Monday, January 22, 2018

Gluten-free in 2018

It's hard to believe that it's been 12 years since I started following the gluten-free diet due to my celiac diagnosis.  Within that first year (2006), three in my family, including me, were gluten-free so at least holidays with them have been a breeze.  Back then we didn't have all the wonderful things now available at your local grocery store - or at Whole Foods, Sprouts and Earthfare. My first pizza crust, pasta, cookies and cake mix experiments had me thinking I would not be enjoying any of those things ever again!  Talk about wonder people generally think all gluten-free food is horrid.  For many years, much of it was exactly that.

I remember reading a grocery report that stated by the end of 2010, gluten-free items would disappear from store shelves and the gluten-free craze would be over.  Isn't that a hoot?  That particular paper was partially funded by the wheat industry, by the way.  Almost a decade later, the gluten-free label has been slapped on the most ridiculous things like canned pineapple, coconut milk and sea salt.  And there are more cookies, crackers, cake mixes and pasta brands than the gluten-free market should be able to support.  Yet, almost weekly I come across something's a bit overwhelming even to me.

From talking to people who are gluten-free for various health reasons, which are not related to a celiac or gluten intolerance diagnosis, it seems that the gluten-free market is going to continue to thrive much longer than anyone anticipated.  All indications are that there will likely be people that continue to order gluten-free buns, etc. just for the heck of it - who would not know if they ate food containing gluten.  That's really not a problem unless you can't get a bun because one of those people took the last one.

The biggest concern I have (the same one as hoards of gluten-free folks) is that eventually many trend diet followers will fall off the gluten-free bandwagon, so to speak. When that happens, some of the larger food companies will discontinue some items on their gluten-free roster.  Business is business and if they didn't do that, it would not make sense.  What we'll be left with in terms of product selection, quality ingredients and of course, wonderful taste are the unknowns in that scenario.  Let's hope there are enough great tasting, quality replacement foods left after the gluten-free frenzy dust settles down.  

Being gluten-free can still be challenging at times

After being gluten-free for over a decade, one would think there's nothing that would throw me.  From weddings to funerals to holiday pa...