A Gluten Free Diet Quick Start Guide
What is gluten?
Gluten is a sticky protein found in barley, wheat and rye. It’s the component that holds together pasta, makes bread rise and the pizza dough to stretch. Most people can tolerate this protein but it causes a severe immune reaction when taken by people with celiac disease.
Celiac and gluten
If a person suffering from celiac eats foods containing gluten, the lining of their small intestines are destroyed by the protein, making it impossible to absorb nutrients. The person experiences several symptoms, such as fatigue, abdominal pain, diarrhea, muscle cramps, skin rash and depression. It is imperative for people with celiac to follow a gluten free diet to avoid any damage to their intestines.
Foods that contain gluten
The obvious foods that contain gluten are those made from wheat flour, such as crackers, cookies, bread, pasta, pizza, candies, cakes and doughnuts.
Other items that may contain gluten
Gluten is also found in other sources that are less obvious, such as salad dressings, candy, beer, soy sauce, processed soups and sauces, spice blends, rice mixes, canned items, ice cream, malt vinegar, processed juices, jelly beans, popsicles, Play-Doh and flavored milk. Most processed foods contain gluten as well as nutritional supplements, vitamins and even soaps, certain lipsticks, shampoos and medicine. Gluten may be hidden in food labels as modified food starch, emulsifiers, caramel color, malt, lecithins, MSG or soy sauce. Gluten may be labeled as the natural flavoring in most food items. It is always good to confirm whether this natural flavoring is gluten free.
There are many foods that people on a gluten-free diet can safely consume without any worries. These include all rice varieties, such as basmati, Arborio and jamine and all vegetables ranging from broccoli, spinach, amaranth, carrots and cabbage. Other foods include cereals and legumes, such as lentils, beans, haricot, black beans, chick peas, cow peas, peas among others. Quinoa, corn, millet, sorghum, polenta, buckwheat and tapioca are also safe. Tubers, such as Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, arrowroots, yams and cassava are gluten free as well. Unprocessed poultry, pork and beef meat, fish, seafood, most cheese, yogurt and butter as well as eggs and milk are also safe. Nutrition bars are a great supplement of a healthy lifestyle, providing people with energy and nutrients when they do not have time to eat a meal. Manufacturers of gluten-free protein bars are getting more gluten conscious and reformulate some of their recipes to eliminate gluten in their products. Those on a gluten-free diet can snack on these bars to enhance their protein intake.
Most beers are malt-based so they contain gluten, unless they are labeled as gluten-free. Wines, liquors and ciders are safe although it always good to double-check the components. Distilled liquor is always safe unless it was flavored after the process. Read the label carefully or call the manufacturer to ask whether the flavoring contains gluten, if it’s not clearly stated on the packaging.
People on a gluten free diet must read the labels of all food items carefully before making any purchases. Just because an item is labeled as wheat-free doesn’t mean that it is gluten free. It might contain some of the hidden gluten in form of flavoring or coloring. In the U.S., manufacturers are required by the law to disclose wheat in the ingredients list. However, this rule does not apply to foods from other countries. There are also many gluten-free products in the market, such as those from General Mills, Unilever, Hain-Celestial, Kraft and McCormick. These products are more expensive compared to others. In major cities, there are also bakeries and specialty stores that are exclusively gluten-free or have a section.
Larabar ALT Bar Highlights
Vegan Dairy Free non-GMO
Main Protein Source
Nutrition facts based on Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor. Facts and ingredients vary by flavor.
All ALT Bar Flavors
At LÄRABAR, we believe that the foundation of a sound mind, body and spirit is derived from what you eat – and what you eat is most delicious and satisfying when it’s in a whole, natural state. (source: Larabar.com)
All flavors are not too sweet but with plenty of flavor. The Pumpkin Pie flavor has a strong ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg spice kind of taste.
The Cinnamon Apple Crisp is soft and dense with a little crunch added. The Peanut Butter Cookie flavor is a bit dry and crumbly especially if close to the expiration date. Overall, the ALT flavors are more hard and dry than regular Larabars.
Buyers really like the fact that it’s all natural, vegan and kosher. Fills you up for a long time. Fairly high in calories. Short list of ingredients is a plus.
The is in the low-midfield compared to bars in that category. Each box holds 15 bars with a short list of healthy ingredients. As always, it helps to look out for specials on these bars to bring down the price.
Price: $26.25 for 15/box
The market for protein bars has changed dramatically over the last few years. While the majority of bars are now made gluten free, there are more and more new brands being built that are completely dedicated to the increasing vegan community. Some existing bar manufacturers are also beginning to jump on the Vegan Bandwagon and release vegan versions of their bars.
Many reasons for switching to a vegan diet are health related. Another important reason are reports about animal cruelty and inhumane conditions of live stock keep being revealed in the news, so are studies about meat contamination with blood, feces and bodily fluids. Vegans try to make a difference in the world by choosing nutrition that doesn’t derive from animals.
To strengthen the vegan trend, more and more celebrities and public figures are publicly talking about their vegan diet, such as Natalie Portman, Al Gore, Tobey Maguire, Shania Twain, Casey Affleck, Alyssa Milano, Anne Hathaway, and Carrie Underwood. These are just some of the famous vegans and vegetarians who regularly appear in People magazine.
What’s a Vegan Diet?
People on a strict vegan diet do not eat any meat, poultry or fish just like vegetarians. In addition to that, vegans stay away from other animal products and by-products such as dairy products, honey and eggs. Even silk, wool, leather, fur, cosmetics and soaps are a “no go” as these products are derived from animals as well.
In order to receive the necessary nutrition, people on a vegan diet choose a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds and legumes.
What kind of protein is in a Vegan Protein Bar?
Almost all foods except alcohol, fats and sugars contain some protein. However, to achieve higher amounts of protein in a nutrition bar, manufacturer’s preferred choice are soy, peas and rice. But also peanut butter, peanuts and almonds contribute to the amount of protein in a vegan bar.
The risk of Cross Contamination during production
Brands that have a variety of bars with both milk and dark chocolate need to absolutely make sure that the manufacturer doesn’t produce both kinds on the same machines. Otherwise there could be traces of milk that make their way into the dark chocolate bars.
The FDA has a zero tolerance policy, which means that “milk” must be listed on both the ingredient and allergen statement if there is a slight chance that trace amounts of milk proteins might be present.
Earlier this year Zing Bars ran into a similar issue, because their chocolate supplier produces both milk and dark chocolate in the same plant and couldn’t guarantee that the dark chocolate wouldn’t have traces of milk protein in it. As a result, Zing Bars decided to voluntary recall three of their vegan bars in order to add milk as an allergen and ingredients to comply with FDA regulations. They still offer 4 truly vegan flavors though.
High protein Vegan Bars
Vegan protein bars usually come with 10-13 grams of protein per bar. If you are looking for more protein, check out Pure Fit Bars. They come with 18 grams of protein.
Check out our gluten free Vegan Protein Bars category to see the variety that’s on the market. The list contains only bars that we have cataloged so far. However, there are many more options on out there.
Vega One All-in-One Meal Bar Highlights
12 g complete plant-based protein 4 g fiber 1 g Omega-3
1 serving of greens 1 billion dairy-free probiotics
25 added vitamins and minerals Antioxidants
Main Protein Sources
Brown Rice Protein
Allergen Statement: Contains peanuts. May contain traces of milk, tree nuts, sesame, and soy. May also contain fruit pits or nut shell pieces.
Nutrition facts based on Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor. Facts and ingredients vary by flavor.
All Vega One All-in-One Meal Bar Flavors
About Vega One
Told from the onset that a plant-based diet wouldn’t cut it on the professional Ironman circuit, Brendan Brazier’s nutritional journey as an uninformed plant-powered endurance athlete began with reduced energy levels and the need to eat constantly.
But Brendan’s stubborn curiosity persevered and after years of research and experimentation, he discovered what sets a top athlete’s performance apart from the competition isn’t training or natural ability alone. A big difference is nutrition. After intense study, Brendan created a plant-based, whole food diet that helped him recover faster and train harder – propelling him to become a top professional Ironman triathlete… (read on at: MyVega.com)