May is National Celiac Awareness Month
May 04, 2015 07:59PM
May kicks off national Celiac Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness and education about celiac disease and other gluten sensitivities. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by the consumption of and an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness estimates over 3 million Americans have celiac disease, yet it can go undiagnosed for years. As awareness of it increases and more people speculate that gluten might be at the cause of specific health issues, diagnosis of it has risen sharply. Adhering to a gluten-free diet has become easier and tastier as more manufacturers and restaurants feature products that are safe to eat.
There’s also a bevy of information and resources via many websites, organizations and events for education and support for the celiac community. The Carmel-based Gluten Free Living Now Expo, co-founded by Shelia Cafferty and acquired by Living Without magazine in 2013, now offers several two-day expos around the country.
The Living Without’s Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fests offer samplings of gluten-free, allergy-friendly foods, presentations by experts, and sharing of experiences with others in the celiac and food-allergic community. It has expanded to seven cities in 2015. This year’s series will begin April 25 and 26 in Columbus, Ohio, return to its original home base in Indianapolis, October 24 and 25, and conclude in Stamford, Connecticut, November 7 and 8.
Camp Gluten Freedom at the Flat Rock YMCA, in St. Paul, Indiana, June 14 to 20, makes it possible for food-sensitive children to attend summer camp. Flat Rock can accommodate children with dietary restrictions during any session, but have put together some special meals and options for an integrated camp for gluten-free children. The camp’s many activities include arts and crafts, alpine tower, various sports, outdoor skills, water activities and horseback riding.