Do you sometimes feel like you’re the only one in the world with celiac disease? The feeling that you’re alone with this life-altering disease can sometimes be worse than celiac itself!
This feeling of loneliness is only exacerbated by the fact that celiac disease drastically affects the way that you eat.
When you think about it, eating is one of the most social things we do as humans. Going on dates, being a guest at someone’s house, going to parties, grabbing lunch with a colleague or friend—these are all common social interactions that revolve around eating. Not being able to eat like “everyone else” can make you feel left out and even ostracized.
This doesn’t have to be the case!
Nowadays there are countless ways for you to reach out to others with celiac and share stories, secrets, tips… or sometimes just vent.
Social media sites are all the rage today. Almost everyone with an internet connection has a Facebook account. Twitter allows you to connect with your favorite athletes and celebrities. There are dozens of other social networking sites that cater to professional bowlers, poodle groomers, cardiologists… the list goes on.
But what do these sites offer to those with celiac disease? Can you imagine a “Celiac Disease Facebook” created just for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance?
These are the questions that a young Californian entrepreneur asked himself and eventually answered when he created Gluten-Free Faces in May 2009. Founder and fellow celiac Chad Hines wanted to create a place for people with celiac disease to connect, share, and bond with each other.
If you’re looking for a place to connect with fellow celiacs Gluten-Free Faces is the first place you should go to connect with others.
There are regional and national groups you can join and hundreds of red-hot discussions in dozens of forums. Users exchange information on gluten free recipes, restaurant reviews, diagnosis stories, product reviews, and much more. There are user-submitted photos and videos… and even a gluten free dating feature (imagine meeting your next lover over a candlelight gluten free dinner)!
Most importantly, Gluten-Free Faces lets you connect with real people dealing with the same issues that you are.
Join Gluten-Free Faces
- Sign up here and build out your profile: http://www.glutenfreefaces.com/.
- Introduce yourself and read other members’ stories: http://www.glutenfreefaces.com/forum/topics/introduce-yourself.
- Join a few groups, follow some discussions, and participate on your own: http://www.glutenfreefaces.com/groups.
- Connect with some people, venture through others’ photos, videos, and recipes, and have fun!
Meet your Fellow Celiacs in the Flesh
Getting active on celiac disease networking sites is the first step for you to finally feel comfortable with your condition, and understand how to best deal with it.
Sometimes, however, a virtual connection isn’t enough. Maybe you feel like you need to meet and interact with real people with a voice and a handshake. Luckily, you can join any of the growing number of local celiac support groups sprouting up around the U.S.
Local support groups provide an amazing opportunity to meet people like you who are going through many of the same struggles, feelings, and frustrations that you are.
At support group meetings you’ll learn tips on grocery shopping and dining at restaurants, share personal experiences, and keep up to date on the developments in the rapidly-growing gluten free industry.
Get Involved with Your Local Celiac Support Group
- Celiac.com has an extensive list of regional and local celiac support groups to look into and join: http://www.celiac.com/articles/227/1/A-List-of-Local-Celiac-Disease-Support-GroupsChapters/Page1.html.
- Dues are generally minimal (for example, Eagle Therapeutics’ dues to the Washington DC Celiac Support Group are $20 per year).
- Check out when upcoming events are, and see how you can get involved. Volunteer opportunities aren’t very time-intensive, requiring just a few hours per month. Groups are usually looking for people to do simple things like setting up and cleaning for meetings, and doing the ‘little things’ that make a big difference. Volunteers help these important groups to continue serving the community.