Over the past decade or so, it seems like there’s been a trend at grocery stores and restaurants alike to provide gluten-free options. But what exactly is gluten, and why would some people prefer diets that are gluten free?
We’ve put together a basic overview of what gluten is, what the symptoms of gluten intolerance are and a couple of great, gluten-free recipes.
What Exactly is Gluten?
Gluten is a glue-like protein found in certain grains that helps foods hold their shape — foods like breads, pastas and baked goods.
Gluten is Found in “The Big 3”
Some people may get a little confused about what sorts of foods and drinks have gluten in them, so the Celiac Disease Foundation has made things a little easier for people to remember by dubbing the trio of wheat, barley and rye — the most common grains that have gluten — as “The Big 3.”
Gluten Allergy vs. Gluten Sensitivity
People who are allergic to gluten have what is called celiac disease — a disease that causes the immune system to attack the small intestine, making it inflamed and no longer able to absorb necessary nutrients.
People with gluten sensitivity may not experience intestinal problems like those who have celiac disease, but they do deal with symptoms such as abdominal pain, chronic fatigue and headaches.
Gluten Intolerance Is Not As Common As You May Think
Even with the recent trends of gluten-free diets and food choices for those who are gluten-sensitive, less than 1% of the population actually have celiac disease. However, the percentage of the population that has some sort of sensitivity to gluten is around 5.5% of the population.
Being Gluten-Free Doesn’t Mean Flavor-Free
Just about everyone loves a thick slice of cake, a fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie or a slice of pizza, but unfortunately, each one of those things has gluten in the ingredients. There are, however, a lot of really delicious foods and snacks you can have that are completely gluten free.
Here are a few recipes you can try:
- Homemade Twix Bars
- Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks
- Double Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
- Healthy No-Bake Peanut Butter Kit Kat Crunch Bars
At Cheddar’s, we also recognize the need for a flavorful menu that features gluten-free options. Each one of our restaurants has a menu that includes made-from-scratch items that leave out the gluten-containing ingredients but add an extra helping of goodness!
Head to your local Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and ask your server about our gluten-free options.