As the biomechanics of our food consumption have continued to evolve in recent years, it seems that we, as a global society, are increasingly taking notice of the correlation between what we eat and how it makes us feel. However, for many, this is often brought on by some negative reaction that one begins to have to some food consumed, which previously they digested without incidence. Getting to the root of what is actually the problem can be a long and arduous process of eliminating and reintroducing foods until the problem is pinpointed. One major category in this regard is the designation of either Celiac diseases, or sensitivity to gluten. Should you find yourself in this scenario, it can be quite hard to find local options that will work with your new restricted diet. As we here at bazaar love to be a resource for all things local, we recently set ourselves out on a quest for your definitive guide to all things gluten free in Kuwait.
First, a bit of edification on the subject from Dr. Nada Algarom, founder of Revolution Kuwait, whose specialty is family medicine and holistic nutrition. The problem, as she sees it, can be broken down as follows:
“Gluten is a starch protein found in Wheat, barley, rye and by contamination, most oats. Therefore cutting it out from the diet can prove to be a very challenging dilemma that faces many people on a daily basis. A gluten free diet is essential for people diagnosed with coeliac disease or with gluten sensitivity. Coeliac disease is one of the most common genetic, autoimmune disorders, where the immune system in the body reacts to the ingestion of gluten by attacking itself and destroying the villi in the small intestine. The villi are small finger like protrusions in the lining of the small intestine that absorb nutrients from food. Without healthy villi, the nutrients will not be absorbed properly. This is manifested most commonly by abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas, bloating, weight loss and anemia. It is also associated with serious long-term complications like infertility, osteoporosis and even cancer. Although it is not considered a rare condition, yet in my professional point of view it is vastly under-diagnosed and even misdiagnosed. That is because it has non-specific symptoms that can get confused with so many other, more common, conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or intestinal infections. As a result of that, many people with the condition remain undiagnosed from infancy to adulthood.
What follows is the best of the best of local purveyors; for you this means that whether you want to dine out, dine in, use delivery, or host a huge party, we have you covered. So, without further ado, your guide to all things gluten free in Kuwait:
This funky café in Salmiya is well worth a stop in for both the gluten free or otherwise.
With a menu that is also free of both potato and corn starches as well as all processed or artificial flavors, they are a bastion of healthy eating in an otherwise burger-filled mecca. Additionally notable: they do not deep fry—anything! They use the best quality non-hydrogenated cold press oils for cooking as well as high-end goat and sheep cheeses too; all the ingredients are high quality. They also make hand made protein bars for all you gym junkies who do not want to be forced to eat the packaged, factory ones due to lack of other options. With a special delivery plan for Ramadan of healthy twists of traditional favorites, you should keep them in mind for the summer months. They are also developing a children’s menu to provide healthy opportunities for your next kid event.
A must eat: Both the gluten free bites and nut cookies are delicious!
Reach them by phone at 2571 0196 or online at www.jadimorgen.com
Originally opened in November 2011, this company has been churning out gluten free options and working to educate the local market for the last 18 months. This exclusively gluten free business prides themselves on no possibility of cross contamination. Originally started as a bakery, they are now working to be a one-stop shop with new options that include retail versions of gluten free cereals, pastas and energy bars. They also now do wonderfully decorated birthday cakes of various sizes for your next kids birthday party. With plans to open a new location in Qatar next month, they are a brand on the rise.
A must eat: GF pita bread, strawberry cheesecake, and mini Chag o Haleeb
Everybody knows that you cannot eat out every night. When you must stay home to cook we need a store that can handle an offering of gluten free items as diverse as our palettes. We spoke with Makram Malaeb, Director of International Purchasing for a glimpse of what products we may be able to find at our local Sultan Centers. As a brand that has been stocking their shelves with gluten free options for approximately 10 years now, they have a good range including bread, pizza crusts, biscuits, cereals and desserts.
The largest selection can be found at the Salmiyah, Sharqh, Hawally, Kout and Shaab local stores.
Launched as the gluten free version to their more commonly known two-year old Red Catering company, these girls know what they are doing. As one of the owners and her entire family are gluten free, she is quick to cite the combined health benefits of a gluten free diet including: less colds and flus, weight loss etc. It is additionally notable that she has studied with the CHEK institute (a for-profit accreditation institute focused on exercise education and holistic well being) and brings that educated mind state to their menu items. As they have dual kitchens for their two separate concepts, they pride themselves on having zero cross-contamination between the two. With plans to branch into other specialty diets they would be a great resource to reach out to for any specialty dietary needs.
A must eat: Imported coconut water to quench your thirst and chocolate date balls for a lite snack.
Located in the Behbehani houses #19. Reach them on 5556 6676 or www.redcateringkuwait.com
The folks over at We Love Kuwait are doing an ongoing series on food education in Kuwait, with the most recent being at the 360 mall this last month. Additionally, they are a wealth of information specific to gluten free options in terms of both education and cooking classes. One of their most notable perspectives seems to be a focus on not just replacing gluten with non-healthy variants of same, but rather, they propose that through both education and awareness the lay person can sub out gluten for options that are far more healthy. Weather you want to be educated on the subject in order to better help a friend or loved one, or even just want to learn some new dishes to prepare at home yourself, they are a great resource to us locally.
Reach them at www.welovekuwait.com or on Instagram: @nada_alragom
What is most telling about all of the companies included in this article is that they represent a vast amount of knowledge on the subjects of healthy eating, and gluten free options. Further, they are all willing to share this knowledge with you. Please reach out to them; they almost all have created this out of their own personal need, and are happy to share both their individual stories, and vast knowledge base with others.
If you are looking for gluten free options in Kuwait please contact any of the aforementioned businesses. They are all doing their part to create a healthy lifestyle and diet locally.