Growing up in Boulder, Colorado, I was exposed to much that has gone through the world of “health food” in the past 35 years. From the days of the small local co-op (the smell of comingled bulk grains, greens, and patchouli still feels like home to me), through the advent of larger stores such as Wild Oats and Alfalfa’s (where the milk is dairy free!), and into the more recent years of much larger, corporate, sparkly beautiful and expensive stores where you can find just about anything under the sun, there has clearly been a revolution in how we view and value natural foods in this country.
One of the most beautiful aspects of this revolution is that those foods that used to be an adventure to locate are now coming home to my local conventional grocery store. When I started naturopathic medical school in 1999, gluten free grains such as quinoa, millet, and buckwheat were relegated to the bulk bin at the co-op, and gf bread was usually a sort of dense brick-like affair that required many condiments to choke down and crumbled into dust within a few hours of purchase. I had several celiac patients who flat out refused to change their diet because they just couldn’t live with the thought of eating that way for the rest of their lives, regardless of how bad they felt. Today, there are so many good tasting gluten free alternatives, ranging from pastas to breads to pizzas, cookies and more, most of which are easily located at my local supermarket (I’m in Golden, CO now, but this is true in much of the country).