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Gluten-Free: Against the Grain

2013 Culinary Trends

Gluten-free Maine lobster salad at RAYA, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

What's New in Health: From Gluten Free to Calorie Counter Apps

Gluten-free has become one of the world's fastest-growing diet trends, sparking a $7 billion industry. While it's estimated that only one percent of Americans actually have celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder causing intestinal damage as the result of exposure to gluten), many people claim their "gluten sensitivity" makes them feel bloated and fatigued when they eat things made with wheat, barley and rye.

No matter how you slice it, gluten-free means big bucks. Grocery store shelves bulge with more products every day, celebrities are bashing wheat, and churches are even offering gluten-free communion wafers. A growing number of restaurants offer gluten-free gastronomy, but that doesn't mean you have to deny your palate. Boston's Legal Sea Foods chain has a special gluten-free menu that lets guests splurge on a lobster bake; in New York, Richard Sandoval's Zengo features Peking duck and daikon tacos.

In San Francisco, the chef of Minako Organic Japanese Restaurant tested gluten-free versions of traditional Japanese dishes to add eel, tempura and teriyaki to the menu. Bay Area gourmands can also find Peruvian alternatives at 100 percent gluten-free Pica Pica Maize Kitchen, and a house-made gluten-free bread at Bacco to accompany rice or corn pasta. The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel's RAYA has a number of gluten-free dishes, like Maine lobster salad with chipotle hollandaise and vegetarian tacos with truffled corn salsa.

Also trending: calorie counts on menus and a host of calorie-tracking apps available for your smart phone extend a new focus on health. MyFitnessPal is one of the hottest diet apps on the market for both Android and iPhone.




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