A Discussion About (Mostly) Books as They Relate to a Theme of Contemporary Interest

Lifestyles of the gluten-intolerant

Last April, 822 Kickstarter backers pledged $94,587 to launch a national magazine called Gluten-Free Forever. GFF, as it is known for short, is thus the rare contemporary magazine that the public is willing to pay to read, yet its success is hardly surprising. One out of every 141 people in America has celiac disease, the condition aggravated by gluten, but around 30 percent of us are currently trying to avoid the protein. Gluten-free is not so much a diet, or a disease, as a fad that has appropriated the rhetoric of illness to legitimize a lifestyle—sparking a massive industry with merchandise for every niche, from bakeries and beauty products to blogs, cookbooks, and dining guides. And magazines.

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Theodore Gioia is a writer living in San Francisco. He wrote his undergraduate thesis at Harvard under the critic James Wood and has worked at San Francisco magazine and the Virginia Quarterly Review.

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