So- what is gluten? In short- it's a generic name for proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye.
Food companies aren't stupid and they know that the gluten free food market is going to explode in the next few years. So why not capitalize on it right now?
In order for a food item to suddenly be gluten free- something must take the place of the gluten (as it is a binding agent). Many GF foods replace their wheat with refined flour and sugar. Gluten free foods (that aren't naturally GF), cheat the consumer out of many health benefits of whole grains and can be seriously lacking in fiber, zinc, iron, etc. Gluten free cookies and regular cookies are still that- cookies. And should be viewed as such. Just because something has a "GF" label on it- DOES NOT MAKE IT HEALTHY. Snickers are naturally gluten free- does that mean you should have them daily in your diet? Absolutely not.
Many people who don't have celiac's and give up gluten have claimed to feel much better after having given it up. The removal of gluten may also mean the removal of overly processed foods (if you have switched to a whole food diet and are also avoiding the GF cookies and BS listed above). Feeling better may simply stem from the removal of processed foods and not the actual gluten itself.
If you are truly wanting to be gluten free- look at nature. Not the middle of the grocery store. Nature naturally has a ton of GF foods such as almonds and avocados!
It is also important to note that Celiac's disease cannot be self diagnosed. Additionally- I know several friends who have severe cases of Celiacs and they express their frustration to me all the time that they absolutely hate having to buy GF foods or order GF at restaurants. It's not like it's a fun disease to have and many who have it wish they could just eat normal foods and not have to worry about whether something has gluten in it or not.
If you want to be GF- go for it. This blog post is not meant to deter anyone or their dietary preferences. Just be smart about the food you are eating (gluten or not).