Never ridiculed, never frustrated, never lacking delicious choices – Never Gluten! Gluten Free!
Gluten Free – call it a fad if you will but it’s been around for some time and continues to become more and more popular. You may be Celiac, gluten sensitive or have opted to do a short or long term gluten free run for personal or other reasons touting health benefits such as boosting your energy. It’s a booming industry with tremendous momentum.
There is a troubling stigma attached to being gluten free – while not everyone on the diet *needs* to be, the vast majority of legitimate dieters are ostracized, ridiculed and generally looked down on. Understand that most are not jumping on the bandwagon or riding a quick fad or trend – it’s a necessity for current and future health concerns.
It’s not easy – many foods may be safe but it isn’t clear on the label, conversely it may appear that the items doesn’t contain ingredients you’re aware contain gluten. Sites online may also have varying opinions on gluten free, as do many governmental agencies – ex. if it contains less than 20 ppm it can be labeled Gluten Free.
Many new to the diet learn the hard way.
Some of the problems gluten abstainers face:
1. Minimal education – what does or doesn’t contain gluten? Does ingredient XYZ contain gluten? Many online sources contain contradictory information. Does XYZ restaurant prepare items that don’t contain gluten / are
2. Bland food – with the lack of education and absolute need for those with Celiac or sensitives to avoid the offending ingredient, many will opt to take no chances and move to a much more Paleo type of diet of plant and meat. Very minimalist removing much of any flavouring because of lack of choice, fear of contamination and hidden ingredients
3. Few but expensive choices. We can break this down to grocery and speciality health food / gluten free stores. Most grocery stores now contain a gluten free section – it’s expensive and often misleading. Many products are inherently gluten free, although once the ‘Gluten Free’ label gets stamped on it drives the price up dramatically. Oh really, my apple is gluten free? Thanks! Speciality stores, especially those catering exclusively to the gluten free ‘lifestyle’ are VERY expensive. You’re at the mercy of your local market, what they offer and how much they charge. New boutique grocery stores and even micro bakeries are starting to pop up all over and are for the most part doing INCREDIBLE business!
4. Dining out / Ordering in – Many restaurants don’t clearly advertise items that are gluten free, both locally / online or even on their menu. Going out for dinner is taking a step into the unknown – often we’ll avoid the stigma of being ’that person’ – it looks like a plain salad with a glass of water as usual (hopefully there is no cross-contamination when your salad is getting scooped up!). Even if you find something that appears to a fit consider the kitchen and the manner in which the food is prepared. For example – your local pizza joint. Sure they may have gluten free dough (likely a frozen pre-made plank), but how is it prepared (likely on the same surface slathered with flour) and are your favorite toppings gluten free (pepperoni – may have wheat type fillers).
I’m not properly informed, am I getting the nutrients I need, I eat bland food, my choices are limited and expensive, and dining out or ordering in is a dangerous roll of the dice. I wish there was a local community that could help!