Did you know that there is a sleuth among us? A sly protein hides in your kitchen, acting as the binding agent in many foods and beverages you consume on a daily basis. Many of us take it for granted and know nothing of its presence, while 2.5 million people in the U.S. battle against it. Can you guess what it is? Gluten — a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley that those with a gluten intolerance spend their lives avoiding. On January 13, we observe National Gluten-Free Day alongside our gluten-free friends!
National Gluten-Free Day - History
Gluten-free numbers rise
An estimated 2.5 million U.S. citizens are diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
Gluten-free trend began
In addition to those diagnosed with Celiac Disease, people with gluten intolerance, and those choosing to eat gluten-free, create a surge in the gluten-free trend.
Celiac Disease identified
Only .01 percent of the global population was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
Industrial farming boom began
Wheat became a high-yield crop.
Wheat was born
First agricultural cultivation in the Fertile Crescent.
How to Observe National Gluten-Free Day
1. Invite a friend to eat
If you have a gluten-free friend, call them up and invite them on a gluten-free lunch date. Let them teach you about the menu, and if you’re brave, allow them to order you a gluten-free meal. Are YOU the gluten-free friend? Invite your besties out for lunch and educate them on your menu options.
2. Make a gluten-free recipe
Try your hand at gluten-free cooking. Find a delicious, intriguing, gluten-free recipe from the internet and go to town! Up for a challenge? Try baking from scratch with rice or almond flour.
3. Share the love
If you don’t share it on social media, it never happened, right? Be sure to post pictures of your gluten-free meal and baked goods for all your friends to see and try. The more people understand, the more awareness we have!
5 Things To Remember About Celiac Disease
1. It is not an allergy
It’s a common misconception that those with Celiac are allergic to gluten.
2. It is autoimmune
Those diagnosed with Celiac Disease suffer damage to the lower intestine if they ingest gluten.
3. Celiac for life
There is no cure or prevention, but following a gluten-free diet is the way of life!
4. Gluten hides everywhere
From beer to soy sauce, gluten is in far more items than the bread products lining the shelves of your local bakery.
5. Celiac leads to other issues
If undiagnosed, this autoimmune disease can lead to other issues, such as lactose intolerance, anemia, and GI cancers.
Why National Gluten-Free Day is Important
A. We get to clean up our diets and make our digestive system smile
While gluten is a protein found in many foods, it's not necessarily healthy for our systems. People who have the autoimmune disorder known as Celiac Disease understand this best of all, as ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. Understanding the plight of the Celiac sufferer or gluten-intolerant friend is one of the perks of celebrating and recognizing this day. The more educated we are, the better we understand those that live the gluten-free lifestyle!
B. We get to broaden our horizons
Have you ever tried baking with almond flour or spiralizing your own noodles from a vegetable? Ever sampled a gluten-free bakery? Today is the day to experience new things!
C. We find the joy in little things
Donuts, pastries, and bread…oh my! Imagine them all taken away in the blink of an eye. For those with a gluten-free lifestyle, we celebrate how the trend has spread to many restaurants now offering gluten-free menus. For those that can indulge in copious amounts of gluten, we are reminded to find the joy in the little things that we easily take for granted.