Gluten, like many other things in life, is something that no one pays attention to until they have an issue with it. When I first gave the gluten free diet a try to see if it would alleviate my health issues, I honestly had no idea what it was or what food items it was found in.
It took me many years, but I have finally have the hang of this whole gluten free thing. I created This Gluten Free Life University for people to learn all about the gluten free diet and find answers to their questions.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein that occurs naturally in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. It is actually composed of two different proteins – glutenin and gliadin.
Gluten affects everyone in different ways. Some people need to avoid gluten because of celiac disease, gluten intolerance (nonceliac gluten sensitivity), or a wheat allergy. Others stay away from it simply because doing so makes them feel better or they are supporting someone who must avoid it. The only way for someone with a gluten issue to stay healthy is by sticking to a gluten free diet.
Gluten in Food
You can learn all about which foods gluten is found in here, but to simplify it for time’s sake, you will find gluten in pizza, pasta, breads, crackers, cakes, muffins, donuts, beer, and many other items.
Gluten is responsible for the elasticity of dough. During the cooking process, gluten molecules become inflated, which causes the dough to “rise”. Gluten gives structure to baked goods, while adding texture and chewiness. It can also be used as a flavor enhancer, a thickener and binder, and a protein supplement.
Baked goods won’t hold their shape without gluten. That is why in gluten free cooking, a variety of different non-gluten flours are used to mimic gluten and create a similar texture.