Fair Food Farmstand in the Reading Terminal Market is increasing its selection of gluten-free baked goods and snacks, and will be holding demonstrations of their new product offerings on the next two Saturdays.
See Reading Terminal Market slideshow.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It is what makes bread elastic and traps gases in dough allowing it to rise. Gluten also helps loaves keep their shape. However, the gluten protein cannot be tolerated by people with Celiac Disease.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is an intestinal disorder in which gluten triggers an auto-immune reaction interfering with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream. It is estimated that 3 million Americans suffer from the disease which has no cure, and the only treatment is a gluten-free diet.
It is believed that Celiac Disease has affected humans since the Neolithic Age when hunter gatherers first began to cultivate grains for nourishment. A Greek physician in the first century A.D. identified it as a condition in which the stomach cannot retain food and it passes undigested and cannot be absorbed. The name derives from the Greek work “koelia” meaning stomach.
The connection between the intestinal disorder, which can be fatal, and grains in the diet was not noted until the late 19th century by Dr. Samuel Gee, an English physician. In 1924, Dr. Sydney Haas introduced a banana diet excluding all carbohydrates, and successfully treated many children with the disease. However, identification of wheat as the culprit was not made until World War II when a Dutch pediatrician named Willem Karel Dicke noticed that bread shortages caused by the war correlated with an improvement in the condition of his Celiac patients.
Treatment for Celiac patients today consists of eliminating gluten from the diet and substituting gluten-free grains such as rice, quinoa, millet, corn, buckwheat and oats.
Many stores, bakeries and food manufacturers are now offering gluten-free foods. The Fair Food Farmstand is now carrying gluten-free baked goods and snacks from two local businesses, Greenwood Kitchen and Amaranth Bakery. Both businesses are making wheat-free and gluten-free snacks and baked goods that are organic and natural when possible, and free from preservatives.
The bakeries are offering samples of their products at the Farmstand as follows:
Saturday, January 23, 2010 (10AM-1PM): Greenwood Kitchen
Macaroons, kale chips, granola, buckwheaties
Saturday, January 30, 2010 (10AM-1PM): Amaranth Bakery
Breads, flatbreads, dinner rolls
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