- What is Gluten?
- What is Gluten Intolerance?
- Our List of Gluten-Containing Foods
- Our Gluten-free Alternatives
- Food Allergen Labelling
1. What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, rye, spelt, triticate (a hybrid of wheat and rye) and kamut. Gluten is what gives bread and other baked goods their elasticity and springy-like texture. It also helps products to hold their shape after baking.
2. What is gluten intolerance?
Gluten intolerance causes people to react to the gluten they eat. The symptoms of a gluten sensitivity vary between individuals and family members. All four members of my family with a gluten sensitivity, react in different ways after eating gluten. Our symptoms range from extreme fatigue, bloating, headaches, joint pain, lethargy, abdominal pains, constipation and diarrhea.
3. A partial list of gluten-containing foods:
- artificial flavouring (can be from barley)
- barley malt
- barley malt flavouring
- bleached flour
- bulgur wheat
- caramel colour (may be from wheat)
- couscous(made from wheat)
- dextrin (sometimes made from wheat)
- farina (made from wheat)
- hydrolyzed wheat protein
- hydrolyzed wheat starch
- malt (usually from barley)
- maltodextrin (sometimes from wheat)
- malt flavouring (may be from barley)
- modified starch
- natural flavouring (can be from barley)
- rusk (usually from wheat)
- seitan (another name for wheat gluten and popular in vegetarian and vegan foods)
- semolina (from durum wheat used in making pasta, breakfast cereals and puddings, also in couscous)
- spelt (an ancient form of wheat)
- wheat bran
- wheat flour
- wheat germ
- wheat protein
- wheat starch
4. A list of gluten-free alternatives I use
Note; Do not overcook these pasta alternatives to wheat as they become too soft and quite sticky.
There is an abundance of wheat-free and gluten-free bread, rolls, pitta breads, ciabatta and french stick style breads in supermarkets and health food stores. But it's worth having a go at baking your own because of the sheer pleasure and aroma of home-baked bread!
For ready-bought snacks the following list is made up of what we normally buy as a family, but don't forget to check the food labels for any hidden ingredients.
- Dried fruit snack packets, like papaya, coconut, pineapple, dates, apricots and figs
- Dried fruit and nut snack packets
- Fresh pots of fruit pieces
- Fruit and nut bars
- Gluten-free biscuits
- Pop corn
- Rice cakes
- Rice crackers
- Gluten-free cornflakes
- Gluten-free crisped rice
- Gluten-free porridge oats
- Gluten-free granola
"Foods that are gluten-free are now more easily recognised by the information provided on the food labels"This means that food manufacturers must list gluten on their product labels. In addition, there is usually a 'may contain' section to the label plus 'cross contamination' warnings that you can check for clarity.
Therefore, when you are out shopping for food, make sure that you thoroughly read the labels on the products you want to buy for any sign of any 'hidden' gluten-containing ingredients.