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Survival of a Celiac in a Natural Disaster

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Good day to you.  We are coming to the end of May 2012, Celiac Awareness Month, and into the beginning of an important season – Hurricane Season.  I think this is a wonderful opportunity to meld the two events together into one blog.

As a celiac survivor, I pay close attention to the Hurricane Season as I’m a resident of Florida, USA (central, west coast).  I know I will need to rely on myself primarily should a hurricane or other natural disaster hit my locale.  Why do I state this?  I’ve reached out to American Red Cross in regard to food allergens, celiac, and shelter and they’ve informed me while they can accommodate people with food allergens, celiac, and shelter – their resources are very limited due to budget constraints.  What does this mean to you and me, celiac survivor?

What this means is this:  we, celiac survivors, have to take responsibility in regard to our diet and stockpile gluten-free, celiac foods for ourselves in case of a natural disaster.  How many of us have thought of this aspect of our lives in a day-to-day fashion?  In light of my recent dialogues on Twitter (@GFDougie), not many of us do.  While I don’t have specific quotes from Twitter, many say “OMGosh, I didn’t think of that” or “Being celiac in a shelter never occurred to me!”  It’s understated, celiac survivor, but I think we need to find our own gluten-free resources for celiac-friendly foods when facing a natural disaster.

I understand I’m blogging to many income-level earners.  Money may not be as plentiful and/ or discretionary in regard to what you can afford to stockpile gluten-free in light of an impending natural disaster.  That said every effort should be made to stockpile as much as you can, especially if you live in a vulnerable locale, like Tornado Alley, USA.  Do what you can to support you, celiac survivor.  No one can do this better than you can, celiac survivor.  Know no one but you, celiac survivor, will take care of you!

Celiac survivor, you need to augment purchasing gluten-free rations into your food budget; either from a grocer, health-food store, or an on-line website.  Please look into MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) (I’m not a paid spokesperson) items ahead of any natural disaster.  Here’s another resource for MRE.  Please know canned veggies, fish and sardines, and soups are also great resources from local grocer for a celiac stockpile in regard to a natural disaster.  Also know gluten-free crackers, rice cakes, peanut butter and packaged gluten-free bread may contribute to your natural disaster celiac survivor stockpile.  Do what you can to increase your chance of survival of an impending natural disaster, celiac survivor.

What knowledge should you take away with in regard to regard to education in regard to this blog?  Prepare, like the ants do, celiac survivor.  We, celiac survivors, have to work harder to be with health during a natural disaster.   Know you can’t depend on others for our celiac disease.  Know you can depend on you for education in regard to what foods you can eat in a natural disaster.

In closing, I hope I’ve opened a few windows in regard to tips us celiacs can use to survive a natural disaster.  I hope you will pass these tips on in regard to celiac disease and awareness.

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

Peace be with you.

Emotions in Regard to Celiac Disease

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Good day to you.  My name is Dougie and I’m a Celiac.  How many times have I made this or a variance of this greeting to people I’ve interacted with?  I wouldn’t be able to count.  The more important question I would like to ask is this – how do you feel when you make that greeting?

Celiac disease is an emotional autoimmune disease.  When I was younger, I felt like cringing when I had to announce my disease.  Why?  It alerted others I was different, not the norm, and high maintenance.  I would then have to go into my spiel of what celiac disease is and what I can eat (yes, I can eat potatoes) and cannot eat (no, I cannot eat just the cherries off of the pie crust), gluten.  It can be very frustrating, especially if my audience doesn’t get it.  Having to explain myself, and my disease, only intensifies my feelings of difference.  Now that I’m older and have a better understanding of the disease, I embrace it.  As a result of embracing celiac disease, I’ve found my emotions and self-esteem has improved for the positive.  I no longer cringe when I say “Hi, my name is Dougie and I’m a Celiac.”  Why?  Because of my attitude change and how I feel about myself and my disease.  I own who I am and what I have.  While celiac disease is not the whole of me, it is a part of me.

Besides the social element of emotion in regard to celiac disease, there is another important emotional aspect – the food itself.  Yes, for the normal diet, food brings about many emotions as a result of memories, comfort, and well-being.  For the celiac survivor, food also brings about these same emotions but I feel there’s more to it.  Negative emotions and feelings can abound if the celiac survivor focuses on what they can’t eat or make.  On the flip side, the celiac survivor can achieve the same emotions as those on a regular diet by focusing on what they can eat or make.  What can celiac survivors do to focus on what they can eat or make?  Learn how to cook gluten-free by making substitutions for gluten flour in recipes.  Focus on natural vegetables and fruits without using flour.  Get delicious recipes from other celiac survivors.  What is the celiac survivor left with?  Emotions brought on by positive memories, comfort, and well-being.

I do not have a medical background or education.  That said I feel many celiac survivors are not in touch with their emotions enough to validate themselves and what they are up against as a survivor.  Acknowledging the feelings and emotions, I feel, is one of the first steps for the celiac survivor to recover mentally and then physically and truly be gluten-free.  I feel until these first steps are understood and completed, the true celiac survivor does not exist.  What do you think?

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

Peace be with you.

Progress

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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.

GFDougie Shares His Celiac Story – My Take on Celiac Awareness Month

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Good day to you.  I’ve recently been extended an invite to write a guest blog post on Ken Scheer’s blog: Rock a Healthy Lifestyle  to help raise awareness of the month of May being Celiac Awareness Month.  Ken Scheer is writing or submitting guest blogs for each day of the month of May.  I hope you check his blog out as he has great tools, information, and resources available for people surviving celiac disease and allergen issues.  Please read Ken Scheer’s introduction of me and my guest blog below:

Today is day 8 of 31 straight blog posts celebrating celiac awareness month and I would like to introduce GFDougie.  He and I got connected via Twitter about six months ago and his passion is spreading awareness and educating others about living a gluten-free lifestyle.  He’s been extremely supportive and I’m happy to add him to a very nice list of gluten-free buddies.  I hope you enjoy his story as much as I did.

My Take on Celiac Awareness Month

Good day to you.  Celiac awareness has taken me full circle in my life as a celiac disease survivor.  I’ve run the gamut as a survivor of celiac disease in not having the proper education of how to handle my celiac disease lifestyle, to blatantly cheating with gluten,  to finally coming to grips with what a celiac disease survivor is and how to live that gluten-free lifestyle successfully.

For the full guest blog post I submitted, please see the link below:

http://rockahealthylifestyle.com/gluten-free/guest-blogger-gfdougie-shares-his-celiac-story/

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

Peace be with you.