Gluten is a PROTEIN and not a FAT. Oh Yes! You read it right. It is a protein sticky in nature, insoluble in water, makes the bread softer and spongy, gives it a chewy texture and it also enhances flavor for ketchups sometimes and makes your beer so tasty! Eating food items containing gluten may make some people really sick. But not EVERYONE! It is better to be gluten aware than be gluten phobic. Gluten with so many good properties is now termed as a “Villian” in the food diaries of many. And I am here to its recue J
Unless you are medically advised to stay away from gluten as seen in people with Celiac Sprue, there is no viable reason in my opinion to completely omit gluten from your life. If you are turning gluten sensitive, it is advisable to stay away from gluten for a few weeks but not completely give up on it. Gluten intolerance also called as Celiac Sprue is a clinical condition where the stomach lining does not have the required enzymes to digest Gluten. As a result, the body considers it as an alien and triggers auto immune system in response to it. As a result, the person may suffer bloating, inflammation, acidity at times. Only in few cases, this condition can be life threatening. Gluten sensitivity is different from intolerance. Gluten sensitivity is a result of poor lifestyle, stress, overweight, and too much gluten consumption than what the body can digest and in some cases, pre disposition to the condition. Gluten free is not necessarily healthy. One must be aware that gluten sources like wheat, barley, rye etc also contain other nutrients like the vits B, fiber, plant proteins etc and not consuming them can be nutritionally not the best choice. Gluten is not a fat. It ideally does not make you fat. Did you know, gluten free items may contain higher amounts of saturated fats, sodium and perhaps even sugar that will make your fat!! Did you fail to notice that the gluten free carrot cupcake is loaded with butter and sugar? What really matters is the type of sugar/ carbs in the gluten sources that makes a difference. Example, the most commonly consumed wheat is the richest source of gluten and also high in glycemic index, meaning it can spike up your sugar immediately. Thus gluten is not the culprit; it’s the type of carb. Unfortunately, most wheat flours contain super starch which means it has highest levels of gluten that makes them soft and elastic.
The most common reason (if not medical) why people follow gluten free diet is to lose some pounds, feel less lethargic, control sugar levels etc. In such cases, it is the carbs you have to stay away from not the gluten. In the past few decades, our lifestyles have been dominated with technology thus making our routine more dependable and less active physically and perhaps even mentally. On the other side, our bodies have been loaded with more and more gluten through forms like chocolates, sauces, ketchups, desserts, beer, cookies, confectionaries, refined wheat flour items etc. This is why many people are now turning gluten sensitive. If you are not amongst them, you need not fear gluten. Gluten free is expensive, nutritionally not balanced and in most cases does not even help in weight loss. Get your facts right. Avoid gluten for right reasons and not because it is trending!
One of my favorite gluten free Dinner that I once read in a health magazine. I have added some of my changes
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- ½ of a medium onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 tsp. chilli powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 Tbs Sprouts
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can low-sodium black beans, drained
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 and ½ cups water
- ½ cup shredded finely shredded cheddar cheese
- 12 (6 inch) gluten free tortillas
- 1 cup salsa or pico de gallo or Gaucomole
- ½ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Warm the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and the bell pepper. Cook stirring occasionally until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the chili powder, salt and smoked paprika. Stir. Add the quinoa, beans, tomatoes and water or broth. Stir. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and allow to simmer until all liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is soft, about 13-16 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and uncover. Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese. Return cover and allow the heat from the quinoa to melt the cheese.
- Serve the quinoa mixture in gluten free tortillas with the salsa and sour cream.