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Consumers Eat Up Gluten-Free Trend, Nutrition Lessons Served on the Side

Consumers Eat Up Gluten-Free Trend, Nutrition Lessons Served on the Side

The gluten-free industry is pegged at more than $23 billion a year, with sales up more than 16 percent over the past year. The lure of that market share means gluten-free products are common on store shelves.

Mary Waldner founded Mary’s Gone Crackers more than 10 years ago to sell the snacks she made at home as she dealt with celiac disease. She welcomes more options for people with the disease and those who are sensitive to gluten, but she says the “gluten-free” label can blur the line for consumers when it comes to nutrition.

“I think so many gluten-free companies, they don’t care what’s in the food,” she said. “I see it as an opportunity to really look at our food and see what’s in it, and not replace it with gluten-free junk.” Many gluten-free foods are high in sugar and fats to improve the taste.

Gluten-free is often characterized as a diet trend, though it is a real medical concern for many people. Waldner said she thinks it’s here to stay, whether or not the food choices are made because of a doctor’s note. The public is learning that decades of eating processed foods come at a cost, she said, all because of the awareness of gluten.

“Our guts are in bad shape,” she said. “We’re eating such highly refined foods. We have been doing damage to our digestive system, and I think wheat is a very hard thing to digest.”

About one in every 133 people has celiac disease. Waldner said most people, like her, don’t find out for years why they’re so sick. She said she also suspects that celiac testing sometimes misses cases, or that there may be other types of gluten-related problems that can’t be verified with available testing.

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11:42AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

Here is a much tastier gluten/grain free cracker recipe:

Salt and Pepper Crackers (Gluten/Grain Free)

2 cups blanched almond flour
1 egg
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Place almond flour, egg, salt, and pepper in a food processor
Pulse until dough forms
Place dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper
Roll out dough to 1/16 inch thick (I make mine VERY thin – crispier that way)
Cut into 2 inch squares using a pizza cutter or a knife
Sprinkle with extra salt and pepper if desired
Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes

Sometimes I bake them again the next day – makes them even crispier.


8:27AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

It makes me laugh that some on here think gluten-free is a fad. They think if it does not bother them, it must not bother anyone else. Yeah, right. That's like me saying if it bothers me than I can safely assume it bothers everyone. Plain ridiculous thought process, right?

If it does not bother you, eat it. No reason to slam or doubt others for finding the answer to their health problems.

8:48PM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

I don't think people that don't have Celiac disease need Gluten free, just another tread.

7:08AM PDT on Jul 15, 2014


9:46PM PDT on Jul 14, 2014

Oh, and sadly, these crackers are pretty nasty. I'd rather skip crackers altogether than eat them.

9:44PM PDT on Jul 14, 2014

I suspect that the number of people who are intolerant to gluten is much higher than projected. Too many people think that having occasional diarrhea or constipation is normal, or that their sleep apnea, thyroid disease, arthritis, eczema/psoriasis/vitiligo, canker sores, depression, neuropathies, infertility, or diabetes, etc. don't have anything to do with what they are eating. I can only hope that the increase in people's awareness of gluten issues helps more people figure it out their intolerances for themselves, because doctors certainly aren't trained to.

8:07AM PDT on Jul 14, 2014

I am not gluten intolerant but I get WIKED heartburn if I eat to much bread etc... So gluten free helps with that.

10:28PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

I had a gluten free pizza and it was terrific.I'll look into cooking more gluten free.

9:31PM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

Thank You

5:26PM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

Thank you!

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