Gluten-Free Doesn’t Mean Flavor-Free

When some of us hear “gluten-free”, our response is “blech”, referring to taste because we presume gluten-free foods have compromised flavor. 

We live in a culinary golden age where food scientists can take oats and create milk, and to that end, they’ve also managed to create delicious gluten-free foods that taste as good as foods that are gluten-filled.

How can this be? Read on. 

Why Gluten?

Why is gluten present in so many of our foods? 

Simply put, gluten acts as a binder. Found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye, gluten is a protein that adds a stretchy quality to foods, often improving the texture of things like breads by allowing the dough to stretch without tearing apart. 

But that doesn’t mean gluten is necessary, nor does it mean that gluten-free alternatives can’t be just as tasty.

In fact, many people who stop eating gluten find that their diet doesn’t need to change much. Many of the gluten-free choices are the same ones they’ve always eaten. The reality is, if you’re making healthy choices, and avoiding processed foods, spotting gluten and avoiding it is pretty easy.

Why Gluten-Free? 

There are many reasons people choose to cut gluten from their diet. The main reason is celiac disease, where intolerance to gluten causes an immune reaction in the small intestine. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Abdominal Bloating
  • Chronic Diarrhea/Loose Bowel Movements
  • Chronic Gas
  • Acid Reflux
  • Skin Rash
  • Constipation
  • Peripheral Neuropathy

Alternatives to Gluten

Now you’re probably asking, “well what about foods WITH gluten, like bread and pastries?” 

Fortunately, there are many alternatives that allow you to enjoy the same foods you love, without the gluten. We’ve already touched on what gluten does, so how do we get that stretchy, binding effect? There are a few options available.

Gluten substitutes, like xanthan gum, gelatin, or our favorite vegan option, agar-agar, add the elasticity needed to hold stretchy doughs together. With a little practice, these alternatives will take your gluten-free baking to the next level.

Gluten-free flours are becoming more popular, and as a result, are also becoming more readily available. Try experimenting with different flours to find what you like best in your favorite recipes. There are many different flours to try, each with its own unique flavor and texture.

  • Pea Flour
  • Coconut Flour
  • Buckwheat Flour
  • Millet Flour
  • Sorghum Flour
  • Amaranth Flour

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…wonderful assortment of gluten-free gift baskets like this one with foods that already don’t contain gluten (peanut brittle, popcorn, cashews) and foods made without gluten (gluten-free cookies) but still taste delicious.  

So put on that apron and start experimenting with some recipes, or place an order for one our inimitable gift baskets. The flavorful world of gluten-free awaits!

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