I’m sure most of us have something that we dislike, or avoid eating. Personally, I’ll eat almost everything, but I do try to avoid milk due to a slight intolerance to lactose. Maybe you’ve noticed that there is a growing population of people who are discovering that they have allergies to certain types of foods such as nuts, eggs, seafood etc. Many have switched to gluten-free diet to be healthier, but for people with celiac disease it is a necessity for them to avoid gluten.
About 3 million Americans have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes intestinal problems, headaches, nausea, heartburn, itchy blistery rashes, and more serious symptoms such as anemia, loss of bone density, weight loss. It’s believed that less than 20% of people with celiac disease get diagnosed. So what is gluten exactly?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. When a person with celiac disease consumes gluten, it damages the walls of their small intestine which hinders them from properly absorbing nutrients from food. The symptoms start small but can lead to more serious consequences such as miscarriages, infertility, neurological diseases, or certain cancers. There are no drug treatments for celiac disease so the only option is to go on a strict gluten-free diet which historically has meant staying away from bread, cake, pasta, cereal, and beer. Luckily times have changed and there are delicious options available so that those with celiac disease can have their cake and eat it as well!
Udi’s Healthy Foods is a brand of gluten free products founded by Udi Baron, a man who started his baking career working at the Israeli IRS of all places! Born and raised in Israel, Baron fondly recalls growing up eating sandwiches from his local grocery store which would play a more significant role later in his life. In 1978, Baron moved his family to Denver while he was still working for the Israeli IRS. In 1994 he quit his job and decided to go into the business of making desserts but not long after, he was approached with another opportunity to take over a small sandwich shop that was doing better than his dessert business.
In his search to find good bread for his sandwiches, he decided to open his own bakery instead. The bakery also housed his restaurant and it was named Udi’s Bread Café. That same year a man named Chadwick White approached Baron with a gluten-free bread recipe that he was having trouble selling to other bakeries. Baron was not interested at first but White insisted that there was a market for the gluten-free bread. They took the new bread to a celiac disease support group to test it and the members went crazy for it, a woman literally cried with joy upon tasting the bread - it was a hit!
From that point, Baron increased his focus on the gluten-free market which resulted in the creation of his empire that we know as Udi’s Healthy Foods. Udi’s now offers a wide range of gluten-free products beyond bread such as bagels, English muffins, rolls, buns, breakfast sandwiches, cookies, frozen meals, granola, muffins, pizza, and tortilla wraps.
Today, Udi’s is the #1 gluten-free brand in America and we are so thankful to receive their generous contribution of gluten-free goodies for our next FBNW Food Drop. We’re excited to introduce the kids to healthy and tasty gluten-free products so that they can learn to be open to healthier food options and be more mindful of the foods they consume in order to live a healthy and happy life!