May Day, as defined in the Urban Dictionary, is derived from the French "m'aidez" pronounced "mayDAY" and literally means "help me."
For example, "[i]f you are in distress while flying an airplane, calling "Mayday Mayday Mayday" over the radio will give you top priority and help people on the ground or in the air can offer," --Urban Dictionary
On this first day of May, the first day of Celiac Disease Awareness Month, and my 40th birthday, I am calling Mayday! Readers, this is GFree Genius, MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY!!! I need your help in making Celiac Disease Awareness a top priority in our community!
Unlike many celebrities who go gluten free by choice (Gwyneth Paltrow, Al Roker, and Lady Gaga), many of us, including yours truly, have to adhere to a strict, gluten free diet for medical necessity (Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Drew Brees, and Chef Jilly Lagasse-daughter of Chef Emeril Lagasse). Even a tiny crumb of a gluten-containing food from a cutting board or toaster (or a crouton picked out of your gf salad at a restaurant) may cause the most unpleasant reactions for days, and sometimes weeks which will cause us to call MAYDAY!!
What can you do to raise awareness for #CDAM16?
1. Do a little research on your own! Don't just take my word for it. I am not a doctor. My degrees are in journalism and business management. I love research and I know there are tons of resources available online or at your local public library that can provide information to help you ask the right questions to your healthcare provider or to help you understand what your celiac disease or gluten intolerant friend or family member goes through. The Celiac Disease Foundation has a free toolkit available at www.celiac.org which includes a free meal plan that may help.
2. Educate your child's teacher, principal, and child nutrition director to make sure they understand the severity of this condition and that appropriate precautions are taken to ensure safety of your child. Food rewards are a nightmare for the mom of a fourth grader who always earns the prize, but can never eat it. Make suggestions or provide snacks that everyone can enjoy. Brands like Enjoy Life offer treats that are free of many of the top allergens, including gluten, and the kids love them--especially the Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies!
3. Meet with your local grocery store manager about the importance of the availability of gluten free food options. According to the vendors I met at the GFAF Expo in Atlanta last month, we have more power than we know!
4. Visit with clergy regarding strict gluten free diet requirements for communion and potlucks. They may not be aware of gluten free options.
5. Consider donating to organizations that advocate for celiac disease research, awareness, support and resources. The Celiac Disease Foundation and the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America are just a couple that come to mind.
6. Plan FUN activities for #CDAM16.
What is my family doing?
1. A Chocolate Chip Cookie Taste Test--Follow GFree Genius on Facebook and Instagram as Nathan conducts a gluten free cookie taste test later this week--as soon as he finishes his 40 Book Challenge for school. We will share the winning cookies with his fourth grade class on field day! Stay tuned to find out which cookie his test panel selects!
2. A GIVEAWAY--As an official blogger for GF Mom Certified, I have been given the opportunity to give away GF Mom Certified's eCookbook on social media to one lucky winner. While only one can win, all of my readers will be offered a discount on GF Mom Certified orders of $30+ until May 8th with a special discount code that is available on the GFree Genius Facebook page and Instagram. Follow me! Good luck!
Do you have any ideas of ways to increase awareness of Celiac Disease Awareness Month? Please share in the comments below.