What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein composite found in Wheat, Rye and Barley that helps coagulate and elasticise foods and dough. Eating a Gluten-free diet involves avoidance or reduction of these foods as well as other foods which contain added Gluten.

What Is Gluten? – Celiac (Coeliac) Disease

A lot of people have a negative reaction to consumption of Gluten, especially those who suffer with varied degrees of severity of Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is a medically diagnosed autoimmune condition in which Gluten generates an allergic reaction in the Intestines with potential to lead to a lack of absorption of certain nutrients. It can also result in fatigue, weight loss, and skin conditions. It’s been estimated that as many as 1% of the population are now Gluten intolerant and the dramatic rise in Celiac numbers has led to an increase in the availability of Gluten-free produce and recipes in supermarkets and food stores.

 

What Is Gluten? – The Gluten-Free Trend

In the modern era, being Gluten-free has become something almost trendy, despite a severe lack of evidence suggesting that eliminating Gluten from your diet has any benefits for 99% of the population. The only way to be sure of which products or foods affect you in a negative manner is to avoid them for a few weeks and see if there’s any improvement. If you are on a Gluten-free diet to test if your symptoms ease, you should be aware that it can take up to 4 weeks for any noticeable changes to occur. If you see no dramatic differences then it is advisable you visit your doctor for further advice on what may be causing the problems.

What Is Gluten? – Gluten-free Foods

The past few years of Gluten trends has resulted in a massive increase in availability of Gluten-free produce. Gluten-free alternatives include:

– Corn flour, cornflakes, corn pasta

– Buckwheat, blinis, Udon noodles

– Gluten-free oats, porridge, oat cakes, oatmeal

– Brown rice, basmati, rice noodles, rice crackers

– Millet, quinoa, potatoes, kelp noodles, sago and tapioca

– nuts and flax

If you aren’t a Celiac, but are choosing to be “Gluten-free” it is important to remember that you must ensure you are getting the full intake of vitamins and minerals that your previous diet included due to your Gluten food consumption.

 

Gluten-Free Breakfast… Blueberry Pancakes Serves 4

Ingredients:
125g Gluten-free self raising flour
1 teaspoon Gluten-free baking powder
1 egg
150ml soya milk
25g unsalted, melted butter
100g blueberries
1 tablespoon olive oil

Method:
– Mix together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl
– Whisk together the egg and milk and then add to the flour mix until smooth
– Add melted butter and whisk in then stir in the blueberries
– Heat oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, then spoon tablespoons of the mixture into the pan
– Cook for 3-4 minutes until the under side is golden then flip over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes
– Serve with additional blueberries

 

Gluten-Free Lunch… Chicken and Vegetable Satay Serves 4

Ingredients:
125ml tamari sauce
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 chicken breasts (cut into strips)
1 red pepper (deseeded and cut into chunks)
1 yellow pepper (deseeded and cut into chunks)
1 courgette (halved and sliced)
1 half of a chinese lettuce (shredded)
2 carrots (peeled and grated)
25g bean sprouts
1 small handful of coriander leaves
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 lime (juiced)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (toasted to serve)

Method:
– Mix together tamari sauce, peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of water in a large bowl
– Add chicken, pepper and courgette into the peanut mixture and then thread onto 8 Satay sticks (pre-soaked in water to prevent burning)
– Place under preheated hot grill for 12-14 minutes turning regularly until the chicken is cooked through
– Toss together the lettuce, carrot, bean sprouts and coriander leaves with the sesame oil and lime juice
– Serve the Satay on top of the salad, sprinkled with the sesame seeds (toasted or untoasted)

 

Gluten-Free Dinner… Spaghetti Arrabiata With Chilli And Prawns Serves 4

Ingredients:
250g Gluten-free spaghetti
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 half red chilli (diced)
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
1kg skinned ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 half teaspoon caster sugar
250g tiger or jumbo prawns (cooked and peeled)
1 handful of roughly torn basil
Parmesan shavings to serve

Method:
– Cook the Gluten-free spaghetti in a large saucepan of boiling water for 8-9 minutes or according to the instructions on the pack
– Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add red chilli and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes
– Add tomatoes, lemon juice and sugar to cook for a further 6-7 minutes, adding the prawns for the last minute of cooking time
– Drain the pasta and add in your Arrabiata sauce and the torn basil
– Serve sprinkled with the parmesan shavings if you choose

 

Always consult a medical professional before you begin a new diet or exercise program. It is essential to ensure you are not going to put yourself at any risk.