Gluten Free 101

Welcome to May which is Celiac Awareness Month. This month we have so many resources for you. Our Trade Up Tuesdays and Dietitian's Top Picks are all going to be gluten free as well as all of our recipes we post on Fridays.

But before we jump into all the food, let's discuss some Gluten Free 101 information.

What is Gluten?*
Gluten is a protein naturally found in certain grains such as wheat, barley, rye and some oats. Foods that are made of these grains also contain gluten - that includes foods like bagels, breads, cakes, cereals, cookies, crackers, pasta, pizza, and more.

Who Should Avoid Gluten?*
More than 3 million Americans suffer from a serious medical condition called celiac disease. For someone with this disease, eating gluten-containing foods causes damage to the lining of the small intestine (where foods go after they  have been eaten and digested). This damage makes it very difficult for the body to absorb nutrients from foods. Over time this damage can lead to malnourishment and possibly other complications. While there is no cure for celiac disease, the good news is that eating gluten free is the best way to prevent further damage to the small intestine. Gluten may also be avoided by those who are sensitive to it or make a personal choice to avoid it.

Healthy Gluten Free Eating*
Many foods are generally free of gluten, unless it was added in manufacturing. People who follow a gluten free diet can enjoy a variety of foods, including:
  • All fruits and vegetables
  • Beef, pork and lamb
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Chicken and turkey
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Rice, Wild Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Lentils
  • Corn
  • Potatoes
  • Soy (not soy sauce)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Flax
Know What To Look For: Reading Labels*
The way to know if a product is gluten free is to read the ingredients label. To determine if a product contains gluten, there are four key grains to look for:
  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Oats (Oats do no inherently contain gluten, however, due to common grain handling processes, oats may be contaminated with gluten from other gluten containing grains.)
In addition to these grains, look for these two ingredients:
  • Malt
  • Brewer's Yeast
Looking for these grains and ingredients will help you identify products that contain gluten, You need to check labels often. Ingredients can change over time, so checking the ingredients label every time is the most accurate way to identify what is in a food or beverage product. After you have read the label and determined that the product does not contain these obvious sources of gluten, you may always contact the manufacturer to confirm.

Frequently Overlooked Foods that May Contain Gluten*
  • Broth
  • Candy
  • Coating mixes
  • Croutons
  • Imitation bacon
  • Imitation seafood
  • Marinades
  • Processed meats
  • Sauces and gravies
  • Seasoning
  • Soy sauce
  • Thickeners
  • Vegetarian meat substitutes
Some Encouraging Facts
  • There are more naturally gluten free foods in the store than gluten containing. You don't have to stick to the gluten free aisle. Remember fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds are all naturally gluten free. 
  • Eating gluten free CAN be a way to improve your diet. Instead of filling your basket with tons of gluten cakes, cookies, crackers and desserts, try using this opportunity to fill your plate with more fruits and veggies, lean meats and naturally gluten free grains.
  • There are more naturally gluten free grains than gluten containing.
    • Gluten free grains: amaranth, buckwheat, corn, Job's tears (or Hati Mugi), millet, montina (Indian rice grass), oats (certified GF), quinoa, rice, sorghum, teff, wild rice.
    • Gluten containing grains: Wheat (spelt, kamut, farro, durum, semolina), barley, rye, triticale
How Can Market Street Help Me Live a Gluten Free Lifestyle?

  • Gluten Free Shopping List
  • Gluten Free Tours

*Content provided by Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition.

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