May 30, 2017

Celebrating 10 Years of Gluten-Free: 10 Things I’m Thankful For

As Celiac Awareness Month ends, this is the perfect time to reflect on how gluten-free life has improved in the past 10 years. It was 2007 when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease. At the time, I remember how hard it was to find gluten-free products in local stores, let alone delicious tasting ones. I remember family members helping me to research online about celiac disease and buying products for me to try.

In December 2008, I started my blog to focus on the positive side of gluten-free life. I never could have imagined then that starting my blog would ultimately lead to a new career for me in social media. You may remember the reviews my daughter did of gluten-free books for kids when she was in elementary school. Now, she is a freshman in high school and has her own blog where she reviews books for teens! 

10 Things I’m Thankful For
1. Being Diagnosed with Celiac Disease – That’s right, I’m thankful that I was diagnosed with celiac disease. After five years of health problems and countless doctor visits, it is great to finally have a diagnosis and treatment that resulted in improved health! 

2. FDA Standard for Gluten-Free – It is fabulous to finally have a standard for gluten-free labeling and to see many more products labeled gluten-free as a result. 

3. More Celiac Disease Awareness – I remember how exciting it was years ago to simply see a news story about celiac disease or a mention of gluten-free on TV shows, like Emeril or Cupcake Wars. Now we even have Olympic athletes with celiac disease!

4. More Gluten-Free Products in Local Stores – While I still shop at many different stores, it is great to be able to do my weekly grocery shopping at one major chain.

5. Generic OTC Meds Labeled as Gluten-Free – I remember how happy I was when I could finally buy a gluten-free generic pain reliever. No more paying for brand names!

6. Udi’s Gluten Free – Before Udi’s Gluten Free was even available on the East Coast, they sent me a big box of their delicious products to review. I still remember the first time I saw Udi’s in a local store, and now they are everywhere! We especially love their hamburger buns and cookies.

7. Wegmans – I’m so thankful that Wegmans finally opened in my county, as it truly is a gluten-free mecca. I have discovered many new gluten-free products there, but my favorite is the Wegmans generic gluten-free Rice Krispies. When Kellogg’s first announced gluten-free Rice Krispies, I immediately blogged about it, and it became one of my most popular blog posts. Unfortunately, the excitement was short-lived as Kellogg’s eventually discontinued them, and I desperately sought a replacement for what had become a staple cereal for me. Thank you Wegmans!

8. Not Your Average Joe’s – This restaurant chain has one of the largest gluten-free menus I have seen, featuring a variety of delicious entrees and even a gluten-free bread basket! 

9. Gluten-Free Bloggers – It is truly fantastic to now see so many passionate gluten-free bloggers spreading celiac awareness and sharing gluten-free reviews and news! I fondly remember the gluten-free bloggers that supported me when I first started blogging.

10. My Job at NuGo Nutrition – Teaching myself gluten-free blogging and social media led to my wonderful job as a social media specialist at NuGo Nutrition. When I first started working for NuGo six years ago, they made less than 10 gluten-free bars. Now, they make 27 certified gluten-free protein bars. While I eat several NuGo Dark, NuGo Slim, and NuGo Family flavors, my favorite is NuGo Dark Mint Chocolate Chip, which tastes like Thin Mints! 

I can’t wait to see the gluten-free and celiac disease advancements in the next 10 years!