Guest Blog from Erin Smith of Gluten-Free Fun
How to find informative gluten-free information online
The buzz words “gluten-free” seem to be everywhere these days; but nowhere is gluten-free more prevalent than on the Internet. When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease in the 1980s, there was no Internet. The research my family did was mostly with doctors, by word-of-mouth, or from the rare book we found in bookstores and libraries. Today, you can type “gluten-free” into any search engine and literally get millions of results for your search. This explosion of information about gluten-free diets, Celiac Disease, and more is amazing but you should explore these online resources wisely.
A newbie to gluten-free living might be a overwhelmed with all of the gluten-free information coming at them through the Internet so there are a few key places you could focus your search.
National Organizations. Organizations such as the Gluten Intolerance Group, Celiac Disease Foundation, Celiac Sprue Association, and National Foundation of Celiac Awareness all have websites with a wide variety of information. These websites include information about Celiac Disease, the gluten-free diet, local chapters, and how to join their support groups. This is a good starting place for those brand new to Celiac Disease.
Support Groups. Many people with gluten-free needs often look to others for support. Try typing in your city name and “gluten-free support” or “celiac support” into your favorite search engine. Another amazing resource for finding groups near you is Meetup.com. As of today, there are 50 worldwide groups of people who all have interests in gluten-free living and Celiac Disease. All of these Meetup groups usually meet on a regular basis in person, as well as having very active online message boards.
Online Social Networks. The most popular of online social networks is obviously Facebook. Users can “like” groups that focus on gluten-free products, national organizations, and even find new friends that also list Celiac Disease as one of their interests. Two other online social networks that focuses on connecting people include Gluten-Free Faces, Gluten-Free Friends, and Gling.
Blogs. Gluten-free and Celiac Disease blogs are great sources of personal experience and information. Many of these blogs were started by people such as yourself looking for information about gluten-free living. The variety of blogs are endless. There are blogs written by gluten-free parents, athletes, foodies, newbies, health care professionals, and so on. Even now, you are on the gluten-free blog written by New Planet Beer! Blogs are really great first-hand accounts of living with Celiac Disease and being on a gluten-free diet. You can also find tons of recipes on gluten-free blogs. With the number of blogs out there, I recommend subscribing to blogs using an RSS reader which will consolidate your favorite blogs into one comprehensive list.
Twitter. Twitter seems to be an endless source of gluten-free mentions. If you search #glutenfree, #gf, or #celiac, you will come up with hundreds of tweets each day. The tweets will usually have a URL that will bring you to a blog or articles online about the tagged information. You can get lost clicking from link to link and person to person in Twitter but you can also find tons of great information you might otherwise not find.
The above list is really just a starting place for anyone looking to explore more about Celiac Disease and gluten-free living online. Search engines alone can lead you down a long path of gluten-free reading topics.
Please remember to use caution when following any advice you find online. Always check with your doctor before introducing new foods into your diet. In addition, although the internet can be a great resource for those who suspect they might have Celiac Disease it is ALWAYS important for you to discuss your questions with a medical professional before declaring yourself gluten-free.
Erin Smith, Gluten-Free Blogger
Gluten-Free Fun blog: http://glutenfreefun.blogspot.com/
Gluten-Free Fun on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gfreefun
Gluten-Free Fun on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GlutenFreeFun
NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group: http://www.meetup.com/celiac/