Ah, gluten. Oh the woes it has caused me, after years of being a staple in my Italian upbringing. After a month of antibiotics, something changed in my system, and my stomach stopped being able to tolerate my former comfort soup of acini de pepe pasta or the bread at the bakery my husband works at. While turning down a slice of fig anise bread was difficult, knowing that I would feel better made every bite not taken worth it.
I am, fortunately gluten intolerant and do not have celiac disease. People who are celiac suffer from an autoimmune disease. When they eat gluten, they are causing physical damage to their bodies. Those with wheat and gluten intolerance can have a variety of symptoms, from stomach discomfort to eczema -- even chronic ear infections! Wheat and gluten intolerance can be caused by a few issues. Someone who eats a lot of gluten can overload their system and cause unhappy reactions. Also, wheat has changed over the course of the century. It's been bread to have a higher content of gluten than our ancestors ate, and it has also been genetically modified.
"What on earth do you eat?" is what most people ask me when they find out I can't eat the foundation of most American diets. Once you try avoiding wheat and gluten, you realize it is everywhere. Soy sauce. Cereals. Corn bread at the market. But once you start seeing your alternatives, new culinary doors can open, and you'll have ample opportunity for experimentation in the kitchen. Many things can be used as substitutions. For example, if a dish calls for cous-cous, I use quinoa or millet as my grain instead. I also learned to focus meals around vegetables or legumes instead of grains.
What contains gluten:
- oats -- that are naturally gluten free but are contaminated with gluten -- try Bob's Red Mill GF Oats
- processed foods
- prepackaged soups or those served in restaurants
- energy bars
- imitation seafood
- rice rice pudding, risott, rice & beans
- corn home-made corn bread, polenta
- soy even though many people also have a soy intollerance, the flour is gluten free
- sorghum used to make gluten free beer!
- potato flour and starch
- bean flours
- amaranth I loved this word as a teenager - it translates to a flower that never fades
- teff the botanical name, eragrostis, translates to grass of love
- flax and nut flours
- buckwheat pancake heaven!
Even if you're not sensitive to wheat or gluten, give these alternative grains a try to spice up your meals! You might find a new favorite food!Information on gluten-free grains and wheat-free grains
More information on being gluten free in the works!