In recent years Gluten has become a bit of a diet buzz word in the food world so for those who don’t already know, Gluten is a complex protein found in wheat, rye and barley and for some people that spells big trouble.
Unfortunately, as Gluten has been getting what is probably a lot of unnecessary press, many people are starting to believe that Gluten is bad for them and should be eliminated from their diets.
So What Is a Gluten Free Diet?
A gluten-free diet (GF diet) is one that excludes any type of food that has gluten, which is a particular protein composite found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale.
And Who Should be Worried About Gluten?
Just imagine not being able to eat anything that has wheat, barley or rye in it?
Yet this is the very plight for many people who have to maintain a gluten-free diet.
For those people who are professionally diagnosed with Celiac disease and Dermatitis Herpetiformis, food having wheat, rye or barley in it is no longer an option.
Without becoming too technical or medical, wheat, rye and barley wreaks havoc on their small intestine. To avoid that scenario gluten must be avoided over the course of a lifetime, which is a long time, but, it does not mean you have to give up all your favorites.
It just means modification and using the right flours which can be quite easily done.
Some people who do not suffer from Celiac Disease or DH have also reported feeling better when they go Gluten free. If this is you, then go for it.
However, it is important to realize that foods labeled as being “gluten free” are not necessarily healthy. Some of them are high in carbs, calories and fat, and so can be a concern for healthy weight management. So make sure you check and understand the contents labels.
Flours Containing Gluten that Should Be Avoided by Celiac and DH Sufferers:
• Graham flour
Gluten Free Flour Options for Cooking and Baking:
We live in exciting times where the most creative minds have discovered ways for the gluten-free to have, to hold, and to eat cake too, as long as it is made of flour that is not ground from wheat, rye or barley.
In the market place, more flour selections than ever before are available to accommodate the gluten-free diet.
Try some of these next time you get the urge to do some baking:
Brown Rice Flour:
This is supplementary flour, and works great when blended with teff, buckwheat or sorghum flours. It is great for cooking and works for both sweet and savory dishes.
This is light in color and drier than other flours and is best when mixed with heartier flours, like, Teff, Hemp, or almond, but note, it should not be used by itself.
Teff is an all-around flour that works well for baking in gluten free diets. It is loaded with good nutrients and has a nutty flavor and darker color. This flour is not easily found in traditional markets, but can be found online and specialty health food stores.
This is an ideal gluten free flour alternative for use in muffins, cakes and pancakes. In fact, buckwheat pancakes are much healthier as far as weight management than the traditional white flour varieties. In order to get dough that rolls well, add something starchy, such as, cornstarch or tapioca flour.
Sweet White Rice Flour (aka Mochiko):
This is a great choice to add moisture and density to baked goods. It has a slightly milky taste, and it’s a little sweet. It is typically used to make Japanese desserts such as Mochi. It works well for both sweet and savory recipes.
This is a great choice for baking. Made from ground almonds, it is also a good choice for very low carb baking. Using 1/4 of this in any flour mixture will add moistness, binding, a light almond flavor, and a nice amount of density to muffins, brownies, cookies, breads, dehydrated snacks and cake recipes. One of my favourite flours.
Corn flour can be added to many gluten-free flour mixes, pastas and flatbreads.