Gluten Free: Fab Food Facts

May, as National Celiac Awareness Month, may be coming to an end but the need to find gluten-free foods continues. People with celiac disease must totally avoid gluten containing foods including wheat, barley, rye and all of the foods and food ingredients made from these grains. That includes ‘modified food starch’, soy sauce and beverages such as beer made with barley. It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But it’s getting easier due to improved Gluten Free food package labeling and an increase in the number of good tasting foods specially made to be gluten-free.

ALDI markets offer an impressive selection of LiveGFree products.

What’s gluten? 

Let’s turn to one of the world’s experts on gluten free ( and my good friend) , registered dietitian nutritionist Shelley Case, author of “Gluten Free: The Definitive Resource Guide.” You’ll find great information on Shelley’s website and certainly in her comprehensive new book.

 

Shelley says, “To a baker, “gluten” is the substance in flour that, when combined with a liquid, is responsible for creating the sticky, elastic texture of raw dough. But what exactly is gluten? In simple terms, gluten is the general name for specific protein fractions (prolamins and glutelins) in wheat, barley and rye.”

Oats do not contain gluten, but it wasn’t until recently that companies started adding a label that certifies foods made with oats are GF to indicate that the oats were not processed in the same facility as wheat, barley or rye.  Avoiding cross contamination is important. So when you’re entertaining, make sure to put gluten free breads, cookies or whatever on a separate plate. If you’re serving sushi, for instance offer Tamari sauce which is gluten free. Soy sauce is not GF.

Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Look for Gluten Free foods that contain nutritious ingredients such as these LiveGFree snack chips made with brown rice.

There’s growing concern that some people may not have full blown celiac disease, but may be intolerant to gluten in foods and suffer digestive issues when they consume gluten. Shelley Case says, “It is recommended that individuals with non-celiac gluten sensitivity follow a gluten-free diet to alleviate symptoms; however, whether gluten must be strictly avoided for life (as is necessary with celiac disease) is at present unknown.”

The good news is that there’s help in the market, the kitchen and on restaurant menus to find gluten-free foods that are nutritious and delicious. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I enjoy working with ALDI to get the word out on their huge selection of LiveGFree foods and terrific GF recipes on ALDI.US
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