Growing Gluten Free Awareness

It is undeniable that the gluten free industry’s awareness is growing exponentially.

Most of all, the awareness has caught the attention of almost every doctor.  Ultimately, more and more lives are being greatly improved or saved.  People now know what the true cause of their aliment is.  Patients who have been misdiagnosed for years, have completely turned their lives around.  With the nutrient deficiency that celiac causes, many terrible diseases have been prevented.

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  • “Untreated celiac disease increases the risk of cancer 200-300%.”  REFERENCE 3
  • “Total US healthcare cost for all untreated celiacs: $14.5 – $34.8 billion annually.”  REFERENCE 3
  • “Over 300 signs, symptoms, associated disorders and complications may result from celiac disease.”  REFERENCE 3
  • “Prevalence of celiac disease: 1 in 250 Americans estimated rate; actual diagnosis rate is 1 in 4,700 Americans.”  REFERENCE 4

Some doctors have openly said that the gluten free diet is one of the healthiest diet possible.  You are cutting out processed foods, eating a lot of natural foods, and motoring everything you eat.  With this, and any hype of a healthy diet, especially when someone can lose weight on it, comes a flood of people who adopt the diet, sometimes claiming they are a self-diagnosed celiac, just for the attention and to be part of a fad.  I frequently hear that this upsets many doctor-diagnosed celiacs.  In the beginning, I also found it somewhat offensive.  After reflecting further on the issue, I believe any attention and product demand that is brought upon the gluten free industry is good.  In the end, those of us who truly have celiac will benefit.

With the increase in demand for gluten free food and products, more manufacturers have entered the industry.  Competition has been amazing for this industry!  Even in the past couple of years, the quality and taste of the food has greatly improved.  The quality of bread products have improved from the gluten free bakeries, and the major food manufacturers are now making breads easily available at almost every grocery store.  You have to be blind to have not seen, even some of your daily products, labeled gluten free.

  • “Demand has been growing exponentially as sufferers of a wide variety of maladies (including celiac disease, autism, attention deficit disorder, irritated bowel syndrome, and MS) have come to believe a gluten-free diet will provide relief.”  REFERENCE 1
  • “The Federal Government is lending a hand as it finalizes regulatory criteria for gluten-free labeling.”  REFERENCE 1
  • “Packaged Facts projects that this segment of the U.S. retail marketplace enjoyed a 28% CAGR to reach $1.56 billion by the end of 2008. Packaged Facts goes on to project that the segment will continue to grow, though not at the same torrid pace, through 2012.”  REFERENCE 1
  • “To meet consumer demand, more than 225 marketers introduced new gluten-free products into the United States in 2008.”  REFERENCE 2

Be thankful for the things the gluten free industry has brought us.  I am now able to enjoy a normal sandwich and a beer!  I look forward to many more gluten free options, more availability, and continued research.

Bella’s Story: Diagnosed at 55

Here is Bella’s personal story and answers to my list of gluten free questions for the Mary’s Gone Crackers contest. I hear similar diagnosis stories from people of that generation.  My grandmother and father were both misdiagnosed for most of their lives and found out they had celiac after they were 50.

What are the foods you missed the most?
Crackers, chips, most breads.

If you initially did not follow the gluten free diet.  What made you change your mind?

I’m going to add this addendum to say I am almost 60 and didn’t know I was allergic to gluten until I was about 55. As a child the doctor (this was the 1950’s) told my Mom I was definitely allergic to wheat. My mom being fairly naive switched me to white bread (now that I think about this it’s laughable) and kept giving me gluten all my young life. Thinking there was no wheat in white bread and pasta, crackers and such. I was sick all my life. I wheezed, I had no energy to play sports in school, I had mysterious rashes, and 2x a year I had bronchitis. Still gluten intolerance was never mentioned again. It wasn’t until my mid 50’s that I went on a very low carb/high protein diet for the reason of weight loss and suddenly felt great–had energy and all my ailments vanished. I began to do research and realized I probably had been eating wrong (for me) my entire life.

Thank you for your story, Bella!