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what does gluten-free mean and why is it important? gluten is a protein complex found in wheat, barley, and rye. and, for some people, eating products such as bread, pasta, crackers causes them to suffer from a condition known as celiac disease which can manifest itself in the form of intestinal distress, skin irritation, or general fatigue and weakness. a gluten-free diet, therefore, proposes not eating or drinking anything made from grains--which includes beers and some wines. while not eating products made from grains can prevent the aforementioned discomfort, celiac disease can lead to other problems such as anemia, osteoporosis, and possibly raise the risk of developing lymphoma. naturally, here at zest, everything made in our kitchens or concocted in our bar is gluten-free from our zucchini noodles with fresh tomato sauce, pesto, & pine nuts to our chocolate beet cake with avocado mousse. we're living proof that not only is it possible to cut gluten specific items out but it can be nutritional and good. we achieve this by using grain alternatives such as quinoa, nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables, a variety of herbs and seasonings, and whatever the season offers us.