What is Gluten?
Gluten is a combination of proteins found in wheat, barley, spelt and rye. It provides protein and is used as a leavening agent and creates a chewy texture in many baked foods. It is also used as a food additive to enhance flavor and texture.
You can also visit our Articles page to dig in and research gluten.
What is Gluten-intolerance and Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is a diagnosed immune reaction to gluten. When people with gluten-intolerance and celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by attacking the small intestine. Villi, which are tiny, fingerlike protrusions inside the small intestine, are damaged or destroyed.
When you connect with new Friends, you'll find that many people remain undiagnosed, but find avoiding gluten is their only way to live happy, healthy lives.
What kinds of health problems do people with Celiac Disease or Gluten-intolerance face?
Villi usually help process nutrients from food, which are absorbed into the bloodstream. People diagnosed with celiac do not have healthy villi and cannot absorb the nutrients they need to stay healthy. This lack of nutrients leads to a host of health problems, including thyroid problems, diarrhea, osteoporosis, anemia, and infertility.
Are there any ill effects from avoiding Gluten?
Wheat, barley and rye are common sources of fiber in people's diets, so when these whole grain options are removed from the diet it is necessary to eat plenty of other fiber containing foods. Whole grains, that are gluten-free include amaranth, buckwheat, corn bran, flax seed, millet, oats, quinoa, brown/wild rice, sorghum, and teff. Other good sources of fiber are beans, lentils, peas, nuts and seeds; fruits and vegetables; and fiber enriched gluten-free breads, pastas, cereals and energy bars.
If I eat a Gluten-free diet do I need supplements?
This is where you need advice from your physician or naturopath. Gluten-free grains and flours are not enriched with minerals and vitamins like wheat, barley and rye. There is naturally occurring iron and B vitamins in the gluten-free grains, however the levels are lower than in the enriched grains. This may make it more difficult to meet the recommended amounts of some vitamins and minerals, however, there is no significant data that there are increased vitamin and mineral deficiencies among those following a gluten-free diet.
You can search Blogs to find additional advice from real-world people who have had to make very unique diet adjustments.
What foods typically contain Gluten?
Most breads, pasta and cereals.
That doesn't sound so hard. Do other common food items contain Gluten, as well?
Gluten is used in a wide array of processed foods (i.e. salad dressings, gravies, lunch meats, snacks, candy) and as flavorings, thickeners, and stabilizers (some brands of sour cream, sauces, mixes). It can also be found in many unusual areas, including soda pop and over-the-counter drugs.
What do I look for on food labels?
One of the most important and challenging parts of following a gluten-free diet is avoiding products where gluten is listed under a name you do not recognize. Some common ingredients to avoid are: wheat, wheat flour, barley, rye, spelt, malt and wheat starch.
Is there anything else I should know about food containing gluten?
Cross-contamination is also important to be aware of when following a gluten free diet. Gluten can stay airborne for several hours and can contaminate products in the area. Many products are processed on equipment that is used for many different foods, which could cause cross-contamination.
Will a gluten-free diet even help me?
Currently the only scientifically proven treatment for Celiac Disease is a lifelong gluten-free diet. Studies show that a gluten-free diet works for most people. The length of time it takes to recover varies among individuals.
Research new products that are gluten-free and be creative with trying new recipes and ideas. Remember, we are here as a resource for you and would love to hear your questions and concerns as well as your successes, to pass on to others working to become Gluten-free.
Can I still eat out and Gluten-free?
Absolutely. Many restaurants offer Gluten-free menus. Others are training servers how to answer questions and assist patrons who request Gluten-free dishes.
As a member of the Gling.com community, you can create a list of favorite Restaurants, search for new ones, and comment on and rate your experience.
Basic Food Guidelines
Gluten-Free Foods and Ingredients
- Milk, Butter and Cheese
- Fresh, Frozen and Canned Fruits and Vegetables
- Fresh Meats, Fish, Poultry and Eggs
- Seeds, Nuts, Corn, Rice, and Soy (Beware of Soy Sauce)
- Potatoes, Tapioca, Beans, Garfava, Sorghum, Quinoa, Millet, Buckwheat, Arrowroot, Amaranth, and Nut Flours
- Uncontaminated Oats
- Distilled Alcoholic Beverages and Wines
- Distilled Vinegars
Beware! May contain gluten
- Breading, Coating mixes, Panko and Croutons
- Broth, Soups and Soup Bases
- Brown Rice Syrup
- Candy - Licorice, some Chocolates
- Flour, Pasta and Cereal Products
- Imitation Bacon and Imitation Seafood
- Processed Luncheon Meats, Processed Cheeses and Self-Basting Poultry
- Sauces, Gravies, Salad Dressings and Chip Dips
- Soy Sauce or Soy Sauce Solids
- Stuffing and Dressing
- Chili Sauces, Seasoning Mixes and Marinades
- Pickled Items, Vinegar, Mustard, Catsup and Steak Sauces
- Thickeners (Roux)
- Communion Wafers
- Herbal Supplements, Drugs and Over-the-Counter Medications and Nutritional Supplements Vitamins & Mineral Supplements
- Playdough: A potential problem if hands are put on or in the mouth while playing with playdough or are not washed after use.
Restricted foods and ingredients
- Gluten Stabilizers
- Wheat Starch
- Wheat, Durum, and Semolina
- Graham, Kamut, Spelt and Emmer
- Faro, Rye, Barley and Triticale
- Some Beers, Ales and Lagers
- Malt, Malt Flavoring and Malt Vinegar