Lately, everywhere I look, I’m reading about gluten-free products and recipes. Is it just the newest fad in the healthy eating realm? Some of my friends would beg to differ, it’s a lifestyle for most.
I have had gastro type issues since I was a young girl, makes me wonder if I’ve just been sensitive to gluten all these years. When I think gluten-free I automatically think: a) no taste b) no flavour, c) and OMG no breads, cookies, etc?! How on earth will I be able to eat this stuff?
Rather than make assumptions about what it means to live a gluten-free lifestyle, I decided to do a little research.
First and foremost, what is gluten?
Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue“) is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. Gluten is used in cosmetics, hair products, and other dermatological preparations. [1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten]
Um, gluten is used in cosmetics and hair products? Holy smokes what am I eating!?!?
Ok, so, wow perhaps there are reasons to switch to a gluten-free lifestyle! Reason 1, the definition itself. Reason 2, the fact that there is a disease associated with eating gluten!
Celiac disease is a medical condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten. This results in an inability of the body to absorb nutrients: protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for good health. [2. http://www.celiac.ca/index.php/about-celiac-disease-2/symptoms-treatment-cd/]
I read the labels on all of the food I buy but celiacs must be diligent in sticking to gluten-free foods and products as gluten can be found in hidden sources such as malt or spelt. Luckily there are certain brands that carry certified gluten-free products.
Do you have to have celiac disease to eat gluten-free? No, but I know quite a few people who have removed gluten from their diets, adopted the lifestyle and say that they feel so much better…reduced bloating, gassiness etc.
In order to reap the benefits of any change in diet, it’s important to be consistent and stick with it for at least a few months. I’ve always heard about gluten-free cooking being better for you, so I’m trying it out with my family for the next little while – slow but sure!
One of the resources I’m using is the Easy Everyday Gluten-Free Cooking cookbook. The recipes are simple and don’t require me to travel to the ends of the earth for specific ingredients. A lot of the meals are appetizing and great for the whole family. My faves so far? Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers (I’ve been on a quinoa kick for a few months now!) and of course the Nanaimo Bars mmmmm!
Donna Washburn, P.H.Ec. and Heather Butt, P.H.Ec. are Canadian professional home economists and acknowledged experts in gluten-free recipe development so I’m super excited to host a giveaway of their cookbook Easy Everyday Gluten-Free Cooking for my fabulous readers! Enter below and good luck!
Open to Canada & US. Ends Jan 17/14