By April DuBois | Jan. 12, 2018
What is gluten?
Gluten is an elastic protein found especially in wheat flour. Gluten gives that satisfying and recognizable springy quality to the dough and also helps it rise. Gluten is also found in Cereal grains, Wheat, wheat berries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, graham, rye, barley, and triticale.
Where can it be found in foods?
Besides the more obvious foods such as bread, crackers, pasta, cereals, and cookies, Gluten can be found in a lot of our commonly consumed foods. Sauces, gravies, salad dressings, malt (extract, syrup, flavoring), seitan, seasoning mixes, soy sauce, beer, lager, ale, stout, broth, soups, licorice, chocolate, flavored coffees and teas, imitation bacon bits, imitation seafood and meat products, processed meats like hot dogs, sausages, deli meats, anything with wheat in the name, and even some dairy products like sour cream, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
Why reducing Gluten might be a good idea?
Although you may not have an allergy, too much Gluten can still cause problems when consumed in excess. As you can see it is in a lot of the foods we eat daily and that just means we’re getting too much of it in our diets.
Today’s wheat is said to differ greatly from what our ancestors consumed. This has given rise to the term ‘Frankenwheat’. The practice of continuous hybridization in order to yield larger crops has led to wheat that is completely different from its original form. This wheat can cause digestive irritation, inflammation, weight gain (dreaded belly fat) and is high on the glycemic scale (2 slices of bread = 6 tsps. of sugar, Yikes!), and it can trigger an opiate response causing an addictive craving for more.
9 ways to reduce Gluten without given up the taste:
The good news is you can make small changes that can reduce the amount of wheat you consume without making you feel deprived, in fact, you might just feel better and lose a few pounds in the process.
1. Wheat free Wednesday: Go completely Gluten Free for a day. Just eat Fruits, veggies and lean protein.
2. Zoodles: Use zucchini noodles instead of pasta. These tasty noodles are easy to make and they taste awesome. You can top the uncooked noodles with your favorite veggie or meat sauce or steam lightly just prior to serving.
3. Lettuce wraps instead of bread. Bibb or Butter lettuce makes a great substitution for a burger bun. Fajitas also taste great when wrapped in lettuce.
4. Make your own Salad Dressing. Have you looked at the ingredient list on a bottle of salad dressing lately?
5. Use Almond flour for your chicken fingers. Add some herbs and spices to the almond flour and shallow fry in the pan. Just as crunchy and delicious as the gluteny ones.
6. Cauliflower makes a great bread or pizza dough. Yes, cauliflower! You can make your own or buy one ready-made.
7. Quinoa makes a great substitution for a hot cereal like cream of wheat.
8. Make your own taco seasoning mix. Just combine cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and oregano. Yes. It’s that simple.
9. There are so many flour substitutes out there. Almond and coconut flour pancakes are yummy with cinnamon, vanilla extract and topped with maple syrup and fresh fruit.
What to watch out for
Beware of Gluten Free Products out there. If you don’t have a known allergy to Gluten you may want to limit GF products that use Tapioca Starch, Cornstarch, Rice Flour, Potato Flour…as substitutes. These items are low in fiber and are known to raise blood sugar levels faster than items with Gluten, (Labeled junk carbs by Dr. Hyman).
April DuBois is a freelance journalist specializing in health foods and wellness topics. April is the founder of Saivori, the world’s first maker of premium ghee in new and tantalizing flavors.