Valentine's Day is today so I thought it would be a great time to reflect on all of the wonderful reasons you should love a person with Celiac Disease today and always. Please feel free to add your additions in the comments section below!
1. We are rare!
Only 1% of Americans have Celiac Disease. Even fewer African-, Hispanic- and Asian-Americans have Celiac Disease. We are less than one in a million and a great catch if you can find one of us!
2. We are unique!
Celiac Disease has over 300 symptoms. The disease manifests itself different in each and every one of us. No two Celiacs are the same.
3. We get stuff done!
It was the Celiac community that rallied behind re-opening the the FDA gluten-free labeling conversation and subsequently helped get these laws passed in the summer of 2013, making shopping for safe food easier for all of us.
4. We are persistent!
On average, it takes 6-10 years to get a Celiac diagnosis. We do not accept doctors with no answers or vague diagnoses. We keep on looking for an answer and don't give up until we get one.
5. We know the best restaurants in town!
Ask a Celiac where to eat and they can probably rattle off a list of safe, gluten-free restaurants within a 50 mile radius. We do our research ahead of time and probably have an "in" with the manager and the chef. We also tip well. (Hint, hint: you should do this if don't, especially if you are fed safely and well!)
6. We don't discriminate.
We share our celiac disease with men and women of all ages and races. We are blondes, brunettes, blue eyes, grey eyes, short, tall, and so much more.
7. We love food.
Our only "cure" for Celiac at the moment is gluten-free food. Yes, our medication is food! What's not to love about that? Some of the most decadent foods on earth are naturally gluten-free. Feel free to spoil us with wine, chocolate, caviar, and truffles.
8. We are great communicators!
Do a search on Google and you will find hundreds of gluten-free blogs, Twitter handles, and Facebook pages dedicated to living the best Celiac life ever. We probably built our blogs to share the research we have done on the journey to our own diagnosis with others struggling with the same research. Simply Gluten-Free keeps a great list of gluten-free bloggers in our Celiac community.
9. We are entrepreneurs!
Some of the best gluten-free products come from those of us living with Celiac Disease who will not settle for crappy tasting gluten-free food.
10. We are social!
After our diagnosis, we often feel like we are the only ones living with Celiac. To fix this, we seek out support groups, online communities, and other resources to connect us with others living with Celiac Disease. Meetup.com is a great place to connect with others living with Celiac.
11. We are global!
Celiac Disease knows no borders. There are national and international celiac organizations across the globe. These associations are often eager to help Americans navigate the gluten-free scene when traveling to their country. Gluten-Free Globetrotter keeps a growing list of international Celiac organizations.
12. We can cook!
Many people with Celiac Disease choose not to dine outside of their home which makes getting creative in the kitchen a necessity. There are hundreds of recipes online that are naturally gluten-free and we are eager to try them all.
13. We are loyal!
When we find a gluten-free brand or restaurant that tastes good and feeds us safely, we tend to be repeat customers. We are excited to tell others about our gluten-free discoveries and will continue eat this food and be loyal to the brand.
14. We are meticulous!
It probably takes someone with Celiac twice as long to do an average grocery shopping, but this is because we read labels on every product we buy. We look for warning signs like "Made in a shared facility with wheat" or "May contain..." We pay attention and are careful about everything we eat.
15. We are appreciative!
A gesture as simple as buying us a safe, gluten-free brownie, a new GF cookbook, or even just texting us a photo of something gluten-free that reminds you of us goes a VERY long way. We will be happy that you are aware of the gluten-free world around you and that you want to share it with us.
Much love to you and your favorite Celiac
on this Valentine's Day!