“The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world.” —— Allen Ginsberg
One out of one hundred people in the United States has celiac disease. 97% of us don’t know it.
I feel lucky to be aware of what drives my body. I spent a lifetime feeling lousy, and never knowing why. Finally finding awareness of the food that makes me sick — and the food that makes my body soar with joy — has opened me to everything else that followed. The Chef? The book deal? The other possibilities that are arising that I cannot share yet but will? I firmly believe that has arrived because I finally had awareness of my own life.
I keep this website because I want to spread awareness of celiac disease. I want everyone to be diagnosed. I want to spare as many people as I can of the suffering I endured.
Of course, I am not the only one on this mission. I am thrilled to see the awareness of celiac disease and the need to eat gluten-free growing in this country. Every time a major news outlet or magazine mentions it, I do a little dance.
Yesterday, CNN anchor Heidi Collins admitted that she and her son have celiac disease. As part of her mission, she interviewed Dr. Peter Green from Columbia (one of my favorite people) about celiac, thus introducing the words to millions of people across America.
Way to go, Heidi! And thank you, Dr. Green!
If you are interested in seeing the interview, click here. Yesterday morning, I watched it online, thanks to the good people at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. (A big yay to them, as well.) Later, when the Chef woke up, he wanted to watch it too. As he listened to the explanations, he put his arm around my shoulder and held me. When he saw the incredible image of a refugee child in Africa, malnourished because the aid organizations were unwittingly giving her wheat when she had celiac disease, he squeezed my shoulder closely. When he saw the photograph of the girl six months later, after she had stopped eating gluten, he marveled at the change in her. I couldn’t help but cry. Certainly, I never looked like that girl. But the photographs brought it home to me once more: I suffered all my life with this, without awareness.
I am so grateful now, for that awareness, and for the Chef’s hand cupped around my shoulder, understanding and supportive.
Heidi Collins also did a follow-up piece on celiac today, which you can view here. I’m thrilled that she is trying to humanize this story. It seems she intends to keep doing pieces on it until everyone is diagnosed.
So do I.