Written by Rasta Taco
Special orders with tacos aren’t really special – they’re a matter of course in taco meals. It’s the smart special event menu for most dietary preferences.
Avoidance of gluten in food is no longer a fad. Market researchers show that more than 20 million Americans are going gluten free for health reasons and another 13 million cut out gluten as a weight loss strategy.
This happens to coincide with America’s larger-than-ever love of tacos. But taco cart caterers are on top of this. It’s possible to have gluten-free tacos with a little planning.
But first, consider the reasons why people want to avoid gluten. On a very technical level, there are people with gluten intolerance who are diagnosed with or are very likely to have celiac disease, as well as people who are gluten sensitive but do not have celiac disease. This second group has non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or NCGS, and they all fall on a spectrum of gluten-related disorders.
So what’s the problem with gluten? Scientists are completely sure but it’s believed that proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley (each of which naturally contains gluten) are poorly processed in the digestive tracks of some people. The symptoms are gastrointestinal distress: abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, diarrhea and constipation.
The good news, shared by taco catering companies and taco lovers alike, is that gluten is not essential to tacos. To begin with, corn tortillas are naturally gluten-free, but the flour tortillas are derived from wheat so they naturally have gluten. But gluten free all-purpose flour is a thing – with a little bit of alterations and improvising, making flour tortillas is as easy as … well, tacos.
So you’re home free if that’s what you get served at a party? Well, not quite. Many cocktails have gluten in them. Belly up to the margarita bar to ask about it. Beers, malt beverages, and malt vinegar have gluten. So do breakfast foods (pancakes and waffles, French toast, biscuits), all breads and pastries, seasoned potato chips, French fries, salad dressings, and meat substitutes (like seitan, vegetarian burgers, imitation bacon, and imitation seafood), among other things.
Some mobile taco catering companies are fairly attuned to this because they serve large functions – corporate events and weddings, for example – where dietary needs have to be accommodated. Anyone booking an event should consider this and discuss it with their caterer in advance.
The versatility of tacos is useful for all kinds of dietary restrictions. It’s easy to make a vegetarian taco, even while the carnivores are served their meat, poultry, and seafood tacos. The choices among fillings include salsas (tomatillo, roja, mango) and guacamole, and cilantro (for those who love cilantro) or no cilantro (for those who don’t love cilantro).
So if you want a vegetarian, gluten free taco with some tomatillo, the only question is do you want a lime with it?