I was food shopping with my Wife the other day and noticed that in the “health-food” isle of the grocery store, they were proudly serving “gluten-free products.” They were touting it as a new health kick. Now before you start to go into any antagonizing monologue about the gluten-free diet, remember whose blog you are reading…I usually have an explanation for my initial “grievance.”
So, I was intrigued enough to wonder why so many grocery stores are now touting the gluten-free diet as a new health kick, to go along-side vegetarian. From my understanding there was nothing wrong with gluten itself, so far as to its status as healthy. I did a quick search and found that gluten is a protein found commonly in many foods, mostly wheat. As with all individuals, we need protein. Gluten provides some of that protein.
Now, here is the part where I explain: Some people have a sensitivity to the gluten protein; not an allergic reaction, but a sensitivity. Statistics show that between one-half and one percent of the population has this sensitivity. I happen to know someone with this sensitivity. This child is the son of a very good friend of mine. It is well of these people to avoid the gluten protein. But as to other health benefits from not ingesting gluten, there are none.
My problem is not with gluten or the gluten-free diet itself. My problem is with marketing it as a new health fad, in order to market a grocery store as health conscience. I agree, gluten-free is good for those who have that sensitivity, but I am sure, that those who have that sensitivity, or those responsible for them, are aware of the fact and already plan, shop, and eat accordingly. But do not market is as something very health conscience in order to promote your store.
My next point is this, my Wife is vegan. She does so for a healthier lifestyle. While I do enjoy several of the items on a vegan’s diet, I really enjoy my meat and potatoes. Chicken is one of my favorite foods. I do make a very good lemon chicken stir fry. I also love to grill chicken and turkey. But I digress. My Wife has been asking our local grocer to stock vegan-friendly items in their health food section, but to no avail. They do not see the difference between vegetarian and vegan. Some people do not, but even before my wife went vegan, I knew the difference. So instead of being able to do all of our shopping at one grocer, we have to go to three, on top of going to local farmer’s markets for fresh vegetables.
I am not a health fanatic by any means; I am, however, and have been more health conscience these last few years, as I have arrived at an age where my body is more important than in my teen-age years.
My thought process is this: the stores do not carry vegan-friendly products because they do not see a heavy influx of vegans into their stores…but what about those who eat off of the vegan menu? I cannot say for certain, but I would venture to say that the vegan population is more than the percentage of those with a sensitivity to gluten. Why cater to a smaller population, giving an excuse as the one given about not having a lot of vegan requests? It makes no sense to me. I am not saying these stores need not offer nor promote gluten-free products. I am saying, I would like to see more options, the ones that I like, and for that matter, the ones I don’t, added onto the shelves. I am not saying they have to give up offering the “bad” foods, or everyone has to eat vegan from now on, but I am saying there needs to be more options. This way, I feel, that those who are vegan can enjoy a “one-stop shopping experience,” while those who dabble can have the options as well. This way we can all eat a little healthier and live a little better.
So, if your local grocer does not carry a vegan line of foods, encourage them to do so. It will add to their business and project a better image. Also, take care of your bodies, remembering that moderation is important. Eat right and exercise. Make good choices, and smile more.
I will catch you on the flip side.