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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, July 24

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« Friday Foodpic: A-1 Donuts, Sheridan Red Line Station (Closed) Friday Foodpic: Jello Slices »

Event Mon Apr 14 2014

Lovin' Gluten-Free at Last

dsc_0022.jpgAfter attending the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo (GAFE) in Schaumburg this weekend, I finally get it. I finally understand why people enjoy being gluten-free. As I strolled through the vendor aisles -- toting my environmentally friendly bag -- a peculiar but delightful emotion coursed through my wheat-intolerant veins. It was a feeling of self-gratifying sanctimony, of clannish indignation -- and boy, did I love it! There is no sensation more pleasant than knowing (and letting others know) that whilst I cannot partake in the joyous wonder that is bread, I do have flax crackers and chocolate-coated quinoa chunks! Who needs hot dogs and Doritos when I can happily indulge in vegan soy sausages and tamari-glazed rice crackers?

dsc_0064.jpgGluten free doesn't just taste good -- it makes my body feel good. Words like "virtuous," "non-GMO" and "vegan" instantly revitalize my spirit -- merely looking at a paleo, cruelty-free energy bars inspires me to run a marathon and donate to charity. Although various products did admittedly contain carrageenan, modified corn starch, and +30g of added sugar, I refused to believe these products were junk food. If the label tells me it's healthy and if I no longer bloat after eating pasta, then gluten-free is clearly the answer.

dsc_0041.jpgGluten sensitivity affects an estimated 5-8% of all Americans, predominately white affluent women and vegan hipsters. Gluten-intolerance is a highly serious disorder, but with careful and proper dieting, afflicted individuals can live a normal, arthritis-free life. Furthermore, mommy-groups and various lifestyle magazines offer plenty of resources and support, especially for newly-diagnosed or self-diagnosed individuals.

Even if you're blessed with the remarkable ability to process gluten and couldn't care less about gluten-free products, you should still take notice of industry trends. The gluten-free category earned an estimated $10.5 billion in annual sales in 2013, with projections of $15 billion in 2016. Every company uses strategic and expensive marketing campaigns to sell its product, but a great company ensures longevity by inventing a reason to sell its product. Case in point, Viagra. And now gluten-free companies. (Simply genius!)

dsc_0020.jpg Of course, the GAFE Expo included all food allergies, not just gluten allergies (gluten sounds sexier than lactose or peanut intolerance). But as I mentioned before, having any food allergy -- as long as it's mild and you're functional without medication -- is a worthwhile investment for your body, your mental spirit, your purpose in life. So the next time you're reaching for those pita chips, consider roasted chickpeas or baked protein crackers. Food will never make you feel so special.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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