May is winding down to a close and so is National Celiac Awarness Month. That does not mean we should stop raising awareness on June 1st and wait until May to continue the campaign. Most people know or are effected themselves by gluten and we can and should be raising awareness everyday, everywhere. Here are some ways we can help raise awareness daily.
Talk to everyone about it. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The more we talk about the issue and educate people, the more awareness will spread. You can talk with friends and family in casual conversations. Sometimes it is those closest to us who have the least understanding. Let them know it is not just a fad, but necessary for health and to prevent other problems. Educate them on your gluten intolerance so they can truly inderstand you.
When you go to a store or restaurant and they have gluten free options, talk to your server or the manager and let them know you are very appreciative of the options. If they know that offering the gluten free items is making customers happy, they will be more likely to look into adding more variety of options. If all people do is complain, who wants to deal with that? If they do not have gluten free options, approach them politely about adding them in. Let them know you want to support their business and if they offered gluten free options you would be more willing to do that. Let them know what you would like to see them offer. Sometimes managers just have no idea what to offer if they are not gluten intolerant themselves. There is so much to learn and they may feel overwhelmed and truly appreciate the knowledgable suggestions.
When people notice your gluten free selections at the store or out and about, be willing to talk and share your knowledge with them. So many only get a limit amount of information from the media which will give it a “fad” squew. Most people are open to hear your story and learn about gluten since it is a popular topic in health today.
If you work in an office and have the occassional lunch brought in for special events, make sure that you talk to the people in charge of the food and let them know that it would be appreciate that gluten free foods are also available. With so many people dealing with gluten intolerance on its various levels, there is going to most likely be at least 1 person needing to have gluten free foods. It sucks to have to not partake when everyone else is. I have beenthere and you feel alienated and alone, left out. NO one wants to be that person.
There are many organizations out there who help spread the word and educate about gluten intolerances and Celiac Disease. Join, follow, and perhaps even donate to support them. They are there to help make our lives even better.
Awareness is growing every year. We have come a long way in quality, variety, and avialability inthe last decade. There is still a long way to go. Education is key to raising awareness. Many still have no idea what gluten is and what foods contain gluten. Let's keep raisig awareness so all who need and want can have the ultimate gluten fee lifestyle.