Gluten Free Options in Ocean County

Here at Tuscan Bistro Bar, we value healthy living. Sometimes, it’s really hard to go out for a nice meal with family and friends and find those delicious but still healthy options. Our menu is full of just that – delicious, fresh, healthy, local food. We not only have a clean eating menu but many of our menu items are available as gluten free.

Why Gluten Free?

Gluten sensitivity or intolerance is typically a symptom on one of three things: Celiac Disease, Wheat Allergy, and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. This condition causes a person to have a reaction after ingesting gluten and requires that they remove gluten from their diet.


What is Gluten?

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods. Some are obvious considering gluten basically comes from grain, others may be surprising.

Wheat is commonly found in foods that contain flour. Breads, baked goods, pastas and cereals are foods you would probably expect to contain wheat. It can also be found in sauces, soups, salad dressing and roux, a blend of fat and flour used to thicken sauces.

Barley can be found in malt, malt vinegar, food coloring, soup and beer. Rye is most common in cereals, rye beer and many breads, including rye and pumpernickel.

Triticale is a less common grain, specifically grown to have a similar quality as wheat. It can potentially be found in bread, pasta and cereals.

Side Effects of Consuming Gluten

If you have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, regardless of the reason, eating foods that contain gluten can result in uncomfortable side effects.  The most common and immediate effects are headaches and abdominal pain. Other side effects while more subtle, can cause health problems over time. Once you’ve dealt with the side effects, all you can do is try your best to completely avoid gluten in the future

After ingesting gluten, you may notice changes in your digestion. These may just be uncomfortable or extremely painful. Nausea, vomiting, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation are typical. Side effects may last only a few hours or a few day, depending upon the individual.

With at least 300 documented side effects according to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, you may experience side effects other than digestive issues.

You may develop a headache, have cloudy thinking, or feel lethargic, anxious or depressed after eating gluten. It’s also possible to feel achy, have joint pain, feel tingling or numbness in your hands and feet, or develop a skin rash. Besides the obvious side effects of ingesting gluten, there may be internal side effects such as inflammation of the intestines. This can prevent the proper absorption of nutrients and if one continues to ingest gluten, permanent damage to the intestines will result.


Living Gluten Free

Eating a completely gluten-free diet is the only treatment for a gluten intolerance. You will need to read the ingredient list on all food items before consuming them and if you’re not sure, don’t eat it. Make friends and family aware of what you can and cannot eat and how foods should be handled to avoid cross contamination. For example, the same utensils cannot be use in both types of foods as this will contaminate the gluten free food.

As society has become more informed about gluten intolerance and diagnoses have increased, restaurants have begun to add gluten free items to their menu. After all, you don’t want to exclude or isolate a friend or family member from going out to enjoy a group meal.

At Tuscan Bistro Bar, many of our menu items are offered as a gluten free selection. These items are noted with a small green icon that contains the letters “GF”. We follow all the proper procedures to avoid cross contamination and insure the well-being of our guests. Even on a gluten free diet, you can enjoy a delicious meal with family and friends a Tuscan Bistro Bar and be secure in the knowledge we have taken the upmost care in providing you with a gluten free meal.