Monday, May 30, 2016

Celiac Awareness Month To Reflect

Activities like yoga connect mind & body.
It is my favorite month of the year, May - Celiac Awareness Month! So another year has gone by, and we journey through another period of reflection. Let's look back at this moment on your health - how do you actually feel about the health of your body and mind this past year? Seriously, are you feeling well right this moment? Are you satisfied with your ability to say, No? Are you handling food and beverages risks and have you learned more this year than the past regarding the risk of cross contamination, asking questions about food ingredients?  Do you feel that your overall health has improved or are you unsure, frustrated and confused more than ever of the status of your Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance or gluten reduced diet? I certainly hope that you put yourself first, lived well, eaten well, exercised and laughed in the good life!


We all know that I'm not perfect, hehe, but I am a 20 year Celiac Disease veteran managing my strictly gluten free lifestyle in a positive way. If there is one tip I can share regarding the health of my own mind and body, it is my confidence to say, "No" a lot. In fact, all of the time I say No to food options.
 Celiac Disease Awareness Month is all about self awareness and analyzing the community we live in that affects our overall decisions to thrive. 
Picnic on the beach includes eggs, avocados, cheese, tomatoes, cucumber and apples. BYO GF food!

Power of "No" 

When I reference, No, I am referring to the ability to not take risks of gluten cross contamination and the unknown. Whether you have Celiac Disease or on a gluten reduced diet, adhering to zero gluten consumption is the only solution. You don't have to feel awkward as there are always options in the free world to find gluten free safe food. Often that requires, bringing your own safe food, calling on restaurants, many of them, to plead if they can strictly adhere to a legit Celiac safe gluten free lifestyle. If you succumb to the pressure and take on a gluten risk, only you suffer, not the waiter, chef or your friend/family member. Learn to say No kindly, and ask for cleanliness, washing and improvements to educate and help reduce the most common, gluten cross contamination risks. It's a fair request. 

Gluten Free Body & Mind

Our mind and body are in sync. Control is not easy, it's actually really hard to obtain, but we can allow the wind to blow while making better decisions and having control of our health as the top priority! Gluten like many other food ingredients can have a direct correlation with our brain and gut performance. What you eat effects so many parts of your chemistry. Therefore, if you are not adhering to a strict gluten-free lifestyle or believe you don't have to for one reason or another, your health will continue to be at risk. Ask yourself, was ordering that slice pizza from a contaminated brick oven, or not reading the ingredients on every product from the store looking for a certified gluten-free symbol worth it? I say, No, because each diarrhea, exhaustion, brain fog and fatigue is stacking up on your overall health. Struggling through these reactions is not at all healthy, you can do better this year :) When you feel good, everything else will certainly follow.  

Gluten Free Community

Unfortunately, the phrase gluten-free still doesn't have one defintion to everyone in the food industry. The phrase gluten free is used very lightly not catering to the ultimate Celiac Disease consumer. Every day I either purchase packaged food or go to a restaurant and I see a gluten-free labels or menus that end up with cross contamination. Ugh! As I probe with the general manager or waiter, I continue to be told that restaurants can't guarantee gluten-free options to someone with Celiac Disease.  Therefore, there is no gluten free option, there is only food with perhaps, reduced gluten. Very different. Very very risky. We have a lot of work to do!

While we all live in different places, experience different hurdles and walk different paths with variables of gluten free risks each and every day. I would imagine we can all agree that gluten-free awareness, gluten-free menus and Celiac Disease awareness continues to improve. But when it doesn't you must say something and educate others.  When you travel you ask for a gluten-free menu, when you go to someone's house in another city you ask if they can help make gluten-free options. While the struggle certainly continues, know that there is people like you and me that continue to face risky decisions for social acceptance and basic necessity. It will always exist this way.  Only the gluten-free activists and ambassadors like us can continue to make these necessary shifts in education to these restaurants managers, chefs and brand owners and change our friend and family perspective on the seriousness of gluten-free cross contamination in the house, kitchen, cutting board and other cooking utensils, stoves and equipment. Cross contamination is so scary and one puff of an open bag of wheat flour can contaminate food in an entire restaurant and home kitchen. With these lessons we reflect on our lives and the challenges that we face every single day, despite your level of gluten free living.  It's just the truth and the #OneGFStandard that we all should all adhere to.

I leave you this Celiac Awareness Month with a simple message... what is more important than your body and mind health? Nothing, I hope was your answer. Continue living a very strict gluten free lifestyle and don't be afraid or worried about what others think of it. Whether you're a mother, father, grand mother or child, you can't be the best and t thrive regularly if you're not in control. 

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