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What Is There If There Is No Gluten?

I’ve talked about gluten in other blogs, and to be sure, North American eating habits have undergone a major shift with the advent of gluten-free foods. If you were celiac ten years ago, you had a hard time finding gluten-free foods. Today you can get just about everything gluten free, even gluten-free water (!). I don’t know about you, but I sleep much better at night knowing that my bottled water is now “Gluten Free”.

So what is there if there is no gluten? Just about everything, if you look for it. However, you will most likely find that gluten-free products lack the moist chewy texture that we expect from food made with gluten. Gluten is a combination of proteins found mostly in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten traps water and air into a foam. It is this reaction that provides the chewy-bite profile and texture that we find in baked products like breads, cookies, cakes and pastries. Gluten also is heavily used as a thickening agent in sauces, prepared soups, salad dressings, and even lunch meats. I might suggest that luncheon meats be left alone all together. In my opinion, luncheon meats should really fall under EPA regulation rather than the FDA. It’s safe to say that most prepared processed foods contain gluten. If it doesn’t say “Gluten Free”, read the label, and if you can’t pronounce two of the items on the packaging, maybe it is best left on the shelf.

Don’t necessarily assume that “Gluten Free” is a healthy alternative. In fact unless you are eating whole grains, the exact opposite can be said. A recent two-year study at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center found that out of 188 patients on a gluten-free diet, 81% gained weight and 40% were deemed “overweight”. The primary reason for the weight gain is due to the processed carbohydrates and added sugars and sweeteners that many food manufacturers use as gluten substitutes to combat the lack of texture and moisture.

When we developed the gluten-free, nut based and meatless Holy Mole Nutburg, we had a few things going for us that helped provide the texture missing in most gluten-free products. The almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds provided the natural good fats; and we use the same amount of sunflower oil that is found in our Orginal Nutburg. No additional fats here. We replaced the breadcrumbs with corn meal and masa harina which naturally absorbs and retains moisture.

So, if you are looking for a gluten-free, meat-free alternative that is made with whole foods, that has taste, texture and a satisfying bite profile, The Hole Mole Burger ticks all the boxes. And, by the way, you can pronounce all the ingredients on our packaging, so feel free to enjoy, either by itself, or on your favorite gluten-free bun or wrap.

– James West,
Mr. NutBurg

*For further info on the U of Chicago study, go here.