In recent years, the gluten-free diet has become more of a fad than a medical necessity. Gluten-free products and bakeries are popping up across the country, and approximately one third of the U.S. population is trying to cut down on gluten consumption. But the fact that the gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease and non-celiac gluten/wheat sensitivity has been overlooked. For those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten/wheat sensitivity, gluten-free food is our medicine, but the healthiest and cheapest way to maintain the gluten-free diet is to eat naturally gluten-free foods. Foods like meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, corn, potatoes, etc. are all naturally gluten-free and easily accessible (learn about other naturally gluten-free foods here). However, as those on a gluten-free diet for medical reasons can confirm, subsisting on naturally gluten-free foods alone is not realistic. From time to time, we must rely on packaged gluten-free foods like bread, pasta, and crackers, which tend to be far more expensive and more difficult to find than their gluten-containing counterparts.

The transition to the gluten-free diet can be even more stressful for someone who simply cannot afford gluten-free foods. Although the options at food banks have expanded in recent years, most food banks are not able to get the gluten-free items (both naturally gluten-free and packaged gluten-free foods) into the right hands – to those who need it. Marilyn G. Geller, Celiac Disease Foundation Chief Executive Officer was quoted in this article in Gluten-Free Living Magazine about supporting gluten-free food banks, stating that “the gluten-free community is a small one, and the more compassion we can show each other, the stronger a community we become.” The article explains that it is best to donate gluten-free foods to food banks that get it to the people who actually need it. Another option is to volunteer at your local food bank and educate them about sorting and labeling gluten-free foods properly to help the families who need it most.

Read the full article here.

Looking for gluten-free foods? Check out CDF’s Gluten-Free Marketplace and search for all of your favorite gluten-free products, services, companies, and recipes!

Gluten-Free Food Banks – A Community Effort