Organic & Gluten-Free Foods: What Is Gluten?

Have you noticed that Celebrity cookbooks for gluten free living are everywhere?  More and more restaurants offer a gluten free menu. So, what is gluten and why are so many people unable or unwilling to eat it all of a sudden?

What is Gluten?

According to Wikipedia, Gluten is “is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species.” Webster’s Dictionary goes on to say that, “gluten is a tenacious elastic protein substance especially of wheat flour that gives cohesiveness to dough.”

Why are so many people unable to eat Gluten?

Some people cannot process or have a mild allergy to gluten. Most notably, gluten is found in wheat, but it can also be found in rye, barley and spelt. If you’ve ever had bread made with rice you know that the texture is very different. The familiar doughiness of wheat or rye bread is gone, replaced by a hard graininess. This is because the gluten in wheat and rye that gives it texture is not present in rice-flour based bread.

Why is gluten a problem?

What makes gluten so unhealthy for so many people is gluten intolerance; there are 2 levels:

1.- General allergy or intolerance. This is similar to someone who cannot properly process dairy products or who gets a stomach ache after eating corn. Their bodies are not properly equipped to digest those foods. The same can be true for some people with gluten.

2.-Celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack gluten as if it is a disease or foreign body. As a result, the body can do tremendous amounts of damage to the intestines, duodenum, and colon. While digestive distress is one of many symptoms of celiac disease, there are many people who have no such symptoms and instead suffer from skin problems, asthma, lethargy or general malaise. The reason is that the destruction in the intestines makes it impossible for the body to fully absorb nutrients from food like vitamins and minerals. The body is therefore starved of the nutrients it needs, creating a number of health problems.

How Do You Avoid Gluten?

Gluten is in a number of foods. Beyond the most obvious foods like bread, pasta and beer, gluten can be found in everything from ketchup to ice cream. As a result, living on a gluten free diet can be hard, especially for those with celiac disease who can be made sick by even a very small amount of the substance.

Gluten intolerance is a serious condition that must be handled seriously to avoid long term damaging effects. That’s why it is so important to be properly educated about the nature of gluten, what it is found in and how best to avoid it in your daily diet.  Harmony Farms endeavors to bring to you the very best Wheat and Gluten-Free Products made.  At Harmony Farms, we strive to create an environment friendly to all Celiac Disease Experiences and will help in any way that we can.  Celiac Disease Foundation and Support Groups are critical in maintaining a solid network for successful Gluten-Free living.   Print your own, free HARMONY GF LIST to keep abreast of the Gluten-Free Products that we offer.

 

Certified Gluten-Free Supplements-Country Life

Certified Gluten-Free Supplements-Country Life

 

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