What is Gluten-Free?

I keep emphasizing that I cook gluten-free products and came to realize that maybe I should talk a little bit about what being gluten-free is really about, and why people need, or choose this kind of diet.

Before we delve into what gluten-FREE is, it might be best if I define was gluten is. From my research, Gluten is essentially a protein found in many grains and most specifically wheat and its by-products. In addition, it provides a lot of elasticity to many wheat products, allows breads to stay together and for leavening.

So what does it mean to be free of these proteins?

Well here is a list of foods one cannot eat on this regime.

WHEAT! or anything that says “wheat”…What do you know?! This includes wheat starch, wheat protein, cake flour, durum, farina, semolina, matzo, spelt, kamut, cousous and rye. However, buckwheat is safe.

BREADED foods… Fish N Chips, Chicken Tenders, huge no, nos.

Barley and Malt: Yup, no more malt shakes, malt balls, malt BEERS or just BEER in general!

MARINADES, believe it or not there are a lot of marinaded that contain gluten. First things first, soy sauce had gluten, be aware of wheat ingredients when you peruse through the ingredients list.

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Now that I have made it seem like you’re going to be eating steamed vegetables and boiled meats with salt and pepper for the rest of eternity, let me tell you what you CAN eat. And that delicious chocolate cake you see here is one of those things!!! The list is much longer, and more delicious!

Gluten-free grains: Rice, amaranth, quinoa, sorghum, soy, buckwheat, corn and its products, millet.

Dairy: Milk, Cheese (un’processed’), plain yogurt, butter, eggs

Oils: margarine, vegetable oils (That includes Canola Oil), nut oils.

Meat

Vegetables, legumes, and flours made from them: garbanzo flour for example.

Fruits!

Distilled Vinegars and Alcohol: remember no beer! Distilled alcohols are gluten-free, even your whiskeys and scotches because the distilling process removes the gluten.

Spices: As long as there are none of the listed No-Nos in special spice blends. Otherwise stick to individual spices and make your own gluten-free blends!

Why gluten-FREE?
Approximately 1% of the American Population suffers from Celiac disease, a condition that deteriorates the lining of the stomach. People who suffer from Celiac disease instigate and irritate the villi in the intestine when they consume gluten. For unknown reasons, gluten attacks these villi and over time can cause serious damage to the lining of the intestine and stomach. Symptoms range from stomach aches, and discomfort and diarrhea to depression, fatigue, and may even progress to seizures.

If you need help with any breads, cakes, muffins, etc. I do special orders of home-baked gluten-free goods.

Good luck and eat well!

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Gluten-free recipes to try:

Orange Poppyseed Muffins

Ancient Grains – Holy Moly!

And I thought I knew something about grains, flours, beans and seeds.

In looking through the “Breakfasts” cookbook Bob Moore autographed when he gave it to me, I found an A-Z tutorial: where grains’ names came from, and what they mean, if it is a grain, seed, grass, how old it is, how it was used, what nutritious powers it has, and other recommendations.   This cookbook has 100 healthy whole-grain recipes and is a brand-new addition to Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods library of resources.   Many of the recipes are gluten-free and include options, tips, and other useful information at www.bobsredmill.com/recipes.

What does “steel cut” mean, if Bob’s Red Mill is so famous for “stone-ground” grains?

Once harvested, oats are transformed into a wide variety of products.  The whole kernels (toasted and hulled after harvest) are oat groats (whole oats).  Chopped into tiny pieces, groats become steel-cut oats (Irish or pinhead oatmeal).  When stone-ground into coarse bits, groats are called Scotch oats or Scottish oatmeal.  Or, the groats might be “rolled” or “flattened” as in the cases of rolled oats or quick-cooking oats.  Bob’s Red Mill offers 5 Gluten-Free Oat products, and 10 additional oat products.

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Oats are highly susceptible to contact with gluten-containing grains during planting, harvest, transport and milling.  Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free, dedicated buildings isolate the products and store them in dedicated silos.  Each shipment is tested throughout the process to ensure that their purity meets rigid international gluten free standards.