Another year is winding down and like you, we’re reflecting on what a year 2016 has been. We’re sticking to what we know best: all things gluten-free. We’ve rounded up several of the best things (the best of the bad and the good) that impacted GF folks this year, from products we love to celebrity GF mishaps we’d rather forget. Here’s our g-free year in review.
Best new food trends.
Over the last few years, trends like artisanal toast and gourmet cupcakes haven’t been kind to the gluten-free community. But increasingly, trending foods are healthier and more likely to be gluten-free: eating out in 2016 gave us awesome appetizer options like roasted brussels sprouts, barbecue carrots, and roasted cauliflower. In 2017, all-knowing foodies are predicting a rise in foods made with activated charcoal (good for your gut!), Detroit-style pizza (we’re on board if it’s GF!), and nutritional yeast (gluten-free!).
Best ridiculous gluten-free claim of the year.
This year, we’ve hit an all-time level of redundancy with water being labeled as gluten-free. Flavored sparkling waters like LaCroix are basically the new water, and slapping an unnecessary gluten-free label on these trendy beverages earn them their official distinction as a fad. That said, we can laugh at ourselves and the over-labeling of products as GF. Haircuts, antiques, even lap dances — they’re all gluten-free!
Best anti-GF quote.
The best of the worst. Every year comes with its fair share of cringe-worthy comments from celebrities who don’t know any better, but this year the topic of GF got mixed up in politics. On the campaign trail, Ted Cruz cited gluten-free meals as an example of political correctness and pledged not to provide members of the military with gluten-free meals. Two thumbs down, Mr. Cruz.
Best certification to look for in 2017.
You already love to buy local, and organic labels matter to you. If you’re looking for other ways to support responsible businesses, we love B Corporations. B Corps are certified businesses committed to conducting business in a way that ensures social and environmental responsibility, accountability, and transparency. We’re proud to be a B Corp certified business, and we’re committed to supporting like-minded companies.
Best gluten-free celebrity slip-up.
We never thought we’d have to mention a Kardashian on our blog, but 2016 is the year when anything is possible. Kourtney Kardashian made headlines earlier this year when she conflated her personal diet choices (she’s a gluten-free vegan) with food allergies on an episode of the reality show. To add insult to injury, her family then tries to prove her wrong by tricking her into eating the foods she chooses to avoid. The whole thing is a gross misunderstanding of the realities of living with allergies and diet restrictions and we’re happy to be leaving it behind in 2016.
Best gluten-free recipe.
This is one we stumbled upon and shared with you via The GFB’s email newsletter: a buttery, flaky, gluten-free puff pastry. For GF fans of The Great British Bake-Off, we’re usually left salivating in front of the television, wishing we could enjoy a GF version of the show’s staple pastry. Thanks to ChefStep’s Aran Goyoaga, our GF puff pastry dreams came true this year.
Best deceptive food claim.
We’re all trying to eat healthier and more responsibly, and likewise, marketers are trying to convince us that their products should make the cut. In 2016, we learned to beware of vague food labels that could mislead consumers. We’re giving this award to the eyebrow-raising “all natural” claim — since FDA requirements for using the label aren’t very strict, “all natural” foods could contain pesticides, GMOs, and antibiotics.
Best GF-friendly restaurant chain.
This year, we did our due diligence in finding restaurant chains around the country that have a great attitude about providing gluten-free options. Which chain took home the gold? Chipotle’s rigorous staff training and careful prevention of cross-contamination gave them a narrow lead over the other awesome contenders. Chipotle, you’re the real MVP!
Best gluten-free beer makers.
This was a tough job, but somebody had to do it — this summer, we tasted a ton of gluten-free beers to rank and review them for you. While many of them were worthy of a five-star review, we’re giving this coveted title to New Planet (we reviewed their Raspberry Ale) for their commitment to brewing awesome, high-quality GF beers for our community since 2009.
Best reporting on GMOs.
You already know that we’re closely following the debate around genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and that we believe information is power. That’s why this October 2016 article from The New York Times makes our Best Of list this year — it’s an in-depth report on the outcomes and effects of GMOs on crop yields and overall use of pesticides. We also love the conversation it sparked from both sides of the aisle.
Best compliment we received all year.
We got some really good ones but choosing a favorite is our particular burden. We stepped up and made the tough call. And so we present our favorite, regarding our bars:
Best media coverage on being gluten-free.
We’re applauding CBS’s The Doctors for their accurate, informative story this year on some of the lesser-known symptoms and side effects of Celiac Disease, like infertility. Their recent report on Celiac Disease is equal parts informative and compassionate, and we could always use more of that in GF news.
Best new kitchen gadget.
Spiralizers are all the rage, and we’re totally on board. When you’re gluten-free, creative (and healthy!) alternatives to classic dishes like pasta are a godsend. Spiralizers make noodles out of your favorite vegetables, opening up a world of new recipes you’ll love. Read up on which brands are best on Pinch Of Yum’s blog.
Best takedown of pointless kitchen products.
We’re pulling this one out of the GFB Hall of Fame. Although we do love a good spiralizer, this 2015 video is a great reminder that not all kitchen gadgets are created equal, and some are just plain laughable. Watch, learn, and go clean out your kitchen cabinets for the new year.
Best GF medical news coverage.
No, they still haven’t found a cure for Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. But we’re still tipping our hats to the doctors and scientists working hard to better understand how these diseases and conditions function and making new recommendations for managing your care. Recent studies show that children with Celiac Disease often don’t fully recover after starting a gluten-free diet, so doctors are now recommending children get a follow-up endoscopy one year after diagnosis. This will help keep our GF kiddos healthy and safe, just how we like ‘em.
Best product to go GF.
Just in time to be included in our Best Of list, Shake Shack has announced that they now offer gluten-free hamburger buns for an additional charge of just $1.00. Who doesn’t love Shake Shack? While we have plenty of questions about cross-contamination, this new offering is an exciting step in the right direction.
Best thing to look forward to in 2017. For us, we’re gearing up for The GFB’s most exciting year yet — with more products, flavors, and options than ever before, things are looking bright. We love what we do and there are many surprises in store for our awesome customers this year.
Which gluten-free wins, losses, and memorable moments make your 2016 Best Of list? What are you most excited for in 2017? Let us know in the comments below — cheers to the new year!