Gluten Free Makes a Better Me

Trying to live a healthy lifestyle as much as possible is on the minds of people all around the world. The keto diet, vegan diet, vegetarian diet, and Atkins diet are some that have shown up constantly, but one sticks out above the rest: the gluten-free diet. But what exactly is gluten, and where did this diet come from? Let’s take a look into its history below.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten is a common name for the proteins found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten essentially acts like a glue and helps foods maintain their shape. It is found in foods you would expect, like cereal and breads, and in foods you wouldn’t expect, like French fries and candy.

At first, gluten went under the radar as a source of ailment to those with celiac disease, a disease where gluten causes autoimmune bodies to attack the lining of the small intestine. This leads to anemia, delayed growth, and even weight loss.

It wasn’t until World War II that people with celiac disease saw an improvement. During this time, Europeans had limited access to fruits, vegetables, and wheat. A majority of the population suffered due to this, but those with celiac disease had an improvement with their health. However, after the war, the mortality rate for those with celiac disease rose back up to its pre-war status.

The Celiac Disease Foundation reported that Dutch Pediatrician Dr. William-Karel Dicke took notice of the trend and decided to investigate. He, along with other researchers, found that one of the main substances missing was wheat. In 1941, Dicke published his findings on the effects of a wheat-free diet on patients with celiac disease, which led to researchers linking gluten to celiac disease symptoms. From here, scientists stopped classifying celiac disease as a food allergy and started classifying it as an autoimmune disorder.

By the 2000s, multiple studies on the relationships gluten has with other disorders were conducted. The results revealed that gluten could potentially benefit people with chronic inflammatory conditions such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis. With this evidence coming to light, people began to see the gluten-free diet as a cure-all for any affliction.

Though a gluten-free diet is more beneficial to those with celiac disease, gluten has benefits for those without it. A gluten-free diet may help with intestinal issues for people with an altered gut function, irritable bowel syndrome, and gut microbiome changes. It also helps with people who have some form of gluten sensitivity.

Medical News Today reported that symptoms of gluten sensitivity include bloating, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, itchy skin rashes, and “brain fog.” If you feel any of these symptoms, check with your doctor to see if you have a form of gluten sensitivity. You never know. A gluten-free diet may just save you from a lifetime of discomfort.


Crispy Apple-Oat Fritters

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
Vegetable oil (for frying; about 4 cups)
1 cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats
½ cup rice flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
½ cup (or more) club soda
2 large crisp apples, peeled, cored with an apple corer, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rings

Special Equipment:
A deep-fry thermometer

1) Whisk half a cup of sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon in a shallow bowl, then set it aside.

2) Take out a large pot, fill it with three inches of oil, put a thermometer in it, and heat it over medium-high heat until the thermometer reaches 375 degrees.

3) While the oil heats, put the oats in a food processor and set it to pulse until the oats become a coarse powder. Empty it into a large bowl along with the rice flour, corn starch, baking powder, salt, remaining sugar, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, egg, and club soda and whisk together.

4) If needed, add in more club soda by the tablespoon until the mixture reaches pancake batter consistency.

5) While maintaining the oil’s 375-degree temperature, dip the apple rings in the batter and fry them in the large pot. Fry for about 4 minutes or until crispy golden brown, turning them occasionally.

6) Move the finished fritters to a paper-towel-lined plate and briefly let them drain. Then, toss them in the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.

Written by: Bryce Ethridge

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