Gluten-Free Diet Awareness October 29 2015, 1 Comment

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale that helps to give shape and elasticity to food, and traps carbon dioxide during the fermenting process of bread-making that then helps the bread dough to rise. 

Why do some people have to avoid it?

For those suffering from celiac disease - an autoimmune disorder - ingestion of gluten is dangerous because their body mistakes the gluten for a virus or bacteria, causing their immune system to attack the small intestine.

The list of possible symptoms related to celiac disease or gluten-intolerance is long, but there are a few signs that can suggest you might be suffering:

For children, issues with digestion could be indicators of celiac disease.

In adults, issues such as bone/joint pain, anxiety, anemia, and fatigue can be indicators of celiac disease.

The only treatment for celiac disease that has been conclusively deemed effective at this time is a completely gluten-free diet. Though there are studies devoted to finding a simpler testing method and, perhaps, even hope for a vaccine or some alternative treatment in the future, for now, gluten-avoidance is still the only viable option. 

NOTE: Before concluding that you or your child may have celiac disease and switching to a gluten-free diet, it is VERY important to contact a physician and consider being tested. Drastic changes in diet can always put you at risk for inadequate nutrition.

Gluten Containing Foods:

Unless otherwise specified, most pastas, baked goods, bread, crackers, cereals, salad dressings, flour tortillas, beer, and sauces such as gravy typically contain gluten. While specialty gluten-free products are now becoming more widely available, there are still many ingredients that are restricted from a gluten-free diet.

Naturally gluten-free foods:

Luckily, though, there are also some really great (and really healthy!) foods that are gluten free by nature! Fruits, vegetables, meat and poultry, seafood, dairy, beans, nuts, rice, corn, potatoes, certain vinegars like apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, wine and balsamic vinegars, and grains such as quinoa and millet are all GLUTEN-FREE! Cucina Antica pasta sauces, salad dressings, cranberry sauce, and organic ketchup are GLUTEN-FREE as well!

Now, because November is Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, we would like to show support and solidarity for those who have to avoid gluten. In order to do so, we're going to be sharing recipes that can fit a gluten-free diet with ease!


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