The ancient Greeks may have identified Celiac Disease, but much of what we know about this chronic immune disorder has been discovered in just the past couple of decades. The fast rise and current plateau of CD not only spurred one of the hottest diet trends going, but has also helped us all better understand what Celiac Disease is, how it differs from gluten allergies and gluten avoidance, and why it’s important to understand those differences when supporting a friend or family member.
In short, living with Celiac isn’t easy, but many people have found health and comfort by adhering to a rigorous and strict diet. One of the main challenges of living with Celiac Disease is educating friends and family about just how strict your diet needs to be, and that it is more than just an allergy or attempt to avoid gluten in hopes of losing weight.
#1 – You’re only “celiac” if you have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease
One major complaint from those living with CD is how many people claim to be “celiac” when they are really simply choosing to eat gluten free. If you think you might have Celiac Disease, definitely consult your doctor, but simply choosing a gluten free diet does not make one “celiac”. This confusion waters down the severity of the disease and importance of avoiding any cross contamination in grocery items, restaurants, and even body care products.
Feel a little bit bad about claiming “celiac” in the past when you’re really just giving up gluten for New Years? It’s ok. Bake a stack of these Gluten Free Peppermint Protein Oreos for a friend with Celiac Disease and enjoy it with them!
#2 – Choose the right restaurants
Would you choose a steak house for your vegan friend’s birthday party? Probably not. There are great tools to help us navigate which restaurants offer gluten free options, full menus, or are simply really accommodating and can ensure no cross contamination. Having Celiac Disease already means needing to talk to waitstaff about dietary needs more than the average guest, so why not make it a little easier and support establishments that support your friend’s needs?
#3 – Make your next dinner party gluten free!
Dinner parties can be a little nerve wracking for someone with Celiac Disease. Are all the pita chips going into that hummus gluten free? Which pie is ok to eat? Did he just use the same knife for both? Any number of worries about cross contamination pop up when some of the food is gluten free and some isn’t. So why not just make it easier on everyone? Cooking gluten free is not only easy, but can often be a fun way to try new recipes! BONUS: You don’t have to cook two versions of everything.
#4 – Ask them about it
Unfortunately, pop culture often mocks the gluten free diet. See #1 for one way to help mitigate this. The fallout from this unflattering portrayal of those who eat gluten free is that those who HAVE to eat gluten free might feel a little bit of shame, or that they are a nuisance. The truth is that those suffering from Celiac Disease are often dealing with a lot more than simply avoiding #wafflewednesday––although there are a lot of great gluten free pancake recipes out there. CD can make you really, really sick. The symptoms are especially trying for those who are newly diagnosed and working on getting their disease under control. So, ask how they are feeling. A little empathy goes a long way.
Bonus Gluten Free Recipe
It’s pumpkin season, and this favorite fall flavor shouldn’t be missed by ANYONE. Bake up one of these Pumpkin Pies for your friend, neighbor, or family member living with Celiac Disease. Because some of the best chats happen over pie.
All Orgain products are Certified Gluten Free. It is our goal to nourish healthy, active lives with clean nutrition. Choosing to go gluten free across the board was done with care and concern for the health of all Orgain customers. We hope you continue to enjoy knowing that Orgain nutrition is there for everyone.