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Gluten is the protein content of wheat, oats, barley or rye with wheat gluten being the most well known. Gluten is a mixture of two proteins called gliadin and glutenin that exist in the endosperm (interior) of these grains along with starch (carbohydrate). Gluten can be problematic for some people who suffer from certain health conditions.

Gluten free diets are a necessity for more and more people. So, what is a gluten free diet? Becoming gluten free means the avoidance of anything made from wheat, oats, barley or rye. Unfortunately, it's not an easy thing to do as there are many foods made from these products the average person may not know about and there is gluten and/or its by-products added to many other products. Reading ingredient labels is your best weapon.

Gluten free foods are any foods that do not contain wheat, oats, barley, rye or any products made from these foods. Gluten free products are now identified more commonly in regular grocery stores, larger health food stores like Whole Foods as well as the smaller health food stores.

Wheat is the main food to understand when considering a gluten free food list. Wheat is made into flour and used to make bread, cookies, cake, pasta, crackers and bagels as well as many other foods and is added as a filler in many foods. All white flour, whole wheat flour or bleached flour: the original substance is wheat and needs to be avoided. Look also for the word gluten in ingredient labels.

Oats are found as oatmeal and granola. It's important to read ingredient labels looking for oats and you may also find them in breakfast or protein bars.

Barley is potentially more difficult to find when on a gluten free diet. It's a grain and made into barley soup and put into vegetable soups. Barley is also made into white vinegar and into barley malt as a sweetener. Acceptable vinegars when on a gluten free diet are balsamic, apple cider, red wine and rice vinegars.

Rye is an easy avoidance on a gluten free diet as it is mostly found in rye bread which is also made with wheat flour.

The non-gluten containing grains to be used in gluten free recipes are arrowroot, corn, potato, rice, soy, tapioca, sorghum, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, amaranth and tef.

Gluten free recipes can present a challenge to those who suffer from gluten intolerance or gluten allergies. Gluten is found in wheat, oats, barley and rye and needs to be avoided if suffering from a number of different health conditions. There are many books written about gluten free cooking, gluten free bread and gluten free baking. Easier than that is to simply Google "gluten free recipes".

Unfortunately, there are health conditions caused by or aggravated by gluten or linked to symptoms. They are: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, any form of Colitis, Crohn's Disease, Celiac Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Dermatitis Herpetiformis, Eczema, Psoriasis, Rashes, Hives, Asthma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Grave's Disease and Hashimoto's Disease.

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