When fellow New Yorker and Celiac Susan Cohen reached out to me recently to take a look at her gluten-free documentary Generation Gluten-Free I was really excited to take a look. The film itself was shot in the summer of 2005 and released the following January. Oh, and she just happened to film it while a student at Barnard College which makes it even more impressive. Now you may be wondering to yourself why you would want to watch something that was made six years ago about a condition that has really only recently made it into the headlines. That’s just the reason. You see, many Celiacs, myself included, remember what a very different world it was for us even five years ago. Let me tell you that when I was diagnosed more than nine years ago I was beside myself and really had few gluten-free replacements to help me maintain a gluten-free lifestyle. Resources were also few and far between and the Celiac journey at the time was a pretty lonely one where we sort of learned as we went along.
Fast forward to today where gluten-free is the new buzz word and more and more mainstream manufacturers are jumping on-board to provide us with gluten-free options of some of our longtime favorites. Even major manufacturers aside, the niche gluten-free market has also exploded with a range of great products available in the click of a mouse and from quite literally around the world. While I am certainly happy that we have come such a long way in raising awareness of Celiac disease there is still a long road in front of us and I can’t think of a better way to continue to move forward than by looking back at some of the trailblazers in the community that helped Celiacs like myself start to live a more normal life. The film is also a fantastic commentary on our general gluten-free world just a few short years ago and I actually find it refreshing to see how far we have come as a community.
The film includes (in alphabetical order) interviews with:
George Chookazian, Owner and Founder of Foods by George – probably the first good gluten-free pizza and English Muffins I had when first diagnosed.
Sue Goldstein, the founder of the Westchester County, New York, Celiac Sprue Support Group
Dr. Peter Green, Director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University
Beth Hillson, Founder of The Gluten-Free Pantry
Pat MacGregor, Founder of the Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Program
Joseph Pace, Owner of Risotteria restaurant in NYC – a New York City gluten-free stand-by.
Peter Zakakis, Owner of Peters Restaurant in NYC – one of my personal favorites here in the City that makes a mean gluten-free Monte Cristo.
I found it so interesting to put faces with many of the names that have become synonymous with the Celiac community and hear their first-hand takes on their motivation for becoming involved in the Celiac world. It is also interesting to note that many of their primary motivating factors are the same reason many of us do (to whatever degree) what we do to help raise awareness for the disease and make the gluten-free journey easier for the newly diagnosed than it was for many of us.
Kudos to Susan for making this film well before gluten-free was “cool” or really “in vogue” to immortalize the beginnings of what would fast become the gluten-free movement before us today. I for one and proud to count my self among Generation Gluten-Free.
Susan has also graciously given me a copy of her film to give away to one of my readers. So why not head-on over to her Web site and view the trailer and learn more about the film or purchase your very own copy. To enter to win your own copy, just leave a comment here Enter by March 18, 2011). That’s all it takes and thanks again to Susan for helping document the Celiac experience.