About Me

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I'm a Marketing/Advertising pro with 15 years experience in retail, restaurant & cpg industries.  Celiac Disease saved my family and has inspired me to be a student of gluten, an advocate for awareness and eager to help businesses that serve our growing market to DO GLUTEN-FREE RIGHT!

Monday, February 2, 2015

There is trouble afoot...our idea of DANGER is EATING GLUTEN

I love the Super Bowl. Not so much for the football. I love it for the ads.

Brilliant ads. 
Big budget ads. 
Ads that make us laugh. 
Ads that make us cry.


You see, I spent 10 wonderful years making television ads. I appreciate the brilliance, the effort, the passion and the risks that go into creating an ad.

Superbowl Sunday is like Christmas for the ad world. It is the one day when millions of people are glued to the TV and are waiting to watch the ads. And then the reward is listening to see...
Did they surprise and excite?
Did they work?
Did they win the audience over?
Did they make people mad?
Did they provoke a conversation?

Well, this year, my excitement got squashed a few days early. 

NBC Sports and NASCAR released their Superbowl Ad early. 
It was a masterpiece of an ad. 

And it touched on an issue near and dear to my heart. It mentioned gluten.
It used the words danger, gluten and trouble all in the same sentence.

Yeah sure, the actor said it in a mocking way. But whatever, I don't care about that. All I heard was the buzzwords...
Shameful
Gluten
Danger
Trouble

Oh it was brilliant.
Millions would see this ad.
Nascar might offend and alienate some.

But it also could SPARK a conversation, 

it could be a launching pad for a real life discussion about the danger of gluten and the trouble it causes.


But then, the celiac community, my beloved celiac community got mad. 
They couldn't see the opportunity. 
They obsessed over the tone
They were angered by the line "we the people have gotten soft". 
They couldn't find the humor. 
They raged. 
They petitioned. 16 thousand of them! 
They demanded the line be removed.
And IT WORKED. 
NBC Sports got soft and cut it out. 
The celiac community celebrated a big win.
But not me. Here's the thing....
We had no right to censor that ad. It wasn't harmful. It brought our favorite topic to light. 
We could have embraced the opportunity to respond, to tell our stories and show our might, used our rally to fight a bigger fight. 

Instead of using to strength to further our cause, we cut the words out of a ridiculous ad. And there was backlash. We were ridiculed for it. Mocked. Laughed at. 


an example of the backlash
They could have learned.... 

Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease. A disease that nearly stole my child and caused years of problems beyond comprehension in my family of 5.

It is the most common autoimmune disease affecting 1% of the population worldwide, that's 3 million people in the US alone. And experts believe the numbers are on the rise.

Celiac disease is incredibly misunderstood and misdiagnosed.
Over 80% of the people who have it DON'T KNOW IT.

Doctors don't recognize it often enough...it often takes 7, 8, 9, 10, 20 years of symptoms and misdiagnosis before Celiac is discovered.

The only treatment for Celiac disease is to avoid gluten at all costs,
0 gluten for life.
Forever.

A tiny tiny bit of gluten can cause a celiac's body to freak out and start attacking itself; It's stomach, it's organs, it's mind. It's crazy serious stuff.

Gluten Sensitivity is more of a mystery and a newly recognized thing in the medical world. It is a real thing. It is hard to diagnose. It looks like celiac, but it isn't celiac. Experts don't really know what it is, just that it is a powerful immune system disorder. Most doctors are hesitant to diagnose it because there isn't a medically accepted test for it, so people are stuck diagnosing it themselves. But experts believe somewhere between 6% and 60% of the population have it. And the people who have figured out they have it, well, they are living with a disorder they know they have, but everyone else thinks is all in their head, including some of their doctors. Most are attacking this massive life change on their own, and it is hard, and they make mistakes and don't really know how seriously they need to take the gluten free thing...and end up being told they are just fad dieters.

Celiac and Gluten Sensitivity share the same symptoms, and there are over 300 symptoms and related health issues ... malnutrition and stomach issues but also stuff like diabetes, heart disease, lupus, IBS, schizophrenia, Multiple Sclerosis, autism, asthma, cancer... you know,
kind of big stuff. 

Big stuff caused by a nasty little protein called gluten.  For a lot of people, that nasty little protein found in most of the foods the average person eats every day  (stuff like pizza, bread, cereal, soup, candy, ice cream) is literally killing them. It's pretty scary stuff. And it is definitely not funny. And it is really awkward to try and explain to people, especially because it seems so ridiculous.

And the crazy thing is...


No one knows why this happening! 

In 2015. No one really know.
This is the kind of thing that would leave our forefathers shaking their wigs in shame.

How could it be that the bread of life, food that has been a staple in the human diet for thousands of years could rather suddenly be so dangerous?

It seems ridiculous.

And yet...
it is so ridiculous that pizza = poison
for millions of American, maybe even 10s of millions of Americans
that it is almost laughable.

It is so ridiculous that 1 oreo = dangerous inflammation
the way it caused my young son's intestines to swell up to the extent that his appendix could burst -
that it is almost laughable

It is so ridiculous a chicken nugget = black & blues
making my little girl look like a battered child with bruises all over her body -
that it is almost laughable

It is so ridiculous 
that a doctor prescribed BRAT diet for my toddler with what looked like a virus caused him to lose his ability to walk, suffer with asthma and lose 1/3 of his body weight in 1 month, because of the TOAST -
that it is almost laughable

It is so ridiculous 
that my husband sought answers for stomach, bowel & mental health issues for 20 years, nearly had a surgery that would require a colostomy bag at 38yrs of age while losing a battle with bipolar disorder that almost cost him his family and his sanity, 
because he loved to eat double cheese burgers and calzone -
that it is almost laughable

It is so ridiculous 
that I was 50 lbs overweight and couldn't lose it, exhausted all the time and developing MS and nerve damage, because I loved bagels - 
that it is almost laughable

But for those of us, the millions of us, who have discovered our own gluten issues, this still stuff isn't news to us. There millions of these ridiculous stories. We know it is almost laughable.
But it really hurts when others laugh at our expense.

We loved that gluten-filled stuff and can't have it.

We obsess over gluten, knowing it is everywhere and in everything.

Figuring out what to eat is hard.

Gluten free food is expensive.

Eating out is frightening.

Convincing friends and family this is real is often met with eye rolls and jokes.

Parties aren't fun anymore.

We educate our doctors more than they educate us.

Our children's schools are clueless danger zones.

We avoid cafeterias and lunch rooms at work and stick with a brown bagged lunch at our desks or in our cars.

We are labeled annoying, picky, fad dieters

Our children face peer pressure and bullying because their food is different

TV shows, even Disney programs, movies and comedians mock us

News programs, daytime talk shows and magazines love to talk about us and our gluten, but usually misconstrue the issue, highlight loud mouths with big diet books or emphasize that gluten free is latest, greatest fad

BUT WE ARE ALIVE. WE ARE HEALTHIER. WE CAN SEE WE HAVE A BRIGHTER FUTURE. AND SOMETIMES WE ARE EVEN HAPPIER.

Those of us living gluten free find our strength from each other.
We bond over social media.
We support each other on facebook.
We get our facts from google.
We share recipes on pintrest.
We feature our fabulous finds on instagram.
We create a powerful network on twitter. 
We become advocates - for ourselves - for our families - for each other.

WE ARE A COMMUNITY, A GLUTEN FREE COMMUNITY with members of all ages from all over the globe.
We The GF People want others to know the secret we discovered 
We The GF People want people to hear our stories and to understand 
We The GF People want doctors to believe us 
We The GF People want hospitals to understand this stuff 
We The GF People want schools to be safe for our kids
We The GF People don't want to see millions of people suffering like we were to get diagnosed.

And we forget.
We forget how it was before gluten became the center of our world.
We forget how ridiculous it sounds that pizza is our poison.
We forget that the rest of the world doesn't know our little secret.
We forget how to laugh.


I say, it's time to laugh

And stop being offended at the ignorance of others,

because those moments are our opportunities to show that

we are not weak... we are strong
we are not angry... we are happy
we are not ashamed... we are proud
we aren't sick because of food... we are healthy because of food

AND WE KNOW THERE ARE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE LAUGHING AT US...
THAT SHOULD BE LAUGHING WITH US