What Does Gluten Free Mean?

Posted on: April 29th, 2013 by Chris No Comments

glutenfreeYou hear a lot of people deciding to go “Gluten Free” these days. It’s become a popular trend. But what does that really mean? What are the benefits?

Wikipedia defines a “Gluten-free diet” as a diet that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye and triticale. A gluten-free diet is the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease.

But for those who don’t have celiac disease there are other benefits. According to an article on bistroMD, “Eliminating gluten, and eating a gluten-free diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and other health-related conditions, like diabetes, if you have a gluten intolerance. “A gluten-free diet can also help your body ward off viruses and germs, just because many of the foods you eat will be full of antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals.”

There are foods that are allowed and not-allowed on a Gluten-Free diet. Here’s part of a list from the Mayo Clinic.

Allowed foods
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
It’s important to make sure that they are not processed or mixed with gluten-containing grains, additives or preservatives.

Also approved grains like:
Amaranth
Arrowroot
Buckwheat
Corn and cornmeal
Flax
Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
Hominy (corn)
Millet
Quinoa
Rice
Sorghum
Soy
Tapioca
Teff

Now to the bad stuff:
Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)
Rye
Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
Wheat

Here are other wheat products to avoid:
Beer
Breads
Cakes and pies
Candies
Cereals
Cookies and crackers
Croutons
French fries
Gravies
Imitation meat or seafood
Matzo
Pastas
Processed luncheon meats
Salad dressings
Sauces, including soy sauce
Seasoned rice mixes
Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips
Self-basting poultry
Soups and soup bases
Vegetables in sauce

So as you can see, going Gluten-Free is a huge commitment.  But with the amount of “gluten-free” products on the market today, there are a lot of options.  I like the idea of cutting out the processed foods.  That will improve your life!

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