What is Gluten Free?


Gluten is an elastic protein found in all barley, wheat, and rye grains. It is the substance, or “glue” that holds bread, pasta, and baked goods together. It is what creates the chewy, stretchy factor in bagels, sourdough bread and pizza crust. Without it, breads foods tend to fall apart. That is why we don’t over stir muffins or pancakes, because stirring or kneading is what brings out the gluten or chewy factor, and we don’t want muffins and pancakes to be stretchy. Gluten free cookies and gluten free treats rely on other grains (such as brown rice) and use substitutes such as xanthan gum or guar gum for the qualities that gluten brings. Laura’s WJF’ gluten free cookies use only the natural ingredients of dates and tapioca starch to help hold everything together and create a pleasing texture.

While there is no United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) definition or national standard as of yet for the term “gluten-free,” a ruling is coming closer. According to their website, the FDA proposes:

“to define the term “gluten-free” to mean that a food bearing this claim in its labeling does not contain any one of the following:

  • An ingredient that is a prohibited grain
  • An ingredient that is derived from a prohibited grain and that has not been processed to remove gluten
  • An ingredient that is derived from a prohibited grain and that has been processed to remove gluten, if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten in the food or
  • 20 ppm or more gluten”

Dr.Laura explains “Gluten Free” in one minute


Why Eat Gluten Free?

Some individuals have an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten; the most severe intolerance being Celiac disease. Celiac (or coeliac) Sprue disease is an immune disorder that mimics several gastroenterology illnesses and has no “typical” symptoms. Some individuals have no warning signs at all. Diagnosis is often delayed, as much as by ten years or more. Celiac is surprisingly common- one in 250 people in the U.S. test positive for the antibody, and it is thought that actual numbers of people with the disease may be closer to one in 150. Left untreated, there is an increased risk of cancer and other autoimmune disorders. Strong associations with osteoporosis and insulin dependent diabetes have also been found.

Living a completely gluten-free lifestyle is the only known treatment at present. Gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye contain particular amino acid sequences that are harmful to persons with celiac disease. There is also debate as to whether or not the gluten found in oats is damaging to some celiacs.

Those with gluten sensitivities must also beware of labeling; often times “natural flavors” means gluten. Also, commercial products sometimes use gluten as a thickener; for instance, popsicles often contain gluten.

Several years ago, it was difficult to find a gluten free cookie that didn’t taste grainy, or a gluten free cookie mix that produced a cookie that didn’t fall apart when touched. Many gluten free cookies were also dry and quite frankly, tasteless. Finding genuine gluten free treats that tasted good was a luxury!

Today, there is a greater choice of tasty & healthy gluten free cookies and gluten-free treats on the market for celiacs to enjoy. Laura’s WJF is committed to making great tasting gluten-free cookies that test at less than 20ppm. We offer three moist and chewy gluten-free cookie flavors: Cole’s Cashew, Better Brownie and Mint Double Fudge. We offer our customers a gluten free cookie so smooth and delicious, you’ll have trouble believing it’s gluten free. Dr. Laura wanted to make gluten-free cookies that taste good enough that everyone enjoys them, and she succeeded.

To learn more about celiac disease, visit The Celiac Sprue Association.

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