Happy New Year!
As is tradition, people will make resolutions to improve something in their life on New Year’s Eve. Many of these resolutions will involve improving their health. Some common examples are to work out at the gym, to stop smoking and to eat healthier foods.
For some reason, these resolutions don’t seem to stick around much longer than a few months. This is why the absolute best resolution a gluten-free (GF) person can make is to join a support group.
Whether you are newly diagnosed or have been GF for years, there are many benefits to joining a local support group focused on the GF community.
Become active in your local support group. While you are learning, you can share your knowledge with others living the GF lifestyle. This knowledge can be as simple as where to shop for groceries or which store carries your favorite bread.
Another benefit of enrolling in a local support group is the warmness you will feel when learning you are not alone with your special dietary needs. Many of these groups offer dining events and/or potlucks. At these food based events, you can eat safely and enjoy the company of others that live similar lives based around their health issues.
To find your local support group, simply do an internet search for the words “gluten free” plus the name of your town. You can also try other key words such as “celiac” or
“gluten intolerant.” Be sure to include the words “support group.”
Tucson, AZ has a support group which is named Southern Arizona Celiac Support which has over 200 members and is still growing. Although celiac is in their non-profit’s name, anyone with gluten issues or caring for someone who is GF can obtain help from this fantastic group. If you look at their website at www.southernarizonaceliacsupport.org, you will see that they offer many options to participate including monthly meetings, guest speakers and dining events.
Phoenix, AZ also has a support group called Celiac Disease Foundation’s Great Phoenix Chapter. This wonderful group can be found at www.phoenixceliac.org. They will be offering a GF Expo in April of 2013.
If you don’t hit a homerun on your search, you can also directly contact one of the major groups for more information.
The three that appear to be most active in this region of the U.S. are:
Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) www.csaceliacs.org – “Changing the World for Celiacs. To achieve this vision, CSA pursues a mission that dedicates its efforts to helping individuals with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities through research, education and support. Our member-volunteers work locally, regionally and nationally to increase awareness, improve diagnosis and treatment, and help celiacs and gluten sensitive individuals to love living gluten-free!”
Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) – http://www.gluten.net – “The mission of the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America® is to support persons with gluten intolerances, celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, and other gluten sensitivities, through consumer and industry services and programs that positively promote healthy lives.”
Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) – http://www.celiac.org – “Since its inception in 1990, Celiac Disease Foundation has been at the forefront of celiac disease education, awareness, advocacy, and support services. Today, guided by its distinguished Medical Advisory Board, and supported by Chapters and Connections throughout the United States, CDF is meeting the growing public health challenge of increased diagnosis of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. With a range of vital programs and services for the public, patients, healthcare professionals and the food industries, CDF remains dedicated to improving the quality of life for those diagnosed, yet to be diagnosed, and their families.”
If you aren’t interested in reading through their pages of GF information, use the links to find your local or nearest support group chapter.
CSA – http://www.csaceliacs.info/find.jsp
GIG – http://www.gluten.net/local-branches.aspx
CDF – http://www.celiac.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47&It…
Enjoy 2013 and getting to know more about your GF community.