What’s Your Story?
When I was in San Diego attending our Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest a few weeks ago, I had the true pleasure of chatting with many readers about their dietary issues. Listening to their stories was like peering into a treasure trove of perseverance. Many had spent a very long time searching for answers to troubling health problems before finding relief by switching up their diet. Frankly, I consider these people quiet heroes. In some cases, their stories border on the miraculous.
An older gentleman told me that he had been on Parkinson’s medication for many years. He ultimately underwent brain surgery in a last-ditch attempt to control the progression of the disease. Nothing worked. Then one day he read one of our articles about gluten ataxia. Almost on a whim, he decided to try the gluten-free diet and his symptoms abated.
A mother told me that multiple doctors’ visits and medications had failed to clear up her young daughter’s severe eczema. To illustrate the extent of the problem, she pulled out a photo of her little girl in a sleeveless top. The ugly, red rash covered the full length of both her arms. In desperation, the mother put the youngster on the gluten-free diet. This same child stood in front of me with the skin on her arms now healthy and clear.
Obviously, I’m all for evidence-based medical practices and peer-reviewed studies. Where would our community be without our beloved medical experts and researchers? Yet I cannot dismiss the countless anecdotal reports about the life-changing potential of a special diet.
Scratch the surface and there’s a story behind the articles in this magazine. Senior correspondent Christine Boyd digs into the latest research with a passion fueled by her celiac diagnosis. Contributor Wendy Mondello explains the steps to school safety as the devoted mother of a severely food-allergic child. Food editor Beth Hillson tirelessly perfects her bread recipes, based on a lifetime of having to live gluten-free. The narrative is similar for special-diet chefs Mary Capone and Jules Shepard, for columnist April Peveteaux, for this issue’s travel writer Samantha Brody, ND, and for the many others who work on this magazine.
Every one of us has a story. So let’s not keep silent about it. When you share the good news about how a special diet helped you get your health (and life) back on track, it renews hope for others and strengthens our community. It also cracks the door to advancements in food-allergy policy, in how our food supply is being manufactured and in the way this nation thinks about food allergies and sensitivities.