This is not one of those things that will keep me up at night. I won’t lose a whole lotta sleep over it. I have enough things in my life to worry about.
But something about it just doesn’t sit well with me.
The “Celiac Awareness Tour” has officially changed their name to the “Gluten-Free Awareness Tour”.
Why would they want to promote “gluten-free” instead of “celiac disease”?
Now…to be fair, I’m not a big fan of these events. It’s mostly just a food orgy. And a few vendors have reached out to me privately with some complaints about these tours as well.
(On a side note, I’ll be attending the Gluten Free Expo next weekend in NJ. To all the vendors who will be there…I promise to play nice and I look forward to meeting you. No…seriously.)
But still…at least the name of their tour was awesome. They were spreading CELIAC AWARENESS.
But now they are spreading gluten-free awareness and I ask you…does gluten-free really need any more awareness?
It’s a $6 billion dollar industry. Everybody and their mother is going gluten free. Spend a day on Twitter and for every one tweet about celiac, there are 87 about gluten. Celebs are going gluten free. Athletes are going gluten free. Heck…items that are naturally and obviously gluten free and now being labeled gluten free ($$$$).
The gluten-free trend has gotten so pathetic that Hallmark just came out with a card that mocks us (see image to the right)? Wonderful.
Yet celiac disease is still so under-diagnosed and misunderstood.
Consider these facts:
- Celiac disease affects almost 1% of the population yet many of those 1% are suffering because they have not been properly diagnosed.
- Untreated celiac disease increases the risk of cancer 200-300%.
- Untreated celiac disease increases the risk of miscarriage 800-900%.
- 66% of those with celiac disease have osteopenia or osteoporosis.
- 51.4% of those with celiac disease have neurologic disorders.
- Total US healthcare cost for all untreated celiacs: $14.5 – $34.8 billion annually.
Shouldn’t we be raising awareness for the disease itself and not the treatment?
Do cancer organizations have “Chemotherapy Awareness Tours”?
I did reach out to the Celiac Awareness Tour folks last week but did not hear a response. I’d love to hear their take on this.
And I’d love to hear yours as well.
Update: It’s only 9am and I’ve already gotten a bit of passionate feedback from folks who don’t have celiac and have non-celiac gluten sensitivity and think I am being exclusive. I assure you…I am not. We are all in this together. But the tour folks are not touting NCGS as part of their purpose. They say their tour “promotes celiac disease awareness and gluten-free food and beverage products.” Not a word about NCGS.