Something pretty exciting happened recently in terms of celiac awareness. USA Today included an insert all about celiac in the May 14th edition of the paper. This publication reaches millions of people. It’s not a woman’s magazine, a cooking magazine, a health magazine or an online blog. It’s a mainstream paper with mainstream appeal and having a 16 page insert all about celiac is a very big deal!

The insert was not in every issue, but selected distribution areas only. For those of you who could not get it in your area, you can read it on the NFCA website. Alice Bast, the leader of that group is featured in the insert, along with several other prominent figures in the celiac/gluten-free community. Boar’s Head, Dietz & Watson and Betty Crocker bought full page ads in the insert and there are smaller ads for companies we all know, but most people in the country have never heard of. Bard’s Tale gluten-free beer has an ad as well as General Mills (owner of Betty Crocker).

Dr. Alessio Fasano gives some insight about advances in treatment and there is a Q&A with Dr. Peter Green. There is some great info for gluten-free kids and their parents. Sarah-Jane Smith, the pro golfer with celiac, is featured as well as A.J. Clemens, a competitive skier. Both of them are part of the NFCA Athletes for Awareness program and both speak of how much better they feel, now that they follow the gluten-free diet. Like most people I know with celiac, the athletes mention how much more energy they have now.

One of the best parts of the insert to me personally, is where the social aspect of following a restricted diet is touched on. It’s not an in depth look at what our days are like, but it might educate a few gluten eaters in our lives that no, we can not just order a salad every time we go out to eat with them. Someone once told me that the best response to that comment is to suggest that I would order a salad if the person who asked me to do so, would order a salad as well. I tried this trick and it worked like a charm. I highly recommend others do the same.

In the “What it really means to be gluten-free” section, a nutritionist explains that the gluten-free diet is not bad for one’s health. That news is contrary to what the National Wheat Association wants everyone to believe. We all need to eat wheat – it’s been around for 10,000 years after all. That is a short time span in terms of how long mankind has been around, of course. Now that wheat is losing some market share as a food additive, the barley growers are trying to pick up the slack. Did Frito Lay really need to put barley flour in Lay’s Barbeque chips – both regular and baked? At least they do call it out as barley on the label, which they are not required by law to do.

Bob Levy, of Bob & Ruth’s Gluten-Free Travel Club talks about the trips they offer gluten-free travelers. Some of their offerings allow children to join in on the gluten-free adventures. I’ve met people who’ve gone on the Asian trip and the African safari. Everyone said the food was simply amazing and the scenery and culture weren’t too shabby either! For more information about this great company, check out the Bob & Ruth’s Gluten-Free Travel Club website.

*Special thanks to the advertisers that made this insert possible, ad to JoAnn Mitchell, who was kind enough to send me the NFCA link!