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“Life is like a box of Chocolates…You never know what you’re gonna get!” ~ Forrest Gump…. but What is Gluten?

“Life is like a box of Chocolates… You never know what you’re gonna get!” ~ Forrest Gump

Forrest’s mama was right!

I’m sure many of us, as a younger version of ourselves, would now look at the lives we now live and would probably have said, “My life won’t be like that.”

Ah, the foolishness of youth 🙂 and yet, here we are… 

The important thing is to just keep moving forward, don’t get discouraged, and learn! If you continue to learn, you will feel as if you are preparing yourself to do battle against whatever it is that has caused you to have to go Gluten Free to begin with… so we will tackle the hardest questions of changing to gluten free in coming posts… The first being…

What the heck is the stuff?

My mom didn’t even know what it was and that made me feel a little better.

We knew that gluten is used in common things such as breads? It’s the sticky stuff that gives bread its pliable feeling when still in doughy form, but what is it? As a baker, I could always tell when my dough was the perfect consistency by touch (something I will be re-educating myself on as I learn to cook gluten free, with recipes to follow soon ;), but everyone I asked didn’t really know what it was.

The scientific explanation best describes it as, “the proteins found in wheat endosperm (a type of tissue produced in seeds that’s ground to make flour). Gluten both nourishes plant embryos during germination and later affects the elasticity of dough, which in turn affects the chewiness of baked wheat products… is actually composed of two different proteins: gliadin (a prolamin protein) and glutenin (a glutelin protein).” (http://www.livescience.com/39726-what-is-gluten.html)

Okay, so the simplified version is that it’s original purpose was kind of like baby food for baby wheat stored in the seed. We just figured out how to use it to our advantage.

Interesting… but did you know gluten can used in hard candy, beer, sauces, marinades, medications and even spices? What about lotions, creams and cosmetics, or stamps, envelopes and other gummed labels? Kind of crazy, and I don’t know how many of us really lick a stamp these days, but I was surprised by these things! Gluten is also found in other grains as well as wheat and can come from a source of cross-contamination.

Because of the magnitude of this, I have a new found respect for those that have Celiac, Autoimmune, Autoimmune-Thyroid, Autism and so many other diseases that have caused them to avoid gluten!! I am very thankful for a friend at work, Cindy, who avoids gluten and was able to give me tips and starting points for my new adventure! Thank you Cindy!!

To be helpful, a list of foods allowed, and not are posted here on the Mayo clinic site and was a helpful start for me. I think that this is a good starting off point. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/gluten-free-diet/art-20048530)

Keep in mind that each person’s body will react to each thing differently! With that said, it may be a bit of a Labyrinth going gluten free, but we will find our way! There is so much more available now than there had ever been in the past, so we have that on our side!! 🙂

My next post will probably consist of shopping for something that makes the world go round… Chocolate.
Until next time, Happy Reading and Eating!
Christa

PS: If you have great suggestions as to what to write on or where to shop, please share! 🙂

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