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Coeliac Awareness Week is upon us once again, and in amongst the brands battling to use this opportunity to get their free from products in the spotlight, there's a serious message to try and help raise awareness of this often undiagnosed illness.
This year Coeliac UK is asking people to join The Gluten Freevolution - in short, they are on a mission to make gluten free living easier for people with coeliac disease everywhere. Whether you live in the big city or a tiny, countryside hamlet, being a coeliac and eating out should not have to be difficult.
And this is where Coeliac UK needs you. They need us to go out and talk to business. They need us to shout about our gluten free diet and show there IS a strong demand for all catering and food businesses to cater for people with coeliac disease.
Join the Gluten Freevolution
How can you help? It's simple, and there is a whole section of the Coeliac UK website here which explains it in more depth - but what you can do is make yourself heard. Get on social media and use #glutenfreevolution to shout about your experiences, good and bad. Get on the Coeliac UK website and order yourself some of their materials to help spread the word. You can also speak to businesses and direct them to Coeliac UK for help and guidance.
Want to help raise awareness of coeliac disease and what it is? You can also share these awesome animated videos Coeliac UK have produced - aren't they cute!? You can't not love these little 'quactivists'!
The strong message for me, is that if a business cannot cater for me with coeliac disease, they are not just losing me as a customer. Because we'll never be able to go there with a big group of friends, if I can't eat gluten free food. Why would I recommend it to my friends and family if they cannot cater for me? It's a chain reaction, and one I believe more businesses should be aware of. And with so many choices near me who DO offer great gluten free food, those other businesses are missing out.
Restaurants and cafes have come a hell of a way in the last few years alone. I think a lot of them have realised gluten free food doesn't have to be difficult, in fact, a lot of food can easily be made gluten free and 'normal' customers would never know. I know a lot of gluten free restaurants and cafes in North Devon where I live who offer gluten free as standard, they just don't advertise it unless you ask.
I hope people really do use this as a chance to raise awareness of coeliac disease and make food and catering companies listen. It's amazing so many mainstream brands are bringing out gluten free options and I will praise this until the cows come home, but I just hope we don't lose sight of what Coeliac Awareness Week is really about.
I'm going to do my best this week (as always) to really shout about some of the businesses I feel are doing gluten free well - and shout at the ones that aren't. And yes, while I am definitely glad Coeliac UK does mean lots of discounts (supermarkets are all over it) and getting expensive free from products for a little bit cheaper, I would urge you to join the Gluten Freevolution and make sure it's not just one week of the year when people are thinking about gluten free!