Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Is it spring yet?

My birthday is in early April. The weather is nearly always, at the very least, spring like. It’s the beginning of the baseball season. Kids happily run around playing outside after a winter of cabin fever. And flowers start blooming and brightening up the landscape with their beauty. I always think it’s a wonderful time to celebrate a birthday.

But this year may be different. I may be in for my first winter birthday! Regardless of what the calendar says, it is as cold as winter here on the east coast and has been for some time. In fact, yesterday the temperature was below freezing. This adds insult to the injury of a long cold winter, and more of the same is forecast.

Still, I plan to think spring and on that positive note, here are a few news items.

According to a recent press release, “Enjoy Life Foods will provide gluten-free, allergy-friendly alternatives as the recently announced “Official Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Food Supplier” at Wrigley Field.” Wrigley Field is not the first ballpark to offer gluten-free foods. I don’t think we can yet say they are the rule in ballparks not the exception. But we’re getting there. Citi Field, home of my beloved Mets, offers gluten-free food. You’ll also find gluten-free food at Camden Yards, home of the Orioles, and several other ballparks around the country.

In a totally different arena, and according to another press release, noted celiac researchers, gluten-free community leaders and food corporations will host the first Gluten-Free Food Labeling Summit in Washington DC on May 4th, 2011. “The event will feature the world’s largest gluten-free cake, which will symbolize the big deal that clear, accurate, reliable labeling plays in the lives of people dependent on labeling for their health,” according to the release. You can get more information on their website.

The growth in diagnoses and in the number of products and services devoted to the gluten-free world has put some interesting spin on the reality of an official definition of things gluten free. As you know, the definition was due from the FDA nearly three years ago. But for whatever reasons, it has been stalled. I can only hope that friendly pressure from those with the most to gain from the ruling will help speed up the process. So take a look at the details and attend the event, or support it in whatever way you can.

Finally, and this note has nothing to do with spring, Amy’s blog on Dr. Oz has traveled far and wide and I am grateful for her eloquence. Part of her concern was misinformation about the gluten-free diet. I have long thought that physicians in general can be ill informed about the specifics of the diet and nothing has happened to dissuade me from this notion. When physicians mindlessly give advice on the gluten-free diet without questioning their source, they give the air of legitimacy to misinformation and, perhaps more importantly, make the diet a lot harder than it needs to be. I can’t tell you how often I’ve wished a misinformation-quoting physician had read our magazine. I’d give them all a free subscription if I thought they might read the issues!

But this long-standing gripe of mine is hardly spring like so I’ll get off my soapbox and hope for the warm weather that normally accompanies spring. May the Mets have an uncharacteristically good season (well, we can hope, can’t we?); may the FDA finally “own up” to the ruling they promised nearly three years ago (more hope!); and may spring finally arrive with all the promise it usually brings. Now this I know will happen!

Ann Whelan


Anonymous said...

yay for april babies! :)

Anonymous said...

I found your blog by a random search. My 14 year old son has recently been diagnosed with Celiac. He has had food allergies since he was a baby. He is also a picky eater so it is not easy finding things to make for him. But I am excited I found your site and have added it to my blog sidebar...hope you don't mind.