How Things Change: Emma 2008 (left), 2013 (right)

How Things Change: Emma 2008 (left), 2013 (right)

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!

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2 Responses to “Biggest Changes in Gluten Free Info in the 5 Years of The Savvy Celiac”

  1. I have given your blog site to many people who seemed to be asking for more data and personal information on going gluten free. It is a life changing event and a challenge to the family. We continue to find your blog helpful and interesting. Thank you for the research and fact finding. Your e-book is an important addition to your information. I hope you continue with your passion to inform and educate with the compassion of “being there”. Roberta

  2. I disagree that a vaccine or drug will ever be effective, and definitely don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s essentially offering an antidote to a toxin that no one should consume, even people who have no idea that they are sensitive to it. Who would benefit from this drug or vaccine, other than pharmaceutical companies and wheat farmers? We’ve hybridized wheat to be a profitable crop and wheat currently contains so much more gliadin than the original plant that it is no longer a food our bodies can assimilate. Taking a drug to be enabled to consume something toxic and believing that that makes it a good idea is absurd. Consumers of health care need to educate themselves (through sites like this, others, books and the research that is out there if we look), ask their doctors for a celiac test if they feel compelled to be diagnosed or just want to contribute to the association between undiagnosed celiac and many, many other disorders, but the absolute bottom line is that not only is gluten/gliadin terrible for you, but so are all extreme carbs and sugars. If a vaccine or pill will allow you to eat them, will it also prevent the consequences? The neurological disorders, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia? No. Because even if you eat gluten free, if you eat a carb/sugar dense diet you are more susceptible to these diseases as well as more likely to develop cancers. Eat smart, live well – gluten doesn’t even fit into that picture.

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