Celiac Awareness Month

May Celiac Awareness, Mental Health, Salads, and Mother’s Day

May is Celiac Awareness Month and Mother’s Day is fast approaching.

Celiac Awareness Month
Mountain wildflowers

As many of you know, celiac disease is near and dear to my heart since being diagnosed almost 10 years ago, which is late and I’ve learned that a lot of damage had already been done before going gluten-free, which is still the only cure for celiac at this time. My Endocrinologist believes being diagnosed so late is the culprit for all of my broken bones from 2021-2023. People with celiac don’t absorb nutrients, or vitamins, including calcium. I wish I had gotten that memo before Humpty McDumpty sat on the wall. Not to add insult to injury to this isolating and at times exclusionary disease, I want to share my recent experience from May 1st, which was the first day of Celiac Awareness Month. I was invited to an all-day Arts & Health Education Event at a famous museum in L.A. proudly announcing they would provide Breakfast and Lunch to all the guests but as the Gershwins song resonated, “Not for Me.” When I asked if there would be gluten-free options for those of us with celiac, the response was, “We’ll have vegan options.”  The last time I checked, vegan and celiac had nothing to do with one another despite the consistent confusion. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called and spoken with restaurant managers who assured me they could accommodate my dietary restrictions only to arrive and discover, they thought celiac meant vegan. Seriously?! Ay yi yi! But I digress. Back to the event at the museum which shall remain anonymous, I was encouraged to bring my own food and so I did. I got up an hour and a half early before the event to prep and pack Breakfast, Lunch, and a snack only to be stopped at the Security Entrance to the museum that “Forks were not allowed.” “What the- -? Are you kidding me? I was instructed to bring my own food for this all-day event since I have celiac disease which is a legal disability according to the ADA by the way,  today is the first day of Celiac Awareness Month.” “I’m sorry, Ms., you can bring your food but I need to take your fork.”  Alanis Morisette’s song, Isn’t It Ironic rang in my head. “You can look at the menu but you just can’t eat.”

I understood it wasn’t the Security Guard’s fault but “How in the world am I supposed to eat?  After a moment, he replied, “Your hands?” I mean, I suppose I could have channeled my inner Cave Woman but seriously? Not only did I spend an hour and a half making and packing my meals I couldn’t eat without looking like a Cave Woman while everyone else could saunter in and indulge in the beautiful feast adorning the banquet tables. Now I had to schlep around my large insulated lunch bag laden with extra heavy Blue Ice all day. And before you ask, no, there were no forks in sight. All of the food could be eaten with fingers and a mouth, of course; bagels, muffins, breads, sandwiches, cookies, and  homemade rolls.  Note: I did not last the entire event due to low blood sugar so I left early. I’m sharing a collective experience that many of us with invisible disabilities experience daily. It’s isolating, and embarrassing, and can be much better, and different with proper education and awareness. My sage mother suggested to enlighten and encourage the people running the event to consider offering gift cards for people who can’t eat the provided meals to redeem in the onsite restaurant or at the very least, offer salads or gluten-free sandwiches, free of cross-contamination. NOTE: Just because a restaurant offers gluten-free options does not make it celiac-safe due to cross-contamination. There are a number of questions we have to have before eating out. It’s exhausting and often I feel the need to apologize for my condition, embarrassed, and sometimes choose to stay home rather than deal with the headache or in instances where I’ve been glutened, stomach, and other aches. Salads are often the safest route to navigate and I’ve found a handful of places that will pull separate ingredients from the back to ensure no cross-contamination. Salad dressings often contain gluten so I opt for Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt, and Pepper. May is also National Salad Month so be sure to eat your Morselicious greens! 🙂

Mental Health Awareness

May is also Mental Health Awareness Month and May 12th is Mother’s Day! I’m eternally grateful to have the most Morselicious Mama ever! I created these Cauliflower Peanut Butter Cookies which are quite tasty with the added fiber and phytonutrients and will no doubt share with my mom in addition to a few more delicacies. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you wonderful mom’s!


Mo, the Morselist, aka Maura Knowles

Morselicious Peanut Butter Cookies
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