… I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do! ~Edward Everett Hale
Perhaps you have Celiac, a gluten-sensitivity, or have a family member or friend who does. How can you help to make your life, and the lives of those you care about healthier and more convenient? Certainly, you could make a donation to a Celiac Research Center (most are funded by private donations) so they can continue the important work they are doing, but there are also other ways of helping.
Following are a few suggestions to get you on your way:
1. Spread the Word! Don’t be embarrassed about your diagnosis. Have a dialog with your family members, including sharing your symptoms and if they are experiencing similar symptoms, suggest testing. Mention statistics of celiac disease in family members. Consider starting a blog to share what you have learned!
3. Contact a Celiac Research Center near you and request to participate in a research study – humans are needed! Here is a current one: http://celiaccorner.com/celiac-gluten-free/7021/
Think about doing something you are good at (i.e. cooking, a sports activity, arts & crafts), and coordinate a fundraiser. You can have it at your home, school, in a park, at a local restaurant or other business.
5. Purchase products from companies who support celiac research by donating a percentage of their proceeds. Following are just a few:
Enjoy Life Foods By George Glutino
Jones Dairy Farm Jules Gluten Free Kinnikinnick Pamela’s Products Riceworks
6. Consider signing a food allergen petition – visit our page: http://celiaccorner.com/current-petitions-relating-to-food-allergens/
7. Contact your local Food Bank and ask if they stock gluten-free food, and if not educate and help them (this article will help)
8. Volunteer at your local support group meetings, and if you do not volunteer, try to at least attend to gain valuable information that you can then share with others. If you are a family member or friend of a Celiac, show your support by accompanying them.
9. When you visit a restaurant that doesn’t have a GF menu – politely suggest they consider adding one, or at a minimum, adding allergen info to the menu. Also suggest they contact either the Gluten Intolerance Group to inquire about restaurant training: http://www.glutenfreerestaurants.org/ or the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness: http://www.celiaclearning.com/
10. Contact and thank mainstream manufacturers who have added gluten-free products to their product line, so they will consider adding even more (see list of manufacturers).
11. Email or write to DUNKIN DONUTS and ask why they aren’t, at a minimum, offering a lactose-free product to add to coffee (many celiacs are often diagnosed with lactose-intolerance as well), and also suggest they consider offering a gluten-free bakery option (surely their facilities are big enough to accommodate a dedicated GF area!). Update 12.28.12: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/28/dunkin-donuts-gluten-free_n_2377202.html)
12. Contact and thank STARBUCKS for offering lactose-free options & the few snacks that are gluten-free, but suggest they consider more bakery items (gluten-free pound cake, perhaps)?
13. Contact DOMINOS and suggest they offer a gluten-free pizza that is actually safe for Celiacs (i.e. dedicated Gfree cooking area, proper training).
14. Contact SUBWAY and ask that they expand their gluten-free testing to a location near you!
(these are just a few nationwide fast food chains that would make the lives of the gluten-intolerant a little more convenient if there were gluten-free options. Certainly there are many more chains around the globe and hopefully they will consider offering gluten-free (& healthy) options in the future as well)
15. Contact and thank Pharmaceutical companies currently conducting studies/trials and continue to follow their progress:
Alba Therapeutics: http://www.albatherapeutics.com/
Avaxia Biologics: http://www.avaxiabiologics.com/ibd.html
16. Contact airports and suggest they add more vendors offering gluten-free menus, and more GF snack items at kiosks.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
17. Check out the following organizations which hold a variety of events (athletic & non-athletic) around the US to raise money and spread education and awareness of Celiac – see if there is something going on in your area:
- Celiac Awareness Tour: http://www.celiacawarenesstour.com/
- Kicking 4 Celiac: http://www.kicking4celiac.org/
- Celiac Disease Foundations’ Team Gluten Free: http://celiac.org/tgf/index.html