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What Is Gluten?

Gluten is the sticky substance that makes fresh bread rise and hold its shape, its what gives cake that rich sticky consistency and its what makes pancakes light and fluffy.

It is unfortunately also the substance that some of our bodies react to with a vengeance. The thing that causes the reaction in certain people is in fact the proteins that make up gluten called Gliadin and Glutenin.

What is Gluten found in?

It is important to start becoming a label reader:
Here is a list of all ingredients that contain GLUTEN:

The big four are WHEAT, RYE, BARLEY and OATS

Here are some others
• Atta
• Bal ahar
• Bread Flour
• Bulgar Wheat
• Cake flour
• Cereal extracts
• Couscous
• Durum
• Farina
• Pasta
• Puffed wheat
• Semolina
• Spelt
• Triticale
• Wheat bran
• Wheat germ
• White flour
• Whole wheat flour

Don’t get me wrong there are a whole lot more grains and cereals that contain gluten. These are just some of the more common ones. But in each region of the world different grains are grown and in every country there will be different forms of gluten in your food. So educate yourself about what’s out there.

The biggest problem is not even necessarily avoiding those grains, but the hidden gluten found in food labels. I am an avid label checker.

Here are some examples of hidden gluten:

• Dextrin
• Gelatinized starch
• Hydrolysed veg protein
• Miso
• Modified starch
• Mono/diglycerides
• Soya sauce (shoyu/tamari)
• Starch
• Stock cubes
• Vegetable gum

One of the biggest adjustments I had to make was giving up soy sauce. I absolutely cannot find any wheat free soy sauce anywhere (any suggestions?).
Tamari, which is also meant to be a good alternative, has also started to add wheat to their soy sauce.

I have learnt to substitute it in cooking for making sauces and for sushi I use lemon juice, which is just as good.
Read the labels and you will end up eating healthier by default when you realise what goes into what you’re eating but get familiar with the various types of gluten.

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