After finally, fully committing to a gluten-free diet these last 7 months, I get a lot of flack from friends, family, people in general. Also I get a lot of questions and people who just don’t understand what gluten is or what it means to be on a “gluten-free” diet. So here I am doing the blog thing to try to help demystify what it means to be gluten-free. Starting at the basics, gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley, rye, and spelt. It is the “glue” that gives dough its elasticity and holds it together. However, there are endless amounts of grains, vegetables and legumes that do not contain gluten that you can make “dough” from as well. It’s just a bit trickier and requires some other binding agents, typically. Thankfully, the natural grocer nearest you likely has a plethora of gluten-free bread, pasta, and starchy alternatives for you to choose from.
Now to clear some things up. Because I’m gluten-free does not mean I am a vegan. I have no idea why people make this connection but I have people make that mistake CONSTANTLY! Being gluten-free just means you avoid the above listed gluten containing grains and the processed foods that those grains are sometimes added to. Next, because I am gluten-free does not mean a cannot have sugar. Another weird assumption that I have heard. Maybe they are thinking I’m saying glucose? IDFK Lastly, being gluten intolerant or even worse, having celiac disease, is not a myth, diet fad or hocus pocus. It is a legitimate health issue that sadly plagues many americans. Why more Americans than other countries, you ask? Likely due to the fact that those above listed grains, especially wheat, are highly genetically modified. Our bodies simply did not evolve quickly enough to catch up with the industrialization of food and all of the genetic modification. Which is why our grand parents and great grandparents had no such issues. They ate real food. Before industrialization and heavily processed and GMO foods existed.
Some of you may have noticed the influx in your friends mentioning being gluten sensitive. Seeing gluten-free menu options at your favorite restaurant and the obvious 9 choices of gluten-free bagels at your local whole foods. Kudos to those of you who have noticed and who are curious about learning more. If not for yourself, then for your friend like me, that doesn’t always want to be the jerk at the table asking the waitstaff about every ingredient in the soup du jour. Educate yourself because I personally believe we could all greatly benefit from eliminating gluten from our lives, but even if you aren’t, someone close to you might be and you can help make their lives a little bit easier.
I will leave you with some of my favorite gluten-free products available at most natural grocers or online