Good day to you.  We are halfway through Celiac Awareness Month at the time of this writing and I’ve done a little reflecting on the progress the celiac survivor has made.  I feel this progress for celiac survivors has come in many forms to make celiac disease just a little easier to live with.

Progress for the celiac survivor includes increased awareness by the general public.  I’ve heard so many times from my co-workers: “I was at the grocery store last night and I thought of you.  I saw gluten-free Rice Chex!”  Most people I interact with seem to have at least a slight grasp of what celiac disease is.  Even if the people I interact with have incorrect perceptions about celiac disease, I’ve generally found they are receptive to receiving accurate information about the disease.  I find this encouraging for the celiac survivor.

Progress for the celiac survivor includes increased information sharing among our own.  With social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other media; the information at our fingertips is almost limitless.  I’ve witnessed celiac survivor information being transmitted at lightning speed on the internet.  I’ve observed celiac survivor communities pop up and help out others with advice, consolation, and answers to questions.  Gluten-free recipes and other ideas are spread like wildfire.  As I state in another blog I recently wrote: “It’s been an amazing ride and experience.”

Progress for the celiac survivor includes technology.  I’ve already mentioned social media in relation to celiac survivors.  However, using internet search engines to find gluten-free products, ingredient lists, and information in regard to symptoms is also an amazing tool for celiac survivors.  Other great tools are the many smart phone apps to find celiac survivor friendly locations such as health-food stores and restaurants.  If the celiac survivor lives in a remote area, they can easily access the internet and order gluten-free products on-line!  The celiac survivor has almost instant access to all things gluten-free around them.

Progress for the celiac survivor includes the expansion of the distribution of gluten-free products.  Fifteen to twenty years ago, in my personal experience, I could find gluten-free products primarily in health-food stores.  Five to ten years ago, I noticed a few gluten-free items in the grocery store.  Now, there are dedicated gluten-free sections in the grocery store that appear to be expanding almost daily!  Choices have expanded greatly for the celiac survivor.

Progress for the celiac survivor includes eating out in restaurants.  In my experience, celiac survivors have increasing options in regard to eating out gluten-free.  From food trucks and pizzerias to five-star dining, menus have been increasingly accommodating for the celiac survivor.  More restaurant employees also seem more knowledgeable about celiac disease and the dangers of cross-contamination.  Celiac survivors seem to have less stress in helping choose a restaurant to eat with family, friends, or co-workers and remain gluten-free.

Progress for the celiac survivor is not without hidden dangers.  Celiac survivors must hold themselves accountable in regard to the accuracy of the information they receive.  Whether that information is in regard to an ingredient list, information on the internet, or menus; the celiac survivor still has to educate themselves accurately so as to remain gluten-free and healthy.  That said, it is increasingly easier to receive accurate information and that, celiac survivor, is what I call progress.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free – and Celiac Disease Awareness for May.

Peace be with you.