Gluten Free For Good


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I’ve been contemplating a post on the highlights and lowlights of 2012 and what I think the hot trends in health, nutrition, and food will be for 2013, but I’ve had trouble putting it all together. It’s not easy to take internal chit-chat and make it into a concise list. Plus, I don’t like conflict and many of my lowlights are “in vogue” and my predicted trends aren’t all that trendy. I probably can’t call them “trends” if I’m alone on the bandwagon.

What to do?

We made it through another presidential election and we survived the Mayan Apocalypse, so I’m guessing you (my loyal readers) can endure my non-objective, totally biased, opinionated views of what’s going on in the world of food and health.

Here’s what I consider the highlights and lowlights of 2012 and my trends for 2013. This is the abridged version. If there’s anything you’d like me to expand on, please let me know in the comment section and if there’s enough interest, I’ll do a whole post on it.

Highlights of 2012 in no particular order
1. Gluten-free becomes mainstream
2. Increased awareness of non-celiac, gluten sensitivity
3. Pressure to label genetically modified foods
4. Research indicating the importance of a diverse and healthy microbiome (check here for details)
5. The Gluten-Free Edge: A Nutrition & Training Guide for Peak Athletic Performance & and Active Gluten Free Life is released (obviously a highlight for me)
6. An appreciation and focus on farmers, sustainability, and local food
7. Increased awareness of unhealthy food industry practices and factory farming
8. Perceptions are changing regarding cholesterol levels and the importance of healthy fats
9. Lots of choices when it comes to food and nutrition philosophies, one size doesn’t fit all
10. Hearty greens take center stage

Low-lights of 2012 in no particular order
1. Gluten-free becomes mainstream (the good, the bad, and the ugly)
2. Dr. Oz and his over-the-top, magic, fat-busting claims
3. Dr. Mercola and his scary, hyped-up marketing tactics
4. Dr. Davis (Wheat Belly) goes too far with his “wheat equals crack” campaign and becomes joke fodder for Stephen Colbert
5. American’s consumed 1 billion pounds of beef at McDonald’s in 2012
6. Hospital food — my mom was served white bread, this sherbet, and Ensure upon admission (she had diabetes)

7. Dunkin’ Donuts test markets gluten-free donuts
8. Lance Armstrong
9. Too many supplement choices, drug options, ridiculous diets, and “super foods”
10. Low-quality, fast food on every corner, marketing to kids

Food and nutrition trends for 2013
1. Increase in personal genetic testing: epigenetics, nutrigenomics, and a focus on how genetics influence individual health traits, disease risk, carrier status, reactions to medications, ancestry, food likes and dislikes, etc. (I had this done, very interesting)
2. Consumers seek organic, non-GMO, local food
3. Less meat, more plant-based eating
4. The “bacon in everything” trend is over
5. The US has plenty of its own super foods, no need to resort to exotic Himalayan or Rainforest plants
6. Old fashioned oats (certified gluten-free) and dried heirloom/heritage beans make a high-protein comeback
7. Made-from-scratch food is in, processed food is out
8. Chefs take charge of their own health, lead by example
9. Gardening, walking, nature, exercise, quality sleep, whole foods, and a good attitude are in, whining about what you can’t eat is out
10. Basic “recipes” for longevity are in, exaggerated health claims are out

Next up, a recipe and the winner of a big bag of gluten-free oat bran from my farmer friends in Montana. If you haven’t entered to win, check out my “oat bran power bar and giveaway” post and leave me a comment.

Wishing you peace, love, and good joo-joo in 2013!
Image of Evgenia Antipova still life painting from WikiMedia Commons

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19 Responses to “Old news and hot trends for 2013”

  1. IrishHeart says:

    As always, an excellent and enjoyable post, Melissa. I agree with your projected trends for 2013 and applaud them (Although I admit it: am a self-proclaimed bacon lover. I do not, however, think it belongs in/on everything)
    As for “Gardening, walking, nature, exercise, quality sleep, whole foods, and a good attitude are in, whining about what you can’t eat is out” –well, I’d like to put that on a tee shirt (although we may have to put part of it on the back LOL) because this is exactly how I feel/live. For 3 years before DX, I could barely sleep a wink some nights.
    It is so much better when you can sleep without racing “gluten head” and endless pain.

    I am thinking the unenlightened eye would read that sherbet container, see “all natural flavor” and think “Oh, this must be good for me, then, so yaaay, let’s have a big bowl!”

    My brain computes it as “back off, lady! nothin’ here but junky food additives made orange to look pretty, but will give you diarrhea and a headache. Go eat an orange instead” It is good to walk among the “enlightened”.


    Happy New Year; Happy New Trends.

    • Melissa says:


      As always, thank you for your thoughtful comment! Well, I admit to liking bacon on occasion as well. There’s nothing better than an old-fashioned BLT on good GF bread, but man, last year it seemed bacon was in everything, including chocolate bars. It’s not the best thing to be eating all the time. I know what you mean about “gluten head.” Been there, done that, and it’s not pleasant.

      That sherbet is what my mom was served the first night she was in the hospital. I told them she was diabetic and they brought her a white bread sandwich with mayo and a nasty piece of processed meat of some sort (no greens), a can of Ensure, and that sherbet. I reiterated that she had diabetes, but to no avail.

      Anyway, my best to you in 2013. Wishing you an absence of “gluten head.”


      • IrishHeart says:

        Frightening what a hospital nutritionist thinks is a “good meal” for a diabetic. (rolling my eyes here)

        Should I ever be hospitalized, I know my GF husband and GF friends will make sure to bring food in for me as I highly doubt our needs could ever be met.
        We have to think of everything in advance, I’m afraid.

        No, bacon does not belong in chocolate, but I have had some amazing bacon jam. 🙂

      • Melissa says:


        Bacon jam? Interesting.

        BTW, you know the story, but my mom died at 96-plus and when the doc (who was excellent) at the hospital couldn’t figure out (after a zillion tests) what was wrong with her, he left a message on my phone saying, “This is a long shot, but I’m going to test your mom for celiac disease. It’s not uncommon for elderly people to develop it.” He had no idea I was a GF nutritionist or anything. NONE. I was SO impressed. In the end, her battery just wore out, but I was thrilled that celiac disease was on his radar and that he was willing to test a 96-year old for it. All her tests came back negative — but still. Now, my dad was a different story, but we’re making progress!


  2. Wow, Melissa, those are some telling lists! I love how you say so much with so few words. You excel at that. :-)Some of those items on the lists are not even worth discussing, that’s for sure. That label on the sherbet and what else was offered your mom was so awful … on so many levels. And reading the comments, I didn’t know the part about her being tested for celiac (I don’t think). That is a very good thing that they conducted the testing, but as we know, testing is so inaccurate. I like your vision for 2013! Let’s hope that many, many of those, if not all, come to pass! Last, I admit that I love bacon, too, but I’ve never gotten on board the bacon in everything train. I tried a bacon martini at a conference once (I think it was BlogHer Food a few years back) and was not impressed.


    • Melissa says:

      Thanks so much, Shirley. I appreciate your kind sentiments, but it took me awhile to use “so few words.” I had a hard time taking all my thoughts and making them somewhat cohesive. It’s difficult when you have a bunch of random thoughts that don’t really fit together!

      Bacon martini? Seriously? Wow. I’ve never had any kind of martini, but I don’t want to start with a bacon one. Maybe a beet martini! =)


  3. Gluten Dude says:

    OMG…that picture of the sherbet is just horrifying. And that’s from a hospital? What in the Wayne’s World is going on here??

    Processed food is out? How nice would that be!

    Great lists Melissa…

    • Melissa says:

      GD, OMG is right. I was a touch upset when this sherbet was delivered to my diabetic mom for dinner. This is the actual container. I took a photo of it with my iPhone. How does stuff like that get into a hospital meal plan? And this was a good hospital.

      Well, most processed food is out (the junky stuff like Kraft mac and cheese or spray on margarine). I’ll keep my Justin’s peanut butter cups. =)

  4. Maggie says:

    This is fantastic Melissa. I love being on the same page as you. I would love it if you expanded on the end Bacon is Everything trend. In particular, can you do a post on Paleo. I feel like I can only get terribly biased info about it, and I really trust you. No pressure 😉 I don’t know much about the Lance debacle, but I do know he is human. As for highlights, yay #5!!!!!!!!

    • Melissa says:


      Yes, whenever I read your posts, I know we’re from the same parallel universe. I like your philosophy and would eat anything from your kitchen. The running part, maybe not. I’m totally over running, but I could ride my mountain bike along next to you. =)

      Aaaah, bacon and Paleo. I’d love to do a Paleo post, but I have mixed feelings about tossing my opinion out there. I very much respect the fact that we’re all different and what works for one person (biochemically, ethically, etc.) doesn’t always work for another. I have no desire to get into a food fight about what someone chooses to eat. Having said that, Paleo is not a good fit for me on lots of levels. I also don’t adhere to the notion that that is how our ancestors ate. At least not how Paleo looks today. And long term, I don’t think it’s a healthy choice for most people. Well, this could be an interesting post. Hmmm?

      Lance Armstrong — I watched every Tour he won. I slept in a Tour de France t-shirt, I read his books, supported his foundation, defended him (in a friendly way) to anyone who accused him of doing drugs, etc. I respected him for what he had gone through and admired him for his athletic ability. He absolutely amazed me from an exercise physiology perspective. He’s definitely a very gifted athlete. I read Tyler Hamilton’s book, then anything else I could read about the subject. Lance flat out and arrogantly lied. Over and over. Yes, it was the culture of bike racing. Yes, everyone did it. Here’s where that part of the story falls apart. There were guys who busted their bums training, racing, dedicating their lives to riding clean and honoring the sport of competition. They couldn’t compete and had to either dope or quit. Some quit. Andy Hampsten and guys like that couldn’t compete with the guys who were doping. I just think the whole thing is sad and if everyone would have ridden clean, Lance probably still would have been at the top of the heap. Anyway, that whole thing was definitely a “lowlight” to me. Up until the very end, I thought he was a clean rider and that he’d never risk his health after being on his death bed. I was wrong.

      Thanks for your comment, your inspiring words, and your awesome attitude. Hmmm? Paleo and vegan? You’ve got me thinking. =)

      Stay tuned.

  5. Rachel Lewter says:

    First time here, surely won’t be the last. I’ve been GF for a little over two years now. The sherbet got my attention, hospitals are here to make money too, so we go back to the idea, eating cheap = unhealthy food. Face it, it cost money to eat the food our bodies need.
    I gave in to temptation a month or so ago. I could no longer resist that innocent “Little Debbie” cake sitting in my daughters room. I have never spit anything out of my mouth quiet so fast. It was if I could taste every artificial ingredient, every artificial color and that wax glaze that should have never crossed my lips. How could this be, I grew up with her, it was a main staple in my diet as a child. I never knew different, but I, and my lips know the difference now! So stand back while I grab that gleaming red bell pepper and take a bite.

    • Melissa says:


      What a great comment! Thank you for taking the time to add to the conversation. I really appreciate your honesty and insight. It’s interesting how you can taste every nasty ingredient when you inject something like a “Littel Debbie’s” cake into a clean diet. Good for you! I love hearing these stories. And BTW, we all have our weaknesses. I’ve taken high-impact falls of the nutrition wagon on occasion as well. =) It’s nice when we know and understand the difference between a bell pepper and a snack cake!

      Onward! And thank you!

  6. Christina says:

    Where did you have the genetic testing done? That does sound interesting, if pricey.

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Christina,

      I think I’ll do a blog post on it. I’ve had a few people on Facebook ask about it as well. I have mixed feelings about it, so I’m not promoting it, although I do think we’re headed in that direction (personal genome mapping). I’ll keep you posted.


  7. REALLY cool post. enjoyed reading it….twice. as far as I am concerned YOU are a healthy trend in 2012

    you’re such a positive force!

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks FFC! I’m “clawing my way back” to better health, as one of my friends so aptly put it. Had a few setbacks in the fall of 2012, but am back on the wagon now. It’s a bumpy ride, but doable. =) Peace and love to you in 2013, my friend.

  8. Laura says:

    I enjoyed your lists. If I made my own “trends list” would have to write a different #9 for now, but yours has definitely got me thinking. I just switched to eating gluten-free this past October, and I am not through whining about what I can’t eat yet! I’m whining a little less, but still whining. I simply couldn’t be untrendy according to my own list!

    It’s funny, but before I read your blog, I was talking to my husband over dinner last week, I said “I suppose you are probably really tired of hearing me whine about what I can’t eat”, and he said “No, you go ahead. I would be a lot worse than you”. (I love my {very patient} husband!) Maybe I’ll catch up to you soon, but I definitely need to work out my whining in my own time. I’ll get past it one day!

    BTW, I saw the link to this post on the Simply Gluten Free Magazine FB page. I’ll be checking some of your other posts also. Congratulations on the publication of your book.

  9. Melissa…Great list if disturbing, but welcome to reality, eh? I get so annoyed about the hospital food…can’t believe more people don’t scream about it (but then they’re weak and in compromised states already;-( If the disease doesn’t kill you, certainly the food will. Time for that beet martini!

  10. Alisa says:

    I like your predictions lady! Definitely some big hope for 2013, but I’m all about positive thinking and lofty goals. I’ve got a coupole of contradictions in the prediction department, but we’ll save that for offline chatter 🙂

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