Did you know there were some popular celiac disease myths that might be confusing people? As someone who’s been raising gluten-free kids for several 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.”
Never fear though, I’m here to help you sort through those myths! And with the help of some products I received from Udi’s, I can tell you that going gluten free can be a little easier than you might think.
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.
8 Celiac Disease Myths
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.
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. In fact, with proper choices, you don’t even need to eat any grains to get the right amount of fiber in your diet. 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 can be challenging, 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.
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 gluten free meatballs to muffins. 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.
With so many Celiac disease myths out there, it can be tough to consider switching to a gluten free diet. I hope this article has cleared up your questions and given you some answers. If you want to learn more about going gluten free, here are some great books to get you started, from my own affiliate links:
Today, we’re lucky that there are so many gluten free options available to us. And Udi’s is one that has been around the longest, making it a trustworthy brand for people and families that are new to eating gluten free. Thanks, Udi’s, for making living with Celiac disease and food sensitivities a breeze.