With lots of buzz surrounding “Gluten Free” right now we thought we would try to clear up some of the confusion…
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a composite of the proteins gliadin and glutenin found in grass-related grains, such as wheat, rye, and barley. Because of gluten, certain bread items like pizza dough or bagels have a dense, chewy composition. Additionally, gluten will retain gases in the baking process which is why bread rises.
Why Gluten Free?
According to the Center for Celiac Disease at the University of Maryland, one in every 132 people in America has celiac disease, and nearly 152 times that number—up to 15 percent of the world’s population, or one in seven people—have a non-celiac gluten intolerance. Common symptoms of both celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance include:
· Skin rash
· Nutrient deficiency
· Bone density loss
In fact, celiac disease can have over 300 symptoms and yet some people experience none until something like high stress or trauma from an accident triggers symptoms. This is the main reason why diagnosis of the disease is difficult. If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms listed above visit your doctor for a simple blood test to find out if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
The only cure for celiac disease and gluten intolerance is a lifelong gluten-free diet. Yes, we know, your immediate reaction is probably “No more bread?!” and “LIFELONG DIET?!” But trust us – Thanks to brands like Boulder Canyon living gluten-free doesn’t have to mean no more delicious food. A gluten-free diet still allows you to eat almost every fruit and vegetable, a variety of grains and legumes, your pick of dairy products, fresh meats and fish and lots of yummy gluten-free snacks, like Boulder Canyon kettle cooked chips!
What Makes a Product Gluten Free?
At Boulder Canyon Natural Foods we provide many gluten free products so we require documentation from our ingredient suppliers to ensure we meet the following FDA standard for gluten free:
“Any product that does not contain greater than 20 ppm of the following prohibited grains: wheat, rye, barley, cross-bred hybrids, and possibly oats.”
Tips for Living Gluten-Free
Living gluten-free can be challenging, but once educated on gluten ingredients, you can start living a normal life and feel better too. Just as it’s hard to follow a low-carb diet when you have Girl Scout cookies stashed in the freezer, it’s difficult to start feeling better without ridding your pantry of everything gluten. Below lists some food items you should keep in the kitchen, as well as some that are better of being chucked to the curb.
- Fresh meats
- Poultry (make sure any marinade you use is wheat-free)
- Most dairy (no blue cheese, Gorgonzola)
- Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato)
- Any products labeled “gluten-free”
- Graham flour
- Matzo meal
- Spelt (form of wheat)
- Soy sauce
- Imitation seafood
- Textured vegetable protein (veggie burgers, soy dogs)
Remember: Always check food labels for the words “gluten-free” and for wheat-related ingredients, such as dextrin, malt flavoring or extract, wheat starch, etc.
Celiac and gluten intolerance awareness are on the rise meaning there’s lots of resources available to the public. Check out gluten-free web forums and blog posts to stay updated on new gluten-free news, tips, and recipes. Social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, are also full of gluten-free related content concerning holiday meals, the latest research, and support for all of those who still crave gluten-packed goodies.