The following list is not factual, at least, not yet. But in the spirit of growth, continual improvement, and promise for an even better gluten-free lifestyle than what is available to us today, these are my predictions/hopes for the future for all of us who continue to live the gluten-free lifestyle and for those who are yet to discover and adopt this incredible way of life.
When we look toward the future from the perspective of abundance, options, and optimal health, we create a positive energy today that can make hopes and dreams a reality tomorrow. May this gluten-free manifesto of sorts, written in the future tense, strike a chord within you too as visualizing the possibilities strikes a chord in me everyday. Since living the gluten-free lifestyle for the past seven years, I can glowingly attest that the lifestyle just gets easier and more deliciously abundant every year! And it’s wonderful to ponder what is yet to come.
More and more emerging small business entrepreneurs continue to develop gluten-free products to serve the growing demand, thus yielding an even wider variety of choices for the gluten-free consumer.
It’s common to find a variety of small food stores in most metropolitan cities which are devoted to carrying an extensive line of gluten-free foods. And larger grocery stores in metropolitan areas have continued to outgrow the small areas of shelf space earlier devoted to gluten-free products and have designated larger sections of floor and shelf space to selling them now. This demand will help make shopping faster and more efficient for those living the gluten-free way of life in the years to come.
Prices have decreased for many consumer gluten-free products such as flours and baked goods because the increased demand and volume of gluten-free food product production has allowed manufacturers to decrease the price of the gluten-free ingredients used to make their products. As a result companies and stores can pass their price savings to the consumer, and this will continue to happen as competition in the market thrives.
Labeling regulations have become more uniform and widespread. The gluten-free consumer can pick up nearly any processed product, glance at the label, and see whether the product is designated as gluten-free without needing to scour the ingredient list or call the food manufacturer to confirm gluten-free status. More companies will be confident in voluntarily labeling their products as gluten-free because they have made the necessary adjustments in their facilities to allow them to claim the designation and not miss out on the gluten-free market demand. More deli counters and food buffets will be easier to navigate with ingredient listings noting any possible allergens in the food and more gluten-free selections will be available overall.
Cookbooks and Television:
A comprehensive selection of gluten-free cookbooks in a variety of cuisines are available in mainstream and independent bookstores. Mainstream television networks broadcast food and lifestyle programs that regularly feature gluten-free cooking and baking segments or full-length features and shows.
It’s commonplace for most restaurants to offer a gluten-free menu, easily make special diet accommodations where necessary, and easily prepare gluten-free meals free of cross-contact. Gluten-free dining is now a cinch.
More culinary schools have incorporated gluten-free baking and cooking courses into their standard curriculum and are now required components for a culinary degree. Chefs have been thoroughly trained and even a Certified Master Gluten-Free Baker program for chefs who want the title has been started.
Coffee Shop Bliss: Would you like a gluten-free muffin with that?
Corporate chain and independent coffee shops across the country in cities both large and small have at least one delicious gluten-free baked good to enjoy with a beverage. They either make their own on-site or purchase from local suppliers.
It will be common to find a large variety of gluten-free bakeries in most metropolitan cities to adequately serve the gluten-free population. Walking into many large supermarket bakeries to buy a fresh baked gluten-free cookie, muffin, or bread from the case is commonplace.
Marketing and Advertising:
Multi-million dollar advertising agencies have caught the wave and incorporate the gluten-free designation into the package graphic design of many leading supermarket brands that can make that claim. They not only want to be competitive in capturing the large segment of the population that is now living gluten-free, they simply want to promote many of their products as being healthy and easier to digest because they are gluten-free. Gluten-free marketing lingo has become common as it was in the early days of the “all natural” and “organic” food movements.
Schools for Children:
When a student is being registered for school, from elementary through college, it’s standard operating procedure to ask if the student will require gluten-free meals so the school can develop a strategic plan for the school year to accommodate the needs more efficiently. The majority of schools have designed their meal programs in a way that is healthy and efficient in meeting the needs of the children with special diets.
Hospital meal programs and cafeterias have designated gluten-free meal options and even space in the kitchen to avoid cross-contact while preparing gluten-free meals for patients and visitors.
Drug manufacturers have reformulated most if not all of their products that previously contained gluten to be gluten-free, so there is never a question regarding gluten-free status for the patient or consumer.
Personal Hygiene Products:
Labeling practices for soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, and other topical products have adopted a set of standard voluntary guidelines for manufacturers to label their products as gluten-free. Many products have been reformulated to be gluten-free versions to accommodate a growing segment of the population that chooses to purchase hygiene products that are gluten-free.
Testing For Celiac Disease Among Children:
Screening for the celiac gene is included in a standard panel of many tests carried out on babies. When the test indicates positive, preventative measures are taken with respect to following a gluten-free diet.
Psychiatry and Psychology:
It’s common practice that professionals consider intestinal health as a pivotal aspect of emotional well-being and will inquire about their patient’s diet first to rule out any connection between intestinal health and behavioral problems before prescribing medication. More patients adopt a gluten-free diet as part of the initial counseling phase when warranted or are encouraged to get tested for celiac disease or gluten intolerance in connection with early treatment.
The national focus on building awareness of celiac disease and gluten intolerance to help increase diagnosis rates among individuals has shifted to include a dominant role of early prevention of celiac disease with screening and following a gluten-free diet. Rates of osteoporosis, other bone diseases, and previous complications with gluten intolerance and celiac disease have fallen dramatically as a result of early diagnosis and prevention.