Both Food Allergy & Celiac Disease Awareness Months are in May. Advocates are using this time to shine visibility on and educate others about these diet-treated medical conditions affecting millions of Americans. Food Equality Initiative has been dedicated to this cause since 2014. Here are some of our more recent awareness campaigns.

One of the main activities at FEI is to share awareness about food allergies all year long.

Food allergies are a potentially life-threatening medical condition that affects over 32 million Americans. Education Coordinator, Sofia, recently updated the food comparison chart. The chart compares the cost of common foods and the allergen-free counterparts. 

Sofia says, “NOTHING is cheaper or equivalent to even the pricey name brand items. This chart shows the real cost of a food allergy and/or celiac disease diagnosis. In order to get the free-from foods their bodies require, they have to shell out significantly more money at the grocery store. (Not to mention that government assistance programs such as WIC and SNAP rarely cover the items needed.)” 

Being aware of the cost of free-from foods is one of the more empathetic things a person without food allergies can do. Another is to not ask the question, “What can you even eat?” In the May-June 2022* issue of Free-From Magazine, Cindy Kaplan, who has more than 35 food allergies, writes that there are more than those 35 foods in the world! 

Indrani Maitra

Cindy says, “Living with a special diet takes discipline and work, and the consequences of eating the wrong foods when food is your medicine can be dire. But, alongside all the hard parts, are some wonderful opportunities.” Try rephrasing the question “what can you even eat” to: “What are some of your favorite foods to eat?”

Indrani Maitra, one of FEI’s 2021 summer interns, wrote an article sharing her journey from isolation to speaking up and owning her food allergies. “I am empowered seeing older teens not letting food allergies get in the way of their accomplishments. In turn, I try to be a mentor for younger kids as they navigate social challenges,” said Indrani.

Having a food allergy means that life could change in an instant for you and your loved ones. So, take one day at a time to continue learning and sharing with others. 

Did you know?

1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease (CD) and the only way to treat it is by not eating gluten. However, for residents of Italy and the United Kingdom diagnosed with celiac disease, treatment looks a little different. Instead, of heading to the supermarket, Italians, as well as residents of the United Kingdom, visit their local pharmacy to fill prescriptions for gluten-free foods. That is really taking “Food is Medicine” to the next level.

People with CD also must avoid any toothpaste, makeup, and skin and hair care products that contain gluten. Another caution that those with CD should take is handling anything that contains gluten, including pet food.

Alena Frankish, RD

As more and more people adopt trending diets, such as a gluten-free diet, it can prove difficult to explain diets required in order to maintain health for people with diet-treated diseases. Registered dietitian and contributing writer to Free-From Magazine, Alena Frankish, discusses living with celiac disease in a seemingly increased gluten-free fad world.

Alena says, “Although recently there has been a lot of effort to increase awareness, it is important to be your own advocate. There is a lot of misinformation and rumors about the gluten-free diet. Each of us can take part in raising awareness by educating our friends and family members about it! “

Join us in raising awareness about celiac disease, a diet-treated condition affecting millions of Americans, by sharing our articles with friends and family on social media. We love to see where you share, so tag us too!  

A community more aware of food allergies and celiac disease will be a safer community!

With YOUR support, FEI will continue working to bridge the gap, fighting for nutrition security and health equity for all. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.

In health awareness,

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