BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — November is Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month and with the holidays just around the corner, there’s no better time to plan out what sweet treats your gluten-free family members can enjoy.
Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and titicale (a combination of wheat and rye.) It acts as a “glue” in foods like cereal, bread, and pasta, helping them maintain their shape. Gluten can also be found in some cosmetic products, like lip balm and it is even present in the glue on the back of stamps and envelopes.
Only about 1% of the population has celiac disease, meaning they cannot tolerate gluten. It is different than a wheat allergy and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. Some symptoms a person with celiac may experience include diarrhea and abdominal pain, anemia and extreme fatigue, while others could experience irritability or depression. People with celiac disease can also develop further complications like autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, thyroid disease and certain cancers.
For the general public, there’s no scientific evidence to suggest a gluten-free diet offers health benefits to patients without a diagnosis of celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. In fact, following a gluten-free diet when it’s not necessary can lead to nutrient deficiencies, especially B vitamins and iron from enriched bread products.
Going gluten-free means no white, wheat, rye or barley breads; no crackers, cakes, pies, cereals, pizza crusts, or even some products like salad dressing that includes gluten since it’s a good thickening agent. No barley means no malt vinegar or beer as well.
If you do cut out gluten foods, make sure you continue to make healthy choices by eating foods from all food groups except wheat. You’ll be eating less processed food without all the breading, using more fruits and veggies, nuts and plain meats and fish. You can probably tolerate potato, soy, arrowroot and other flours.
For a person with celiac, you can have oats but make sure they have not been in contact with flour products. Sometimes severe celiac cases means living without oats but those with NCGS can usually handle oats.
Try serving this banana nut bread at your next holiday gathering to make your gluten-free relatives full and happy!
Banana Nut Bread
- 3/4 cup oats
- 2 medium, ripe bananas (1 cup mashed)
- 1/4 cup nut/seed butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350ºF, and lightly grease a 9 x 5 bread pan or line it with a sheet or parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang for easy removal. Set aside.
- Add the oats to the bowl of a high-speed blender or food processor and process on high until they’ve broken down into a fine powder, about 2 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients and continue processing until the batter is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan, spreading it out evenly.
- Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, until the top of the loaf begins to turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing.