Gluten-free diets are on the rise. It's not just a trendy way to lose weight, although many assume it is. To those suffering from gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, it is crucial part of life.
Recently, our family had the opportunity to change our eating habits. My daughter could easily say yes to most of the symptoms on the celiac disease checklist. In many ways for a child or teen, getting rid of gluten seems like the end of the world. No more bread, noodles or cupcakes!
What has really happened is that we get to experience an entirely new world of cooking. For my daughter, it's become a way to make her school lunch an adventure, filling newly-acquired bento boxes with rice crackers, cheese, fresh veggies and fruit.
What could have been "the end of the world" became something positive and healthy.
But, just what is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. This basically means if you are unable to eat gluten, you'll have to dump most bread, pasta and even beer.
For those sensitive to gluten, eating can cause havoc on your digestive system. When gluten enters your body, your immune system decides it just doesn't belong - so antibodies attack. This unfortunately is also an attack on your body, destroying the villi in your small intestine.
Villi in the small intestine are what help your body absorb nutrients. If they are damaged, your body loses nutrients; the gluten as well as the toxins in your system can pass through the walls of your intestine and into your bloodstream.
For more information, and definitely more science, check out the National Foundation for Celiac Disease website.
What can you eat if you can't eat gluten?
Well, you can't eat bread, cookies, biscuits or pasta made from wheat anymore, but there are plenty replacements for these foods.
Many food manufacturers have begun labeling whether their products are gluten free. Some even say if they have been produced in a facility where they might have come in contact with wheat or other allergens.
But those of you who still doubt, the list of what you CAN eat is pretty dynamic.
• Fruits and Vegetables
• Meats and Fish
• Milk and Dairy Products
• Breads, Snacks, Cereals and Pastas: Need to be specifically labeled "gluten-free."
• Prepared Foods
• Baking Mixes and Supplies: Need to be specifically labeled "gluten-free."
• Condiments, Sauces and Spices: Need to be specifically labeled "gluten-free."
• Coffee, Tea, Soda, Fruit Drinks
• Alcohol: You'll need to buy gluten-free beer, but wine is gluten-free in most cases
For a longer list, replacements and more visit the USDA website for celiac disease.
It's good to remember in all these cases, however, to be aware, read labels and if you are unsure, do more research before purchasing. Many prepared foods and sauces can sometimes hide gluten in some way, so look for gluten-free labeling.
So don't get down about what you are having to give up. Becoming gluten-free is a perfect reason to get more vegetables in your life, try out new flavors and exotic cuisines.
Also, I'll be featuring weekly recipes as I travel into this new territory in Twinkle's Kitchen, so make sure to check back for more.
So instead of looking on the downside and what you are loosing, think of it as a challenge and an opportunity for an exciting food adventure.
More sites to find good, gluten-free recipes, experiences and information:
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked 300 apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
Governor Mike Pence is directing flags at Indiana state facilities be flown at half-staff on Saturday, Dec. 7 in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
A water main break has closed two lanes in the 1300-block of Lafayette Street, near Douglas Avenue.
A national campaign wants the NFL's Washington Redskins to change its name to not be offensive to Native Americans, and it could effect teams across the country.
The Lilly Endowment Inc. has given more than $62 million to 39 Indiana colleges and universities to increase employment opportunities for college graduates. receive
A two-car crash tied up traffic for a short time on Illinois Road at the entrance to Jefferson Pointe.
It's been a year since FBI agents and police raided several homes in Fort Wayne. The center of the investigation was Michael Fabini's home.
Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not toxic to humans or pets. Some mild side effects are possible if they are eaten.
A Fort Wayne man had the opportunity to have lunch with Nelson Mandela 20 years ago. He says the experience is something he has carried with him throughout the years.
The suspects face bank robbing charges, as well as charges of assaulting and putting in jeopardy the lives of others.
The yellow brick building that served for decades as the club house for the Elks Lodge 155 golf course in Fort Wayne is being demolished.
Buffalo Wild Wings donated $6,500 to the Boys & Girls Club's Fairfield location on Friday afternoon. The money will be used for youth sports tournaments.
A new event promises 12 days of delicious deals at Fort Wayne restaurants in January.
A woman arrested for shoplifting at a Fort Wayne Walmart identified herself as her husband's ex-wife when she was actually the man's current wife. The ex-wife then ended up getting arrested when the real wife failed to show up for court.
Gov. Mike Pence has ordered flags at Indiana state facilities to be flown at half-staff in tribute of Nelson Mandela and is asking businesses and residents to do so also to honor the world leader.
A big chunk of the U.S. is getting a blast of wintry weather. Some areas are experiencing frigid temperatures. Some are seeing snow and ice. Several deaths have been reported, most resulting from treacherous driving conditions. Hundreds of…