A gluten-free diet is the only option for people with coeliac disease, a severe gluten intolerance. In the last ten years or so, many people without this condition are 'going gluten free' because they believe it is a healthful option.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale, a combination of wheat and rye. It helps foods such as cereal, bread, and pasta, to hold their shape.
A person with coeliac disease must avoid all foods that contain gluten, even in the smallest amounts.
These can include:
any food made with cereals such as wheat, barley, triticale, rye, and malt
cakes and pies
purchased french fries
malt derivatives, including malt loaf, malt vinegar, brewer's yeast, and malt-based beer and malted milk or milk shakes
some types of soy sauce
Of course the more of these foods you make yourself, the more control you have over the gluten you are consuming and in severe cases such as coeliac disease you can control your gluten intake with exactness.
Many foods of course are naturally gluten free and there is no need to be concerned about eating any of those. (Think fruit, meats, eggs, unprocessed nuts, seeds or beans, most dairy products and white rice.
Grains and starches that also may be acceptable as part of a gluten-free diet include buckwheat, corn and cornmeal, flax, quinoa, rice, soy, arrowroot, and millet.
However, if these grains may have come into contact with grains, preservatives, or additives that contain gluten, a person with celiac disease should avoid them.
SO, why all the hype about gluten free diets being good for you even if you don't have coeliac disease.
Avoiding gluten does no harm;
Rafe Bundy, a nutritionist and spokesperson for the American Association for Nutrition:
"There are many people around the world that consume a diet which is naturally gluten free or low in gluten. A good example is most of Asia, where the main staple food is rice, not wheat. It's perfectly possible to have a healthy diet which is also gluten-free diet using most standard dietary advice."
Some nutritionists believe that the focus on gluten-free diets and the growing availability of gluten-free foods may also be driving awareness of celiac disease. This is helpful for people with celiac disease.
Whatever your story with gluten, there is no harm in following a gluten free diet, though I personally would find it difficult to give up a great slice of sourdough rye slathered in butter and topped with a perfectly poached egg!
If you are ready to use more gluten free recipes in your life, of course I am coming to your rescue with this Magic Ten Gluten Free Collection ebook. We have selected our top ten most delicious gluten free recipes for you! Hit the button and you will be loading up all the flavour imaginable with none of the gluten! It is just a WIN WIN! (This book is free with Insider Club Membership!)