It's always a fun day in the office when I get to assign a reporter to make chocolate mousse as part of her story. That's exactly what happened a few weeks ago when GPB's Parker Wallace approached me about exploring what seems to be the latest food fad -- going gluten-free. Miley Cyrus is tweeting about her no-gluten diet and Yankee Stadium is adding gluten-free foods to its vendor offerings. So, Parker wanted to know, what are Georgians up to?
A lot, it turns out. Parker visited a bakery in Decatur, a gastroenterologist, an allergist, and she even went grocery shopping with a Cobb County woman diagnosed two years ago with celiac disease. According to Parker’s story, it's an autoimmune disorder that experts believe 1 in 133 Americans suffer from. Basically, it's really painful to eat any kind of gluten, which is the protein found in foods with wheat flour like pasta, bread and pastries.
But celiac disease is different from a wheat allergy, which is rare. Doctors believe about only 2 percent of Americans suffer from such an allergic disorder.
A third category of people are what scientists call "gluten sensitive." Science cannot diagnose them with celiac disease or a wheat allergy, but after eating gluten they experience rashes, hives, itchiness and tummy troubles.
With millions of people feeling sick after they eat flour-based foods it's no surprise that the U.S saw a $1.2 billion gluten-free products industry in 2011. If you're like me, you can't walk into a fancy grocery store or foodie restaurant in Georgia without seeing "no gluten" on the label or menu.
So, back to the mousse. Parker produced a radio report, which you can listen to here. But when doing a food story why not throw in a taste-test? At that link you can also see Parker's video demonstration of how to make gluten-free chocolate mousse.
We want to hear your gluten-free stories and recipes. Check out Parker's story on Georgia Public Broadcasting's Facebook page to join the conversation.