Gluten has become a well-known word due to many people’s inability to digest it properly. There seems to be lots of confusion over what it is and what foods it’s found in. Gluten is a protein found in many grains. It is like glue when cooked and is responsible for spongy bouncy bread. The protein Gliadin found in gluten is believed to be the cause of many people’s inability to digest gluten. People who have never been able to, and never will, tolerate gluten are known as Coeliac’s.
This is a rare, and often hereditary condition. But some people have developed an intolerance to gluten, due to a combination of one/many factors (incl. an impaired digestive system, emotional or physical stress, high usage of medication, high consumption of ‘uncooked’ gluten found in many shop breads). This very common intolerance can, theoretically, be overcome by avoidance of gluten-containing foods, removing the causative factor(s) and repairing the digestive system. Gluten is found in wheat (incl. spelt, kamut, couscous, bulgur, pasta), barley, oats and rye. Gluten-free grains include rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, corn/maize and amaranth.
All pure fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, seaweeds and fats are gluten-free. Foods that have been processed may have hidden gluten in them under a disguise name! For example, some processed cheeses contain wheat flour and/or oat gum. Starch in foods is generally wheat-starch unless classified as cornstarch. Luncheon meats, hot dogs and sausages may contain grains containing gluten. Curry powder, gravy mixes, chewing gum, tea bags, baked beans, soy sauce, museli, instant coffees are all examples of foods that MAY contain gluten grains.
So if you want to avoid gluten you need to look really carefully at the ingredients list on the back of food packets…or else just buy wholefoods!