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Living this life is very lonely. No one in my immediate or extended family deals with food issues of any kind of which I’m aware. I have no one I see or talk with on a regular basis who has to avoid certain foods to the degree that I do. While I do have supportive family and friends, it’s just not the same as having facebook_groupssomeone who knows exactly what you’re going through and what you’re dealing with. I’ve really leaned on my online support groups to provide what the people I know face-to-face just can’t. If you’re having a hard time finding people to talk to about what you’re facing and what you’re dealing with, I encourage you to find some online support groups. You may even have a Gluten Intolerance Group branch in your area. All of these can help you feel less alone and help provide some much-needed support. Here are groups of which I’m a part or in which I participate.

  • Gluten Free:  This group is the very first gluten-free support group that I joined. The group has grown tremendously since I joined it. It now boasts over 35,000 members and is still going strong. There’s a ton of activity in the group, with people posting questions, products they’ve found, recipes that they’ve tried, issues they’ve encountered, and lots of other things. Like in any large group, there can be tension and dissension among the members at times, but overall it’s a very good support group with many members willing to jump in and help if they can.

  • Gluten Free Atlanta:  I was so happy to find my first local gluten-free support group on Facebook. I was very happy to find people close by who were also gluten-free like me. At the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo in 2015, some of us met up in the food court at the Cobb Galleria. It was my first time meeting up with members in one of my online support groups face-to-face. It was awesome getting to talk with others like me face-to-face. It definitely helped me feel less alone.

  • Gluten Free in Northeast Georgia:  This is another local support group but maybe just a bit closer to home since I live northeast of Atlanta. We haven’t had a meet-up yet, but I hope we do soon!

  • Adult Food Allergic Support Group:  I joined this group shortly after I began to suspect that my issues with food could be allergic in nature. I had posted about the issues I’d been having with wheat/gluten and that antihistamines helped. I had asked about possibly seeing an allergist, and group members there encouraged me to see an allergist and get tested. Some had said that they had negative skin tests for wheat but tested positive on the blood test. Since I had tested negative on the skin test for wheat, I decided I would see an allergist to have the blood test done. I’m now on the road to finding out whether or not I have an allergy to wheat. Of course, the blood test couldn’t be definitive either way, which is my luck with tests so far, but I’m glad to have the support and information from this group. It’s been great so far!

  • Celiacs and Reese Cups:  I had gone to a birthday party and took my own treats with me, a bottle of Coke Zero and a

    The photo that sparked a revolution?

    The photo that sparked a revolution?

    pack of Reese’s Cups. I took a picture of them sitting on the table and posted it to the Gluten Free group, showing off my “birthday cake”. It ended up getting a ton of comments, including some from “food nazi” types who called the Coke and candy unhealthy and said other things along those lines. One of the other commenters rebelled and created this group. She, I, and a

    few others were the very first members of this group. It’s fun being in a group where we can feel free to indulge in our favorite junk foods occasionally and have no shame posting about it. This life is hard enough to live as it is. It’s nice to be able to indulge in a favorite treat, “junk food” item, or comfort food every now and then. Sometimes it’s really hard to find something we can eat, so when we do, we get excited and indulge! The pack of Reese’s cups in my photo is actually the group’s cover photo. I have to admit I’m pretty proud that my little photo and post sparked a revolution of sorts!

  • Vinegar Allergy or Intolerance:  This is a group that I actually manage. After I eliminated vinegar, I tried to look for groups on Facebook for this type of food avoidance and could not find one. I created the group and started adding files with recipes I’d discovered, a list of foods with no vinegar ingredients, and other things. Hopefully this group will help those avoiding vinegar to find support and information.

  • Gluten Intolerance Group of Atlanta:  This is an actual face-to-face group, but it’s more of a formal meeting format with speakers who are invited to the meetings to present topics for discussion and question/answer. These meetings are really good for meeting up with others who are gluten-free and learning from them and what they’ve had to face. It’s also good to hear speakers who are specialists and experts in diagnosis of gluten disorders, eating gluten-free, and living gluten-free. They’re a great way to meet up with others who are also gluten-free and to get some really good information. Sometimes you may leave with some free goodies. Once, I left with a bag of cake mix, a bag of all-purpose flour, and a microwaveable brownie mix. Sometimes the speakers bring things that they don’t want to take back with them, so they encourage you to take what you want!

All of these groups have been helpful in their own ways at one time or another. I’m so thankful to have them available. They give me opportunities to help and to get help. I have people I can talk to about the problems and issues I’m facing, and I can share my own experiences with others in the hopes that I may help them also. We all need support, and being able to lean on each other and help each other makes living this life just a little bit easier.

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2 Thoughts on “Gluten-Free and Food Allergy Support Groups

  1. The gluten-free food Nazis have gotta go. I’m so with you on that. We eat mostly healthy, and normally make my own junk food, but there are times when I just want some Cheetos. And going to a birthday party with cake everywhere around me, would definitely be one of those times.

    I don’t belong to any gluten-free FB groups, but I signed up for a couple from your list. Hubby is gluten free with me, but even with two of us, it’s still a pretty lonely life.

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