By Kelly Behr
Native Foods Cafe
The other day the New York Times wrote an article about the gluten free fad. However, it doesn't seem to be a fad. This gluten-free diet might be more of a way of life, not only for consumers but also for restaurants and food manufactures. It seems like every day there is a new line of gluten free products popping up on supermarket shelves and on restaurant menus. People hear the word gluten and just think...bad.
The article stated there are only about 2% of the population that are actually diagnosed with celiac. So the surge of these new products seems to be coming from the gluten-free maniacs.
"In the luxe dining room of Del Posto, one of New York’s most heralded and expensive Italian restaurants, one-third of the tables on any given night will have at least one gluten-free diner." - (source-http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/18/dining/gluten-free-eating-appears-to-be-here-to-stay.html?_r=0)
If you aren't gluten-free I am sure you know someone who is trying to be. Restaurants are carefully labeling everything with a GF... at this point fruit salad could even get the label just so the diners are absolutely sure there is no gluten hidden in those blueberries.
But what is gluten? Do people who are "gluten-free" even know
Well, as you probably figured, most people do not know what gluten is. Which is funny to base your diet on something you know nothing about in an age where you can Google anything.
Gluten is found in grains, it is actually a mixture of 2 proteins that gives wheat its elastic texture. And it can cause illness...but only in people who have a celiac disease and only certain types of gluten. RIce has gluten, corn even has forms of gluten...but it isn't the gluten that is going to get you sick. So, technically you can label things "gluten-free" that actually contain gluten, as long as it is in the clear for celiacs to eat. Confusing right?
But you know who loves this? Marketers. Time online also did an article recently called: Eat More Gluten, The Fad Must Die
"As the Wall Street Journal reports, U.S. sales of products carrying the gluten free label jumped from $11.5 billion to $23 billion in just the past four years. General Mills alone has added 600 such products to its inventory since 2008, when it first marketed its gluten-free line of Chex cereals. But while the manufacturers are getting rich on the craze, consumers might be getting sick. Not only will gluten-free products do you no good if you’re not gluten-sensitive, taking out the offending ingredient requires replacing it with something else for texture or taste. A whole range of products, including spaghetti, pancake mix and potato chips, therefore have less fiber and protein and more sugar and sodium in their gluten-free formulation than in their supposedly less healthy one." - source (http://time.com/2912311/eat-more-gluten-the-diet-fad-must-die/)
We at Native Foods are not scared to use gluten in our cooking. We have several types of homemade seitan that make up for a vast majority of our proteins. Yep, our "wheat-meat" is a complete protein. This is great news for vegans but might be a head scratcher for people who do not understand what gluten actually is.
Livestrong.com listed out all the healthy benefits of incorporating some seitan in your diet. Again, the only warning of the gluten was reserved only to those with celiac disease. The other 98% of the population who think gluten is evil might just be suffering from a bad placebo effect.
High in Protein, Low in Carbs and Fat
Although seitan is made from wheat, it is low in carbs and high in protein. A 3-ounce portion of seitan contains 2.5 to 4 grams of carbs, 1 to 2 grams of fiber, 0 to 2 grams of fat and 21 grams of protein. The publication "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010" says that including alternative sources of protein in place of your usual meat and chicken can help improve the nutritional quality of your diet by providing nutrients that promote health. Seitan is low in fat, has no saturated fat and provides a source of fiber, making it a good choice for heart health. So, instead of making your usual beef stew for dinner, try stew with seitan. -Source (http://www.livestrong.com/article/294810-the-nutritional-value-of-seitan)
So ladies and gentlemen it is up to you whether or not you eat gluten, I am just encouraging you to do your research before you cut out something that might not being affecting your health.
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