What's the deal with gluten? For a myriad of reasons, some hard to pin down, this simple protein is getting a bad rap for being the meanest bully on the food block. Gluten-free diets are all the craze: celebrities from Miley Cyrus to Al Roker are forsaking the protein, and there's even a Gluten Free Expo in Sandy, Utah that drew thousands and thousands of eager devotees.
But for those who have the rare disease called celiac, the choice to go gluten-free has nothing to do with fads, celebrities, or expos. Since their bodies can't tolerate gluten, which is a protein found in rye, wheat and barley, they have to avoid it all costs. And since gluten can be found in almost all baked goods (and most beers..!), locating that expertly made gluten-free chocolate cake to accompany your after-dinner coffee becomes a must.
But since gluten is almost always accompanied by other necessary proteins and vitamins, such as zinc, B12, iron, phosphorous and calcium, those who don't really need to be gluten-free should talk to their doctor. Or approach your "gluten-free" diet the same as you would a vacation: it's a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there.