Saturday, November 1, 2003

What is Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance is also known as Celiac disease (or Coeliac disease). Celiac disease is caused by a reaction to gliadin (a gluten protein found in wheat). It can affect all types of people. However, it seems to be more prevalent among people of Northern European descent.

A gluten-free diet is a diet completely free of ingredients derived from gluten-containing cereals: wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, and triticale, as well as the use of gluten as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent.  Even if oats are not included, it is important to know the source of these from a facility that is gluten free, as most oats are contaminated during processing. Look for oats which are certified gluten free if you are following a gluten free diet.

Quinoa ,ChickpeasSeveral grains and starch sources are considered acceptable for a gluten-free diet. The most frequently used are corn, potatoes, rice, and tapioca (derived from cassava). Other grains and starch sources generally considered suitable for gluten-free diets include amaranth, arrowroot, millet, montina, lupin, quinoa, sorghum (jowar), sweet potato, taro, teff, chia seed, and yam. Various types of bean, soybean, and nut flours are sometimes used in gluten-free products to add protein and dietary fiber. In spite of its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat; pure buckwheat is considered acceptable for a gluten-free diet, although many commercial buckwheat products are actually mixtures of wheat and buckwheat flours, and thus not acceptable. Gram flour, derived from chickpeas, is also gluten-free (this is not the same as Graham flour made from wheat).

Gluten is also used in foods in some unexpected ways, for example as a stabilizing agent or thickener in products like ice-cream and ketchup.
People wishing to follow a completely gluten free diet must also take into consideration the ingredients of any over-the-counter or prescription medications and vitamins. Also, cosmetics such as lipstick, lip balms, and lip gloss may contain gluten and need to be investigated before use.

Wheat being a staple in lot of countries and is used in lot of products it is very difficult to avoid it. But in lot of countries wheat and barley are not the staple and you can still have very interesting and delicious food without gluten. It is a small effort on our part to list down our recipes which are gluten free.
Also check out our "Whole Grain Gallery on the left side bar for gluten free grains and recipes ".


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