What is gluten?
Gluten is a "sticky" compound found primarily in wheat, barley, and rye. It provides the glue that holds bread and other baked good together and creates the creamy texture of many soups, dressings, and condiments.
Why avoid gluten?
A small percentage of the population have an autoimmune disease called celiac disease, which means that eating gluten causes damage to the villi or tiny hair-like projections in their small intestines. Once damaged has occurred, the villi cannot absorb nutrients effectively. Many other people have gluten sensitivities or intolerances that do not necessarily damage their intestines, but lead to similar side effects including digestive issues, skin rashes, mood disorders, migraines, and/or joint pain. Check out the Gluten Free Network Website for more information about the difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance as well as the possible symptoms.
How do you know if you have a gluten issue?
Blood tests and biopsy of the small intestine tissue can be used to determine whether someone has celiac disease. See the Mayo clinic website for more information about these tests. It is more difficult to detect a gluten sensitive or intolerance. This Gluten Sensitivity Self-Test may help you determine whether gluten may be an issue for you.
What foods to avoid?
The following ingredients should not be consumed.
- Wheat (durum, graham, kamut, semolina, spelt)
- Malt, malt flavoring, malt vinegar (are generally made from barley, verify the source)
What can you eat on a gluten free diet?
- Beans, seeds, nuts in their natural, unprocessed form
- Fresh eggs
- Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
- Fruits and vegetables
- Most dairy products
What grain and starches can be a part of a gluten-free diet?
|Amaranth||Arrowroot||Buckwheat||Corn and cornmeal|
Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)