Five years ago I set out to start a blog that really helped inform people. Fresh from leaving my television news executive producer role in Minneapolis, my celiac daughter, Emma was in 4th grade and we were 8 years into managing her diet. But we had also brought an exchange student from Norway into our home, she too had celiac. Plus, just months earlier, my brother got his diagnosis.
Celiac disease had once again re-emerged as a passion I needed to address, and I knew there were others in the middle or at the beginning of their journey who might want to know about the latest in celiac research, news-maker interviews and more. My first post was not so much of a “Hello World” post that many bloggers do. We got right into lifestyle news with this post: Getting Started Gluten Free: A Parent’s Quick Guide for New Celiacs. That was dated October 17, 2008.
More than 600 posts later, here we are. And there is always something to say.
Biggest Change in the Gluten Free World
Over the last five years the biggest change was probably the psyche of Americans that gluten-free was a good diet to go on (in general, experts/doctors don’t recommend it if you don’t have issues with gluten). The gluten free food trend has been a game-changer in my opinion.
I never would have guessed that the gluten-free diet would not only become a “trendy” diet, but that the trend would cause an onslaught of gluten free foods (which was actually a benefit). I thought by 2010 the fad would have been over. In a post, Gluten Free, a Hot Trend in ’09?, dated January 5th, 2009, I specifically questioned,
“Because your ‘trend’ is our way of life. Will this just be celiac disease’s 15 minutes of fame?”
I also wondered if we would look back on the gluten free diet trend and think “That was soooo 2009”. Well, I can say that didn’t happen. Gluten free foods have become a booming industry from about $2 billion in 2008 to and estimated $6.6 billion by 2017.
But going hand-in-hand with the trend as being a big deal, was the finalization of the Food and Drug Administrations Gluten-Free Labeling Rule. On August 2nd, 2013 I wrote about the basics (there are A LOT of details in this rule), entitled FDA’s New Gluten Free Labeling Rule: What you need to know.
The rule is voluntary for those who want to label their products gluten free. It was several years overdue, but finally came. It will go into effect August 5, 2014.
Biggest frustration? I have been known to let loose on an occasional rant. In April of 2009, I wrote about Celiac Disease: A Possible “Lucrative Market”. I was amazed to learn from a Datamonitor Report, that diagnosis rates of celiac would apparently increase once a medicine was made available.
“Continued efforts to increase awareness, especially once a drug comes to market, will drive celiac disease diagnosis rates up to 50%-60% by 2019, which will expand the overall patient population,” the report said.
I just want doctors to naturally look for it….not just because there is a drug to treat it (which there still isn’t yet). Lots of people are sick out there and don’t even know it because they are not diagnosed properly, causing them to get even sicker. Keep spreading the word people!!
Most popular posts?
Well to date it is now the Top Celiac Myths that Need Debunking story I posted in September. But aside from that one, one of the biggest posts, which really could use some updating was the one where I surveyed readers and wrote a post Dining Out: Finding Gluten Free Fries. At the time, despite the continued debate over whether McDonald’s fries are really gluten free, most people were eating them.
Another post that has had legs is the What? Mike’s Hard Lemonade is Gluten Free? from April 2011. They are currently reporting that all of their products have had the gluten removed (and…yes I do need to update this post again….) and they test below 20 ppm. But why are most of my comments from people on this post filled with regret for ever trying it because they got sick? If I am getting these comments I am sure the customer service department at Mike’s is busy fielding comments as well.
Reflections on 5 Years
It has been a wonderful ride being able to combine my passion for writing and research with raising awareness about the gluten-free diet and celiac disease. I have met so many new people (in person and through social media) who are very supportive. I have expanded The Savvy Celiac’s voice by teaching gluten free classes in the Twin Cities, writing a free e-book teaching the very quick basics about going gluten free and doing my work as the Family Editor for Gluten-Free Living Magazine.
Predictions for the next 5 years? I think an effective “Lactaid” type of drug will come out to protect celiacs and non-celiac gluten sensitive folks from getting sicker than a dog if they accidentally get “glutened” (current “glutenase” products on the market don’t work according to the experts, see aforementioned Celiac Myths post). I believe a vaccine will happen eventually, but maybe not that soon.
I hope you have been able to learn something from this website to take your gluten-free lifestyle to the next level and/or understand the effects of celiac disease and why it’s important to get you and your family diagnosed. I am looking forward to the next five years and beyond!