Here at Snap, everything we sell is gluten free. For a food company or restaurant, that’s a pretty rare thing. Today, we want to talk about why.
what is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. What does that mean in practical terms? You can find it in bread, crackers, pizza, pasta, wraps, rolls and almost all packaged & highly processed foods. It’s pretty much a staple in the standard american diet. Which is why if you’re trying to avoid it, it can be pretty hard to eat out, or even find something to pick up at the store. That’s why we’re proud to have a 100% gluten free menu. We know it’s not easy to find truly healthy food options without spending hours in the kitchen, so we’re here to help you cross that item off your ever-growing to-do list.
what’s the issue with gluten?
Of course this varies on the person to some degree, but there’s research showing that gluten causes intestinal permeability, or leaky gut. When you eat gluten, it travels through your stomach and into your small intestine, where it’s presence initiates the release of zonulin. Zonulin signals the tight junctions of your intestinal wall to open. As their name implies, tight junctions are meant to stay sealed, making sure that the foods that enter your digestive tract never make their way to other parts of your body.
If gluten consumption is occasional and you don’t have celiac disease, your tight junctions can generally repair the damage after the meal. However, in our modern food environment, most people consume gluten on a daily basis. Eventually, your tight junctions lose the ability to repair the damage and they remain open, leading to leaky gut. Leaky gut can lead to a host of other issues, including autoimmune disease.
Once you’ve got a leaky gut, your immune system tends to respond to the gluten you’re still consuming with increasing alarm, causing chronic inflammation. Your body begins responding to all gluten (and often other food particles), as foreign invaders. Eventually, your body’s own tissues can end up being attacked, leading to an autoimmune disease.
How do I know if I have an issue with gluten?
For some, a celiac disease diagnosis makes it very clear that gluten must be avoided. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which people can’t eat gluten because any amount permanently damages their small intestine. Recently, though, there’s been research that even those without celiac disease can have issues with gluten. For some, this manifests as non-celiac gluten sensitivity and others just feel better without this inflammatory protein.
You can test this for yourself by cutting out gluten for a month or more, then reintroducing it and to see how you feel. Pay attention to how you feel when you stop eating it. Did you previously have digestive issues, joint pain, recurring headaches, feelings of anxiety or depression, or other symptoms that resolved when you removed gluten? You may even notice that certain biochemical markers (like cholesterol or triglycerides) improve when you stop eating gluten. Keep in mind that if you do want to get tested for celiac disease, you need to be eating gluten to avoid a false negative result.
what should I eat instead?
The key here is to not replace all of your favorite gluten-filled foods with gluten-free alternatives. If you scan the gluten free aisle at your local supermarket and read the product labels, you’ll see that many of them have an ingredient list that’s a mile long. Lots of gluten free products have just as many carbohydrates and yucky ingredients as their gluten-filled counterparts. There are certainly brands that do a great job, with simple ingredient lists and nourishing products that are fine to incorporate into your overall diet. However, always keep the bulk of what you consume focused on vegetables (fiber!), high-quality protein and healthy fats, enjoying gluten free breads or desserts occasionally.
At Snap we love replicating comfort food faves with nourishing gluten free options, but we keep the bulk of our menu focused on the basics mentioned above: veggies, protein and healthy fats!
Some of our gluten free favorites:
We want to hear from you! Do you love Snap because we’re gluten free, or do you love us despite the fact that we’re gluten free?