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First of all it might be helpful to describe what gluten is, what challenges it may or may not cause, and where one might find gluten in the grocery store, pantry, or refrigerator.

From the informative article linked below:

"Gluten is the protein part of wheat, rye, barley, and other related grains. Some people cannot tolerate gluten when it comes in contact with the small intestine. This condition is known as celiac disease (sometimes called non-tropical sprue or gluten sensitive enteropathy)."

"Celiac Disease is the most common, undiagnosed, serious intestinal disease in the United States."

"In patients with celiac disease, gluten injures the lining of the small intestine. This injury results in weight loss, bloating, diarrhea, gas, abdominal cramps, or vitamin and mineral deficiencies. When patients totally eliminate gluten from the diet, the lining of the intestine has a chance to heal."

"Removing gluten from the diet is not easy. Grains are used in the preparation of many foods. It is often hard to tell by a food's name what may be in it, so it is easy to eat gluten without even knowing it. However, staying on a strict, gluten-free diet can dramatically improve the patient's condition. Since it is necessary to remain on the gluten-free diet throughout life, it will be helpful to review it with a registered dietitian."


The trouble with removing gluten from the diets of celiac sufferers (perhaps up to 1% of the US population), is that this protein is widely used in food manufacturing processes, primarily to add protein to an otherwise low-protein food.

The main challenge I find as a baker, is that gluten is what drives the bread baking process; providing the structure, texture, and rise. Providing a gluten-free baked product that tastes, looks, and acts like bread is a challenge.

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Replies to This Discussion

Note that wheat allergy and celiac disease are different disorders.
"While awareness of celiac disease is rising, most people who have it—perhaps 95 percent of them—don't realize it. As many as 3 in 4 people with the disease have no noticeable symptoms, says Peter H. R. Green, the director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. Even people who do have symptoms—often diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating—may have a hard time getting diagnosed; the average delay is 11 years, and doctors often misdiagnose celiac disease as irritable bowel syndrome, unrelated anemia, or stress. However, going gluten free without consulting a doctor is discouraged, since it further raises the likelihood of misdiagnosis."

"To make matters more complicated, some people who test negative for celiac disease nevertheless seem to feel better when they go gluten free. As much as 15 percent of the population may fit into this category, which doctors call "gluten sensitivity." It's not clear how prevalent gluten sensitivity is among the consumers who opt to go gluten free without consulting a doctor."

There are replacements for gluten-based products when baking breads, pastries, and other favorites. I use either xanthum gum (some is corn-derived), or guar gum to deal with the "structure" issue. Popular replacement flours include: garbanzo bean, fava bean, teff, rice, potato, sweet potato, corn or potato starch, tapioca, and sorghum. I have found that a combination of at least three flours of varying degrees of texture provide the best flavor and texture for bread. I use a combo of garbanzo/fava, rice (certified GF), teff, and potato starch as the base for all my gluten-free breads. And there are many whole grains you may add that are gluten-free: millet and flax seeds, oats (certified GF), quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth seed, and sunflower seeds.

Check out recipes on the Web. A tasty bread recipe is generally one that uses a combo of flours, not just rice flour, for example. Eggs are generally added for moisture, binding, and added texture.
I would definitely have to agree about feeling better on a gluten free diet! I tried it last month (except for Thanksgiving week), and I had so much more energy! I didn't feel tired all the time, and I was actually jumping around the house with my kids!
Gluten reactions are also as follows: weight gain, skin disorders which can be cyst or boil like, dryness/cracking.

Some the the products that I have found to contain gluten products are: Tomato soup, cottage cheese, enchalada sauces, just about any "processed" foods that need a "thickiner" in them.

Modified food starch is the words to look for to determine if there is a wheat product in the package.
Hey, cousin.....
Does it make a difference if you ingest a carbohydrate enzyme to regulate the glucose? I read that part of the gluten or gliadin causing problems may not be the protein itself but rather a carbohydrate portion of the gluten or gliadin (Phelan 1977, 1974; McCarthy 1976; Hekkens 1963).

They further wrote that when the proteases break up the gluten, although this destroys any problematic intermediate peptides that may upset the celiac intestines.


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