As a kid my dad used to call me “bread master.” It was his affectionate way of describing my food habits. Those who know me well will easily validate my love for bread. On the dinner table, with bread in my sights, I was like a runaway freight train that would only stop when the tracks hit an end or in my case when the bread was over. It would not be uncommon for my other passion butter to also be thrown into the pot (forgive the hashing of metaphors), slathered generously on every open face of the bread that was visible. After all, who ate bread buttered on only one side?The amazing thing about bread was its chewiness and I discovered that depending on the manner in which bread was made, this could be different. Ciabatta bread for example, something I discovered during my stay in the US, was chewy heaven with a hard crust thrown in.
It is gluten that gives bread its chewiness. Gluten can sneak its way into your crumb cake, pasta, sauces or even salad dressing. Gluten is a mixture of two proteins found in cereal grains like wheat, barley and rye. Since grains are used to make a wide variety of foods including your whiskey, it is safe to say gluten is usually present on your dinner table. Unknowingly many people are gluten intolerant, have an allergy to wheat or worse suffer from something called celiac disease in which the gluten affects the intestines and inhibits the ability to absorb nutrition.
The good news is that if you eliminate gluten from your diet, you can reverse most of the damage fairly quickly. Of course, this means giving up on the Ciabatta but hey, no pain no gain right. If you believe you are gluten intolerant you can consult with your doctor for tests that can detect it – a test for anti-gliadin antibodies for example helps you detect celiac’s diseases. Eliminating gluten altogether is harder since it is used in a wide variety of foods but the starting point is awareness. Even small quantities of gluten can affect you if you are intolerant and therefore knowing and understanding what you are eating is important.
I eliminated bread from my diet, not because I was intolerant but because it was an overdose of carbohydrates with a high glycemic index. It was an addiction almost on the same plane as coffee and it took me about two weeks to stop craving bread. I lost the moniker “bread master” along the way.
In a study conducted it was shown that people may not be gluten intolerant after all, other than those who have celiac’s disease. This study was done by the same Institute that first reported gluten intolerance. Thank you bronxmoon for referring me to this study.