Gluten intolerance

Gluten intolerance causes havoc with the digestive system and without proper care and attention can lead to Celiac Disease, a life-long allergy to gluten. However, there are ways to continue to enjoy regular meals and dishes without having to forego eating breads and other delights. This is done by substituting gluten rich foods with those containing little or no gluten. In the case of those with gluten intolerance, it is easier to remove these foods and eventually overcome the intolerance than it is for those who have the full blown gluten type allergy. This means first removing all obvious gluten foods from a patient’s diet, followed by less obvious sources.

Removing Obvious Gluten Foods

After removing wheat, malt, rye, barley, spelt, wheat and kamut, as well as tricale, those with gluten intolerance can replace their starches with commonly eaten substitutes, including tapioca, rice, potatoes and corn. However, for those who want to enjoy breads and cakes, and related foods, alternatives have to be introduced. The best starchy grain substitutes include andyam, chia seeds, taro, teff, jowar or sorghum, quinoa, lupin, montina, millet, arrowroot and amaranth. Varied flours are useful for baking, including almond and other nut flours, soybean and varied bean flours. However, few people are aware that buckwheat is a good option, but one that is specifically prepared without the risk of contamination with other gluten foods. In fact, it is important to ensure that all substituted foods are labelled as gluten-free and come from reputable sources because not all so-called gluten-free products are as good as they claim. A good place to look for appropriate brands is on national Celiac Disease sites, where top international brands are recommended as being the most reliable. Alternatively, gram flour, which is made from ground chickpeas, is good, though the flavour takes time to get used to.

Finding Balance with Non-Gluten Substitutes

When trying to find alternative, non-gluten mixes for cakes, batters and breads, some people buy mixtures of the right balance of alternative flours to ensure that their final foods are not heavy or flavourless. Alternatively, patients can mix their own, which is far cheaper.

Rooting Out Less Obvious Sources of Food Glutens

Not all sources of glutens are as obvious as wheat, for example. There are many variants on standard gluten grains that come under different names and are mixed into convenience and other foods which are not always easy to find, given that labelling is not as good as it should be. Therefore, it is wise to look for foods that do not contain the following ingredients to avoid these other gluten variants:

• graham flour
• bulgar
• semolina
• cereal binding
• dinkel
• couscous
• malt extract
• durum
• malt flavouring
• einkorn
• malt syrup
• wheat bran
• emmer
• oats (unless stated as gluten-free)
• wheat germ
• filler
• oat bran (unless stated as gluten-free)
• wheat starch
• farro
• oat syrup

In addition, people with gluten intolerance should question the following types of convenience foods:

• flavoured drinks and milks
• cheese spreads/sauces
• flavoured/frozen yogurts
• sour cream
• rice/corn cereals
• buckwheat pastas
• rice/corn cakes and crackers
• oats
• baked beans
• dried and roasted nuts
• processed meats
• mock meats
• dried fruits
• pie fillings
• fruit and vegetable sauces/fillings
• pre-packaged potato and French fries products
• bouillon cubes
• soup type bases/mixes/canned varieties
• salad dressings
• milk mixes/puddings
• teas
• herbal teas
• coffee substitute type drinks
• rice/soy drinks
• fruit curds
• potato/tortilla/other chips
• all pre-packaged snacks
• baking powder
• seasoning mixes
• seasonings
• Worcestershire/other sauces

Living with Gluten-Free Foods

Gluten-free foods can taste slightly different from what many people are used to. It takes time and patience to determine which foods are safe and which are not. However, for the best and most convenient determinations, getting a dietician recommended by a patient’s family doctor can cut down the research time and even present other options that might not be available through other sources.

Top 5 search terms for this item: