After reading an article titled “Gluten’s Laws” in the July 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, I got some great insight into gluten sensitivity and celiac disease and the challenges faced by those who must cope with them.
Basically, glutens are proteins found in the most basic dietary staples. They can cause serious health issues for those with gluten sensitivity (about 30 percent of the population) or celiac disease (about one in 100 Americans) because foods are never completely digested. If untreated, those issues can develop into serious medical conditions like diabetes and intestinal cancers.
What especially struck me was the number of food items celiac sufferers have to eliminate from their diets–many things I take for granted like breads, pastas, cereals, salad dressings, malted candies and processed cheeses.
A number of gluten-free items like cookies, cakes, flour, pizza, beer and rice are available, but very often can only be found at health food stores or specialty stores online. According to the article, some of those items are making the crossover to supermarket chains, and restaurants like Wendy’s and Subway are offering gluten-free menus. But what about the gluten-free cook?
Vegetarian Times, Clean Eating and Eating Well magazines seemed to be the obvious answers as each has an all-healthy focus. But only two appear to be responding to the need for gluten-free recipes.
Clean Eating and Vegetarian Times magazines each contain a healthy number of gluten-free recipes, which are clearly identified in their recipe indexes. Of the 43 recipes in the July/August issue of Clean Eating magazine, 16 were noted as gluten-free. By comparison, Vegetarian Times magazine had 23 gluten-free recipes of its 36 total in its July/August issue.
The Better Homes and Gardens article tackled the basic questions about celiac disease–what are glutens, how is celiac disease diagnosed, what if I test positive–and provided information resources, blog support, and where to find gluten-free foods.
While most of the larger food and cooking magazines don’t often include gluten-free recipes, articles like this one are a good start in bringing about awareness. Various celebrities are embracing the gluten-free lifestyle, more for its health benefits than necessity, according to the article, and perhaps this will lend a louder voice to the cause.
Some in the food industry seem to chalk up the widespread development or availability of gluten-free products to the popularity of fad diets, but if that leads to awareness and education (along with more gluten-free groceries), it’s a healthy start to supporting those with celiac disease.