When Cameron Weiner introduced himself to Michael Frolichstein in July 2015 at the Evanston Public Library in Illinois, he had no idea that a collaboration between the two was about to begin.
At the time Weiner, who was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2013, had just watched The Celiac Project, a documentary made by Frolichstein. Weiner says he found the film “very moving and personal” and was solely focused on sharing his reaction with the director.
Fast forward six months to January 2016, when Weiner and Frolichstein teamed up to launch a new Internet audio broadcast, The Celiac Project Podcast: 2 Guys Talking Gluten Free. The two men hope to bring a new perspective to the gluten-free community in a medium dominated by women.
From the moment they met, it was clear to Frolichstein that he and Weiner had “great chemistry,” and the conversation between them began to flow naturally. Following a series of in-depth discussions, they began to see a number of parallels in their own stories. It turns out both men had spent years with undiagnosed celiac disease and, unbeknownst to each other, had also worked for the same company for a period of time.
They soon realized that what they were talking about could be relevant to others with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, who might want to listen to and participate in their discussions. “The podcast idea organically came out of those conversations,” Weiner says. Soon the duo was brainstorming ideas for the show.
While there are a few male gluten-free bloggers, Frolichstein, 47, and Weiner, 24, wanted to add their voices to the discussion. “I felt the lack of the male voice in the community is one of the things that pushed us to want to get this going,” Weiner says.
Additionally he and Frolichstein feel their age difference makes for interesting conversation between them and adds dimension to the podcast. “I feel like I learn a lot from being around Cam [even though I am older],” says Frolichstein.
Early episodes of the podcast cover each man’s road to diagnosis. They’ve also featured Frolichstein’s nephew, a freshman at Brown University, who discussed his gluten-free college experience. Future podcasts will focus on the medical side of celiac disease, the media representation of the community, and some humor and fun, too.
The ultimate goal, Frolichstein says, is to bring the gluten-free world out into the open. “If we can help other men and women feel OK talking about their issues, I think we’ve done our job,” he explains.