This year's Coeliac Awareness Week will be from the 18th to the 24th of June.
Gluten-free is now better understood as being more than a diet trend, due to the increasing number of people being diagnosed with coeliac disease and committing to living coeliac safe, or 'GF for life'.
Coeliac New Zealand General Manager, Dana Alexander, explains the theme of Coeliac Awareness Week 2018,
Together we are gluten-free for life.
"It reflects how crucial it is that consumers - particularly those yet to be diagnosed, as well as the hospitality, food manufacturing industry and health professionals - understand the difference between gluten-free for life, and gluten-free by choice. People who need to be coeliac safe can often be seen as difficult to cook for, cater for or eat out with but that's really not the case. For some it can prevent them from seeking diagnosis, which means they won't get to the bottom of what's making them feel consistently unwell and could risk them developing a potentially lifelong chronic illness."
It is estimated that 65,000 New Zealanders have coeliac disease but 80 per cent are unaware that they do. "For most people with coeliac disease inadvertently eating something with gluten in it can cause a dramatic immune reacion, which usually causes sudden cramping and diarrhoea, vomiting, fatigue and irritability, and over time extreme anaemia and weight loss, particularly in children - although others are non-symptomatic," Ms Alexander says.
This was certainly true for both Coeliac New Zealand's new ambassadors with the disease, 2016 national rally champion Dave Holder, and medal-winning weightlifter Charlotte Moss. Both have made the lifestyle change to be gluten-free, and it has immeasurably improved their lives and also allowed them to excel in their sports.
Coeliac New Zealand chairwoman and High Performance Sport New Zealand dietitian, Kath Fouhy, agrees eating gluten-free is an easy and health option. "Being diagnosed with coeliac disease gives people the chance to drive their own health and wellness through the choices they make. Not only are there an increasing number of gluten-free products on the market but eating at home and out is not as daunting as people think," she says.
View the video to learn about the importance of early diagnosis and the value of becoming a member of Coeliac New Zealand.
In addition to the new ambassadors, this year Coeliac Awareness Week is also being supported by the New Zealand Chef Association, Sachie Nomura from Sachie's
Kitchen, Jimmy Boswell from Taste of Home, Sally Holland from Goodbye Gluten and Vanessa Baster from The Fearless Kitchen.
For a copy of our campaign poster to share with your community in A2 please contact us.