I’m the worst, I haven’t been to a Celiac support group meeting since I was diagnosed, or even when I was just put on the gluten-free diet. I kept putting it off – thinking that my job was too important to make friends and share in the gluten-free community. I didn’t even had time for the gym, so it was hard for me to take a few hours out to go to meetings. But that was silly. Where else can you go to meet a group of like-minded weird dieters? Where else can you get a room full of Celiacs together? Hey, it’s Celiac Awareness Month – please finally go to your local support group!
I visited the Greater Phoenix Celiac Disease Foundation support group. May’s meeting was a gluten-free bake-off – what a great first time! Members had baked gluten-free goodies for two categories -from scratch and modified (using an existing flour, etc.). I called and asked if I had to bake in order to get in and luckily I didn’t. I’m not sure I would have won even if I poured my heart and soul into baking anything, so I left it to the pros.
There was a raffle for $1 to win several items from the Phoenix Gluten Free Expo – including baking mixes, a Sprouts gift card, and more. I love entering raffles and am pretty lucky, so I got a couple of tickets.
Now, these meetings are free to attend, but you should really become a member. For my support group it is $40 for both the Celiac Disease Foundation and the local chapter, or you can simply go to the local chapter level for $20. On the local level the benefits are a packet of catalogs from companies specializing in GF foods, information on living the GF lifestyle, lending privileges in the library of resources on GF living, voting privileges and the ability to serve as an officer. Being a member supports your local group’s goals of Celiac awareness and support in the Greater Phoenix area. Seems like a deal to me!
After introductions and going through the agenda (and sampling goodies), a member discussed all of the great stuff she learned at the Celiac Disease Foundation education conference in LA last weekend. It made me super jealous, as I wish I would have had the time to go this year!
Then a chain of pre-packaged food restaurants called My Fit Foods talked about their chain and handed out samples of one of their turkey dishes. I’ll be writing about this brand later, but I was very very impressed!
Overall, it was a great meeting, and we spent a lot of time afterwards talking to members, and meeting new fresh faces. I met a younger lady who had just moved to AZ and was newly diagnosed. She seemed really great and I’d love to take her under my wing and teach her about everything GF in the state. How great is that?
Afterwards, they held the raffle and I won some Montana Gluten Free Pumpkin Pastry Mix. Sounds exciting!
OMG I cannot believe I tried to eat all of this! SO GOOD!
So this month – Celiac Awareness Month – please go visit your local support group and support them supporting you! You’ll meet new people, try new food, and feel like you’re not alone in your dietary needs!
I am newly diagnosed and live in Phoenix. So anxious to get connected to the chapter here. Guess I’ll have to wait until June. The Fit Foods is just 10 minutes from me. Glad I found your blog. Thanks for all your great information!
Yes, definitely join the support group, and I’ll have a write-up on Fit Foods soon. Hopefully we’ll do more with that brand later. You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/celiacandthebeast. Thanks for reading!