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Well and Good: Explaining gluten-free goods

No doubt you’ve heard the term “gluten-free” the past year or two. You may have even tried a gluten-free bread or pasta. And at FRESH, we’re committed to serving customers with a huge selection of gluten-free goods; we carry more than 400! But what exactly does gluten-free mean?

Simply put, gluten-free is any food that does not use wheat, rye, barley, oatmeal, or several other kinds of grains. (Spelt and certain kinds of amaranth, by the way, which are often pitched as gluten-free, are not.) Even foods you might not expect, like some ketchups and sauces, have gluten ingredients, often used as thickening agents.

Gluten-free is a godsend for anyone who has been diagnosed with Celiac disease, an auto-immune disease that affects the digestive tract. People with Celiac disease are highly allergic to many grains, and can suffer great pain after eating them. Gluten-free products give these folks the opportunity to enjoy many pastas, breads, snacks and other foods that they otherwise might miss out on.

But even if you don’t suffer from Celiac disease or food allergies, you may want to sample some of our gluten-free selections – they’re that good. Two to try:

Namaste baking mixes: This small Idaho company makes mixes for whipping up your own gluten-free brownies and more.

Glutino: Famous for yummy gluten-free snacks, especially pretzels.