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Martha disappoints

Posted on February 14th, 2008 by Alison Read 14 Comments - Add Your Own »

Last week I wrote about Martha Stewart’s competition that could potentially launch a magazine for people with food sensitivities.

The allergy-free magazine idea won 57% of the popular vote, but they declared a tie between it and a pet-centered magazine and pet products. On TV Martha practically brushed off the allergy-free idea (see the video), saying that they will include allergy-free recipes in their current publications, so clearly no new publication will be launched. Oh, except the pet one. With pet products. I guess we food-allergic and intolerant people aren’t viewed as marketable.

We are marketable, Martha and everybody else, we are! We pay more for our special foods, we buy allergy-free cookbooks, we buy online, we would gladly pay more for a special meal at a restaurant if it were offered. Do you have something we need? We’ll buy it! C’mon, Martha, you can think of some way to make money off of us, can’t you??

Martha chose the idea that would make more money — I suppose there are more pets than food-allergic people, and think about all those color-coordinated monogrammed dog collars that will sell like hotcakes! But I really wish, given her status in our society, that she had chosen instead to make a real difference in people’s lives.

But who needs Martha?

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  1. What a disappointment! Sure there are more pets than food-allergic people (statistically, 63% of US households own a pet) — but there are already a slew of publications catering to these people.

    Pardon the pun, but us food allergy people are hungry for products, recipes, etc. For example, last week I sold the 15,000th copy of my self-published cookbook, (“What’s to Eat? The Milk-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Food Allergy Cookbook”) and I don’t even have a marketing budget. Imagine how well Martha could do!

  2. Martha, as evidenced by her recent “brush” with the law, has her eyes on the bottom line, period. We are in fact a small minority, and a poorly organized one at that. Think of all the press for breast cancer awareness, colon cancer screening, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, HIV/AIDS–those diseases are deadly for sure, but they are also supported by a large group of dedicated, vocal, tireless people who have raised funds and awareness to the extent that WE have not. There are effective treatments for all of these illnesses in great part because the people who have them (and their loved ones) have gone out and actively campaigned. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I tend to buy my expensive, second class fake bread and pasta, and feel sorry for myself because I can’t go to a friend’s house for dinner. I challenge you: ask 10 people if they have ever even heard of celiac disease, then ask the same about the other diseases I mentioned above. THAT’S why Martha won’t start a magazine. . . .

  3. Well, this was a poor sense of historical perspective of her contribution to society on Martha’s part, but – has she claimed to be a philanthropist? Not at all!

    SERIOUSLY, if the MEDICAL profession and HEALTH & Scientific communities and Govt Protective agencies cannot acknowledge that 1% of the US – and world -population is malnourished just because of an identifiable disease and diet, then… IN PLACES WHERE FOOD IS ABUNDANT…

    Someone – WE all – need to wake up the so-called DOgooders – Gates and Buffet and Oprah: Guys, while you plan to tackle the hard jobs, do not ignore the small No-brainers that no one is doing because there’s no money up front.
    In fact, health costs are skyrocketing because these smart, overlooked bit & pieces. Can you at least not irresponsibly shift the health of Africa around irresponsibly funding wheat crop for village after village of INHERITED autommunity to it!!??

  4. Sorry for the ripple there in that last comment –

    Point is, How ironic to think that a village in South America could be prone to celiac disease and then be “Helped” in a way that harms health for generations!
    It’s not far-fetched, considering $billions are spent here in this “scientifically aware, advanced” country on health care that fails to diagnose basic malnutrition.

  5. Anyone know of a way to forward this blog to Martha, Oprah, our representatives etc? And I’d love to know more about sending $/wheat to a place in S. America where celiac disease is very common? I think I know there is an area in Ireland, and perhaps Italy too. It would feel good to do something other than complai–maybe some “awareness” could be raised?

  6. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve managed my son’s celiac just fine without Martha and I’ll manage my pet just fine without her too! In the meantime, I’ll support the vendors who have kept us healthy this long! Go Team Celiac!

  7. Does anyone have a form or a list of food price comparisons in order to deduct celiac disease food expenses from your taxes?
    Yes we pay exorbitant amounts for all baked goods and flours, and some of the stuff is just inedible…thus more money thrown down the drain.
    I know we can deduct but I dread the work entailed compiling the first list of comparisons, i.e. cost of normal loaf vs. gluten free loaf.
    Any suggestions?

  8. Alison, why don’t you just get a group of fabulous, well-educated folks such as yourself together, and get it done! Who needs Martha? It could be a regional trial, a pilot project of sorts! You have already done so much legwork, and tested so many recipes…forget Martha, get Rachel Ray to listen to you! She has some space in her magazine…Your experience is worth something! Hmph! 🙂 Anita

  9. oh, but you better have the diagnosis in writing for a write off – right? What about all those folks out there that aren’t “diagnosed” officially?

  10. Alison the magazine publisher. I like it!

  11. There is already an outstanding magazine for people with allergies, Living Without. It was founded by a celiac woman, and she does many articles on people living gf and has outstanding recipes that are gf. Plus there are also recipes that help those with other food intolerances. So, why reinvent the wheel? I consider the money I spend on my yearly subscription to Living Without as well-spent even though I have been diagnosed celiac for many years now and know how to cook gf. Diane

  12. Thanks for the comments everyone…

    Linda – congrats on your cookbook!

    Lyn – I agree with you that the celiac community is not organized. Why do we have several organizations rather than one united? I would like to hear what someone has to say on that.

    Karen – I have wondered how many poor people’s health is being made worse with wheat (cheap) donations. It is scary.

    Anita – thanks for the tax info

    Jennifer – from what I have heard, it is a pain in the you-know-what to actually get deductions. As one of the articles from the link that Anita posted said, “such an exercise would, most likely, be an exercise in futility.”

    Anita and Sharon – thanks for the support, but I think I’ve got my hands full at the moment!

    Diane – I agree!! Living Without is a GREAT magazine and I mentioned it in my first post about the Martha contest. It looks like it is going to get even better as they have been purchased by a larger publishing firm.

  13. I have been seeing more articles about eating gluten-free and gluten-free recipes in mainstream magazines over the past year. Natural Health’s Feburary issue had an article about alternative pastas that talked about rice, corn and buckwheat pastas. I’ve also seen articles in Shape, Health and Vegetarian Times recently. And today, the Chef on Call column in the Food section of the Washington Post was about helping a couple prepare a gluten-free meal for a celebration. I’d rather see more of these articles in mainstream media than a separate Martha Stewart publication on food allergies.

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