What is Gluten Free?

It’s not just a diet buzzword. Gluten and Gluten Free have, in the last couple years, become an incredibly popular discussion topic. Initially, most people had no idea what gluten actually was. Gluten is a protein found in the endosperm of wheat and other grains such as rye and barley, that is responsible for the “chewy” texture in breads and doughs.

A Gluten Free diet is one of the most recent health trends and is often seen as just the latest fad diet. However, for people with gluten intolerance, eating gluten can cause severe health issues.

What is Gluten Free?

Gluten Free is a dietary approach to food that causes gastronomical inflammation. Some with gluten sensitivities like Celiac Disease or autoimmune issues can benefit from avoiding this protein. Inherently gluten, if consumed by those without sensitivities, will not cause any major side effects.

The degree to which one is gluten sensitive can range from mild sensitivity to full blown Celiac Disease (extreme sensitivity). In individuals with Celiac Disease, consumption of gluten can cause many health issues and nutrient deficiencies. Individuals with Celiac Disease, consumption of gluten causes an autoimmune response in which the body attacks and debilitates villi (which are responsible for nutrient absorption) on the small intestine. Lack of absorption can lead to a myriad of health issues and therefore individuals with Celiac Disease must be very careful to avoid gluten and cross contamination with gluten products.

What Gluten Free Is Not

Gluten Free is not just the latest fad diet. Going Gluten Free also does not guarantee better overall health or weight loss. Eating gluten free will improve digestive health of those who have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, but is not actually advantageous to those without such sensitivities. Many Gluten Free products substitute with processed ingredients which for someone without a gluten sensitivity, ultimately, is worse than consuming gluten.

How We Define Gluten Free

Tasteful emphasizes quality and wholeness of ingredients in all foods one cosumes. When excluding gluten from your diet, be sure to not fill the void with excessively processed replacement foods. Focus on whole, organic, unprocessed foods.

There are three types of Gluten Free restaurants we highlight. Restaurants that have a 100% Gluten Free Kitchen, restaurants with dedicated Gluten Free Prep areas and restaurants with Gluten Free Menu options. Depending on one’s sensitivity the level of different restaurants will help to ensure that gluten free meals will be the best to consume.

Do’s and Dont’s of Gluten Free

Do avoid gluten containing foods such as breads, crackers and pastas. Do check ingredient lists for other gluten-containing items such as soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, malt, semolina, and barley to name a few. Do substitute wheat flour with other types of flours, such as coconut flour, tapioca flour, buckwheat flour and rice flour.

Do not dine out unprepared.  Ask restaurants about cross contamination and how they prepare gluten free items. Do not replace breads and other gluten containing substances with processed, non-real food substitutes. Do not consume large portions of gluten-free items or confuse all gluten-free items for healthy. Portion sizes are still important when eating gluten free. Gluten free cake is still cake.

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