Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When is enough..enough

I have to say that I have been seriously reconsidering the amount of time I spend doing volunteer work. It isn't that I don't enjoy helping people or that I am looking to make money, but it is that I am so tired of complaints.

It seems all I hear lately is complaining and no compliments. People don't seem to be satisfied with me giving, in some cases, 4+ hours a day of my time. No, they want to ask me to take on even more responsibility and add to my work load without pitching in to help.

If it weren't for that handful of people who send me complimentary emails and who go out of there way to say positive things, I definitely would have given it up by now.

My challenge to you is to encourage you to go out and volunteer your time for a worthy cause. October is Celiac Disease Awareness Month and I am sure you can all think of some way to donate your time and or money to help increase awareness and raise research dollars:
* Patronize a local restaurant and encourage them to provide a gluten free menu.

* Wear “Gluten Free” gear (hats, t-shirts). This is a great way to strike up a conversation with a stranger and educate them about the disease.
* Write to your local media (newspapers, local TV stations, etc.). Suggest they run a story about Celiac Disease while you share your story and serve as their interviewee.
* Subscribe to a magazine on the gluten-free diet, like Gluten Free Living, Living Without, or Delightfully Gluten Free
* Start a local blog and share your experiences with the gluten-free diet
* Participate in a local health fair by volunteering your time or showcasing gluten-free services
* Join a local support group: Atlanta Metro Celiacs and Georgia's R.O.C.K. Chapter
* Join the local Atlanta Gluten Free Dinner Group, meet new people, share information on their message board and dine at local restaurants
* Set up a display at a local health food store, library, etc., to promote Celiac Disease awareness.

Before you criticize someone think about what you can be doing to help.

Friday, October 9, 2009

We need regulation in the U.S. NOW....

I just read an article about a bakery in Australia that was fined more than 1,300 for selling a gluten-free cake that was not gluten-free. The owner of the bakery was charged another $660 for not taking the necessary steps to prevent cross contamination.

We can't even get the FDA to define gluten, let alone police the companies that are currently producing questionable gluten-free products. What will it take for the FDA to realize that gluten is poison to people on the gluten-free diet? Despite what some celebrities say about it being a food allergy, our autoimmune disorder is nothing to take lightly and it is insulting to say the least that they (FDA) aren't even interested in helping to regulate this issue.

I have been working as a GF Product Specialist for more than three years and it is quite disturbing to see the number of companies that are jumping on the band wagon by labeling their products gluten free.

I personally research companies to determine their manufacturing practices prior to making a purchasing decision and I highly encourage everyone to do the same. Just because a product is marked gluten-free does not mean that you can 'trust' that is it completely safe. Contact the company directly to learn about how the product is made to see what else is manufactured on the production line and what other raw materials are stored in the manufacturing facilities. Remember that most companies do not own their own production lines, rather they share, so they need to be liable for the safety of the finished product.

Stop taking things at face value and do your own research. You are responsible for what you eat, so you need to your own research to be comfortable with the safety of what you eat. Remember there are many foods that are naturally gluten free, so you don't have to invest in all of the processed products.

Hopefully we can get our act together in the US soon and catch up with the system adopted by Europe that has been working for more than 30 years.