May is one of my favorite times of the year at Bob’s Red Mill. Not only do the flowers let lose all over the country (at least we hope they are blooming where you are), but May is National Celiac Disease Awareness Month. That might not seem like a reason to celebrate, but May is as good a time as any to spread the word about celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
Celiac disease is a genetic condition in which the consumption of foods containing gluten (a form of protein found in some grains e.g. wheat, barley, and rye) triggers an autoimmune response that damages the small intestine. The damage to the intestine makes it hard for the body to absorb nutrients from food, especially fat, calcium, iron, and folic acid, leading to malnutrition and a variety of other problems such as diarrhea, weight loss, and weakness.
In the United States, the exact number of people who have Celiac Disease is not known. Recent screening tests have shown that 1 in every 133 people may have the condition. Many of those people are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions that have similar symptoms. The only cure is to follow a gluten free diet.
To make life a little easier for those with Celiac Disease, Bob’s Red Mill has dedicated a special section of our company solely to the production of gluten-free flours, cereals and baking mixes. They are all produced in a facility separated from where our products that contain gluten are manufactured, and they are tested in our laboratory using the R-5 ELISA Gluten Assay Test to ensure that they are gluten-free. Watch our video tour of our gluten free facility here.
Here are some fun ideas for spreading awareness of celiac disease:
- Bring gluten free treats to your work or your child’s classroom and prove to others just how delicious gluten free can be. Make sure to bring your A-game and practice first if you’re not sure about a recipe.
- Host a gluten free party and serve only gluten free foods and beverages. This is a great way to talk about the less-known sources of gluten (think beer and soy sauce). A simple Google search turned up pages of great ideas for a gluten free party.
- Take a newly diagnosed friend or family member grocery shopping or help them clean out their kitchen to prepare for the new diet.
- Organize a meet-up for other families on the gluten free diet.
- Challenge yourself to try a new restaurant where you’ve heard they are responsive to special diet needs.
Got others? Share them with us on Facebook or in the comments here.
To celebrate Celiac Disease Awareness Month, we have some great giveaways planned. I have cookbooks, cookies, baking utensils and more! Keep checking back to here for your chance to win.