Beginning this project, I had no idea what something called gluten was except that it is contained in some foods and a few people cannot easily digest it. The beautiful part about taking on an assignment you know very little about is that you learn a lot and your interest is higher than if it were something you already understood.
So, what exactly is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, some oats, and similar type foods. Gluten can be found as a food additive in flavoring, stabilizing, and thickening agents people use when cooking as well. Even things that are not consumed as food can contain gluten such as toothpaste, postage stamps, and play dough. People who have problems tolerating gluten must be careful with over the counter medications, prescriptions, vitamins, and some cosmetics.
Why would some people consider a gluten free diet? Consider this fact, it is estimated that 1 percent of the population has a large problem with gluten intolerance. These people have what is known as celiac disease. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that is genetic and can occur in people of all ages. Chronic diarrhea, failure to thrive (in infants), and fatigue are three symptoms of the condition. Some use a gluten free diet in treatment of autism. Others who have this condition have no symptoms. The demand for gluten free products far exceeds the needs of the one percent who have Celiac Disease. Fifteen to twenty five percent of customers request gluten free foods. There has to be a reason why the request for foods of this nature is higher than the need.
Some doctors believe everyone has a slight intolerance to gluten and this may explain why those on a gluten free diet tend to report feeling better and consuming less processed food. Feeling better is a reason for a gluten free diet to be a New Year’s Resolution. Just as exercise makes one feel better and healthier, so does a diet free of gluten and processed foods.
My next question was what can people who are on a gluten free diet eat? Fresh meat, fish, and poultry that are not breaded, battered, or marinated are safe for those on the diet. Most dairy products as well as fruits, vegetables, rice, and potatoes are also permitted. There are flours that exist and contain no gluten such as rice, soy, corn, and potato. Those on a gluten free diet can even consume some types of alcohol such as wine and distilled liquors, ciders, and spirits. There also exist gluten free substitutes for bread and pasta.
Support groups online can help you find recipes for food made without gluten. If you are unsure of if gluten is contained in a food, read the label. If there remains uncertainty, call the manufacturer.
So, if your plans for 2010 do not include gluten you have plenty of other options for food. As with any resolutions, stick with it. Usually by thirty days on a diet or exercise, it is a habit and a habit that helps you feel better is definitely worth undertaking. Feeling better is a wonderful way to start a new year.
For gluten free foods http://www.chex.com/Recipes/GlutenFree.aspx?WT.mc_id=paid_search_300308_636117&WT.srch=1
For a book to help you with gluten free foods
Check www.half.com because there are a ton of books on the site about this subject and you usually save some money there. If I were to list all of them, this article would be too long.
Other Sources http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guten_free_diet