One of the most difficult things about being a celiac, gluten-free and/or wheat-free is the inability to get “mainstream” food. I have to shop at at least two, usually three, different markets to get the “basics” and don’t even get me started on the cost of a gluten – free diet. My roommate Cameron will come home with almost the same one-bag of groceries as I do- pasta, vegetables, rice, some canned goods from our local grocery store and have a receipt for $20. I will have the same amount of goods with a receipt for almost $60. It is next to impossible to find any recipes for gluten-free foods on websites like foodnetwork.com and restaurants catering to us are rarely reviewed in the New York Times. But as Bob Dylan crooned long ago “times they are a changing”.The “mainstream” food community is starting to catch on that those of us with food allergies are not only a profitable group but a passionate, loyal and tightly woven one.
I frequently have conversations with gluten gluttons where they make statements like “oh well at Whole Foods they have like a whole row of shelves for you guys so you get a lot of food” or “what about Rice Krispies? That doesn’t have wheat – so easy to eat like you have to”. Yes, Whole Foods does a phenomenal job at stocking gluten-free foods but look around you get a whole store to linger and taste your way through- I get a few shelves. And Rice Krispies is one of many American cereals, which despite the name, includes wheat in the ingredient list.
Happily though mainstream food manufacturers, publications and the like are starting to pick up on the gluten-free lifestyle. My friend Amy chatted me the other day saying “Chex Mix is Gluten Free now!” I checked out the claim today at the grocery store. Of course Wheat Chex is not gluten- free and the Corn Chex cereal as a barley coating, but, Rice Chex proudly boasts on their side panel “Rice Chex cereal is now Gluten-Free”. They even have a page on their website with gluten- free recipes. This is a great resource for those who are not gluten-free but are having a party with gluten-free guests. Thank you General Mills for putting this out there and helping awareness!