May is celiac awareness month. At one time, there was a debate about October being the month to promote celiac awareness but it seems that May won out in the end. I actually feel like every day offers us a chance to promote celiac awareness. You can do this by dining out gluten-free or even by asking a store employee for help locating a gluten-free product. While we can’t imagine that every person in America hasn’t heard the words gluten-free and celiac, I continue to meet people that have no idea what either term means – if they have even heard them.
The news about gluten-free Bisquick and Hamburger Helper being served up at the Celiac Disease Foundation Conference on May 15th is pretty exciting! I’m planning to go through my husband’s family cookbook and look up recipes that call for Bisquick. There are many fun things for attendees to experience at the annual CDF Conference and Food Faire so be sure and check it out if you’re in the Los Angeles area. Today is the last day to receive the early registration discount.
Folks in the Chicago area might want to attend the fancy Spring Flours event hosted by the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center on May 14th. When I received my gluten-free food basket from that organization, I felt like I might be able to handle this weird gluten-free life. People with a biopsy proven celiac diagnosis qualify to get the fabulous gluten-free box of goodies. The special night will surely offer a spectacular meal and the proceeds help fund the gift basket program. It’s a win-win for all!
The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (aka GIG) 2010 Annual Education Conference is really a wonderful weekend long event. It happens in June actually. This year’s event is June 3-5 in Minneapolis, MN. There is a lot going on that weekend, including a gluten-free pajama party! Attendees are sure to learn a lot while having tons of fun. You can find out more information about this conference here. The name of the event this year says it all “Savor the Flavor of a Healthy Gluten-free Life”. That’s something I try to do every day – literally.
If you can’t get to one of these conferences, there is another fun way to promote celiac awareness. Café Press has many “gluten-free shops”. They’re not selling food but shirts, hats, mugs, buttons, tote bags and even a doggie shirt with gluten-free and celiac slogans. I love wearing my ladies baseball jersey (shown in photo) from my own shop, Make Mine Gluten Free. When I first got the shirt, people almost always asked me what the slogan meant. These days, it’s more likely to strike up a conversation with a stranger about how someone they know has celiac, is being tested for it or can’t eat gluten for one reason or another.
Celiac Chicks have a darling Cafe Press shop and many other gluten-free bloggers do as well. Just search the term “gluten-free” or “celiac” in the search box on Café Press and you’ll have countless merchandise options to consider. The website owners – not the shop owners – are making most of the money from the sales, but it’s a fun and easy way for anyone interested in promoting awareness with their own slogans and/or artwork.
One of the reasons that celiac awareness barely existed twenty years ago is that there was no internet to connect us all. Also, some people were embarrassed to talk about their symptoms – even to their own doctors. Thankfully, that’s changed for the most part and our community is one of the most well connected around. Sometimes when I tell glutenoid friends some exciting (to me) gluten-free news, they say “you people are taking over the world”. And even though that’s not really true, we are a definitely a force to be reckoned with these days!
*Don’t forget our own celiac awareness campaign runs through May 31st! Add the Triumph Dining badge to your own website today!