I find celiac support groups to be a lot of fun~ you meet lots of people with the same concerns as you, and it helps to keep you updated on new information. this includes new research or testing, new restaurant or grocery options, upcoming events, etc. not everyone who attends or belongs to these groups are diagnosed with celiac disease either~ it’s also for anyone who’s gluten free, supports someone who’s gluten, or is wondering if they’re celiac or need to go gluten-free and need more information. I find that the groups I’ve attended in the metro have all been generally upbeat and positive, which is why I enjoy attending.
one of the main support groups in the Minneapolis/ St Paul area is Northland Celiacs. they have a great website that lists gluten-free dining options, grocery shopping options for specialty GF products, a calendar that not only lists their upcoming meetings, but also city-wide events, such as celiac walks and state fair GF baking competitions. I like to reference their website regularly to find out what’s new. they also have a news feed about anything celiac/ gluten-free. another useful part of the website, in particular for people starting on their gluten-free journey, are their links~ you can discover a lot of options available if you search through them. finally, they have a page dedicated to other information on other support groups in Minnesota~ including not only Twin Cities groups, but also Duluth, St Cloud, Northfield, SE Minnestoa (Rochester, Winona areas), and Crookston, as well as neighboring states’ groups like the Red River Celiacs in North Dakota and the St Croix Valley Celiacs in Hudson, WI.
another main support group in the Twin Cities is the R.O.C.K. group, which stands for Raising our Celiac Kids. as you can probably tell by its name, it’s a group catering to parents of children with celiac disease. R.O.C.K. is a nationwide group, and Twin Cities R.O.C.K. is the local chapter. it appears to be an active group. they organize the celiac walk/ run in the spring. and they’re also partners with Camp Courage’s Gluten-Free Fun Camp, where kids can go in the summer and not have to worry about what they’re eating, since everything’s gluten-free! I’m a little jealous that I can’t go 🙂 the ROCK website also has helpful information for parents~ from the basics of celiac disease, to day care and school lunch programs and options.
other local support groups include the Anoka County group~ who’ve put together their own cookbook of recipes, which is neat. they meet the second Saturday of each month from 10am-noon at the Anoka County library, Rum River branch.
Celiac Friends is a local chapter of the Celiac Disease Foundation and tries to plan events once or twice a year, and has been involved with informing doctors about celiac disease at their training events. they meet the third Tuesday of each month from 6:45-8:30pm at Ridgewood Church in Minnetonka. they’ve recently launched a website.
the Woodbury Eastside Celiac Support Group is a local chapter of the Celiac Sprue Association. they meet the second Tuesday of each month from 7-9pm at the Allina Health Clinic in Woodbury. a fun thing that this group does is that it has their meetings at local restaurants that cater to the gluten-free every 3-4 months or so.
information for all of these groups can, again, be found on the Northland Celiac website: http://northlandceliacs.fastmail.fm/support.html
if you’d like information on other support groups in Iowa, ND, or Wisconsin, the links to those lists are on the right in the “support group” section. and you can also find the direct websites for some of these groups in North Dakota or Wisconsin at the links to the right as well under the “restaurants in North Dakota” and “restaurants in Wisconsin” sections at the bottom.
in fact, when I travel, not only do I consult the restaurant guides that are online or in book form, I also do a search for websites of local celiac groups. I’ve found this to be a great way to discover new restaurants~ trust the locals! they often include a brief description of what the restaurants offer for GF options, which helps me sift through the less serious restaurants. it works really well, so I highly suggest you do the same.
if you aren’t already a part of a celiac group, I recommend going to one at least once to get connected and at least get on the email list to find out about upcoming events and news. the groups can be a lot of fun and informative, and it’s nice to meet new friends that are just like you.