Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, oats and triticale. If you are sensitive to this gluten, it can cause an autoimmune reaction in the intestine, damaging the lining that absorbs food nutrients. Gluten intolerance or a gluten allergy can lead to painful cramps, bloating, diarrhea, weight loss, bone weakness and other symptoms.
It can result in a condition called celiac disease. The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, notes that more than 3 million people in the US suffer from celiac disease. This life-long condition can be maintain and treated with a strict gluten free diet.
Food that are naturally gluten-free include fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans, lentils, fish, meat, chicken, eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt. Gluten-free breads and pastas are made with ingredients such as buckwheat, soy, rice, corn, tapioca, arrowroot, amaranth, flax, millet, quinoa, sorghum and teff. Read food labels carefully as even very minute amounts of gluten can cause trouble.
Avoid foods that contain wheat of any form – whole wheat, all-purpose flour and bread flour. Other grains that contain gluten include graham or durum flour, malt, rye and triticale. Oats may contain small amounts of gluten, or may be contaminated with wheat products and should be avoided, unless they are labeled gluten-free.
A variety of processed foods may have gluten-containing ingredients added to them. These include cereals, pancake mixes, cakes, cookies, candies, bagels, buns, crackers, pastas, pizzas, soups, gravy, salad dressings, sauces, breaded foods, sausages, croutons, beer and potato chips.
Gluten-free breads are readily available. Alternatively, make your own gluten-free flour at home by mixing four cups of rice flour, one and one-third cup potato starch and a cup of tapioca flour. Keep it refrigerated in an air tight plastic container for the later use.
There are different varieties of gluten-free pastas made up of rice, corn, quinoa, potato starch and a mixture of amaranth, rice and quinoa. Certified brands of gluten-free pasta include Le Veneziene, BiAglut, Goldbaum, Tinkyada, Ancient Harvest, Rizopia and Barkat.
Carefully follow the cooking instructions as gluten-free pasta can become gummy if overcooked.
The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center: Celiac Disease Facts and
Mayo Clinic: Gluten-free diet: What's allowed, what's not
University of Maryland Medical Center: Celiac disease – nutritional
Canadian Celiac Association: In The Kitchen
[http://www.celiac.ca/index.php/about-celiac- disease/in-the- kitchen/]
Celiac.com: the Gluten-Free Mall; Gluten-Free Pastas and Noodles