I grew up watching The Oprah Winfrey Show, like so many here in Chicagoland and throughout the country. My older sister even had the opportunity to interview Oprah for her high school journalism class back when Oprah was hosting AM Chicago.
There is no doubt that Oprah has uplifted and inspired many viewers throughout the years. Her team of expert guests, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Bob Greene, Dr. Phil, and others have brought important health issues to light and educated many on topics ranging from depression to heart disease and sexual health. That being said, Celiac Disease is one health issue that has never been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
There have been several mentions of it throughout the years. In September 2007, Dr. Oz swallowed a tiny pill camera that actually took snapshots as it traveled through his digestive system. Dr. Oz mentioned that this camera has been successfully used to diagnose Celiac Disease, Crohn's Disease, and other digestive disorders.
Past episodes of Oprah Talk radio have made mention and/or discussed wheat allergies and gluten intolerance with callers. Oprah's website offers tips and advice for going gluten free, recipes from Erin McKenna's Babycakes cookbook, as well as an overview of Celiac Disease and gluten free food options from Daphne Oz, Dr. Mehmet Oz's daughter.
This past February, Oprah challenged her
staff to go vegan for an entire week. Author and vegan, Kathy Freston, guided Oprah and 378 of her staffers through the diet, including a shopping trip to Whole Foods in which several of the vegan options she identified also happen to be gluten free.
At the beginning of this season, The Oprah Winfrey Show
staff solicited input from viewers on who Oprah should interview in her farewell season. The blogger, The Gluten Free Optimist,
submitted a request that researchers and prominent members from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness be interviewed and asked blog followers to submit their requests as well. I submitted my request. Unfortunately with only one week left in the season, the likelihood of a show like this happening seems very low.
Given that May is Celiac Disease Awareness month, now would have been
a perfect time to educate the public on the myriad of seemingly
unrelated symptoms of Celiac Disease, ranging from thyroid abnormalities and joint pain, to
migraines, skin rashes, and unexplained infertility and help reach the 97% of celiacs that remain undiagnosed. The benefits of the gluten free diet in treating the disease versus being a fad diet or weight loss tool could be discussed,
along with highlighting some of the exciting research happening right here in
Chicago at the University of Chicago's Celiac Research Foundation.
Oprah's influence is certainly far reaching. She has launched many
careers, turned books into best sellers, and put a spotlight on the
great city of Chicago. It would be wonderful if she were
able to use that influence to help bring awareness to this highly
under-diagnosed disease - perhaps if not on her show as it draws to its successful close, then as she develops programming for her network (OWN) going forward.
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Tags: Babycakes bakery, Bob Greene, celiac disease, Daphne Oz, Dr. Oz, gluten free diet, Kathy Freston, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Oprah's Network, OWN, symptoms of celiac disease, The Gluten Free Optimist, The Oprah Winfrey Show, University of Chicago Celiac Research Foundation, vegan