Tools for Gluten-Free Advocacy
Have you been living gluten-free for a while now and you’d like to help others who have been newly diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS)? There are many ways you can support others who are new to living gluten-free – and advocate for the gluten-free community at large.
Part of adjusting to a gluten-free diet is being informed. GIG’s gluten-free online resources are a good place to start for basic information and tips to avoid gluten and thrive with this new way of eating.
Share GIG Resources with a food-loving friend
If you know someone recently diagnosed with celiac disease or NCGS who loves eating out, cooking, and baking, share the GIG Food Lovers Resource with them. If you know food-loving friends or family of people who need to eat gluten-free, this is great information for them, too. This resource includes cooking and baking tips, such as replacing gluten-containing flour with gluten-free alternatives, and practical ways to avoid gluten day-to-day without compromising taste and your enjoyment of food.
Share GIG Resources with a parent you know
Finding out your child has celiac disease or NCGS can be a shock. The changes in diet, and keeping them safely gluten-free, can seem daunting. If you know a parent whose child received a recent diagnosis, point them toward the GIG Parents Resource. With articles like Acing Your School Year and Gluten-Free Safety at School – Establishing a 504 Plan, the Parents resource provides valuable advice on setting a child up for success with their gluten-free diet and building a strong support network for them.
Share GIG Resources with your child’s school nurse and teachers
Your child spends hours of the day at school, away from your watchful eye. What can you do to help keep them safe and make school a safer place for other gluten-free kids, too? Share the GIG Teachers Resource and the GIG School Nurse Resource to provide some basic information about celiac disease and NCGS such as the article Understanding Your (Gluten-Free) Student. This resource also contains a downloadable, editable School Trip Letter that provides guidelines for accommodations teachers can make for your child.
The GIG School Nurse Resource has additional medical information about celiac disease and NCGS, including a poster GIG presented at a conference for the National Association of School Nurses titled “Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity in School-Age Kids: Symptoms, Prevalence, and Support Resources.”
Share the GIG Restaurant Card at your favorite restaurants
Access the GIG printable Restaurant Card and bring it to your local restaurants. This tool provides a shortlist of some of the most common – but often overlooked – sources of potential gluten exposure. Not everyone is aware of where gluten – specifically wheat, barley, rye, or their derivatives – can be found when eating out. The list includes soy sauce, imitation seafood, and bottled salad dressing, to name a few. If your local restaurant owners or operators are interested in learning more about preparing gluten-free foods safely, you can also refer them to GIG’s Gluten Free Food Services program (GFFS).
Sign the FLMA
Want to help make major changes in the way ingredients are detailed on food labels? The FLMA 2021 would be a big help in terms of getting more accurate information on food labels – something that is critical for people shopping for safely gluten-free foods. Manufacturers will be required to identify any gluten-containing grains used to produce every ingredient on a product’s ingredient list. That means that in addition to wheat – an allergen – barley, and rye – grains that contain gluten but are not considered major “allergens” by the FDA – must appear on food labels.
If this bill passes, new food labels will clearly state if any flavorings, extracts, or other added ingredients are derived from wheat, barley, or rye. This clarity is much needed to help avoid “hidden” gluten where sources of manufactured ingredients are not identified.
For more information – and to be supportive on a bigger scale, read: The Important Bill That Changes Gluten-Free Food Labels
Donate to GIG Cares
GIG Cares is a nonprofit that sends a monthly care package full of GFCO-certified gluten-free products to individuals and families facing gluten-free food insecurity. Want to give back? Donate to provide a care package to someone in need (100% of your donation will go to food relief).
As you can see, there are many ways to support others who are new to living gluten-free. Have you advocated in some other way? We’d love to hear about it! Let us know how in the comments below.
The information on this website is for educational purposes only. Consult your healthcare team when considering this information.
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