Celiac sufferers see food differently, and it can be hard to convince those without the disease that their favorite meals can cause some serious pain. Fortunately, Beyond Celiac, Celiac Disease Foundation, along with several other organizations, have joined forces for Celiac Awareness Month.
A new campaign highlights the seriousness of the disease for the 3.2 million Americans that are diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder. It includes three eye-catching videos along with a social media campaign. In the videos, which at first appear to be for ordinary recipes, feature some not-so-tantalizing ingredients. Pepperoni is swapped for scorpions, thumbtacks add some crunch to pasta salad and forget sprinkles on cupcakes – there’s something much sharper in store.
It’s all about raising awareness for celiacs, says Alice Bast, Beyond’s Celiac’s CEO, adding that for many eating gluten-free is a medical necessity, not a choice.
“There tends to be a lot of confusion about the difference between a gluten-free diet as a lifestyle choice and the necessity of avoiding gluten because your body can’t tolerate it,” said Bast. “We at Beyond Celiac were happy to have a leadership role in the campaign’s development and hope it helps to educate as well as inspire compassion and empathy for those who experience the physical and social pain of celiac disease.”
For those who don’t know, celiac disease is a serious, genetic autoimmune disorder with no cure or pharmaceutical treatment. Those who suffer from it experience intense physical symptoms such as abdominal bloating, pain and vomiting when they ingest gluten. Celiac disease can also lead to a number of other disorders including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and other autoimmune diseases.
The campaign was spearheaded by Hill Holliday and was created in partnership with the Canadian Celiac Association, the Celiac Disease Foundation, Beyond Celiac, the Gluten Intolerance Group, and the National Celiac Association.