Land of Illusion

Have you noticed the multitude of gluten free products on store shelves these days? I’ve never seen so many boxes, bags, and cans with the two little words “gluten free” on them! We are truly living in the height of the gluten free food movement. Yet, does this mean we are at the peak? Will it all be down hill from here? Or, are we actually in a land of illusion where there aren’t actually as many gluten free products in the stores as there are gluten free labels?

For a long time now I have figured that the big name brands will drop the gluten free products from their lines once the gluten free dieting fad is over. I have always figured it would be like what happened with the low-carb, Atkins craze. Even though we’ve had more and more gluten free products hitting the shops, and there hasn’t yet been a slow down, I still think it’s coming. It took a while for Atkins to retreat, while leaving a few companies putting out ready made products to meet that small market demand. This is what I figure will happen with gluten free too. It’s not that I’m looking forward to being more limited, but I am looking forward to the end of the gluten free equals weight loss craze. I’m looking forward to a more serious attitude being put forward in relation to gluten free products, especially since we have no legislation over the use of “gluten free.”

This lack of labeling regulation is what makes me wonder if we’re really doing as well with so many gluten free products on the market. Are we really better off? Or, are we living in a land of illusion? Too many of us become sick after eating products labeled gluten free. The only products it seems we can trust are those certified by independent organizations. Yet, I’m even beginning to see formerly certified products lose that trusty label. I picked up a box of Blue Diamond Almond Thins yesterday, knowing they were, up until now, marked with a certification by the Celiac Disease Foundation. The box I inspected yesterday now states that the crackers are produced on the same lines as wheat containing products. Damn. I’m so glad I read that label out of habit. However, I will say that there are more items becoming certified gluten free at the same time.

In the markets I see many products labeled gluten free while having been produced on the same lines as wheat products, lacking certification, and not having gone through regular testing, or any testing for the presence of gluten.

It’s a minefield in this land of illusion. Be careful. Read labels. Do your research. Don’t automatically trust a product you’ve eaten safely before. Trust me. I speak from experience.

2 thoughts on “Land of Illusion”

  1. I am at the same stage of frustration with “gluten free” labeling. I took your advice a while ago to stick with only brands that are certified GF. Largely, I just stick to whole foods, which are devoid of gluten altogether naturally (plain fresh meat, fresh veggies, fresh fruit). It’s so frustrating (and scary!) when you see recalls of brands you buy (hello Applegate!) because their “gluten free” products were found to contain gluten. Most likely, I’ve already eaten the puchased food and the recall comes too late. I’m tired of getting sick, having migraines, and am not always sure which food that I ate caused it, so that’s why I stick to my own homemade whole foods. Food anxiety!

    1. I have dealt with a lot of anxiety in my life, and the best thing I can suggest is that you don’t let it get you down. Just accept that something bad happened, contact the company, rant to your friends if you’d like, and then move on and try again. It doesn’t look like it’s going to get any easier soon, so we just have to make do and embrace what we have.

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