We at GFree Connect are huge supporters of Gluten Free support groups. We (the founders) attend meetings on behalf of our daughter, and each time we go we come back with some new information to help both her and us with aspects of living gluten free. We’ve come up with some handy points outlining why support groups are important to everyone eating gluten free no matter where you are in your journey.
NEW TO EATING GLUTEN FREE?
For those of you who are relatively new to eating gluten free, you will gain a ton of knowledge attending your local support groups. Others attending likely have been through what you are going through and you can gain a lot of new information. The best part is the local flavor of the meetings – someone undoubtedly knows of a local restaurant now offering gluten free options, or came across a community grocery store that recently added some new gluten free items.
GLUTEN FREE FOR A FEW YEARS?
You may think you know a lot, but you we find out what products others are buying (there are always new products/flavors to try), and also many groups do gluten free recipe exchanges and cooking tips and pot-luck meetings.
GLUTEN FREE FOR MANY YEARS?
You have of valuable knowledge to share; it always feels good to pass along your knowledge with newer gluten free folks. Trust me, they will be appreciative!! You would be surprised; there are always new things to learn in the gluten free community.
The biggest Gluten Free Networks out there are:
1) Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG): There are 80 branches all over the United States, with more forming every day! GIG supports people with gluten intolerances, celiac disease, and various other gluten-related conditions: http://www.gluten.net/.
2) Celiac Sprue Association (CSA): They are the largest non-profit celiac support group in America, with chapters and resource units across the country, as well as members worldwide: http://www.csaceliacs.info.
3) Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF): The CDF is one of the forerunners in celiac disease education, awareness, advocacy, and support services. They have a lot of great resources on the website: http://www.celiac.org.
4) Raising Our Celiac Kids (R.O.C.K.): Raising Our Celiac Kids is a support group for parents, families and friends of kids with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. They welcome families of autistic kids involved in a gluten-free/casein-free dietary intervention program. For more information, please email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
5) National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA): They are dedicated to spreading awareness of Celiac disease and other gluten related disorders, as well as improving the quality of life with those on a gluten free diet. Their website has a lot of great online information, plus they offer free webinars and giveaways: http://www.celiaccentral.org.
We strongly urge you to consider attending local support groups near your home! Please contact us with any questions and we will be happy to help you find a group that is right for you.
GFree Connect Team