Gluten Freedom

A couple of years ago I wrote a popular post about how much gluten is too much if you are gluten intolerant. Since that time, the amount of information about gluten intolerance has exploded and it is easy to find gluten free foods in stores as well as restaurants that specialize in handling gluten intolerant customers. There’s even a great local article about restaurants. The list did skip national chains like PF Chang’s that also has a gluten free menu.

But misconceptions still remain. I hear people asking if spelt is gluten-free (it isn’t – it’s a form of wheat, same with farro). Most people who aren’t gluten intolerant themselves are unaware that 90% of soy sauce has wheat in it. And so on.

So, here are a few points that you should know if you have gluten intolerant friends.

Yes, even a tiny amount of gluten matters. Like many diseases, gluten intolerance has a range of effects. But for anyone with a strong intolerance, even a tiny amount really will make them very sick, How little? As little as 10mg. That is 1 one hundredth of a gram. And for any gluten intolerant, 200mg will make them sick. So if you spilled a tiny bit of flour in the sauce, the answer is that yes, you need to throw it out and start again.

There are lots of people who are gluten intolerant – more than one in one hundred. It is more common in women than men. And it can go undiagnosed for a long time with sufferers just thinking they have long running, painful digestive problems for example.

The following foods are absolutely bad. Wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, farro, beer, any baked goods that are not explicitly gluten free, almost all soy sauce and anything derived from or containing these things.

So what to do if you have guests for dinner? Meat, salads, rice, vegetables, fruit, eggs. There are lots of options. Just don’t cook with regular flour. Try rice flour instead.

The original MedScape article still has lots of good information and is well worth a read.

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