Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May is Celiac Awareness Month, let's discuss

So there is a lot of chit-chat, buzz, blogging, facebook-posting and I am sure tweeting about Celiac Awareness Month, you are apparently in it right now.

There is a little debate about is whether May or October is/should be the month, but how about we have a bit of a sit down and discuss what is and isn't going on.

Last week, at an event, someone offered me salad. I politely declined. Confused, she pressed why I brought my own snack when salad is gluten-free. I explained that the salad was from a pizza place - red flag #1, and with unknown ingredients - #2, people were sharing - #3, and the boxes of salad were set below the boxes of pizza - #4, and that I don't know where the food is coming from - #5, and it goes against my personal rules of not eating from any place new during the first two weeks of class or during finals.

I was then offered the salad again, by another event goer, but I did not feel the need to explain again.

Sometimes I just do not want to do the work of education via explanation. It is work. Even when its exciting, helpful, clarifying, justifying, and accepted, it is work.

I bring up this story, because I want to say that every day is Celiac Awareness Month, Day, Hour and Minute when you are interacting with other gluten-eating humans. I do not want to take away from what is going on in D.C. today, or all the work of gf and celiac groups, researchers, etc. But I do want to highlight the real-lived work that is advocacy and education in restaurants, kitchens, places of work, doctors offices, grocery stores, hallways, phone calls, and online forms. These moments connect many of us. The work that one person does, explaining or advocating for gluten-free options or safety measures, helps the next person that walks through the door.

I am grateful for those campaigning, advocating and lobbying congress for gluten-free labeling laws - I signed the 1in133 petition - I feel that the best way to celebrate celiac awareness month is perhaps to focus on the everyday. I am not sure how this should look. High-fives down grocery story isles for everyone with gf products in their carts? More information sharing?

I don't know. What would make your life - or the life of your loved ones - easier? Is it more writing, recipes? Better labels? More stories about what life gluten free is like?

No comments:

Post a Comment