Let’s Talk About Gluten

talk about gluten

Wheat is the third most produced cereal crop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s Talk About Gluten

  1. What is Gluten?
  2. Where does it come from and what does it do for us?
  3. Will somebody please tell me why do we need it?

Have you asked yourself any of these questions lately? Well if you haven’t, I bet you have heard somebody somewhere mention the word ‘gluten’ in a conversation.

I decided to do a little research and bring some insight to this topic. To start with, gluten is a Latin word meaning “glue.”

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a plant protein found in foods that are processed from wheat and other grains like barley, rye and spelt (flour). It is actually what gives food items its chewy texture, licorice would be one good example. It also helps dough to have elasticity when you add a bit of water to it. This is helpful when making a pie crust or a pizza. Increasing moisture content in dough is what causes gluten to develop. Gluten is the piece to the puzzle that makes the dough rise!

Bread flour has a higher content of gluten than pastry flour. When wheat gluten is cooked in broth, the gluten absorbs some of the liquid and thus becomes firm to the bite thereby imitating the following:

  • beef
  • chicken
  • duck
  • fish
  • pork

Wheat Gluten

Wheat gluten, sometimes referred to as seitan (Japanese), is a product used in many vegetarian restaurants. Asian, Buddhist and macrobiotic cuisine use this instead of meat.

There are two components of gluten, one called gliadins and the other is glutenins, that are added proteins. Gliadin is the protein that is in all 3 parts of a wheat kernel. You might find this video interesting The Gluten Quality Of Different Grains (Video) | LIVESTRONG.COM

  1. Germ contains the plant embryo, which gives bread the ability to rise properly while baking.
  2. Endosperm makes up the kernel which is usually ground up into flour.
  3. Bran is the outer coating of the kernel or (wheat seed) is the very tough and  fibrous part of the wheat berry. This tough coating is removed at the processing point.

Processing of wheat bran and other whole grains most often lead to a major loss in nutritional properties e.g. fiber, folic acid and iron:

  • Fiber – helps to keep our colon clean by eliminating constipation. It helps our body to slow down the absorption of sugar into the blood stream.
  • Folic acids – B vitamins play a huge part in helping the body to make new healthy cells.

    “it can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.” CDC – Folic Acid Homepage – NCBDDD

  • Iron – An essential mineral found in our red blood cells. It helps the body to convert carbohydrates and fats into energy.

talk about gluten pictureWhole grains are concentrated sources of not only fiber but biotin, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc to name a few more.

Know the Facts

When you talk about gluten or have a discussion about going gluten free it is so important to know the facts before you do so. The one thing you don’t want to do is rob your body of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

People with health issues such as celiac disease and wheat sensitivities find it necessary to drop gluten from their diet.

My recommendation for anyone desiring to go gluten free, who do not have health issues, would be to first speak with their doctor or a registered dietitian. I believe that one of the problems causing more and more people to want a gluten free diet stems from the increase of heavy spraying of pesticides. These chemicals are extremely toxic at high levels.

Wheat grain has been associated with a condition known as brain fog and digestive problems.

Foods that contain gluten

Moving on, here are a list of some food items that contain gluten, you may or may not be aware of.

Cereals
Cookies
Crackers
Beer
Broths
Deli meats
Flavored coffees
Hot dogs
Pasta
Salad dressings
Soups
Medications
Imitation  seafood
Processed food
Seasonings and soy sauce

Food for thought…if a product is not labeled gluten free….well just go ahead and assume that it does contain gluten.

In regards to medications for those of you with concerns, consult with a pharmacist. Ask if gluten is in your medication and if it is what alternatives are there.

♦ Chef Ann’s Talk About Gluten Nutrition Tips: Now then after reading all of this and believe me there are plenty more foods that can ride this list. Let’s talk about gluten a little more with a few more tips from Chef Ann.

For those of you that will choose to go gluten free:

  1. Get ready to do some serious research
  2. Read all product labels
  3. Learn how to find key words that will help you to know gluten is in the product.
  4. Do not be afraid to ask questions, there are no stupid questions!
  5. Be ready to pay more at the grocery market.
  6. Be proactive and call some of the manufactures, Corporations, government agencies and politicians. Make noise and talk about the things that are important to you!

My conclusion in the grand scheme of things is one word and that is moderation! Instead of totally eliminating gluten from my diet, I choose to change my consumption. I feel I know the facts about gluten and now all I have to do is use wisdom.

The original plan was to come up with a blog that would be informative for my audience. My hope is that you leave with more information than you started out with. Please do not hesitate in leaving a comment on my website.

Thank you so very much for lending me your eyes, now it’s your turn, Let’s Talk About Gluten!

18 comments

  1. Cathy says:

    HI Ann,, I was always under the impression that foods high in gluten made you fill full for longer and had a slow sugar release so were great for maintaining energy over a long day.
    Infact when I eat pasta I try to keep the sauce levels low and the pasta levels high so that the sauce simply coats the pasta not drowns it.
    I understand that their are those that must not use foods with GL but it is an important part of most diets and to exclude it without need is removing a good source of slow release energy.

    • Chef Ann says:

      Hi Kathy, Let me first thank you for taking an interest in this topic. You are on the money and I do hope that you will share this with others.
      There is power in sharing information with others!
      Thank you again for visiting my site.

  2. I didn’t know much about gluten at all, thank you for the information and facts about them, I’m trying like you said in your blog to use moderation. Thank you again for this and I will probably be back on here for when I grocery shopping again.

    • Chef Ann says:

      Hello Rachel, happy to see that you are back and happily informed about the topic on gluten.
      You are most welcome and I look forward to hearing from you again.
      Thank you very much for taking the time to comment!

  3. Dawn says:

    Hi Ann,
    I have been completely gluten free for ten years it is very difficult to follow a gluten free lifestyle and keep nutrition balanced. I believe if a person does not need to be completely gluten free they shouldn’t go gluten free or like you do it in moderation.
    In my case the health benefits of going gluten free have been monumental and I wouldn’t go back to gluten now, but I need to take supplements to assignment what I can’t get in my gluten free foods. Gluten is added to so many foods and reading every label and hoping there is no contamination issues in the food I consume is sometimes very frustrating and can get confusing.
    Your website is informative. Thank you for all your research.

    • Chef Ann says:

      Hello Dawn,
      Congratulations on your ten year accomplishment! I’m sure that it has not been easy for you. Yes Dawn, as I eluded in my blog gluten is in so many things that we consume.
      It is in our best interest to stay mindful of this and take responsibility for our own actions.
      Thank you Dawn for taking the time to read this blog. I appreciate your comment and wish you continued success with your gluten free lifestyle.

  4. Balvinder says:

    Hi Ann, Thanks for letting me know about your gluten post. I am gluten free from 6 years and totally agree with with the above comment. It is difficult to keep yourself nutritionally balanced when you follow a gluten free lifestyle for medical reasons. I do have to take some extra supplements, cook from scratch but it is not difficult, though.

    • Chef Ann says:

      Hello Balvinder,
      You are most welcome my dear. It is nice to see that you have accomplished 6 years free of gluten.
      I really can’t imagine myself having to take on that lifestyle.
      I am glad to hear you say that cooking from scratch is not difficult. I hope that you will continue to stay on course and be able to try some of my recipes.
      Balvinder, thank you so kindly for taking time to visit my site and comment. Have a wonderful weekend my friend!

  5. Marjorie says:

    Hello Chef Ann, well again my sister you have done a great public service and brought,
    to the attention of the people very helpful information on the consumption of gluten, so
    thanks from all of us who needed this information and can always check your site for
    not just simply delicious recipes but also learn how to eat in a healthier way:)

    Love You Love Your Simply Delicious Recipezzzzzz

    Marjorie

    • Chef Ann says:

      My dearest Marjorie, so good to hear from you and happy to know that you are finding my work to be note worthy.
      I do aim to please and get so much enjoyment out of helping others!
      So thank you for being a great supportive sister, I Love you too! Chef Ann

  6. Jenny says:

    Great post Chef Ann! There is certainly a food fad for reducing or eliminating gluten from the diet. The fact is, very few people truly have gluten intolerance or celiac disease. I am concerned some who have followed this fad (and forced it on their children) may not be getting some essential nutrients from whole grain products. You did a super job of researching & presented the information in a very non discriminatory way-unlike many anti-gluten blog articles I have read-great job!

    • Chef Ann says:

      Hi Jenny, Once I started research on the topic of Gluten my concern was just what you are speaking about in reference to children.
      Many people go with the flow when it comes to trying new fads or what seem to be and don’t bother to research first.
      Thank you for taking the time to read,comment and share with me.
      So appreciative Chef Ann

  7. Diana says:

    Hey, Chef Ann, thanks for posting the facts of the case! I have a family member who found that being gluten free solved some major medical issues, and that was great for her. But, I don’t have those issues, so I’m glad to see that there’s value in the gluten I still eat! Because I love my bread, biscuits, and so on! diana

    • Chef Ann says:

      Hi Diana, you are most welcome. Glad to know that you found this blog to be informative for you.
      I hope that your relative continues to do well with the gluten free diet.
      Thank you for your time and interest!

  8. Charla MacKey says:

    WOW!!!

    Thanks Chef Ann, The nutritional facts about Gluten was very informative. This will all be duly noted. You are the best!!!

    Cee

    • Chef Ann says:

      Ms. Cee, what a doll you are! It is so wonderful to know that you are feeling good about the information you are receiving from my blogs.
      This helps me to know, with out any doubt that I am reaching my goal by reaching others who want the facts about nutritional health.
      There is so much more to cover so stay tuned my dear. Thank you again for such a nice comment!

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    • Chef Ann says:

      deutschland trikot 2014, I am so glad that you found this blog to be of interest to you, and refreshing to know that you enjoy my writing style. -:)
      Thank you very much for taking the time to comment!

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