was diagnosed with Celiac disease eight years ago. In
those eight years I have found the landscape for the gluten-intolerant
has transformed into a much more user friendly place.
This is evident in not only the volume of gluten-free food
products available today, but also in the variety and quality
of products on the market. I think it's fair to say
that gluten-free is officially entering mainstream.
Most mainstream grocery stores either now have or are in the
process of sectioning out 'natural food' sections, which usually
include gluten-free items. The old days of on line ordering
are not gone, but they no longer have to be our primary resource
for purchasing gluten-free food products.
that's exciting stuff, but even more exciting are the changes
I've experienced in restaurants over the past few months as
I travel locally and across the country. In the past,
eating out has been one of the most difficult challenges a
gluten - intolerant individual must face. Not only do many
restaurants now have gluten-free menus or menu items, but
food sensitivity knowledge is finally reaching the server!
The blank stare you get when you ask if they think there might
be anything on the menu that is gluten-free is apparently
on the way out. I'm even been thrilled when they now
answer my question, "Ooo, that's going to be a tough
one here, probably not."
As fabulous as all this is, it pales in
comparison to my evening out a few weeks ago. My usual
program when facing an evening out, is to first try to find
a restaurant in the area that I have some shot of getting
a gluten-free meal or at least part of one. This particular
evening my husband and I planned to meet a couple of friends
at a jazz club. The venue is a dinner performance and
because we were running late, I didn't have time to eat before
the show. So, my back up plan was to go for a salad
and enjoy the show anyway. When the server arrived at
our table, I leaned over and gave my typical speech, "Excuse
me, but I have serious allergies to gluten, would you please
ask the chef if there is anything on your menu that might
be gluten-free?" I'm now waiting for the blank stare,
or at best a plain green salad. The server smiles and
says, "Oh, no problem , we have several entrees and items
on our menu that are marked gluten-free." Say what?
Upon opening the menu, I found that there were several entrees,
salads, appetizers and even dessert clearly marked gluten-free.
Wow! We have arrived. I'm sure everyone except
my husband thought I was very strangely and easily amused
as I gleefully made my dinner selections and consumed my meal
with great enjoyment.
We all know that living gluten-free is not
easy, but it is getting easier every year as we emerge from
the obscure niche market of the past into mainstream.
The writing is on the wall and evident in changes for the
positive every day as awareness for Celiac disease and gluten-intolerance
become more common place. It is a good time to