There’s no doubt that you’ve heard the words Gluten Free floating around lately. Whether it was from your friend who is always trying the latest diet, your cousin newly diagnosed with celiac, or on that package of yummy-looking muffins at the grocery store that always seems to cost a little extra, it seems like it’s everywhere. There’s even a Gluten-Free Registered Nurse located right beneath the very office where I’m writing!
But what is a gluten-free diet, what is gluten free foods list, how to prepare gluten free diet plan, what is gluten foods, is brown rice gluten free? what is gluten free mean, are potatoes gluten free? and last what is gluten free recipes? Is it healthy? What the heck even is gluten? We’ll break down the basics and give you all the info you need to be able to decide when following this diet is the healthy choice and when it’s better to keep gluten in your diet.
What is gluten?
Gluten is more of a general term for the proteins found in some grains. It is what gives the dough its elasticity and is kind of the glue (get it, like glue-ten) that holds everything together. The main grains that contain gluten are wheat, barley, and rye. Though oats themselves don’t have gluten, it’s recommended to be careful around them too, because these are often grown, packaged and can come in contact with other gluten-containing grains.
So now that we know what gluten is, the diet is simple, right? Just stay away from wheat, rye, and barley. There’s more to it than you may think, though. There are many foods with “hidden” gluten, meaning foods that you probably wouldn’t think have wheat barley or rye in them. Here are some examples of gluten-free dos and don’ts.
NO (CONTAINS GLUTEn)
There are a few motives people have while deciding to follow a gluten-free diet. A big one is a celiac disease! We will talk about this in the next section, but the only “cure” for celiac disease is to eat gluten-free. There are also some people who have an intolerance to gluten or wheat specifically. Others choose to eat gluten-free in hopes of losing weight or living a healthy lifestyle in general.
Foods made from grains (and grain-like plants) that do not contain harmful gluten, including:
- Corn in all forms (corn flour, corn meal, grits, etc.).
- Plain rice in all forms (white, brown, wild, basmati, enriched rice, etc.).
- Amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat (kasha), cassava, flax, millet, quinoa, sorghum, soy, tapioca and teff.
- Flours made from gluten-free grain, nuts, beans and coconut. Look for products labeled gluten-free to avoid cross-contamination.
Caramel color is almost always made from corn, and most companies in North America use corn because it makes a better product. Malt syrup can be used but rarely is, so caramel color is almost guaranteed to be gluten free.
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein is a phrase that under federal regulation should not be used on a food label. Food processors have to identify the “vegetable.” So you might read “hydrolyzed wheat protein,” which would not be gluten free, or “hydrolyzed soy protein,” which is gluten free.