We Are What We Don’t Eat

It’s increasingly fashionable for Americans to define themselves by what they don’t eat, rather than what they eat.

Research firm Packaged Facts finds that gluten-free and other “free from” food diets have struck a chord with celebrities ranging from Zooey Deschanel to Drew Brees to Jennifer Lawrence to New York Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira.

When it comes to food, we are living in an “anti” moment.

And it’s not just gluten being shunned these days: dairy, sugar, fat, GMOs, sodium, and food processing additives also draw their fair share of ire and abandonment.

But, oh, what a mighty thing is our loathing of gluten. Packaged Facts survey data reveals that more than a third of consumers claim gluten-free/wheat-free is an important factor when they are shopping for food.

One quarter of survey respondents had purchased or used food products labeled gluten-free in the three months prior to the survey, the company said.

Never has a protein composite fallen so far, so fast. Why, it wasn’t so long ago that foodies were adding gluten to recipes, claiming it was the only way to get things right when making certain breads, or pizza crusts.

Vegetarian recipes also called for gluten, since it can be a rich source of the protein that carnivores get from eating meat.

But that was a more innocent, long-ago time. Now, we seize upon the very word’s resemblance to glutton, and banish it from our plates.

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