- Where do I buy Gluten Free Flours?
- What is Millet?
- What is Quinoa?
- What is Buckwheat?
- What is Amaranth?
- What is the treatment?
- What is a Gluten-Free Diet?
- Foods & Additives to avoid on a Gluten Free Diet
- Common Ingredients for a Gluten Free Pantry
- How is Coeliac disease diagnosed?
- Why is gluten a problem?
- What is Gluten?
- What are the symptoms?
- What does being Coeliac mean?
Got a question?
Frequently asked questions
Some basic facts about gluten, always seek professional advice if you're not sure if a product is suitable for you.
Where do I buy Gluten Free Flours?
Gluten Free flours include rice, millet, corn, buckwheat, soy, tapioca, pea, chickpea, amaranth, quinoa and potato. You will find these either in bulk bins or in bags at supermarkets, Bin Inn, or speciality health/organic stores. Rice and potato flours are also available at asian markets for a fraction of the cost of other stores. Chickpea and pea flours can also be found at specialty Indian stores.
A great place to start is our gluten free retailer directory.
What is Millet?
This grain, of the grass family, was originally brought to America to feed animals. In large areas of Europe and Asia, millet is grown for human consumption. It has a far higher nutritional value than rice (of which it is in the same family) and even higher than wheat. It makes a mild tasting flour that can be used in far larger proportions in recipes than more highly flavoured ones used in baking for the Gluten Free diet. Millet contains approx the same fat as wheat so it stores well. You can replace your regular flours with up to one-half millet and it won’t change the flavour or appearance but will give it more of the protein stretch factor.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa was one of the most sacred foods to the ancient Incas. It is not recognised as a true grain, being related to the vegetable family that includes swiss chard and spinach. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a broad-leafed annual herb that grows wild and has been cultivated for thousands of years in the Andes. Quinoa’s spinach-like leaves and its seeds are highly nutritious. The seeds are rich in protein, high in fibre and particularly rich in lysine. It contains a good balance of other amino acids too, to make up the protein - up to 20% in some varieties. Quinoa seeds are also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, iron and Vitamins B and E. Cooked Quinoa is extremely versatile because it may be used in the place of almost any other grain, including rice. Quinoa is light, tasty, simple to prepare, digests easily and it contains NO GLUTEN.
What is Buckwheat?
Buckwheat is used as a cereal but is actually a seed. It is gluten free, so can safely be used by coeliacs or people with wheat and gluten allergies. Buckwheat is a native of temperate east Asia, where is was produced in China before AD1000. It has been adapted in North America and Europe. Buckwheat is one of the best sources of high quality protein in the plant kingdom, it is easily digested and is high in minerals. It also has a balanced amino acid profile. Buckwheat is high in potassium and phosphorus and contains 150% more vitamin B than wheat. Buckwheat contains vitamin P, which contains the flavonoid rutin. Rutin is know for its effectiveness in reducing the cholesterol count in the blood. It also keeps the capillaries and arteries strong and flexible. Research has also showed that if taken regularly buckwheat can be helpful in the lowering of blood pressure. Buckwheat can be used for a variety of baked products, including pancakes, breads, muffins, crackers, bagels, cookies, and tortillas among others. Buckwheat flour is a dark tan that colours the baked product and has a slightly astringent flavour. The seed, too, can be cooked as a cereal.
What is Amaranth?
Amaranth is a tall plant with very broad leaves; it produces many thousands of tiny seeds. The leaves and the seeds are edible. The amaranth is closely related to pigweed, spinach, beets, and other plants in the goosefoot family. The nutritional value of amaranth is ranked very high: 15% protein and an almost perfect balance of amino acids. It is high in fibre, iron, calcium and phosphorus. Amaranth flour has a pleasant, nutty taste and is Gluten Free. It combines well with other flours to make good tasting bread, muffins, bagels, pasta, milk, imitation nut butter, cookies, gravies, sauces, pancakes, flatbreads, doughnuts, dumplings, and who knows what else. To increase the protein content of baked goods subsitute about 15% amaranth flour for the flour a recipe calls for.
What is the treatment?
The only treatment for coeliac disease is to follow a gluten-free diet—that is, to avoid all foods that contain gluten. For most people, following this diet will stop symptoms, heal existing intestinal damage, and prevent further damage. Improvements begin within days of starting the diet, and the small intestine is usually completely healed—meaning the villi are intact and working—in 3 to 6 months. (It may take up to 2 years for older adults.) A small percentage of people with celiac disease do not improve on the gluten-free diet. They may need to receive intravenous nutrition supplements. Drug treatments are being evaluated for unresponsive celiac disease.
What is a Gluten-Free Diet?
A gluten-free diet means avoiding all foods that contain wheat (including spelt, triticale, and kamut), rye, and barley—in other words, most grain, pasta, cereal, and many processed foods. Despite these restrictions, people with celiac disease can eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of foods, including bread and pasta. For example, instead of wheat flour, people can use potato, rice, soy, millet, buckwheat, chickpea, pea, amaranth, tapioca, or bean flour in their baking. Instead of couscous and breakfast cereals, amaranth or quinoa can be eaten as alternatives. They can also buy gluten-free bread, pasta, and other products from special food companies, or make their own. Plain meat, fish, rice, fruits, and vegetables do not contain gluten, so people with coeliac disease can eat as much of these foods as they like. The gluten-free diet is complicated. It requires a completely new approach to eating that affects a person’s entire life. People with coeliac disease have to be extremely careful about what they buy for lunch at school or work, eat at cocktail parties, or grab from the refrigerator for a midnight snack. Eating out can be a challenge as the person with coeliac disease learns to scrutinize the menu for foods with gluten and question the waiter or chef about possible hidden sources of gluten. Hidden sources of gluten include additives, preservatives, and stabilizers found in processed food, medicines, and mouthwash.
Foods & Additives to avoid on a Gluten Free Diet
* oats - may be tolerated by some
The following are foods are questionable and should not be consumed unless you can verify that they do not contain or are not derived from a prohibited grain:
* coating mixes
* imitation bacon
* imitation seafood
* self-basting poultry
* soup mixes
* soup bases
* brown rice syrup (frequently made from barley)
* caramel colour
* dextrin (usually corn, but could be derived from wheat)
* cereals, do not be fooled by cornflakes or ricies, as these both contain malt made from barley
* hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), or textured vegetable protein (TVP)
* malt or malt flavouring (typically made from barley)
* modified food starch or modified starch - unless it’s made from corn
* mono- & di-glycerides
* natural flavours/artificial flavours
* soy sauce or soy sauce solids (usually contain wheat)
* vegetable gum (made from oats)
Common Ingredients for a Gluten Free Pantry
* Corn Starch
* Corn Meal (Polenta)
* Unflavoured Gelatin
* Brown Sugar
* Icing Sugar
* Golden Syrup
* Vegetable Oil - Grapeseed, Seasame, Soya etc
* Olive Oil
* Baking Powder
* Baking Soda
* Active Dry Yeast
* Milk, Soy Milk, Rice Milk
* Sour Cream
* Plain Yoghurt
* Dry Milk Powder
* Free Range Eggs, or Egg Replacer
* Vanilla Essence
* Rice Vinegar
* Apple Cider Vinegar
* Tomato Sauce
* Gluten Free Soy Sauce
* Rice Flour
* Glutinous Rice Flour
* Xantham Gum
* Tapioca Flour
* Potato Flour
* Potato Starch Flour
* Buckwheat Flour
* Millet Flour
* Bean Flour
* Sorghum Flour
* Soy Flour
* Nut Flour
* Rice - Long, Short Grain & Flakes, Brown, Jasmine, Basmati
* Rice Noodles
* Rice Paper
* Gluten Free Pasta
* Pea Flour
* Rice/Corn Cakes
* Rice Crackers
How is Coeliac disease diagnosed?
Diagnosing coeliac disease can be difficult because some of its symptoms are similar to those of other diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome, Chron’s's disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, intestinal infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression.
Recently, researchers discovered that people with celiac disease have higher than normal levels of certain antibodies in their blood. Antibodies are produced by the immune system in response to substances that the body perceives to be threatening. To diagnose coeliac disease, physicians test blood to measure levels of antibodies to endomysium and tissue transglutaminase.
If the tests and symptoms suggest coeliac disease, the physician may remove a tiny piece of tissue from the small intestine to check for damage to the villi. This is done in a procedure called a biopsy: the physician eases a long, thin tube called an endoscope through the mouth and stomach into the small intestine, and then takes a sample of tissue using instruments passed through the endoscope. Biopsy of the small intestine is the best way to diagnose coeliac disease.
Why is gluten a problem?
Gluten allergy or sensitivity, especially related to wheat, has become more common in recent times. This is most likely due to the over-use of wheat, and because it is introduced too early into the diet of most babies. Dr Peter D’Adamo, in ‘The Eat Right Diet’ book explains that many people with the most common blood type - O- do not tolerate whople wheat products at all, and he suggests that wheat be completely eliminated from the O diet. Wheat contains lectins that react both with the blood and digestive tract. Lectins interfere with the proper absorption of beneficial foods. ‘Inefficient or sluggish metabolism causes food to convert more slowly to energy, and so stores itself as fat’. Even if you do not suffer from wheat allergy or intolerance, it is recommended that you include a variety of different grains and cereals in your diet, rather than always choosing wheat products.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is the protein aspect of wheat (including spelt, triticale, and kamut), rye, barley, and oats. Gluten holds bread together and makes it rise.
What are the symptoms?
Coeliac disease affects people differently, and can present at any age. One factor thought to play a role in when and how coeliac appears is whether and how long a person was breastfed—the longer one was breastfed, the later symptoms of coeliac disease appear and the more atypical the symptoms. Other factors include the age at which one began eating foods containing gluten and how much gluten is eaten.
Symptoms may or may not occur in the digestive system. For example, one person might have diarrhea and abdominal pain, while another person has irritability or depression. In fact, irritability is one of the most common symptoms in children.
Symptoms of celiac disease may include one or more of the following:
* recurring abdominal bloating and pain
* chronic diarrhea
* weight loss
* pale, foul-smelling stool
* unexplained anemia (low count of red blood cells)
* bone pain
* behavior changes
* muscle cramps
* delayed growth
* failure to thrive in infants
* pain in the joints
* tingling numbness in the legs (from nerve damage)
* pale sores inside the mouth, called aphthus ulcers
* painful skin rash, called dermatitis herpetiformis
* tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
* Reproductive issues (miscarriages, infertiltiy)
* missed menstrual periods (often because of excessive weight loss)
Anemia, delayed growth, and weight loss are signs of malnutrition—not getting enough nutrients. Malnutrition is a serious problem for anyone, but particularly for children because they need adequate nutrition to develop properly.
Some people with coeliac disease may not have any symptoms. The undamaged part of their small intestine is able to absorb enough nutrients to prevent symptoms. However, people without symptoms are still at risk for the complications of coeliac disease.
What does being Coeliac mean?
Coeliac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have coeliac disease cannot tolerate a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, and barley. These cereals damage the villi, the finger-like projections which line the inside of the bowel. Nutrients from food are absorbed into the bloodstream through these villi. Without villi, a person becomes malnourished—regardless of the quantity of food eaten.
Because the body’s own immune system causes the damage, coeliac disease is considered an autoimmune disorder. However, it is also classified as a disease of malabsorption because nutrients are not absorbed. Coeliac disease is also known as coeliac sprue, nontropical sprue, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy.
Coeliac disease is a genetic disease, meaning that it runs in families. Sometimes the disease is triggered—or becomes active for the first time—after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection, or severe emotional stress.