By necessity or by trend, more people than ever are switching to a gluten-free diet.
So what exactly is gluten? Gluten is the general name for proteins that are found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale. It acts as a “glue” and helps food hold its shape when processed into things like dough. It is also recognized as a common food allergen that damages the small intestine of those with Celiac Disease. And with the growing number of individuals with Celiac Disease and gluten or wheat allergies, people are becoming mindful of just what is in their food, namely packaged and prepared foods.
But it’s not as easy as simply abstaining from all wheat, barley, rye and triticale products to be gluten-free. There are many things to be mindful of. For example, packaged foods that are seemingly gluten-free (like nuts and potato chips) may still contain trace amounts of gluten because they are processed on shared equipment. Even oats aren’t considered gluten-free if they’re grown next to wheat so looking for indicators on packaging like “gluten-free” or “certified gluten-free” will play a key role in decision making.
So why eat gluten-free if you don’t have to? Sticking to a gluten-free diet definitely makes sense if you have Celiac Disease or gluten or wheat allergies. But if you don’t suffer from any of those problems you can still enjoy gluten-free food. This doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your whole diet, but rather work in new and different selections. It can be a great way to discover new foods you may have not otherwise have tried. Some people even report feeling increased energy and clearer after reducing some of the gluten in their diet.
*Please be sure to consult your physician when planning to make big changes to your diet.
We understand how important it is to have snack options available to appease those who have restricted diets, from gluten-free to vegan and everywhere in-between. If you are interested in learning about our gluten-free or our other snack selections for restricted diets, click here and give us a shout!