Oh to flash back 10 years ago.

There was very little awareness about what gluten free diets were (“Do you mean glucose?”  or “Well just take the bun off the burger…”).  And even less awareness about what celiac disease was let alone gluten intolerance.

Then 2008-2009 hit.  The wave of wave of gluten free awareness and products had begun.  Pizza places started popping up with gluten free crusts, General Mills introduced gluten-free Chex, my grocery store started carrying more gluten free products, gluten free lunches were available at my daughter’s school….

As the years progressed….gluten free communion wafers were allowed to anyone on a regular basis at church, websites like glutenfreeregistry.com were among the first to seize on a market desperate for information on eating out — safely, then the likes of Jennifer Esposito, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, Zooey Deschanel, Chelsea Clinton and more went gluten free, some because of celiac or a gluten sensitivity others likely because it is a trend diet.  And THAT’S when the game seemed to change for gluten free products and lifestyle awareness.

Since January 2009, gluten-free has been on the hot trend list every year since. Around the New Year 2013 there was no shortage of articles talking about how gluten free would remain on trend for the new year:

And that’s not all of them.
But just seeing how popular the discussion is on the topic,  I am reminded that for the most part I am thankful for the trend.
Over the next few days, in no particular order, I will highlight the top benefits and downsides to the gluten free trend for we celiacs and gluten-sensitive folks. Beginning with the first one:

Benefit:  Gluten-Free Goes Techno with Current Gluten Free Information

My Gluten-Free Resources Circa 2001-2002

Back in the very early 2000’s I would sneak a McDonald’s burger and fries for my celiac daughter, into a restaurant my husband and I wanted to go to.    A road trip usually ONLY consisted of eating McDonald’s because we didn’t know where to go.  Although in early 2002 we were able to use the newly published “Gluten & Wheat Free Guide to Eating Out”, which listed 50 restaurants and their gluten free options.  A book that was probably extinct not long after publication because as we all know foods and ingredients change!

Finding gluten free food in a mainstream grocery store was also horribly painful.  I remember asking a manager to carry EnerG gluten free pretzels when they first came out.  They were a godsend for my daughter but so difficult to find.  When I put in the request, I got this look from the manager like I was speaking in tongues.  I didn’t see those pretzels at our grocery store for at least 4-5 years.

Oh and I would bring this enormous list with me of gluten-free foods and I bought this book with information on gluten free medicines.

Now, I can find a gluten free restaurant or food product within 5 minutes using the internet.  A quick Google search of a product I am looking for usually yields results — sometimes positive, sometimes negative, but at least I can get the info.  Using a website like the groundbreaking glutenfreeregistry.com or the app FindMeGlutenFree helps me find out so quickly about gluten-free friendly restaurants and grocery stores.  Just a quick search in the app store for apps with the the words gluten free in the title showed more than 40 in the first 100 I perused.

My how times have changed.  The technology was coming along before the trend became popular, but in my opinion the trend pushed the technology to move faster and fulfill gluten free needs.  This is one area where I thank the trend.   I have considered throwing out these extinct books and handouts, but I am wondering if some day they’ll be an antique??

Tomorrow:  The Gluten Free Product BOOM!

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3 Responses to “The Top Benefits & Downsides of the Gluten Free Trend”

  1. Nice post.Thanks for sharing your website.Keep it up.

  2. I am interested in your opinion on gluten free products as I am a firm believer that many of the products now available to those on gluten free diets are unhealthy. So many of them are high in unrefined carbohydrate and sugar and most of the online hype about gluten free is advocating cakes, biscuits and puddings rather than concentrating on healthy gluten free main meals.

  3. Janet, absolutely not all gluten free foods are good for you. That is why the GF food diet as a trend for weight loss makes no sense if these dieters are just filling their bodies with highly refined flours and sugars. Indeed a lot of gluten-free foods are made with white rice flour, tapioca, potato and corn starches instead of more whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, bean flours and sorghum (just to name a few).
    Gluten free folks need to do as everyone does– eat treats in moderation and eat a well balanced diet. Believe me, I know sometimes it is easier said than done (treats sure can be yummy at times).
    Thanks for reading!

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