Newly Gluten Free: Meet The Wheatleys

Ironically enough, we are the Wheatley family from Lexington, KY. After 10 years of chronic stomach issues, and  being very pushy with a receptive pediatrician, our oldest was diagnosed with celiac disease.  After she tested positive, we tested our other 3 children due to the hereditary nature of the disease. The other three were found to be positive as well. Talk about rolling with the punches! This diagnosis came as a shock to our family.  Of course, our oldest was thankful that there was hope for her to feel normal.  Immediately I worried about everything…How will they cope? What will they eat? How can we go anywhere?  How can I put a positive spin on this?  How receptive will family and friends be?  The questions went on and on.

Luckily our children have been patient and very open to learning about the disease.  They have been receptive to trying new foods and brands in order to find the right Gluten free products for them.  With companies like Udi’s, which take the time and care to create great/safe products, there is so much more for them to pick from on the market.  Finding the best bread search ended finally when we discovered Udi’s whole grain bread.  Our kids don’t care a lot for pasta but they love their bread…and Udi’s saved the day!!

My husband and I have always been firm believers in ‘everything happens for a reason’.  The spin we have put on the disease for our kids is that getting the diagnosis early in life will prevent them from possibly developing multiple diseases later in life.  With the help of testing, doctors, family, friends, research and innovative companies like Udi’s our children are going to grow up happier and healthier and that is something that we cannot put a price tag on.

We asked Becky Wheatley to provide some tips on dining out with gluten free kids. Here is what she recommends.

Tips For Dining Out With Gluten Free Kids

  1. First and foremost, we are always very open and up front about our children’s diagnosis to the manager and waiter/waitress.  We have found that doing so helps them understand the situation better.
  2. Another important thing is calling ahead when possible and talking to the manager, preferably the one who will be there when you plan to go.  We have had several places fire up grills that are never used and cut potatoes to make fresh oven baked french fries just for the safety of our children.
  3. Taking extra food/bread/condiments to the restaurant is a good idea, just in case the menu is more limited than we expected.
  4. The biggest key is remaining calm/patient and never underestimating the power of informing people as you go. We can all educate over time and get gluten free knowledge out there!!


About the Wheatleys

Becky Wheatley-NICU RN

David Wheatley-Tax Manager


Abby-11 years old

Gunnar-9 years old

Cameron-7 years old

Lindsey-7 years old

Gluten Free for 1 year now!!  Follow-up testing on Abby has shown complete healing of her small intestines…a completely normal Endoscopy!!  Thanks Udi’s!!

15 responses to “Newly Gluten Free: Meet The Wheatleys”

  1. Gloria says:

    i was diagnoised in august and i am still finding myself having “symptoms or issues and i am watching the ingredients so im so confused pretty much all i eat is chex cereal and udis breads and potatoes rice and veggies;/ its been so hard for me and i hate it. i have a 4 and 3 year old also and i worry theyll have it or already do but the drs say the blood tests can be neg when the person actually is possitive, which was the case for me.. and i so dont want to put them through an endoscopy! i have them mostly gluten free at home but their dad doesnt and wont unless they are diagnoised 🙁 and i have no clue as to what things to make half the time…. any ideas that may help me?

    • Wendy Hofstetter says:

      Hi Gloria – I’m sorry to hear you are having some challenges with your gluten free lifestyle! Have you checked out our Gluten Free Living community yet? Our community members post snack and meal ideas all the time there. You would also be surprised at how many foods are naturally gluten free. For example, you could do baked potatoes topped with lean beef, vegetables, and cheese. Or you could make tacos (using corn tortillas) with meat, lettuce, tomato, and salsa. We have gluten free pizza crusts that you can make with your favorite toppings. I hope these ideas help. Hang in there, because it does get easier!

      • Becky Wheatley says:

        Hi Gloria, this is Becky Wheatley. Would you be ableto find a dietician/nutritionist? That helped us tremedously…just saw her one time but that was a great jump start. It does get easier!! I guess luckily our 4 tested positive on labwork and endoscopy. All 4 were scoped without any problem. My concern originally was if one was positive and others were not..was to make sure the non-celiacs get gluten in their diet so in the future actually would test positive..if that makes sense. Maybe their dad and doctor need to learn a little more about the disease. If my other kids had not tested positive then the GI doctor had recommended testing at least every 2 years. Luckily our pediatricians are very well versed about celiac since 2 of the doctors in the group have childlren with it. We eat pretty much everything that we use to, just modified. A lot less starches that we don’t need anyway;) In the past year accidental exposure a majority of the time has been malt..mostly in a couple different potatoe chips. One was cross-contamination at an ice cream place..they were very well versed about their gluten free items but no one once thought about the ice cream scoopers used on all of the ice cream! Hope some of this helps!! Thanks for reading!!

  2. Bonnie Yost says:

    Have been gluten sensitive for 30 years. One tip that I would add to any of my GF friends who try to dine out. I always eat at home before I go out to eat. I know it doesn’t make sense, but at least I’m not starving by the time my salad and/or entree arrives. It’s hard to watch those dining with me to eat the “free” bread and crackers and difficult to watch them eat the soup, and I’m just sitting there smelling it. I’ll eat a bowl of mashed potatoes or Udi’s bread before I go out to eat anywhere. And then if I get to a restaurant that has a limited GF selection, at least I’m not famished and don’t feel deprived (too much). Thank you Udi’s!!!!

  3. MAX BERKMAN says:


  4. Rob and Maureen Pigott says:

    So happy for the Wheatleys, I too was diagnosed with celiac disease last year, it will be a year on March 3rd, at first it was overwhelming taking a look at the food in our house and seeing all the wheat in the ingredients, it only took me a week to realize that celiac disease has been the cause of numerous physical problems I have had for probably the last 20 years, so last year on March 10th we donated all our gluten filled foods to the local food pantry and started our new gluten free lifestyle, I have been overweight for almost 20 years topping the scales ar nearly 500 pounds, in only the last 11 months going gluten free and exercising I have lost 104 pounds, and my wife who also went gluten free just to make it easier with meal preparation has lost 27 pounds and found out that she has a gluten intolerance, her occasional stomach pains and aches that she attributed to other things have all gone away after she started gluten free. Some might think being diagnosed with this disease is a bad thing but I believe it is a blessing, finally getting diagnosed and kicking the gluten has changed our lives for the better in so many ways and I agree with the Wheatleys, Udis products are the best tasting gluten free products on the market, (believe me we have tried alot of gluten free products from alot of diffferent manufacturers this past year) and they help make the glulten free lifestyle alot easier, my wife and I also take the bread with us to restaurants and the bagels are out of this world! Thanks to Udis I can still enjoy my wifes wonderful bagel breakfast sandwiches on the weekends!!! Thank you Udis Sincerely Rob Pigott

  5. Susie says:

    I am from nearby Scott Co. KY! Last year I was diagnosed with extreme gluten sensitivity but negative celiacs blood test. I have two daughters that I haven’t had tested yet, but fear they may be sensitive too. They are only semi-accepting of a gluten free diet. I would love to hear more about how you meal plan. I am on facebook and will try and find you! Susie Presley

  6. Jackie says:

    My husband and three children were also diagnosed once one tested positive. Quite a family affair, but at least they are all in it together. Makes meal time easier at our house.

  7. Pat Levee. says:

    Wow, it makes me happy to hear that gluten-free can be a way of life and not a sentence to stand out, especially for kids. I have been gluten free for over a year now and it is the result of a wonderful doctor who not only helped me get my thyroid under control, but his diagnosis also cleared up some pain issues that no one else could (due to a sensitivity to gluten and dairy). I am a firm believer in thinking outside the box. Diet does matter and the sooner the diagnosis, the better you will feel. Good luck and thanks Wheatley family

  8. danielle says:

    i feel your pain and greatfulness…after over 5 years of issues in our house we finally got the celiac diagnosis a few months 8 year old daughter got her diagnosis right before her son has tested negative but the dr still feels he might develop it later in life. we have not completely transitioned to a completely gluten free household but we do not buy the way we used to. all our family meal that i cook are gluten free.

  9. teri mcintyre says:

    I take my Udi’s bread to restaurants with me also,I have had pretty much all but one place,make sandwiches for me.I love it,Good luck to your entire family

  10. katrina jensen says:

    i know its hard but it will get easyer as the years go on. I know because i’ve been that way sence 2003 but they didn’t tell me until 2006. It was hard for me to at first but as the years went on it got easyer.

  11. Tammie Earl says:

    wow, all the kids tested positive – so glad you have been able to get this under control. I agree about dining out. That is THE hardest obstacle with going gluten free – I don’t think I’ve ever managed to get a true gluten free meal at a restaurant UNLESS it was a gluten free menu that I ordered from. Even chinese stir frys are suspect bc most soy sauce has wheat in it, unless it’s clearly marked soy only or is labeled gluten free. You can possibly get a meal in a mexican restaurant that’s gluten free but I’m always suspect because the meat is cooked in spices – who knows what’s in the ingredients list? Kudos to you for being so diligent and telling the manager of the restaurant! And congratulations on the clean endoscopy!

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