Six Questions About ‘The G Word’
1. What is gluten?
Gluten is the general name given to two proteins found in wheat, rye and barley, and ingredients that have been made with these grains. As a result, gluten can be found in many types of foods, including some you would never expect.
2. What effect does gluten have on food?
Gluten is not an essential component in most foods. It often just happens to be there because it is naturally present in so many commonly used and widely available ingredients (like wheat flour). In terms of what it actually does, the most noteworthy benefits of gluten are associated with texture rather than taste, in that it can give foods such as baked goods elasticity (ie. springiness) and help them maintain their shape.
3. Why do some people avoid gluten?
Many people experience negative effects – at varying levels of intensity – when they eat foods that contain gluten.
The most serious effects are experienced by people with “Coeliac Disease” (pronounced “see-lee-ak”) and can include severe inflammation in their small intestines and a range of related health problems. They must always eat 100% gluten-free.
Many other people experience lower levels of gluten-intolerance or gluten-sensitivity without necessarily having “Coeliac Disease”. They can still eat gluten safely but their body reacts badly to it. They prefer to eat 100% gluten-free food.
Finally, some people simply choose to eat 100% gluten-free because they consider it part of a healthy and natural lifestyle.
4. What foods normally contain gluten?
A lot! Gluten is found in most widely available forms of bread, pasta, noodles, biscuits, cakes and cereals, but also soups, sauces, salad dressings and other products that have been made with flour or other ingredients containing gluten.
5. If gluten exists naturally in grains such as wheat, rye and barley, then does that mean gluten-free foods are “fake” or “artificial”?
Not at all. This is a common misunderstanding. Although gluten does occur naturally in some common grains, there are just as many (if not more) widely available foods and ingredients that are naturally gluten-free, including rice, potato, corn, all fruits, all vegetables, meat, dairy, quinoa, beans, seeds and nuts, just to name a few. They can be used to create food and ingredients (including delicious baking flours) that are natural, wholesome and 100% gluten free without the need for artificial substitutes.
6. I don’t think I am sensitive to gluten. Why should I eat gluten-free food?
For the same reason you eat any great food – because it is wholesome and delicious. There’s no need for FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) at Tawa Bakery because you aren’t missing out on anything.