Gluten is a substance found principally in wheat and to a lesser extent in oats, barley and rye. When cooked or heated during the process of digestion it becomes sticky. It is this stickiness that binds bread together. Unfortunately, some people are unable to digest this sticky substance, resulting in digestive symptoms including bloating and gas.
All other grains are gluten free. These include amaranth, buckwheat (no, despite the name buckwheat has no connection with wheat), millet, corn, quinoa and rice. All of these grains and more can be used in exactly the same way as glutenous grains and are available as grains, flaked grains and flours. They are also ingredients in grain based products marked as gluten free.
People who decide to take gluten out of their diets and those who are advised to for medical reasons often have a difficult time adjusting. This is due to the amount of wheat that is usually consumed in the western diet. However, a little experimentation with the gluten free grains reveals a whole new range of foods to be enjoyed. My staff and I are happy to spend time discussing the various possibilities available with customers.
Replacing bread presents a difficulty to most gluten free customers. Usually gluten free bread is crumbly and hard to eat. This is due to the absence of gluten. However, there are many gluten free crackers that hold together and provide an alternative. I can however,order fresh gluten free bread for collection on a Monday or a Friday for those who would prefer a bread and are willing to give the gluten free bread a go. Many customers get used to the bread and enjoy it.
For customers who enjoy porridge in the morning there is great range of alternatives. Any of the flaked grains cooked in the same way produces a similar dish, if slightly thiner. Again, because of the lack of gluten, these gluten free grains don't stick together in quite the same way. Particular favourites are brown rice flakes, buckwheat flakes and quinoa flakes. Try mixing them together.
Some people believe that our reliance on one particular grain and one particular type of that grain (wheat) is responsible for the increase in the intolerance and allergic reactions to it. If that is the case a diet containing a variety of different grains would be beneficial. Try incorporating different grains into your diet instead of wheat. Find out which you like and which you dont.