8 Myths About Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Living

Products were received in exchange for this review.

8 myths about celiac disease and gluten free life

May is Celiac Awareness Month, and as someone who’s been raising gluten-free kids for two years, I can tell you that it’s not easy! Now my children do not have celiac disease, but they do have food sensitivities, and  I can absolutely tell when they have been cross-contaminated! I have 3 friends in a very small church group that I’m in all who all suffer gluten intolerances. Said one, “I just thought that was the price to pay for eating pasta! I thought it was normal.”

Gastrointestinal reactions to pasta and bread are not normal. If you suspect you have Celiac disease or issues with glutens, here are 8 little known facts about the gluten-free life and Celiac disease in general:

1. Celiac disease is not considered a disability.

In 2009, the Americans with Disabilities Act expanded to cover issues such as eating and major bodily functions, and from my friends, I have seen how debilitating unintentionally digested gluten can be. Now, does that mean every workplace, school and public arena must offer gluten-free food? I wish it did, but sadly, that’s not what the law covers but if you are willing to wage the fight, at least the ADA is supportive.  It DOES protect you, however, from being fired due to a disability, so I hope this would cover regular issues of illness brought about by Celiac disease. About.com covers this issue in depth: “Does the Americans with Disabilities Act cover people with Celiac Disease?

2. The only way to detect Celiac disease and gluten intolerances is with a biopsy.

For an official diagnosis, you need a blood test, then to convince your doctor for the biopsy, and then the costs and difficulty associated with that. A better route is to drop all gluten with a true elimination diet and see if you feel better, if your stools are different, if you have more gastrointestinal comfort. Be careful though – it’s tricky to get to 100% gluten-free, especially if you eat out or eat packaged foods! Then you can go to your doctor and convince him of the benefit of a test, based on your physical results.

3. There is no cure for Celiac disease.

I was shocked to discover they are developing drugs and vaccines for Celiac disease. There is a cure: stop eating glutens! It’s NOT the easy, fast, convenient symptom relief that we Americans consider a “cure,” but it’s absolutely doable. For me, it’s common sense: if your body rejects glutens, listen to your body and don’t give it any…rather than looking for a fast fix-it so you can eat anything in comfort.

udis pizza, bread & bagels

These are delicious. It’s easy to be gluten-free with Udi’s.

4. Cross-contamination is not a big deal.

That depends. As of 2009, at least, gluten ratios below 20ppm was FDA regulation required for the gluten-free designation, and some people are fine with that. In this house, when the girls get glutens in their diet, by accident or when I’m laxed, I can tell. Zoe, who now is enjoying solid poops thanks to  homeopathy, will get a nasty case of the runs, and both girls will have negative behaviors off the charts. Remember, we don’t give them ANY glutens, so we know for sure that this comes about with a new product or restaurant that is laxed about cross-contamination. Udi’s makes and bakes all their baked good in a 100% dedicated gluten-free facility. As of 5/23/13, Udi’s informed me that their products test at 10ppm*, and they passed their gluten inspection again, ensuring they are certified GF! My girls seem to have zero reactions with Udi’s so I suspect that is a safe limit for them.

*NOTE: This information was told to me by a representative for Udi’s in May, 2013. It is possible these levels have changed, since I now see Udi’s supports a “20ppm” level for gluten free labeling. Please be aware of this if your sensitivity is high, or contact them yourself.

5. If you go gluten-free, you won’t get enough fiber, grains and nutrients.

I just read that it’s dangerous to go gluten-free. This is hogwash, as far as I’m concerned. There is nothing you can get from a healthy loaf of grain-filled bread that you can’t get from gluten-free ancient grains or fiber-filled vegetables. The reality is that most of the bread and pasta products Americans eat have more in common with big fat slices of sugar-laden, butter-dripped cake than healthy fiber. Dropping glutens allows you to focus on healthy sources of fiber.

6. Being 100% gluten-free is impossible.

Being gluten-free is difficult, true, but it’s not impossible. You need to drop back going to restaurants, which frequently suffer cross-contamination, and cook more. Sandwiches can be tricky, but of course, you can always buy Udi’s Sandwich Bread. Try switching your entire family to gluten-free, or buy two toasters and store your gluten products away from the kitchen. It does mean you have to pick up and read labels all the time. One thing I love about Udi’s products is that it tells you right on the front label what allergens the product is free of – almost all are gluten-free, but some are also dairy- and soy-free.

Udi's blueberry muffins

Dairy, Soy & Nut Free, plus Gluten Free, all right on the label.

7. It’s not natural to be gluten-free.

Actually, our bodies DO NOT produce the enzyme to break down glutens, and this is the trouble for people with Celiac disease and food sensitivities. It’s probably more natural not to be eating glutens in the first place, despite how long farming has been around. That said, I believe the the increase in gluten-sensitivity disorders is likely related to how we are farming nowadays, such as unsafe GMO’s in foods. I was excited to learn that Udi’s products are verified non-GMO (yay!) and they are working towards non-GMO Project certification on many of their items. As you can see from the top photo, they’ve already received it on their granola bars and clusters.

8. Gluten-free cooking and eating tastes terrible.

No way! It takes some doing, but gluten-free cooking is a skill like any other, and you can make anything from delicious muffins to meatballs. That’s why we buy Udi’s gluten-free products when we are in the mood for a snack. I’ve loved everything I’ve tried by them, and the kids love the breads, bagels, cookies, granola, and muffins-quite a long list for my kids to like of any one brand! Cooking three meals a day for the kids and myself is time-consuming and tiring. Udi’s is a huge help when do give our kids treats, and they are a brand that is tasty and which I trust. 

Thanks, Udi’s, for making living with food sensitivities a breeze!

Products were received in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own. The products below are linked to my affiliate account.


    • Gina B says

      Thanks Melinda! I’m sorry to hear that, but it seems so common nowadays. I hope this helps her.

    • Gina B says

      That’s really kind of you, Alissa! I know that friends & family of people who have allergies struggle, almost as much as the people who suffer, and it’s not easy. That said, remember that a bowl of fruit doesn’t have ANY of the top allergens, and is always a welcome stand by for my kids when I visit people!

  1. says

    It really is incredible how a diet free of allergens or sensitivities can be done and can be done well! Most people think it must be impossible. For all that we avoid, people assume we don’t eat very well. I am so grateful for all of the products out there that make it easier to eat good food! And companies that are so committed to it, like Udi’s, really make our lives easier.
    carrie recently posted…When Food Allergy Accidents HappenMy Profile

    • Gina B says

      Agreed! You get much more, “It can’t be done!” than encouragement, I find. The products do really help, especially if you are travelling. Thanks, Carrie – it’s been great watching your journey too.

  2. says

    Great information here. The thing that really throws a monkey wrench into it all is that you can HAVE a totally clean biopsy and still be gluten sensitive and have the same reactions as a diagnosed celiac. I wish they had clearer diagnosis processes for all of this.
    Nicole @ One Punky Mama recently posted…Father’s Day for Our SuperheroMy Profile

    • Gina B says

      Hm, yes, gluten sensitivity is not celiac. Bottom line is, if gluten makes you feel crummy, best to leave it out, and maybe drop caseins too. Augh, wish I had better answers for you, Nicole!

  3. Rebecca Whitney says

    Two of my children have to be gluten-free, due to Celiac and ASD, and I would like to propose to anyone out there reading this that it would be AWESOME to have a fast food chain that is 100% gluten-free dedicated. We don’t have the funds to go out to eat often, and when we do, it is SO difficult to find places that all the kids can eat at. Then, we have the problem with cross-contamination at the restaurants, themselves, and we usually just opt to cook at home. :/ We live in the Pacific NW, so I don’t know about other states, but here, there is no place that guarantees gluten-free, other than one tiny “mom and pop” restaurant, that doesn’t often carry casein-free, as well.

    To further request, it would be beneficial for ALL manufacturers of foods that are naturally GF or GF/CF, to have separate machines to process the foods that are. I can’t begin to describe the roller coaster mood swing, as I read down the ingredients list, when I finally get to the part at the bottom that says “May be processed on machines that also process gluten or dairy.”. :(

    • Gina B says

      Great idea! Let’s start one-it’d be huge! We had some place here that was often recommended but it’s out of business. There’s very few I know of that are truly careful, besides Disney or Great Wolf Resorts – the only one I know is PF Changs, where the waitress spent 5 minutes explaining how they have a separate grill, and so on. Downside is combined with a dairy allergy, that leaves only 2 menus items, and my kids don’t like either one :(

  4. Audria Lewis says

    Although I agree with most of this article, I have to question where you got the information pertaining to Udi’s gluten free food? I read here: ( http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/PreventingCrossContamination/a/Gluten-Free-PPM-table.htm )that Udi’s contains 20ppm of gluten and in my own experience even this small amount makes me sick. Can you share your Udi’s ppm source? That would help me to know if maybe it is something else in their food that is making me sick. I have been Gluten free for 8 years after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Thank you for the informative article.

    • Gina says

      Hi Audria, thanks for your comment. Please note this article was written in May, 2013. At the time, I contacted Udi’s directly and they sent me this information on 5/23/13: “We bake, make, and create our entire collection of gluten-free baked goods in a 100% dedicated gluten-free facilities. We test all incoming ingredients for gluten to 10ppm, and we have just passed our gluten inspection again and are certified GF.” Suzanne Wolke, Social Media Manager for Udi’s Gluten Free.

      It’s possible that since then, they changed policy or perhaps Suzanne’s information was not accurate. I will amend my post to reflect that…I’m not sure what it is now. Thank you again!