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Food For Thought: The Issue With Gluten


This random thought happened simply because I wanted a delectable, fluffy piece of sweet fried dough called a beignet. Stay with me and see where this ends up.

[NOTE: If you are celiac or have a true gluten allergy, don’t dispute what your doctor is telling you. Get a second opinion but don’t conduct random trials like I did.]

About three years ago, a nutritionist diagnosed me as being highly gluten intolerant. Her diagnosis required a whole new approach to my eating (there weren’t too many gluten-free products on store shelves). Reluctantly, I gave up eating most fast food, the bread and pastries along with numerous other foodstuffs. I lost a little weight, and my constant upset stomach stopped. Life was okay.

Then gluten-free became a trend. Store shelves became inundated with GF products. Restaurants offered GF menus. Even manufacturers of supplements came up with products to help digest gluten. Very happy me. But the pounds came back.

During this time I’d read or heard (can’t remember which) about how other countries don’t use the same amount of preservatives like the US. If you don’t know it, gluten is used to preserve a large number of food items, cosmetics, and even pharmaceuticals. If you’re trying to avoid gluten, your life becomes complicated and expensive. I deposited the information in the memory bank and didn’t do anything about it until recently.

What happened? My NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project is a novel set in New Orleans. My main character eats beignets and drinks coffee for breakfast. I wanted to eat one of these fried, puffy treats. I investigated and found a recipe for gluten-free beignets. When I found it months ago, it sounded like a good idea but my novel research took me to the famous Cafe du Mond. I didn’t want some poor replica.

So I went to my local store and bought a box of the Cafe du Mond beignet mix. I was all set to take one of my little pills (the ones that help you digest gluten as long as you don’t take too much of the supplement), but I forgot about it during cooking. I chose one of the plump little morsels and sunk my teeth in. I continued cooking and sampling the treats. Normally, such a blunder would have my stomach upset within thirty minutes. An hour later, I was fine. No grumbling, no pain, no indigestion.

Curiosity took hold. I looked at the ingredients for the mix. Sit back and check out this simple list:


Did you see any preservatives? Me neither. As a matter of fact, the box tells you to refrigerate after opening.

The recipe on the box instructs to roll the dough on a floured surface. We don’t normally keep regular all-purpose flour in the house, but my husband wanted to make himself a treat with it so we had a small bag. I popped it open for the beignets. Check out the ingredient list:


To make matters more interesting, I used ORGANIC powdered sugar. No preservatives there either.

My over-imaginative mind went into hyper drive. What if this whole “I’m gluten sensitive” situation is actually a sensitivity to some preservative other than gluten? Interesting theory that will take some time and effort to examine.

The point of my rambling thoughts?

Sometimes when we’re giving a vague diagnosis or theory, maybe it requires a little more research than just an instant acceptance. In my case, my doctor followed up the diagnosis with a strong recommendation to use a probiotic. I’ve used two different products with the same result—no difference. Naturally, my doctor keeps steering me toward the more expensive product.

The take away for me comes down to simple experimentation. Maybe I can enjoy something as simple as pizza, if I make the puppy from scratch and use products with few preservatives. Yes, that pizza will be more pricey than the normal one but I won’t have to break the bank (or give up taste) ordering a gluten-free one.

Just food for thought…


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