Gluten – what is it?

What is it, where is it and how you can live without it, it’s all here.

A baker’s discovery

Gluten is a type of protein found in cereals like wheat, rye and barley. When it’s combined with water it creates stretchy, sticky strands a bit like chewing gum. Although gluten provides no nutritional value, it can be found hiding in lots of foods. Bakers discovered they could bind mixtures with flour containing gluten and make bread light and airy. They must have thought they had found the greatest thing since, well… sliced bread! What they had not realized is that some guts just don’t like it! This includes people who have Celiac disease and those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but it can also act as an irritant for others, making them feel bloated and sluggish. And because gluten doesn’t provide any essential nutrients, it doesn’t contribute to a healthy tum. As the Genius founder Lucinda quickly realized though, developing a recipe for gut lovin’ gluten free bread that tastes like bread however is no mean feat!

Gluten containing foods to avoid

You can find gluten in a lot of foods in the grocery store – it’s bonkers! Now be prepared, gluten may even be in some of your favorites. The big 3 (wheat, barley and rye) are often lurking in bread, pasta, pizza, cakes, cookies and breakfast cereals. You’ll often find many processed foods, such as soups, sauces and ready meals with gluten too. Finding every food that contains it would stump Sherlock Holmes! Check out sausages and burgers. Why? Because breadcrumbs can be used to bulk out the meat – sneaky! So if you want or need to avoid gluten make sure to check labels on everything. Gluten should always be called out in the ingredients lists on the back of packaging as it’s classified as an allergen.

Are gluten free and wheat free the same?

Nope, gluten free and wheat free do not mean the same thing. Wheat is one of the big 3 cereals (along with rye and barley) that contain gluten. BUT not everything that is gluten free is automatically wheat free! Believe it or not gluten can be extracted from wheat and the wheat starches used in recipes. We don’t ever use wheat in our bakery but others may do so please do check for wheat in the ingredients on pack.

Gluten free food list

Now you know a bit more about Gluten, your next question might be, ‘what foods are gluten free’? It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) there’s the whole Genius range of delicious gluten free breads, rolls, and wraps… Head over to our Things We Make page for all the gluten free Genius bakes.

There are also masses of naturally gluten-free foods, like meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables to name but a few. Rice and potatoes in addition to a wide range of grains and pulses including lentils, buckwheat and quinoa (for the more adventurous bunch) are also naturally gluten free. With so many naturally gluten free foods and alternatives to choose from eating gluten free should not feel like a burden once you find your way.