There are many reasons to avoid gluten in your diet: You may have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance (also known as celiac disease) or you may have made a deliberate choice to eat less foodstuffs based on grains which contain gluten.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in several types of grains. When we look at the origin of the word ‘gluten’, it is no coincidene that it sounds a bit like ‘glue’. The latin word ‘gluten’ means exactly that! Grains containing gluten has one very usefull attribute: it ‘glues’ together when ground, mixed with water and heated. During baking or cooking, the food is held together by the gluten protein, giving it an elasticity which results in a chewy, yet light consistency. This is very useful when baking bread or cookies.
Over many years, the agricultural industry focussed on breeding grain varieties with a very high level of gluten. The processed grain flours, and in particular wheat flour, is a an extremly adapted and highly processed product turbo-grain which has obvious benefits for further processing on an industrial scale.
In western countries, people consume gluten (as part of their normal diet) on average in at least two of the three meals daily! Just consider how often we eat breakfast cereals, bread in all its varieties, pasta or convenience foods like pizza or other bread-based fast-food. In addition to this many sweet products like cake or biscuits, desserts and other sweets contain gluten or derivites like wheat starch.
Which cereals contain gluten?
Gluten is present in high concentrations in wheat and all its varieties. Spelt is a fairly well-known variety of wheat, but do you know some older wheat varieties like kamut, farro, durum, bulgur and semolina? Other grauins like rye and barley contain gluten in a lower concentration.
There are several cereals which are gluten-free: millet, corn and rice, as well as the so-called pseudo-cereals such as quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat, to name just a few.
What is celiac disease?
Celiac disease, or gluten intolerance, is a chronic and serious genetic autoimmune disorder. For a person with this disease, eating foods containing gluten results in symptons including bloating, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Even worse ist the resulting damage to the small intestine. The small intestine’s inner lining, which plays an important part in absorbing nutrients, is severly disrupted in its function and can become inflamed. As a result, the non-absorbtion of nutrients lead to chronic diarrhea, muscle and joint pain, vitamin and mineral salt deficiency, anemia, fatigue, loss of performance, headache, loss of appetite and vomiting. Children’s growth can be negatively affected.
Why do we bake oatmeal cookies?
It may at first come as a suprise that we, as a gluten-free company, bake oatmeal cookies. We use a special locally grown oat which we carefully select and process. Our oat is gluten-free certified and controlled every single step of the way. No contamination with wheat or other cereals containing gluten is possible from plant to flour. In addition to this, our complete bakery is certified gluten-free!
Oat is full nutrients (significant higher than other cereals), full of fiber and yet easy to digest. According to health experts it has proven health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, blood sugar levels, cancer risk, hypertension and support weight loss. For more specific information on health benefits we always recommend to consult your physician or a nutritionist/dietist.