WETZEL: Getting by with the help of ‘friends’ | PostIndependent.com

WETZEL: Getting by with the help of ‘friends’

Angela Wetzel
Free Press Health Columnist

When first told you need to eat gluten-free, or choose to eat gluten-free, it can be a daunting task. Grocery shopping becomes more than just a quick trip down the aisles, picking out your favorite foods. You become an avid label reader, picking out things in the ingredients that don’t fit into the gluten-free lifestyle. You may also catch flak from family and friends. You get questioned on why you won’t eat this or that and may also hear the “a little bit won’t hurt,” when you know it can. Making your favorite recipes can become tricky as well and finding substitutes isn’t always an easy task.

I remember when my dad was diagnosed with celiac disease and telling my mom that there should be a group for those that eat gluten-free so they can have support, trade recipes and share information that they have found, whether it is a good restaurant to eat at or a new food item that is available in the area.

After I started eating gluten-free, I decided that it was time for support for not just our family but for anyone eating gluten-free in the Grand Valley and Gluten Free Grand Valley was born.

Gluten Free Grand Valley is a support and educational group in Grand Junction that aims to help people through the hurdles of living gluten-free and also to educate the community on what it truly means to be gluten-free. Gluten-free living isn’t just not eating pasta or bread, it’s so much more. We meet on a monthly basis so we can share our stories, have speakers talk about different aspects of gluten-free living and find that support that some don’t always get from those closest to them.

I know of more than one person in our group that is the “black sheep” of their family because they won’t eat anything with gluten. What a horrible feeling that your family won’t support your way of eating, but it’s one of the many reasons that our support group exists. We also have a Facebook group so people can chat when we don’t have a meeting and share many experiences on a continual basis. It’s also handy for getting meeting information out to the public.

If you are living gluten-free, whether it is by choice or by necessity, please feel free to come to one of our meetings. We meet the first Wednesday of the month, 7 p.m., at the Masonic Center, 2400 Consistory Court, in Grand Junction. I would encourage you to find the support you need.

Angela Wetzel has celiac disease and is president of Gluten Free Grand Valley, a support group for those with celiac disease and wheat allergies. Contact her at glutenfreegrandvalley@gmail.com or visit Gluten Free Grand Valley on Facebook.

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