Gluten-free products are more prevalent than ever these days, which is great for those that have to follow a gluten-free diet to stay healthy. Having such products available can make it easy to comply with an eating routine that can help you manage certain health conditions and intolerances. This in turn, can help increase the quality of life. Read below to learn more about gluten, who should follow a gluten-free eating routine, how to avoid gluten in the diet, and some gluten-free food products you can try to enhance the flavor and enjoyment of your gluten-free lifestyle. And as an added bonus, there's even a recipe below to learn how to make a flavorful, gluten-free biscuit.
What is gluten?
Gluten is the name for the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale (cross between wheat and rye). It is a structural protein that acts as the glue that helps foods maintain their shape.
Who should follow a gluten-free diet?
Regardless of what many wellness blogs may tell you, not everyone has to follow a gluten-free diet for optimal health. Gluten-containing foods, like wheat bread, can provide a good source of fiber, folate, and other nutrients to those who can tolerate.
The only people that should truly follow a gluten-free diet are those that have conditions like celiac disease, gluten intolerance, the skin disorder dermatitis herpetiformis in which gluten can cause inflammation and other painful symptoms. This type of diet may also help manage symptoms of those with irritable bowel syndrome, the neurological disorder gluten ataxia, type 1 diabetes, or those with HIV-associated enteropathy.
Besides the health benefits that those with the above conditions, research shows that the gluten-free diet has no clear or convincing benefits for those that do not have celiac disease or related conditions. Not to mention that gluten-free products sold in the United States typically have lower levels of folate, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin than wheat products since gluten-free products are usually not enriched with such nutrients during processing.
How to avoid gluten in the diet
If you need to avoid gluten in the diet for health reasons, then avoid those foods and food products that contain wheat, barley, or rye in any form. This may include certain bread and pasta products, baked goods, and some condiments that may use gluten as a thickener. It's important to look for products that have gluten-free on the label.
What are gluten-free grains I can enjoy on a gluten-free diet?
On a gluten-free diet, you can enjoy a variety of grains safely without any symptoms. Some of those grains include:
These gluten-free whole grains are a vital part of a gluten-free eating plan since they are good sources of those nutrients typically low in gluten-free bread products: folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, iron, as well as protein and fiber.
Five delicious gluten-free products you should try today
As someone with irritable bowel syndrome, I don't have a serious intolerance to gluten, but I choose to limit it to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms like abdominal pain and bloating. Therefore, I have experience
trying many gluten-free products that may help me enjoy a variety of my favorite types of foods while managing my symptoms. Read below to learn about five gluten-free products you should try today.
This sweet potato flour product has a subtly sweet, yet savory flavor that will add a delicious note to any baked good recipe. And as an added bonus this product contains 2 grams of fiber, 50% of the recommended daily value of iron, and 10% of the recommended daily value of potassium per 3 tablespoons.
These flavorful toasted coconut flakes, can provide a great, portable gluten-free snack, or you can crush them and use in place of panko crumbs as a batter for your favorite protein or vegetable. Every 3 tablespoons contains just 100 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and just 1 gram of sugar.
Use this all-purpose flour mix product to create your favorite baked goods without the gluten. This mix of white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, pea fiber, acacia gum, and pea protein provides structure to your baked good recipes without the gluten that could trigger symptoms. Each two tablespoon serving contains 2 grams of fiber.
This unique chocolate wafer roll filled with creamy, chocolately goodness is not only delicious, but also gluten-free and dairy-free. Enjoy alone, or next to your coffee drink or hot chocolate for a comfort food taste that won't trigger symptoms. Enjoy two wafers for just 90 calories and 6 grams sugar.
If you love crunchy snacks like pretzels or crackers, but follow a gluten-free lifestyle, then you'll love these gluten-free rice flour and almond-based thins. Enjoy alone in a variety of flavors like original, sea salt, sriracha, or cheddar cheese, to name a few, or dip in your favorite creamed cheese or dip for a delicious snack option. A serving of 19 thins in the original flavor contain just 130 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 115 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.
Bottom line on gluten-free foods
Not everyone has to follow a gluten-free diet for optimal health. But if you do have to avoid gluten to manage symptoms, then there are a variety of gluten-free foods and products out there that you can enjoy, with more coming out every day. Because of this, you can be sure to follow an eating routine that will help you feel your best without feeling like you have to sacrifice your favorite foods and flavors.
Bonus: Scrumptious Sweet Potato Flour Biscuit Recipe
If you follow a gluten-free lifestyle, you may not think you can ever enjoy a warm, fluffy biscuit again. But I'm here to tell you that your comfort food cravings are about to be fulfilled with the following sweet potato flour biscuit recipe. These biscuits may not have the airy fluff of biscuits made from gluten flour, but their unique, nutrient-dense flavor profile will provide a filling and flavorful bsoft biscuit that will pair well with your next protein and veggie meal plate. Feel free to substitute the egg with an egg substitute if you prefer, but the structure cannot be guaranteed if such substitutions are made.
1 and 1/2 cups gluten-free flour like Glutino flour
1/2 cup sweet potato flour like that from Let's Do Organic
5 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons COLD unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk
Preheat oven to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit (~176.7 degrees Celsius).
Mix together dry ingredients well.
Use cheese shredder to shred cold butter into bowl of dry ingredients. Mix butter in well with dry
ingredients with a wooden spoon or fork.
Mix in egg as well as almond or cashew milk. Combine milk and egg with other ingredients well until dough is formed.
Once ingredients are incorporated well into dough, separate the dough into about 13 biscuits.
Place biscuits onto nonstick cooking sheet about 1-2 inches apart from one another.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through. You can use a toothpick or butter knife to check to make sure the biscuits are cooked through. No wet dough should come off onto toothpick or butter knife.
Allow biscuits to set outside of oven on cooking sheet for about 5 minutes to cool before serving.
Nutritional Info per biscuit:
27 grams carbohydrate
3.2 grams fiber
2.7 grams protein
1.7 grams sugar
7.2 grams fat
4.4 grams saturated fat
310 milligrams sodium
108 milligrams potassium
61% recommended daily value vitamin A
110% recommended daily value calcium
14% recommended daily value iron