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When a Family Member Refuses to be Tested for Celiac Disease

Posted Sep 01 2010 3:57pm
It is frustrating to hear about people who refuse to be tested for celiac disease. Fortunately, when I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007, all of my family members were willing to be tested.

I often hear on Twitter and in celiac groups about family members who refuse to be tested for celiac disease. Perhaps their refusal is based on fear, denial, or inaccurate information. Here are some of my thoughts on how to help them.

Share the facts.

While there are many good gluten-free blogs and YouTube videos, sharing information directly from a medical source is important. This information from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center is excellent in concisely explaining the symptoms of celiac disease and who needs to be tested. Complications of untreated celiac disease are described at the end of this fact sheet from the American College of Gastroenterology .

Focus on the positive.

Many people mistakenly think that gluten-free food doesn’t taste as good as gluten. While that was the case in the past, there are now so many great tasting gluten-free products, including Udi’s gluten-free bread . In fact, the Betty Crocker gluten-free brownies were rated number one in the Epicurious blind taste test of 21 gluten and gluten-free brownies .

Gluten-free products are also more readily available to consumers, and many mainstream products are very affordable. General Mills and Hain Celestial each make over 200 gluten-free products. Purchasing a gluten-free grocery guide, which lists thousands of gluten-free products available in many regular grocery stores, can be useful in locating products.

For eating out, there are numerous options, including chains like PF Chang’s, Bonefish Grill, Outback, ZPizza, and Uno Chicago Grill. For those who enjoy baking, there are terrific gluten-free all purpose flours as well as the new gluten-free Bisquick. 

Explain that planning makes it possible.

With some extra planning, anything is possible while eating gluten-free. The Gluten-Free Travel Site has reviews of restaurants, grocery stores, and hotels throughout the world. Many people with celiac disease are successfully traveling internationally, enjoying cruises, and camping.

If you were diagnosed with celiac disease years ago and family members are still refusing to be tested, be sure to share with them what gluten-free life is like today and how much it has improved. They may be remembering your bread that tasted like cardboard or your difficulty finding a restaurant. With your continued efforts, a family member may eventually surprise you and decide to be tested!
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