The Faces of Celiac Disease

Traditionally, Celiac Disease Awareness month is in October and has been since 1987.  In 2009, Canada started to promote Celiac Awareness in May, which I think is GREAT, the more, the better!   On Friday, April 30th, 2010; Zach over at Gluten Free Raleigh made a blog post announcing that North Carolina Governor, Beverly Perdue, has declared May “Celiac Disease Awareness Month” in the state of North Carolina!  Woo-Hoo!

I personally believe there can never be too much celiac disease awareness, because roughly 97% of celiacs in the United States DO NOT KNOW they have a potentially life-threatening disease that, if caught early enough, can be controlled by a change in diet.  I don’t mean “diet” in the sense of what commonly comes to mind when one thinks of going on a diet: a short-term, boring, tasteless, doomed to fail weight loss plan.  I mean a lifestyle change to a wonderful, great tasting, healthful food plan that can include all things that you always hear people saying you will lose: pizza, bread, pasta, beer.  That is hogwash, you CAN have all those things…  just gluten-free!  Want a shortcut to those GREAT GF items?  Udi’s, Udi’s, Tinkyada, Redbridge!  There are other great GF products in those categories too, but I am trying to keep it simple for the moment. 😀

If only I had been diagnosed today instead of 5 years ago…  I don’t think I would have put myself in harm’s way by denying my diagnosis for so long (can’t say I’m 100% sure of that because the food was only a small percentage of my denial, the emotional aspect is what did me in.  Although, if I had been Blogging and Tweeting back then…  that would have helped fill the emotional loss for me. I do not know what I would do without my GF blogger buds and Tweeps, they have made the feeling of isolation, {being the lone GF people in my circle of family and friends}, much more tolerable…  even enjoyable!).  If you are gluten-free and are not yet on Twitter, I cannot recommend it enough.  The gluten-Free community on Twitter is one very awesome support group.  If you are interested, check out this article, “10 reasons to Tweet Gluten-Free,” written by Sandra Robins (@MarylandCeliac on Twitter).  Sandra is also the author of The Gluten-Free Optimist, and has had her articles published in Gluten-free Living Magazine. For more on Sandra, click here.

Also, I added the links to where you can buy celiac disease awareness bracelets (see the sidebar).  We just got our newest bracelets and car magnets in the mail the other day and they are a great way to prompt people to ask you the question…  get that conversation started! 😀

Anyway, The San Diego CSA Chapter (this is a great site if you are planning a trip to the San Diego area, I referred to it quite a bit during my visit a couple of years ago) made a “grass-roots” YouTube video, starring some of their local CSA support group members, to help promote celiac disease awareness during the month of May:

If you click on the video, it will take you to YouTube and you can share it on your Facebook page, you can email it and even “tweet” it!

6 Responses

  1. I know what you mean by this “If only I had been diagnosed today instead of 5 years ago… I don’t think I would have put myself in harm’s way by denying my diagnosis for so long (can’t say I’m 100% sure of that because the food was only a small percentage of my denial, the emotional aspect is what did me in”

    My son is autistic, I am Asperger’s. I put my son on a gluten free diet 5 years ago and it was HARD especially since he needed to be milk free and soy free as well. I went milk free and soy free as well. It really made a huge difference for both of us. Two years ago I started to have celiac symptoms, but I totally did not want to go gluten free, so I ignored it until I passed out from exhaustion and nutritient deficiency, then went gluten free 8 months ago and I am so much better and on a path to healing. It is so much easier now, then it was 5 years ago. Restraunts have gf menus, regular grocery stores have some gf foods, plus I have become a great cook, I was forced to learn to cook from scratch and improvise. With the new gf products out there like Udi’s and Daiya, being gfcfsf is so much easier and fulfilling. Bring on the lasagna!

    • Jennifer

      Thank you for sharing your story, I love to hear them.

      You know, if there is a silver lining with celiac disease, at least for me, is that if forced me to slow down in life and start to think about what I put in my mouth and what I feed my family. Once I dealt with the emotional aspect of my diagnosis and accepted this new stage of my life, there have been so many blessings. So many, that I now am thankful for this journey I am on. Weird, I know, but learning to cook GF and having real family meals at the dinner table has been a true gift. I am sure that if we didn’t have celiac disease, we would be like so many other families who are constantly on the run and eating on the fly. We were doing well before all these new innovative products hit the market, but man, life is just so much easier now. Having been around for a little while (not nearly as long as some people who have been dealing with this for 10, 20 + years), I can really appreciate how far we’ve come.

      It’s a new day that is for sure! 🙂

  2. It is so true! Im not sure what i did before twitter 🙂 So much GF resources and its nice to know im not the only one struggling 😀

    • Devan,

      I love our GF Twitter community! I mean really, it is mind boggling what this tool can do for someone living this lifestyle. I can pull up to Starbucks, forget my GF menu list and just ask my GF tweeps what is safe and they all come through for me!

  3. Thank you so much for putting up the links for the bracelets/magnets! My celiac daughter is treated at Univ of MD after being misdiagnosed by another big hospital. They are fabulous, amazing and give me so much hope! I did my first “Making Track for Celiacs” this past Sunday and was amazed. Such a wonderful community of people, I am glad I have so many resources

  4. Andrea,

    You are very lucky to have access to the Univ. of Maryland (I am a Dr. Fasano groupie), LOL!

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