As a gluten-free business owner–and even more importantly as a gluten-free advocate, I probably should never use the word “fad” when speaking on anything gluten-free related. But I cannot help but recognize this growing spoken characteristic of being gluten-free, that it’s just a “fad diet.”
I think there are several reasons for why people are calling it a fad; (1) It is the fastest growing market in the food industry, (2) People do not know what gluten truly is, and (3), because they don’t know what gluten is, they look for ways to discredit the diet/lifestyle itself. Unfortunately, for the gluten-free community right now, but appropriately, a “fad” is never aligned with a “healthy, sustainable choice.”
But who then is the driving force behind this new “gluten-free fad?”
While at a major book store, in the cooking section, I noticed an entire section dedicated to gluten-free cookbooks. This is great, right? Of course it’s great! But, in the health section, the next isle over, there was only one gluten-free book. What’s the difference? Out of all the books that focus on gluten-free, only one book actually bothered to explain the reasons why we should be living a gluten-free life. The rest simply told you how to cook gluten-free. Apply any form of healthy living and if the reasons/risks are not obvious, no one will follow that way of living. It’s as if we merely said, “cigarettes are bad, here’s how to not smoke, that is all.” But we don’t do that! We reinforce over and over the facts of how dangerous cigarettes are to our health, not simply how to avoid them. Without the facts, no one would believe that cigarettes are in fact dangerous. Have you ever heard someone call giving up cigarettes a fad?
Going back to the three reasons why I feel it is so easy for people to call gluten-free a fad; without a doubt the biggest reason is due to a lack of proper education and information on just what being gluten-free means.
How are we in the gluten-free community supposed to deny this “fad” (just as most of the other developed countries already have done) while all our sources of mainstream information take no time in educating, but rather only focus on simplifying the gluten-free lifestyle.
Are the authors of the cookbooks to blame? Of course not. The consumers will always be the driving influence in what is written.