Let’s Talk About Gluten
- What is Gluten?
- Where does it come from and what does it do for us?
- 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:
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
- Germ contains the plant embryo, which gives bread the ability to rise properly while baking.
- Endosperm makes up the kernel which is usually ground up into flour.
- 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.
- Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Lowering of insulin levels.
- Protect against atherosclerosis, diabetes, stokes, and obesity. Source: Whole grains protect against atherosclerotic c… [Proc Nutr Soc. 2003] – PubMed – NCBI
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.
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:
- Get ready to do some serious research
- Read all product labels
- Learn how to find key words that will help you to know gluten is in the product.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions, there are no stupid questions!
- Be ready to pay more at the grocery market.
- 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!