Several weeks ago, we posted some disappointing news about Continental Airlines. The company had just announced some changes to their meal offerings and the gluten-free meal had not made the cut. Meals to accommodate those with special religious dietary needs would still be available, but people with gluten intolerance (or a wheat allergy) were out of luck. In our post, we suggested that people might want to contact the airline and let them know how important it is to accommodate all their passengers – including those with celiac – with a safe meal. They only serve food on long flights, but who is going to fly to Europe or Asia on Continental if they can’t get a gluten-free meal if they need one? Probably no one who has a choice in the matter.

Special thanks to Connie Sarros for the news (in her newsletter) that after so many unhappy customers contacted Continental about the discontinuation of gluten-free meals, the company had a change of heart. Gluten-free meals were added back to the meal line up for long flights. Together, we can affect change in our community. Whether we’re looking for more food choices or gluten-free restaurant options – getting involved does make a difference. What happened with Continental Airlines is proof in the gluten-free pudding of that fact. We know that several of our readers contacted Continental and apparently many other unhappy people did as well. Thanks to everyone who took the time to make their voices heard. One quick phone call or short e-mail to the company (from a lot of us) was all that was needed to make the company do a flip flop on the cancellation of gluten-free meals. Kudos to all of us!

Let’s face it, we are in the minority and yet, we created enough of a ruckus for Continental to rethink their position about catering to our dietary needs. In my opinion, the sky is the limit regarding what we accomplish once we put our minds to it. We don’t all want the exact same things in terms of change in our market. Comments on our Butterball gluten-free gravy and Bisquick posts prove that. Even so, there are some things we can all agree on. When those occasions present themselves, as happened in the case of the Continental meal situation, we can be a very powerful force indeed!

One of the biggest mistakes people can make is thinking that they alone can’t make a difference. The point is that if each person is part of a bigger group and they all have the same goal – they absolutely can make a difference. We could think about it like this. It’s easier to stick to the gluten-free diet if you focus on all the great foods you can have (both naturally gluten-free items and replacement type foods) instead of what you can’t eat anymore. If we focus on what needs to change in order for us to navigate more easily in a world full of gluten and proactively set about to be part of that change, we’ll make it easier not only ourselves, but for all who come after us. Here’s to all the great changes coming up around the bend!