Gluten-free products & recipes are becoming more & more common - how come?
Gluten is found in wheat & some other grains - these plants store their energy in this protein form. Celiac disease is basically a gluten intolerance. Around 1% of people in countries that are mainly of Caucasian or European descent have this disease. When people with celiac disease eat anything with gluten in it (bread, pasta, anything with flour, etc), they suffer from a number of gastrointestinal upsets - bloating & ... well, to put it delicately, they'll be running to the washroom a lot. This can lead to chronic fatigue & anemia.
When gluten is absorbed in the intestines, the protein is degraded into the constituent amino acids. One of these is called gliadin - not one of the amino acids our body uses to make our own proteins. People with celiac disease will have an immune reaction to gliadin - this inflammation damages the intestinal lining, which decreases absorption & increases excretion.
The only "cure" is a gluten-free diet. Luckily, more recipes are becoming readily available so that salad & rice are not the only things on the menu.