Is Gluten Free Absolutely Necessary?

So how bad is eating a few slices of white bread?

Well, bread contains gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt and oats. It is hidden in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods. What most people don’t know is that gluten can cause serious health complications for many. You may be at risk even if you’re not diagnosed with celiac disease.

What exactly is gluten?

Gluten (from the Latin word glue) is a protein composite that appears in foods processed from wheat and related species, including barley and rye. It gives elasticity to dough, helping it to rise and to keep its shape, and often giving the final product a chewy texture.


Is gluten free absolutely necessary?

The most common reason for a person to require a gluten-free diet is that when they have celiac disease or any form of immune dysfunction illnesses. In this case, the immune system identifies gluten as a foreign substance, leading to inflammation, and, as a result, damages the lining of the small intestine. Sometimes, the chronic or subtle inflammation in the body especially in the gut is hard to identify and it can just leave you feeling bloated or fatigue.

Health problems caused by gluten sensitivity cannot be treated with better medication except by eliminating 100 percent of the gluten from your diet.

There are a variety of flours, pastas, and prepared foods that utilize these non-gluten foods, including flours from nuts and seeds. The most straight forward and nutritious way to approach the gluten-free diet is to eat whole foods pretty much the way nature produced them. Then, mysterious ingredients or additives can be avoided and a more wholesome diet of unrefined foods can be enjoyed. Eat out less and eat more legumes (dry beans and peas), nuts and seeds, whole fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry, and eggs, using fresh herbs for seasoning.

Here are some interesting recipes for you to try out:

BLUEBERRY MUFFINS WITH LEMON ZEST, adapted from The Best Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted, soft butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 cup sweet white sorghum flour
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder (or ½ teaspoon cream of tartar, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon cornstarch)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (if combining above, add another ½ teaspoon to mix)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups plain yogurt
  • 1 cup blueberries (frozen are fine)
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients together. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together, until just creamed. If you leave the stand mixer running as they are creaming, these muffins will not rise. Simply cream them until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg.
  4. Add one half of the dry ingredients, mixing well. Add one-third of the yogurt and combine until well mixed. Add one-half of the remaining dry ingredients to the mixture, and combine. Continue this, alternating the yogurt and dry ingredients, until you have mixed both of them in, completely.
  5. Add as many blueberries as you can.
  6. Oil a muffin tin well, then sprinkle a little cornstarch or white rice flour on the bottom of each cup. Fill each space for muffin two-thirds full. Sprinkle the raw sugar over the top and set them in the oven. (This recipe will give you enough batter to make two tins of muffins, or close.)
  7. Bake the muffins for about 35 minutes, or until the tops have browned and started to harden, and the entire house smells of warm blueberry muffins. If your sweetie wakes up from the smell, the muffins are done. Makes 18 muffins.

CHAR-GRILLED LAMB WITH TOMATO CHICKPEAS, recipe from Australian Women Weekly

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium (170g) red onion,
  • cut into thin wedges
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 400g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 lemon, rind finely grated, juiced
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 500g lamb back strap (eye of loin) or fillet
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 200g steamed green beans, to serve

  1. Place half the oil and the onion in a medium saucepan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onion starts to soften. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the chickpeas, undrained tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes or until thick.
  2. Meanwhile, combine remaining oil, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, lemon rind, cumin and cinnamon on a plate. Season well with freshly ground black pepper. Roll the lamb in the spice mixture to coat.
  3. Spray a char-grill pan with cooking spray and heat over high heat. Cook lamb for 4 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate; cover and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir the mint through the chickpea mixture and season well with freshly ground black pepper. Serve with the sliced lamb and steamed beans.

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