Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gluten free jeggings

The article, Gluten-free trend could fall 'like a house of cards' on Food Navigator-USA has cause some angry comments and feisty reactions and more unhappy comments

I can understand why people are upset. Felling like people are being dismissive or flippant about something that is very personal is not easy. But lets face it, the article was about food trends, not an attack on those who must live gluten free.

The food industry is like the fashion industry; they want you to buy new foods & clothing in new packages and colors every season. So gluten-free packaged foods were the hip, "it" trend, the jegging of the moment. Part of it was a diet fad (Elizabeth Hasselbeck touting eating gluten-free as a weight loss option), part of it was increased awareness about Celiac Disease and those who abstain from eating gluten and casein, and some of it was the industry's need for a new "it" product(s) like pomegranate juice was hot a few years ago. Here is the thing, trends change. There are people out there who need to wear supportive hosiery for circulation and perhaps the jean+legging=trendy fashion baby of the moment will be a minor miracle for them finding more clothing options. But its not going to last forever and any fashion writer who does a piece on the decline of the jegging isn't going to get a barrage of varicose veined persons seeing the writing as a personal attack. Its about the clothing, not the person.
Food is personal and having to live gluten-free is not easy. It is hard, expensive, painful (when we get it wrong) and frustrating to get it right.

Here is the best part about a trend, it is something that people catch on to.
If you think about it, in the past year, the number of packaged and prepared gluten free options has really mushroomed. Two years ago, I had to explain to an E.R. doctor what Celiac Disease is and all of the symptoms, yesterday I went into a walk in clinic for an ear infection and the doctor asked me how I have been managing, eating and was pro-actively concerned about any medications that could make me sick! (Not a scientific study, but more people are aware that its not a "childhood illness that kids grow out of.")

Look at the awareness about carbohydrate content that Atkins did for diabetics!
The Atkins diet was a trend, but it helped raise awareness and labeling about simple and complex carbohydrates - things diabetics need to be aware of and calculate for at every meal, not just sugar.
Awareness matters.

So even after the trend of packaged gluten-free foods fade, there are still more gluten-free options at restaurants. There is increased awareness in hospitals - where finally there are gluten-free food options for patients. This food trend has done more to increase awareness than any other campaign, fundraiser or study I have seen. But it is not a controlled message, it is a fashionable trend and its not going to last forever. Some items will stay. The skirt suit was a hot fashion trend that went out of style, but the Chanel version is a classic. (Jennies Macaroons are my gluten-free Chanel jacket.)

P.S. - I have been unpleasantly sick as of late, but I have a flurry of back-dated blog posts with pictures that are on the way. Just you wait!

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