5/24/2013

Healthy Home Market Supports Healthy Gluten Free Summer Party!

School is almost out for SUMMER!



Come to Healthy Home Market on South Blvd. 
& join R.O.C.K. Charlotte for a wonderful afternoon 
friendly to children of all ages.

JUNE 8
4:00 - 5:30 PM

Featuring
Local & Seasonal Healthy Gluten/Allergen Free Food
A Kid Chef Recipe Share
Games revolving around healthier living
Fun education about healthier gluten free options



New To Gluten/Allergen Free?

Healthy Home Market is a locally owned chain of markets that supports 
local, seasonal & fresh foods. 
Their Gluten/Allergen Free Section is a dedicated aisle of foods 
that makes your life easier when newly diagnosed. Their continued support of helping 
R.O.C.K. Charlotte bring fun events to the community that also educate 
are a wonderful gift that we appreciate.



5/19/2013

Food Allergy Population Affected Tremendously Due to Growth in Industry - The Good, Bad, & Ugly of it All

Everyone is noticing gluten free foods now. They may not know why, but they are. Some people have some kind of small inkling, even though it may be grossly misguided. Most networks have covered it or are going to. You see it on the menus, store windows, and in grocery stores mainstream. It's a Gluten/Allergen Free Revolution for those advocating for others and for those who had trouble finding it before. For others, it has become a mission to show the evils of gluten-free diets or the fad side of things.

Ironically, many incidents coincided in conjunction with National Celiac Disease Awareness Month. One, was the judgement made against Jamie Oliver's restaurant, which fined them $17,000 for serving a woman GF pasta that was actually wheat. Second, was the unfortunate Disney Channel production of a scene in the not-so-funny sitcom, Jessie, where a child is bullied for having food intolerance and added to his label of being "nerdy". Third, in March and April of this year, two children died from anaphylactic reactions which were highly publicised..


The Good

On the positive side, the gluten free/allergen free explosion of foods has been a positive on many levels for our communities. More options and more awareness are a good thing. Research has slowly progressed, making for better testing and a larger amount of awareness for the medical community. Doctors are increasingly adding it to options for testing. Social Media is requiring companies to be more responsible in their offerings.

BUT...

The Bad 

Unfortunately, it is such a mixed bag of emotions and fraught with missteps along the way, that many of us know we are nowhere near anything but the tip of the iceberg in how to handle the issues facing our world. That may sound dramatic, but as the old saying goes, the grass is not any greener on the other side of the fence.

Europe does not handle food allergies any better than the U.S. according to international blogs and community comments on social media. The U.S. finally has an FDA labeling rule of 20 ppm as standard in European countries. This is actually "low gluten" and not gluten free completely.

Restaurants everywhere are cashing in on this explosion, but most are only offering it with disclaimers, if at all , to those who are celiac or truly allergic. They have a very valid fear of being sued. So, now, we have the chance of a communication issue of human error and cost effectiveness which is changing some restaurants' minds about offering it at all. And still lacking overall in the process is our schools, hospitals, and senior facilities. Kudos to colleges for making more progress, but as you recall, that took a lawsuit as well.

Celebrities have actually given a mixed message by doing PR - Some doing it for necessity, but most for weight loss or general healthiness, making it appear as a flaky fad type issue to the general population. And why not? Celebrities have been seemingly jumping on the band wagon en masse exodus and the general population who is health conscious has too. This has meant a market explosion of 36%, with only 6% of that being those who know they need it medically. With the new focus of media being how fattening a gluten-free diet is rather than focusing on the whole foods portion which is indeed healthier for all.

Physicians and Specialists are still dumbfounded by the sheer number of illnesses related to auto-immune breakdown. The general breakdown of the population in health has the medical profession encumbered with such vast possibilities linking to celiac disease and other auto-immune breakdowns, that they still frustratingly border on non-belief. The fact that testing is not always 100% accurate has led to that breakdown as well. It's like finding a needle in a haystack to most General Practitioners.

To add to the confusion, the overwhelming amount of physicians who have ridden along the gluten-free/allergen-free express have been, what most term; Holistic or Alternative. That faction has a whole Pandora's Box of other issues that comes along with it. Although some holistic practitioners are more than accurate and are truly in it for the passion of helping others, some are in it for their own benefit. With a bevy of products including magic coffee beans, non FDA approved supplements (none are actually approved), plant extracts, and fortified water, which may or may not have any benefit to those with celiac disease or any other issue. Such has fueled many people to take their health into their own hands in disbelief of their medical community.

& The Ugly 

Throughout the explosion of gluten free/allergen free food options, the media coverage has shown the need to sensationalize the issues by praying upon the rights of individuals to show both sides and completely not even reporting the facts at times, has been a blow by blow set back. It has become as posh to be Gluten-free/Allergen-free as it is to sneer at those who inconvenience them with supposed allergies and intolerance to food. Their beloved establishment of the belief in whole grains as their health source has caused another backlash.

Through it all, our children and loved ones are experiencing more bullying by peers and adults. The Disney Channel reference above, was supposed to be a "humorous" take on food intolerance, but at the expense of the character and all of those with food allergies who were watching. They rectified by making a statement that the episode would no longer be aired and an apology. This fueled a fire-storm of comments by some fans who were none too happy about the food allergy community rallying beside a Change.org petition which forced Disney Channel PR to release the statement.

The incident clearly showed the community how truly vile humans could be to one another in this new "dog eat dog" viewpoint some of the public holds about disabilities in general. You cannot see celiac disease on the outside, therefore the response for a critic is likely "they must be crazy" or a hypochondriac. 

Folks, we dealt with that already with the medical community. At some point it just gets old and hurtful with a strong proclivity to making us angrier than before for ignorance. Rest assured, nothing makes a parent angrier than an attack on their young. 

We can only suggest to everyone to keep calm and remain focused on the positive. Know that it is always darkest before the dawn.

5/17/2013

Get The Facts Jack - Celiac Disease Needs More Awareness Than Ever!

As you have probably already heard, May is Nationally recognized as
Celiac Disease Awareness Month.
If you haven't heard yet, where have you been hiding?! Or are you someone who is sick of hearing so much about Celiac? Perhaps you think there are tons more gluten free options and these people are ridiculously whining? I mean, you see it everywhere don't you? Dr Oz, the grocery store tags, the big labels on foods...

Well here are some facts from the other side of the fence where the grass is not yet greener.

FACT
May is National Celiac Awareness Month

Our communities have rallied behind making May the month to feature everything gluten free to help out our Celiac and gluten free neighbors. But, it is very evident that we still are far from raising enough awareness. Every day I meet people who have heard of celiac disease yet have no clue as to what that is. They may have seen gluten free labels, but think it is a diet fad. And yet, on the flip side, a whole lot more people know than did when our daughter was diagnosed.

But diagnosis rates are on a crawl compared to the options exploding on the marketplace.

FACT
Celiac Disease is thought to affect 1 in 133 people and yet it is still being misdiagnosed due to difficulty of diagnosis through physicians who treat symptoms systematically in lieu of testing further. 
85% are still undiagnosed.

I cannot count the many multitudes of people I have met across this nation who have sought diagnosis for 7-14 years or more! It is a staggering reality when you speak to people who are just so wonderfully glad to be alive. But the reality is that our celiac children have it the best overall because they have incurred damage that can be rectified. Some people will never recover fully from the damage that waiting for a proper diagnosis will leave in its wake.

FACT
The FDA has been trying to make the final ruling and enact the Gluten Free Food Labeling Law holding the standard at 20 ppm. This is actually low gluten, not completely gluten free, but better than before. 

In running events for R.O.C.K. Charlotte and other events across the country, I have also encountered still far too many people who have bypassed awareness for simply thinking celiacs have enough gluten free options now. They do not correlate the medical necessities that are still at epidemic proportions for our nation relating to celiac disease. This is sadly in part due to the majority of people hearing about celebrities who are coming to the forefront with dietary change for weight loss.

They have made it way more difficult than before to trust the onslaught of products which may not truly be safe because of the FDA not regulating fully in making all food meet a standard.

FACT
Celiac Disease will shorten your life if not treated with a gluten free lifestyle.

Every day, we are reading more evidence to support physical and neurological effects to life shortening effects that may occur with long term damage to the body. This long term damage is usually the result of misdiagnosis by a medical professional who was poorly educated on the disease and related illnesses or has taken the stance that someone who complains is more than likely a patient in need of psychiatric care.


FACT
A 2010 study in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology said that 35% of kids over age 5 with food allergies have endured bullying, teasing or harassment. Parents of children with food allergies reported in the study that these incidents -- both physical and verbal -- happened because of food allergies.

Celiac Disease makes our children easier targets for bullying and some studies have even said this number is higher like 50%! It doesn't help in the slightest that media personifies celiac disease as irritating and funny, as in this article by Gluten Dude about the Disney sitcom that made fun of a child for having Celiac Disease


FACT
Celiac is a Disease not a Diet

Below are a list of advocates that I strongly suggest you follow during this month's awareness:
Gluten Dude A no non-sense adult's perspective of living with celiac disease
Gluten Away Impressive blog by a 16 year old living with celiac disease
I'm A Celiac Informative and up to date news, recipes, and lifestyle
Jules Shepard Advocate, Author, baker extraordinaire, and founder of Jules Gluten Free
Leah McGrath RD Ingles Markets Dietitian and advocate for options in their stores also works closely with support groups to support the community

There are of course scientifically based resources which can be accessed for research facts, fundraisers, and awareness which are listed below:


Get the Facts Jack!


*Information on our site and shared by members of our support forums is not intended to be medical advice or to replace the relationship between a patient and his/her physician*