, grass, legumes, millet, nuts, potatoes, quinoa, rice, and sago. When confronted with a gluten allergy, it is important to realize that you always have options.
Check all foods you buy thoroughly. Remember that gluten can be an additive, so check them out via a dietician or maybe online. Also, a health food store is an excellent source of foods, ingredients, and recipes that will keep you healthy.