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Inclusion for Celiac & Food Allergies


Tootsie Roll Candy-a gluten-free/nut-free option

While attending a gluten-free expo I realized how foreign it is for me to be able to eat without asking lots of questions...one of the best parts of the expo was being able to eat all the food there without the usual stress. Of course, I still checked labels but the anxiety of potentially getting sick from eating food outside my home was much less intense.


I think after you have been diagnosed for a long time you forget what it's like to be "normal." To be able to pick something up and eat it without having to read the package, scan it into the GF Scanner, or ask the person preparing the food how it was prepared. You can pick something up and eat it. This is something that someone with celiac or food allergies can not do.


It is stressful having celiac. I think sometimes I'm in denial about the stress that this disease causes. Everything is centered around food. I'm not saying that we should not get together and celebrate with food or drinks. It can just be so hard. Imagine walking into a gathering outside your home knowing you could eat everything there without worrying about getting sick. I still remember when it was possible, before my diagnosis, but it is a vague memory now.


Having a teenage daughter with celiac is a whole other worry. I want my child to feel included in events, school activities, and sports. I don't want her to feel like she just won't eat because it's awkward or the fast food place they stop at has no gluten-free options.


I know for many of us who work in schools the new thought is to avoid providing snacks or food for students. This alleviates the stress of food allergies/celiac disease, and worrying about a reaction. I understand the thinking. It's hard to know what different students can and can't eat. However, I also feel like including all students but offering safe alternatives for everyone makes those with celiac or food allergies feel "normal." Well, as "normal" as we can feel. We are already isolated by celiac disease and/or food allergies.


I know how nice it is when someone has ensured I have food I can eat safely. How nice is it for a student to know you can eat the same prepackaged snack everyone else in the room is eating? There is no awkward "no, thank you."


Inclusion is so important on so many levels. We all want to be included. What do you think?





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