If you have Celiac Disease and you follow a handful of the top gluten-free bloggers, you may already know of some of the great posts and resources available for Celiac Awareness Month. I was a bit thrown off because there’s a national Celiac Disease day in September, but oh well, I guess I’ll take a month + a day! The NFCA has put together a wonderful page of resources for anyone who’s interested. As with any cause, an awareness month educates those who do not know about it and strengthens the ties between those who do. While I am more than happy to share anecdotes, tips, tricks, research articles, blogs, publications, and a comforting shoulder to anyone curious about the gluten-free lifestyle or Celiac disease, I have struggled with how having Celiac Disease fits into my identity as a whole human being. There are times to talk about it, and times to let it sit. There are people who really want to know more, and there are those who balk at the thought of discussing health issues (and poop). From my experience, it is important to promote awareness in the most efficient, effective way. This means supporting new inductees, or discussing the possibility with those who have unresolved GI issues. Maybe throwing out a few of the clenching facts, like the prevalence, the wide variety (or lack) of symptoms, or the importance of testing before going gluten-free at a get-together IF the current topic allows. But no one wants to be beaten over the head with a credo. Unfortunately, people with health issues are perceived as weak, whiny, and hysterical. I would normally say a big stinkin WHO CARES, but perceptions DO matter in employment/professional situations. In the first few months after my diagnosis I found myself spilling my woes to anyone and everyone. This is not effective advocacy (and it wasn’t all that therapeutic, either, because not many folks know how to handle such a serious topic, so they kinda just avoid you). Effective promotions of awareness include alerting an employee when a rice/quinoa mix is not gluten-free because it has barley, so it should not be in the labeled “gluten-free” section, telling a bar that if they don’t know the specific ingredients of a beer then they shouldn’t claim it is gluten-free, interacting with fellow bloggers in a supporting manner, going to support group meetings, and patiently correcting inaccurate perceptions (e.g. WEIGHT LOSS, wheat-free = gluten-free, Celiac is contagious…) So, in sum, I try to be aware of how I promote awareness, so that the accurate message is heard and appreciated in as tolerable a morsel as possible. Oh, and of course it is a YEAR LONG endeavor, this month just serves to remind us of that.
Check out a thoughtfully succinct message about the month!
That said, I threw together some turkey meatballs that seemed worthy of note. There are lots of online egg-free meatball recipes to choose from, but I pretty much went with instinct on these puppies.
EGG-FREE TURKEY MEATBALLS
1lb ground turkey (I used 99% lean, any kind will do)
1/2 c. breadcrumbs (I have a large cache of failed, pulverized gf baked goods in my freezer for this very purpose; I believe today the sample came from carrot sweet potato muffin rejects)
1 to 1.5 c. spinach (I used frozen spinach, thawed and well-drained)
1/2 c. shredded/grated vegetable of choice (I did carrot, to stick with the rejected bread crumb theme)
spices/herbs to taste, e.g. parsley, ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, tarragon, fennel…
1 flax/chia or Ener-G egg (mix 1 Tbsp ground flax or chia with 2-3 Tbsp hot water and let sit, or 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer with 2 Tbsp hot water and let sit until egg-y)
Preheat oven to anywhere between 350 and 375 (my oven likes to jump around). Mix everything up in a large bowl. The mixture should be somewhat cohesive once you mix in the egg replacer. Use your hands to form small balls and place on greased or parchment papered baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or so, checking and flipping baking sheet at the 10 minute mark. Use a kitchen thermometer to test done-ness (160-165 degrees). These can also be made into larger patties and baked or fried. Hooray! Expanding the borders of a “restricted” diet yet again!