Gluten-Free 101: What is Gluten Anyway?

Are you feeling confused by all the “gluten-free” labels popping up on everything from cereal boxes to sandwich meat?  Do you think celiac disease is an allergy to gluten?  Are you unsure whether it’s all a big hoax or maybe just a new celebrity fad diet?  Unsure what gluten even is?  Well, my friend, this informative yet entertaining little video is just what you need!

I kind of wish he would’ve gone into a bit more detail about what it feels like to get glutened when you have celiac disease: I end up in bed for a couple of days, miss work and school, and have the worse stomach pains I’ve ever had in my life.  And it takes a good week before I can eat normally again (I have to eat super soft gentle foods) and about two weeks (sometimes closer to three) before my stomach completely stops hurting after eating or drinking (water is the worse, it hurts so much).  And all of that drama and pain can happen if I were to just pick croutons out of my salad. 

But I suppose going into all of that would’ve made for a much longer video.  Check it out.  And let me know what you think. Smile


What to know more about living gluten-free?  Check out these posts:

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10 thoughts on “Gluten-Free 101: What is Gluten Anyway?

  1. My husband was diagnosed with celiac (gluten intolerance) almost two years ago, although he suffered stomach problems off and on for years. I suspected and made him get blood tests only to have a negative test (they can show false negatives). When his symptoms got to be a daily thing and more severe, I forced him to see the doctor and went with him to make sure he discussed everything with his doctor (men tend to just say they are fine unless they’re dying) well, an upper and lower GI gave us the diagnosis along with 2-3 centimeter polyps and 1-5 centimeter (this one the type that we were told would have been a very aggressive cancer within another year). So getting him on a gluten free diet and GI every 3 months so they could keep digging out more of that nasty polyp over the next year finally got him to a state of health again. The small intestine is still not fully recovered. Now it’s just yearly GIs for a while to keep checking. Did you know people with celiac have a 50% increase in risk of colon cancer? I didn’t. Anyway, now I have to cook milk and wheat free. I’m thinking I need to open an allergy free organic restaurant 🙂 We are now GMO free as well. It’s now known that GMOs cause inflammation of the GI, leaky gut, irritable bowl and changes the DNA of the bacteria in the gut. Oh if only the unsuspecting public would have been told of the true dangers of GMO foods. Anyway, I am adjusting to more cooking restrictions and thankfully everyone can still enjoy cake on birthdays. You’ve done a great job with your blog. Have a wonderful wedding. My favorite gluten free cake is carrot cake (no nuts 🙂 It’s the number one favorite with my family and they like it better then my regular one. No cream cheese frosting though but I have come up with a milk free version after years of experimenting that is pretty darn good.

    • Hi Clara, thanks for taking the time to comment! I’m glad to hear you like my blog. 🙂

      I have celiac disease, too. And my digestive system isn’t fully recovered yet either. I’d been going to the doctor for years though before they finally figured out what was causing all of my symptoms, so it’s not surprising that it might take a while for everything to heal up. Makes me feel bad for my insides. And, no, I didn’t know about the massive increased risk of colon cancer! That’s interesting. And scary.

      As someone with celiac and a dairy allergy, would be amazing if you opened a restaurant! 🙂

      Would you be willing to share your carrot cake recipe? I’d love to give it a try sometime!

      ~Kelsey

      • Here is my carrot cake recipe.

        3 -1/2 cups shredded carrots (I just use 1 small size package of organic carrots)
        2 cups sugar
        1 – 1/4 cups organic canola oil
        4 eggs
        2 cups Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free All purpose baking mix
        1 tsp baking soda
        1/2 tsp salt
        2 tsp cinnamon

        Process your carrots in a food processor
        Mix oil, sugar, eggs and mix till blended with wire whip
        add flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon to second bowl and blend dry ingr together, add to wet ingr and stir till mixed
        add carrots and stir till mixed.
        Pour into a greased 9x13x2 inch pan and bake at 350 about 30 min. Do not overbake, test with toothpick
        Also makes 24 cupcakes bake them for about 19 minutes
        Let cool before frosting

        I never measure out anything for my frosting but I will try to give you an idea of the amounts
        1 stick vegan butter
        aprox 1/2 to 3/4 small bag of confectioners sugar (made with “cane” sugar to be non GMO)
        1 tsp vanilla
        1/2 tsp almond extract (don’t know if you can have this, if not substitute cinnamon extract)
        just enough plain rice milk or other non dairy milk (I don’t use soy milk as it has a funny taste for me) to make it fluffy.

        Beat butter till fluffy, beat in extracts
        start adding sugar small amounts at a time and incorporate well before adding more,
        As it starts to dry out add a little milk and beat some more. You want a smooth, fluffy frosting that is not too sweet so taste testing as you go helps. If you add the sugar in large amounts it does not get as nice a texture so that step is important.

        Good luck 🙂 Even people who hate carrot cake love this cake, even picky kids so don’t say carrot cake before you offer it 🙂

        I have found fruit or vegetable based cakes are always the best tasting. My vanilla and choc cakes were not as good. This recipe is the best of all.

  2. I’m just learning how to eat gluten free. While I can have gluten, eating too much of it ends with my rib cage becoming bruised and extremely tender. My little brother has also discovered he feels better if he doesn’t have any gluten.
    I found a great gluten free cookbook that I love tho that’s really helping us eat gluten free. Gluten free fried chicken is way better then regular fried chicken =D

    • Hi Jasmine! I found out that I had celiac disease when I was 19 (I’m 26 now for reference). It was really hard to figure out what to eat, what not to eat, etc. at first. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing! But now it pretty much feels like second nature. It still makes things like eating out pretty tricky, but it’s not nearly as overwhelming or frustrating as it used to be.

      Have you read the memoir, “Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food that Loves Me Back … And How You Can Too.” I found it very encouraging (even though the author can eat a LOT more than I can because the author doesn’t have to deal with food allergies, too). Just to feel like I wasn’t alone was nice. And I found some of her advice very helpful.

      Here’s the biggest thing I learned the hard way about eating out gluten-free: http://crunchycook.com/2012/05/23/gluten-free-living-what-the-menu-isnt-telling-you/

      And this is the biggest thing I learned (also the hard way) about cooking and eating out: http://crunchycook.com/2012/03/17/gluten-free-101-cross-contamination/

      And if you’re ever going to Disneyland, let me know because they have an amazing gluten-free menu! And I’d be happy to help. 🙂
      http://crunchycook.com/2012/06/10/disneyland-the-happiest-gluten-free-place-on-earth/

      Let me know if you have any questions at all about eating gluten-free! I’d be happy to help in whatever way I can. 🙂

      ~Kelsey

    • Welcome! And I’m glad you found it so helpful! 🙂

      I think I’ll share it with people when they’re unsure about what gluten or celiac disease are exactly. Nice to have something short that sums it up.

      ~Kelsey

  3. At least people are becoming more aware of gluten issues especially in restaurants. I don’t feel like such an oddball when listing out what I can and cannot eat! I’ll be making that carrot cake recipe you suggested for a carrot cake loving recently diagnosed friend. It’s fab when the comments below a great post has even more gems to draw on, Thanks!

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment! And I hope your friend likes Clara’s carrot cake recipe that she shared in the comment section. I agree, it is always nice when there’s interesting stuff in the comments. It’s not something I can eat due to allergies, but it really does sound delicious! And I’m sure your friend will greatly appreciate the support. 🙂

      ~Kelsey

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