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Lessons Learned – Celiac Awareness

As I look back over the past 4+ years of being on the gluten-free diet, I realize how far I have come. I have grown so much. I have opened my mind to many new & exciting foods. I have grown stronger and wiser. No one can take that away from me. I am now taking what I have learned and am sharing it here so that I can hopefully help anyone out there who needs help. Whether it be a link to a gluten-free restaurant, a list of gluten-free foods, ideas for packing lunches or a new recipe – I love doing it all.

It angers me that some are classifying the gluten-free diet as a “fad diet”. While I am sure there are some people out there who may be following the diet because they think it is the new “South Beach” or “Atkins”, the majority of the people I have run across, both in real life and in cyber space, are on the diet for health reasons. Does that mean that the person following the diet has Celiac disease? Not necessarily. There is also non-celiac gluten intolerance, wheat allergies or even someone who just feels better on the gluten-free diet. It is frustrating to go through life not feeling well. Some people don’t get severely ill from consuming gluten, but they don’t feel 100%. These people may have been told they have irritable bowel syndrome or IBS (which I believe really stands for “I be stumped” and the doctors are out of ideas). They may have arthritis, neuropathies, fatigue, the list goes on & on. Does it matter what you call it if the diet is making you feel better? Not in my opinion and it shouldn’t in anyone else’s either.

The gluten-free diet being called a “fad diet” is bringing a lot of awareness and new products to the market. The downfall to this is that restaurants & manufacturers may not understand that cross-contamination is a real risk for those who do have Celiac disease. What can we do to help? Promote awareness. I love that Celiac Disease Awareness month seems to have much more promotion this year. There are giveaways, stores offering product samples, sales & much more. Mambo Sprouts joined forces with the NFCA to help spread the word.

What are you doing to help promote awareness?

7 comments to Lessons Learned – Celiac Awareness

  • Fabulous write-up, Kim! Yes, we don't care what you call it, take us seriously, feed us safely, and keep us well. :-) I'm trying to do my usual stuff, but a few more awareness blog posts (and some more guest ones to come still). Plus, I'm actually giving a talk here at work on Thursday with information packets (my usual "tip" sheets plus NFCA sent me some great ones to share) and, of course, some of my flourless cookies to draw folks in. LOL Whatever it takes to spread awareness, I'll do it! ;-)

    Thanks for being such an advocate, Kim! :-)

    Shirley

  • Kimberly Hackett

    Oh, you said a mouthful! I am angry everytime I hear someone say that s/he is gluten-free. A neighbor here said that her doctor told her to do it, and that the food is terrible, and couldn't believe that I couldn't even have it 'once in a while'. That's when I told her: it's not a trend, it's a means of breaking a cycle with an auto-immune disease. She then told me about some 'cure' her doctor sells in pill form that is supposed to clear the gluten out of your system. I said, "Stop eating it. It clears out." But some would rather spend hundreds with their doctor than follow a DELICIOUS whole foods diet (remind me to give you my latest recipe!)

    Okay, need to rant abated.

    Let's not EVER talk about yoga, okay? ;)

  • Hmm…eat and let eat?

    I think the increased popularity and use of a gluten free diet is phenomenal, for awareness and also to benefit the non-gluten eating community with more choices. I do just hope, with all of my being, that food companies and restaurants are truly aware of what labeling something "gluten free" means. I think as you said, education is key. I think it's important for celiacs as a community to embrace this increasing popularity, and educate with kindness and compassion.

  • Oh, and Kim-your definition of IBS-hilarious, and much nicer than mine. This is a family blog, but mine is basically "I'm full of BS!"

  • Kimberly – LOL!! I won't talk about yoga with you, okay? ;) I don't know why people want to take pills if they don't have to!?! I feel LUCKY to have a "disease" that I can control by following a healthy, gluten-free diet. Yes, there are challenges, but it is just a learning process. I think people have to make a choice – be miserable, don't follow the diet 100% or at all, take lots of meds or even just a few and complain or do something about it. Make the change with a 100% commitment.

    Erin – LOL!! I love it!!!

  • I was just talking to a coworker whose personal trainer told her to eat gluten-free in order to lose weight… which didn't seem very logical to me.

    Haha love your IBS acronym!

  • Kim

    Yeah, that isn't logical. Yeah, if you eat no replacement foods (the GF breads & such aren't low calorie) and eat only lean protein, fruit, GF whole grains and veggies you might lose weight, but that is just a "healthy diet". However, add in the GF bagels, pasta, breads, cookies, & such and you don't really have a weight loss plan. Everything in moderation and move more. Exercise is a huge part of the equation.

    OT, Val, I got a cool thing to help stretch my calves:

    http://www.amazon.com/Gibson-Step-Stretch-Single-

    My PT had me using one the other day and I picked one up at the running store.

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