gluten free foods

“Gluten-free” has certainly become a buzzword in the food world recently. So what exactly is gluten and why should you avoid it? Hopefully this article will give you some information that will help you understand gluten a little better!

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a term for a protein found in wheat and similar grains (like rye or barley). It gives an elastic property to dough and helps give some taste to wheat products. Gluten is found in most products made with wheat including breads, pastas and even beer!

Celiac  Disease?

Somewhere between .5 and 1 percent of people in the United States suffer from Celiac Disease. People with Celiac Disease have an adverse reaction to gluten in their intestines. Basically, the substance causes irritation that prevents the proper absorption of certain vitamins and nutrients. For people with Celiac, choosing gluten-free foods is extremely important to their well-being.

Am in the clear if I don’t have Celiac Disease?

Even if you aren’t allergic to gluten, there are still plenty of reasons to try and avoid the stuff.

  • Humans aren’t really that good at digesting gluten. For the majority of our time on the planet we haven’t eaten processed wheat products. Though agriculture seems like a timeless part of human culture, we were hunters and gathers for millions of years before we started farming.
  • Even if you don’t have full-blown Celiac, you  may have some degree of gluten sensitivity and not realize it. Though eating gluten might not be visibly affecting your health, you may  feel better and be doing your body a favor by cutting it out of your diet.
  • Wheat doesn’t have a lot of nutritional value. One of the reasons we eat wheat products is because they are calorie dense and cheap to produce. That doesn’t mean that they are good for you!
  • There are plenty of alternatives to gluten!

How to eat gluten free

First of all, any time you make a major diet or lifestyle change, including going gluten-free, you should consult with your physician. Your doctor will identify whether or not it’s a smart move to change your diet, and they can even help give you guidelines on how to properly adjust to a new eating pattern.

Gluten-free foods

If you do decide it’s a good idea to try eating gluten-less, here are some foods that are naturally without gluten.

  • Nuts, beans
  • Most dairy products
  • Most meats (you have to be careful with processed meats though, which may contain fillers that have gluten)
  • Fresh Eggs
  • Fruits and Vegetables

There are even gluten-free versions of popular grain products such as  pasta, bread, and beer! Be sure to check out our Cauliflower Pizza Crust recipe recently featured on Great Groceries. It’s a tasty alternative to regular pizza and is also low-carb!

Stop by your local Sparkle Market for a variety of gluten-free foods.