I want to start this letter by saying how proud I am of the celiac disease community. As you may already be very much aware, last month Party City aired an insensitive commercial bullying those on a gluten-free diet. In the ad, a gluten-free partygoer named Tina is called “gross” and the lonely plate of gluten-free crackers, her only food choice, is equally mocked. What’s worse, this commercial aired on the children’s network Nickelodeon and during the Kids Baking Championship on the Food Network.
While this ad was disheartening, I am so proud of the celiac disease and gluten-free communities’ quick and loud response to it. To many, this commercial was “the last straw” because it’s not just one ad making fun of us. We might be able to take that. It’s the everyday bullying, quips, and jokes made at our expense – made at our children’s expense – that keep us up at night. It’s that the world doesn’t understand celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that, in some cases, can even be fatal. The fact is we didn’t choose to eat gluten-free.
It is because of our voices that Party City has donated to celiac disease research. They are making a contribution to Beyond Celiac to help expand our research efforts with Go Beyond Celiac and to help fund the ongoing research studies we’re currently sponsoring.
Additionally, the ad agency that created the commercial for Party City, Hill Holliday, has pledged us their support and will work with Beyond Celiac and other celiac disease organizations to help raise awareness and change perceptions of the disease. This is an opportunity for our community to be heard and understood by an even wider audience.
While nothing can completely undo the negatives of the Party City commercial, I want to personally thank you for turning your anger into positive action and empowering each other to work together to get results. I am honored to be part of a community that did not sit back.
While we celebrate this victory, it is also a time to continue using our voices. The same level of outrage that greeted the television ad should boil over about the fact that celiac disease research is significantly under-funded by the National Institutes of Health. A recent study found that celiac disease consistently gets the least amount of money of six digestive diseases.
Consider that when the celiac disease community got loud, a retraction took us from a negative development to point zero. But the company’s stated commitment to fund research moves into positive action. Imagine the progress we could generate if we as a community consistently lifted our voices about other inequities faced by those who have celiac disease. I have faith that we as a compassionate community will band together so that we can accelerate research and all of us can live life to the fullest.
Sometimes you realize that your power lives in unexpected places. Certainly, NIH funding for celiac disease research is more complicated than what just happened with Party City. But a lasting lesson is that the celiac disease community has vocal muscle and can use it to create change. From the bottom of my heart, thank you again for helping to improve our quality of life.
Want to continue lending your voice to the cause? Join
Go Beyond Celiac
To living life Beyond Celiac,
Beyond Celiac CEO
Have yourself a hearty Soup-er Bowl party! GET THE RECIPE .
The perfect sweet to make for your sweet this Valentine’s Day! GET THE RECIPE .
About Chef Oonagh Williams
British born Chef Oonagh Williams holds a culinary arts degree and spends her time cooking, writing, speaking, and educating the public on gluten-free and allergy-free diets. She herself has celiac disease along with other food allergies. When not writing or speaking nationally on food, she teaches cooking classes, hosts dinner parties, and offers one-on-one help. Locally, she teaches healthier food cooking classes including vegetarian cooking for everyone, as most real food is naturally gluten-free and free of many other allergens. Chef Oonagh had the honor of being a speaker at the Boston Celiac Symposium, alongside top doctors from Beth Israel, Mass General, and Harvard Medical School.
Buy herDelicious Gluten-Free Cooking e-book, over 200 pages, full color photos, only $20;
like her Facebook page, Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh, where she posts recipes, links to her appearances, and gluten-free products she’s discovered; and connect with her on Skype for help in following a food allergy diet.
If you’ve gone on a gluten-free diet without a diagnosis and would like to find out if you have celiac disease, a blood test now under study could eliminate the need for a gluten challenge and biopsy…
People with gluten sensitivity are suspicious of the safety of vaccines, indicating in a recent study that they believe vaccines contain gluten. This belief was more widely held among gluten sensitive patients than celiac disease patients, results of a survey by Columbia University researchers found. In fact, vaccines do not contain gluten and study authors cautioned that this misinformation is a detriment to public health…
Allergic Living: Staving Off the Gluten-Free Winter Blues
By Alice Bast
The blahs of wintertime can take hold – and fast. There’s evidence to suggest the lack of sunlight in winter disrupts our internal clocks, drops the body’s serotonin levels and may intensify feelings of melancholy.
Photo credit: Allergic Living
A recording of our recent informative Facebook live event with our science and news analyst, Amy Ratner.WATCH NOW.
- Go Beyond Celiac, join today to help advance celiac disease research.
- Beyond Celiac Mugs, otter-ly adorable merchandise that helps suppoert celiac disease research.
- Discussing Celiac Disease Research with Alice, a recent Facebook live recording with our CEO, Alice Bast.
- “Party City Pulls Controversial Ad Calling Gluten-Free People ‘Gross‘,” A Self magazine article on the Party City controversy featuring quotes from Beyond Celiac.