In my post How can I get plant protein without eating soy? I suggested that people limit their intake of wheat gluten products to 2 to 3 servings a day. Someone asked me why gluten should be limited.
Gluten should be limited because eating large amounts of the same protein day after day can, in some cases, lead to developing an intolerance to that protein. Gluten, in particular, appears to be a protein to which many people develop an intolerance. In the worst-case scenario, eating too much gluten might actually trigger celiac disease in someone who is genetically predisposed.
About 1 in 133 people in the U.S. have celiac disease. Celiac disease is when gluten causes someone’s immune system to mount a reaction against their intestinal tissue. It is very unpleasant and means that for the rest of someone‘s life they will have to avoid foods with gluten. You can read more on celiac at the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
Wheat, barley, and rye contain gluten. If someone has celiac, they have to be very careful about all sorts of products that would not at first seem like they have gluten. But for people without celiac disease to vary the proteins in their diet as much as possible, here are some foods that do not contain gluten:
Although buckwheat doesn’t contain gluten, many buckwheat products are a mixture of buckwheat plus regular wheat. However, Eden Foods’ soba noodles are pure buckwheat.
Teff is the grain from which the Ethiopian bread, injera, is made (note that some restaurants mix wheat into their injera, so people with celiac disease should ask). Teff can also be cooked much like cream of wheat and has a similar consistency.
Finally, I want to mention my friends at Sun Flour Baking Company in Sacramento who are supporters of Vegan Outreach and also make a line of gluten-free, vegan cookies, brownies, and bars.