Say goodbye to grains and hello to greens because today is Feb. 21. This means it is National Grain-Free Day. It is time to gather with your friends and family to celebrate a day full of entirely grain-free meals — a holiday set aside to recognize our loved ones who cope with dietary limitations.
National Grain-Free Day was created by Siete Family Foods just last year to support those with dietary restrictions that require them to be grain-free. By raising awareness, they hope to promote inclusiveness, allowing anyone to sit at the table and enjoy a meal.
I know what you are thinking: Why would I devote an entire day to this? I like my grains and want to keep them in my routine. However, not everyone has that luxury.
Sarah Oropeza, director of the Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics, said although there is not a large population of students at Harding who deal with dietary restrictions, it is still a reality for some, and we need to be mindful of them.
“Not all students can partake and sit down for dinner and enjoy everything,” Oropeza said. “Students who have already lived with it know how to navigate it. But especially [for] someone who was just diagnosed, that’s hard to make that adjustment.”
It may be hard to believe, but some people cannot just walk into the student center after chapel and grab that delicious chicken biscuit.
Freshman Michael Dewald, who has celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, said it can be hard whenever everyone is eating something he cannot have.
“I will say it is super hard,” Dewald said. “I got diagnosed at a young age, so I have grown up doing it. It’s all I have known.”
This day is all about including our friends and family who are forced to make the extra effort every day to eat only what they can.
“I feel like I celebrate Grain-Free Day every day,” freshman Mary Hendrix, who has a gluten allergy said.
This holiday gives us an excuse to celebrate with each other. So try something new, create a festive atmosphere, get together with friends and cook a delicious grain-free meal everyone can enjoy.
Oropeza advises to try adding quinoa to your dish. It is a seed that will add substance and texture to the meal of your choosing.
Get creative and post your meal on your social media using hashtag #NationalGrainFreeDay.