Happy 2010 to all of you! We have made it to a new year, a new decade, and I am truly filled with optimism and good energy. And you?
As I sit down to think about what Gluten-Free Inspired holds in store for the future, I have reflected on this journey of mine which started in November 2007. In the beginning, my goal for this blog was to focus on and share gluten-free discoveries that have made my lifestyle change easier. More than a recipe blog, I wanted to share resources, provide support, and create community (something I love to do!).
I believe to some extent, I have met that goal. That doesn’t mean that Gluten-Free Inspired will cease to exist because a goal has been achieved. I realize that some of my readers may have been diagnosed recently with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and the content here will continue to be useful for readers regardless of where they are in their gluten-free journey.
For me, however, making a major dietary change has lead me to explore other ideas and issues that are all closely intertwined with food intolerances and nutrition. Given the focus and title of this blog, I have not written to any great extent about the other areas of interest which have emerged for me over the past two years. I am starting to think that to keep this blog fresh and engaging for everyone, including myself, these other topics should be included in 2010.
Oh no! More Food Intolerances?
Well, I have discovered that I have more than just gluten sensitivity. Yes, unfortunately, I have difficulties with soy, corn, and dairy. I have not eliminated these foods completely from my diet, but I eat them far less than before. Having so many food sensitivities, I have been forced to examine the quality of the food we put on our table in this country. Could any of these food sensitivities have been prevented? Did I play a role in destroying my digestive tract, or is there something bigger at work here that has affected my ability to digest certain foods?
As a result of this ever growing list of foods I can’t tolerate, I have become very interested in food politics. I am extremely concerned about what the future holds in store for children who grow up on a diet filled with:
• growth-hormone treated foods
• antibiotic treated foods
The truth is, our food chain is in a state of disarray and it’s not getting any better. I am not sure what impact I can have on changing the course of this path we are headed on, but I feel compelled to share information I learn to create awareness about the food we eat in this country.
Healthcare Connected to this interest in food sustainability is my concern for those people who cannot afford to nourish themselves properly. What happens when a family cannot afford to buy gluten-free products? As we all know, gluten-free food can cost from twice to three times as much as regular food. I have heard on numerous occasions that there are people who simply don’t follow a GF diet because they cannot afford to buy gluten-free food. It’s true that there are initiatives sprouting up to help food pantries stock gluten-free products, but is that enough? Are we reaching everyone? What about a healthcare system that subsidizes the additional costs associated with gluten-free foods? As many of us know, in Italy, celiacs receive a monthly stipend to help with gluten-free food purchases. Isn’t it about time our healthcare system takes responsibility for the care and treatment of celiac disease? Just because celiac disease cannot be treated by a pill covered by health insurance doesn’t mean we should have to foot the bill.
Yes, you probably guessed I am also concerned with our healthcare system and its overall philosophy on treating disease. Healthcare in the United States needs to take a preventative and integrative approach. The vast majority of doctors in this country treat symptoms instead of looking at the underlying source of the problem. There are many natural and holistic remedies that get overlooked when treating disease because we have become a pill-popping country. Take a pill for this, take a pill for that. Heaven forbid we don’t keep the pharmaceutical companies in business. This year I would like to start sharing more information about how holistic healing has helped me both cope with and manage my own digestive issues.
Awareness & Advocacy Of course, there is always the topic of how having dietary restrictions can isolate us and make us feel excluded from socializing around food. In Italy, celiac disease is called a “social disease”. I don’t think it’s much different in any other country where social gatherings are laden with glutinous food offerings. Food is not just about nourishment. Food is also about traditions that take place around the table with friends and family. When we cannot partake in a social tradition that includes food we cannot eat, we feel excluded. Sure, we adjust, we make modifications, we educate family members, but there are emotions that can surface when we find ourselves with people who don’t understand food intolerances. The good news is that food intolerances are getting more media coverage. Slowly but surely, we find restaurants including gluten-free menus. There is still so much work to be done though. We need to have the goal of creating awareness across the board so alternative food options are offered wherever we might be.
So, as you can see, becoming gluten-free has opened up a more expansive area of interests for me over the past 2 years. If I must say, I think having food intolerances has brought out “the advocate” in me. My interests have evolved and I have evolved with them. It’s no surprise to me. I have often thought that I need at least one more day in the week to accomplish all my goals!
You may come to this blog hoping to find a new restaurant review or recipe in 2010. There will probably be fewer reviews going forward as I hone in on the new topics of interest that have emerged for me. This doesn’t mean I won’t talk about being gluten-free, but I would like to take a more expansive approach in 2010. I would like to discuss my own personal journey a bit more, even though it might be unique from your own.
To include multiple perspectives and experiences, I hope to invite more guest bloggers write for Gluten-Free Inspired. If you blog and you would like to write for Gluten-Free Inspired, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would also like to connect with the ever growing global GF community I have discovered as a result of social networking. My Facebook friend list has increased by at least 150+ in the past 3 months! Many of these people live in Latin America and Europe. I am hoping to feature some of their ideas and accomplishments to give you a taste of what is happening around the globe with celiac disease awareness and gluten-free living.
In summary, I hope you will continue to find this blog helpful and engaging as Gluten-Free Inspired enters into a new chapter. I am looking forward to connecting with more of you in 2010 so don’t hesitate to post a comment. Blogging is all about the comments so register with my blog and start sharing your impressions and thoughts with our community.
Peace and good health in 2010 to all my Gluten-Free Inspired readers!