The Problem With Gluten
Gluten is a family of proteins widely found in a variety of grains like wheat, rye, oats, spelt and barley. Wheat is by far the most commonly consumed. As many cultures use these ingredients in cooking and Japanese cuisine is one of them. A number of essential Japanese ingredients contain gluten.
A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, you probably have celiac disease and you are managing the signs and symptoms of this condition associated with gluten. In celiac disease, gluten triggers the immune system to damage the lining of the small intestine which over time prevents the absorption of nutrients from food. Following a gluten-free diet requires paying careful attention to the ingredients of foods and their nutritional content. Some people are gluten-intolerant, but a gluten-free diet is not for everyone.
East Asian cultures, including the Japanese, are genetically less predisposed towards celiac disease, which may be the reason for the general lack of awareness about gluten in Japan. However, the younger generation Japanese are more health-conscious and aware of gluten-free diet. The general public is largely unfamiliar with it and so can be somewhat of a challenge. Japanese restaurants are serious about food allergies so it is best that diners inform their servers about foods they can or can’t eat. They will cooperate and recommend gluten-free items on the menu.
Some gluten-free meals that can be enjoyed are sticky rice, sashimi, kaisen-don, soba, tofu and yakitori. When buying processed foods, read labels to determine if they contain gluten. Foods that are labeled gluten-free must have fewer than 20 parts per million of gluten. Avoid foods unless they’re labeled as gluten-free or made with corn, rice, soy or other gluten-free grain. Alcoholic beverages made from naturally gluten-free ingredients, such as grapes or juniper berries, can be labeled gluten-free. When eating in restaurants, ask the server for gluten-free suggestions. Some restaurants indicate so in their menus.
Serving Gluten-Free Meals in Seattle
I Love Sushi in Seattle indicates clearly in our menu what meals you’ll enjoy that are free of gluten. If you are intolerant of gluten, feel free to ask us about your preferences. We are always happy to serve.