Many Americans are used to having gluten products in their diet, but some people are finding that gluten-free foods are just as tasty. Also, gluten-free food is healthier to eat. They are popping up in grocery stores, and now some food companies are finding ways to create tasty gluten-free food for their consumers.
"Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye," says Sheri Kanarek, a clinical manager at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. "When a person has a sensitivity and consumes gluten, it will cause damage to the lining of the small intestine. This damage could cause problems with absorbing nutrients that your body needs."
For this reason, some people need a completely gluten-free diet. People who are diagnosed with Celiac disease – an autoimmune disorder that causes intolerance to gluten – should avoid gluten to get rid of the symptoms they have. The symptoms are things such as bloating, constipation, cramping and a lack of energy.
Gluten-free foods can be consumed by anyone. They’re not harmful in any way. "However, they would need to consume fruits and vegetables to ensure that they are receiving adequate fiber daily. A person is not eating healthier because they eat gluten-free foods," says Kanarek.
Kanarek has tried a few gluten-free foods, like brownies, pancakes, bread and pasta that are gluten-free. She says the texture was a little different, but they did taste great. Even so, glute-free diets can be difficult to maintain. Gluten hides in many foods people love, like salad dressings and soy sauces.
Also, another way to find gluten-free foods is to visit a bakery that just makes gluten-free products. Amber Jones, the owner of AJ Creations has a gluten-free bakery, which also bakes for other dietary needs. Jones had a few friends who ate gluten-free food. They told her that there weren’t really places that offered gluten-free food in the Tri-State area. Jones did the research and found this to be true. She has been open for over a year and has found gluten-free baked goods to be needed in the Cincinnati area.
Although she does not think one needs to go on a completely gluten-free diet, she does think that if one adds gluten-free foods to their diets, their diets will be more well-rounded. "Everything should be eaten in moderation," she says. She says that sometimes it can be tricky to make gluten-free food, because the flours are temperamental. Once she figured it out and saw how the flours all worked together, it was not hard to create recipes. Some time in February 2012, AJ Creations will begin to offer classes to teach people how to create gluten-free food.