Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What it means to be Wheat-Free

When one is wheat-free one is reading labels all the time.  When one has FM they do not technically have to be completely wheat-free but to maintain a low wheat intake diet in order to reduce the intake of fructans.  For our family that means we are pretty much wheat-free in what we eat from day to day, but if we go out we may dismiss the diet for a bit and eat a bit of wheat. 

Breads and pastas are the most common wheat items, but to be wheat-free does not mean bread and pasta free.  Wheat is in far more items then bread and pastas.  To be wheat-free you will be required to read labels and look for a variety of words that refer to wheat and wheat products.  Some of these would be:

  • all purpose flour
  • enriched flour
  • cake flour
  • pastry flour
  • self-rising flour
  • unbleached flour
  • stone-ground wheat flour
  • graham flour
  • semolina flour
  • durum wheat flour
  • whole wheat flour
  • white wheat flour
  • sprouted wheat
  • cracked wheat
  • spelt
  • kamut
  • couscous
  • matzo
  • einkorn
  • bulgar

Someone with FM also does not have to watch for every tiny little bit of wheat in items, as someone who is gluten free does.  Small amounts of wheat at the bottom of an ingredients list should be okay, if they aren’t then consider that you may have gluten intolernace (which is different then celiac disease).  People with FM should be able to eat gluten products, although they do use gluten-free items alot in their diet in order to maintain the wheat-free aspect of their diet. 

So small amounts of wheat should be okay as well as oats which are not okay for someone with gluten intolerance.  Barley is not allowed on a gluten-free diet and is said to be high in fructans so it should also be avoided or limited for those with FM.

Don’t despair, there are other grains that you can eat and with time you will find what works for you.  Some of these grains are:

  • sorghum
  • tapioca
  • amaranth
  • rice
  • millet
  • buckwheat
  • oats

It is a difficult change, I think for our family leaving wheat behind was the biggest hurdle, but with time you will find substitutes and foods that you enjoy again and it will get easier.  I admit, nothing is quite the same a wheat, but it does teach one to be creative.  I sure miss my fresh out of the oven bread tho!

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