Celiac Awareness

Wednesday

Celiac Resources: What To Look For & Red Flags To Run From

When I think of the sea of information surrounding Celiac disease, I'm reminded of how I learned the ins and outs of managing it. Lucky for me, I was diagnosed long before gluten-free had become romanticised by celebrities and diet junkies. It made things easier I think because the information circulating about gluten-free was pure and foreign to most people. Gluten-free was just that; no gray area and no jokes.

With all of the information out there today, it can be difficult to weed out fact from fiction. The internet is a continuously growing source of unmoderated information and strong opinion. While different points of view can be a good thing, they aren't when it comes to managing Celiac. Scientific facts from medical professionals trump personal opinions on the internet ( looking at you Facebook Groups, Twitter, and Instagram ) one hundred percent! 


So Who Do We Trust?!

Celiac Resources

What to look for


Bloggers who actively campaign for Celiac awareness without policing the nutritional choices of others. Celiac aside, we all have different dietary needs, requirements, and lifestyles. It's important to find bloggers you can relate to. For example, if you are gluten-free AND dairy free, you would naturally gravitate toward someone who shares that lifestyle.


Look for support groups which are low on animosity and focus on the positives. While we all need to vent once in a while, it can be emotionally draining to be constantly surrounded by negativity. It's not hard to find a silver lining when everyone you connect with is searching for it too. Support networks big or small, are important to successfully manage Celiac.


Advocacy groups which are funded by member and or Government donations. When there is no sponsorship, there is zero potential for conflict of interest. They are also more likely to involve members in every aspect of the organization, making it 100% accountable. Advocacy is a vital lifeline to everyone with Celiac. This is why we need to make sure we're supporting groups which are serious about making a difference.


Facts based on valid scientific researchCeliac is not governed by personal opinion. Period. To avoid clickbait and plain old wrong information, ask yourself:
Is this a trustworthy information source?
Can the facts be verified?
Is there an ulterior motive?
What makes this source reliable?
Where did the information originate?
Is it up to date?

We live in an era where information travels at lightspeed and just because it's out there, doesn't mean it's accurate.


Red flags


Anyone who promotes Cheerios as a suitable option for those with Celiac. 
See more on why that is a no-no here. This is a hot topic still and I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around why. The main problem here is cross-contamination and lack of transparency about the gluten-removal process from General Mills.

Stay far away from anyone promoting gluten-removed beer as a Celiac safe.
It's not. Heres why: current technology is not reliable as it can't accurately measure the amount gluten in beer. It doesn't matter if it has been treated with enzymes or your Aunt Betty said she drinks it and is fine. Bartenders are not medical professionals and should not be relied upon for accurate information on the gluten-freeness of a drink. Beer made with malt a.k.a gluten-removed beer is not safe for any Celiac, nor is Corona for that matter.

Watch out for anyone who neglects to disclose sponsored material. 
This has been an ongoing problem on the interwebs for some time. It's sketchy, in poor taste and lacks authenticity.

Stay away from people who want to sell you essential oils, tonics and cleanses.
None of this will "heal" you and most of them tend to be MLM situations. Don't get caught up in it and you won't be sorry.


Avoid anyone who tells you that they know a "cure". 
Although therapies are actively being trialed and researched, there is nothing to date which will allow you to safely consume gluten. There is zero proof that anything currently on store shelves will help with cross contamination or accidental glutening. ZERO. Side note - those pills in health stores that "aid in the digestion of gluten" are not regulated by the FDA and not even meant for people with Celiac.


Advocacy groups and Expos that are sponsored by companies that are not Celiac safe. This is a major conflict of interest. How can we be sure that money hasn't bought a favorable opinion here? Safety first!

Be wary of anyone who relies strictly on the Nima Sensor. 
The Canadian Celiac Association recently released a statement cautioning anyone with Celiac or gluten sensitivity against using the device. While Nima could potentially be a helpful tool, it's not flawless and the opportunity for error is simply too risky.



Research and Support You Can Count On




The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center

Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University



Gluten-Free Certification 




Saturday

What every Celiac Wants You To Know

Celiac is a permanent lifestyle change. A change that is difficult, expensive and involves more than just avoiding bread. For someone with Celiac, indulging in gluten containing food is never okay. Ever. Below, I touch on things every Celiac wants their friends, family and co-workers to know.

So What Exactly Is Celiac?

Celiac isn't an allergy, intolerance or preference. It's an autoimmune digestive disorder which causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is ingested. Contrary to most people's understanding, this is not a new disease. In fact, Celiac was first discovered by the Greek physician, Aretaeus of Cappadocia who lived in the first century A.D. He wrote about "The Coeliac Affection" and named it koliakos which is derived from the Greek word koelia, meaning abdomen.

Celiac is a serious autoimmune condition where the body ultimately views gluten as the enemy. Thus creating a hostile reaction to it. Following a strict gluten-free diet isn't glamorous and it requires extra work to ensure that it's also healthy.

Common Overlooked Dangers

Taking precautions to prevent cross contamination (both home and away) is a necessary effort. Though it may seem exuberant, it's important to ensure some kitchen items are deemed Celiac only. Examples such include:

toaster
cutting board
colander
condiments


It's also important to be mindful of food courts, break rooms and other eating areas away from home. The tables may not always be sanitised before you sit down and can harbour crumbs from previous diners.

Reading food labels can be tricky. Take your time and learn the various terms for gluten and become versed in proper label reading. The Canadian Celiac Association provides a great resource for label reading.

Myths, Lies, And Misunderstandings

Celiac is a life long condition as currently there is NO CURE. That means adhering to a 100% gluten-free diet is essential. Contrary to what some companies may try to slyly sway you into believing, no pill or ritual out there will allow you to safely ingest gluten. Period. 

Though it seems to still be happening, starting a gluten-free diet before proper testing is a monster no-no. Why? Because if you are in fact Celiac, your body will begin to heal on a gluten-free diet which will result in a false negative test result.

Simply following a gluten-free diet blindly is never a good idea. Many of the foods are high in fat and sugar, as well as low in essential nutrients such as iron, fibre and vitamin B. Believe it or not, this can actually cause weight gain. It's a process to eat healthy on a gluten-free diet as we have to work harder to ensure that the healthy food makes its way into our routine. This involves a lot of planning and straying from the convenience of pre-packaged foods. Especially if away from home.


Don't Get Caught Up In Myths

  • Deep frying doesn't destroy gluten 
  • Ancient Grains like Spelt aren't safe- they're in the wheat family
  • Celiac is in not a result of GMO's
  • Crumbs are a big deal. Even a little bit is harmful to a Celiac
  • Lack of physical reaction is not an indication of safety. Even without a noticeable reaction, gluten consumption is harmful.
  • Celiacs don't need to avoid all grains. Unless you have another condition, wheat gluten is the only thing you need avoid.


The Complexity Of It All

Celiac has been associated with over 300 different symptoms. Crazy right?! Not everyone has the same telltale signs. Some people are what is known as "Silent Celiac", meaning they show no noticeable symptoms (also known as asymptomatic) of the disease. This is why proper testing is very important. Self-diagnosing and assuming you're Celiac can be a dangerous road to follow. By not taking the proper steps for diagnosis, you are potentially putting yourself at risk. You know all those symptoms linked to Celiac? They can be signs of other conditions as well. Thus making diagnosis tricky and solidifying the need for accuracy. What if you aren't actually Celiac, but have a health issue only masked by the gluten-free diet? You won't get the treatment you need and you will wonder why you're still sick or what's been "glutening" you. You're also less likely to adhere to the gluten-free lifestyle without having been correctly tested.


The Genetic Link

Celiac is genetically inherited, but not everyone with the gene will develop the disease. Providing genetic markers are present, there is a 1 in 10 risk of a first-degree (parent, child, sibling) relative developing Celiac disease.

Complications

Unlike wheat products, most gluten-free items are not fortified.This results in vitamin deficiency for many with Celiac. It's important to ensure you are getting sufficient iron, calcium, Vitamin D, B6, B12, zinc and folate.

Untreated, Celiac can lead to a whole slew of other autoimmune disorders, including MS, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, neurological conditions, pancreatic problems and gastrointestinal cancers.


Etiquette And Support

A positive support network is crucial to for everyone with Celiac. Whether it's an encouraging shoulder to lean on or an ear to rant to, simply being a bright presence makes our journey a little easier.

Though others may mean well by asking questions, there are some things that really should be avoided. Some questions and comments we field tend to be less than empathetic and kind of inconsiderate. 

Let's talk etiquette and what falls under the please don't even category

"That must suck"
"Don't be dramatic"
"I feel sorry for you"
"Just a little won't hurt"
"I'd die if I couldn't eat gluten"
"If you take xyz you can eat gluten again"
"My friend's Naturopath say xyz will cure Celiac"
"I'd never be able to give up my favourite foods"

It's also important to understand that we may not always feel comfortable eating away from home. Even if it's something a friend or a family member has gone to the effort of making gluten-free. Not everyone understands the detailed prep involved in ensuring gluten-free food stays gluten-free. For people who are not immersed in the Celiac lifestyle, it can be easy to overlook areas of cross contamination. We mean no offence when we politely decline. Trust us. We really want to be able to trust you and eat the food you have so graciously prepared. But, we have also all had that one experience where we've reacted to food made by others. So when we say "no thank you" please just let it be and don't pressure us or become irritated.


Love ,
your friendly neighbourhood Celiac



Ottawa Senators To Host Celiac Disease Awareness Night


The Canadian Celiac  Association has teamed up with the Ottawa Senators to host a Celiac Awareness night


 When I received an email from the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) advising of this event, I was thrilled! As a Celiac and a hockey fan, this is a double win. I have emailed an inquiry as to whether or not there will be any Celiac safe food at the event and will post an update once a response is received.


     When:
     Saturday, March 4th 2017

     Where:
     The Canadian Tire Centre
     1000 Palladium Drive Ottawa, 
       Ontario K2V 1A5



       How to purchase tickets:

Please visit this page to ensure that part of your ticket price will be donated to the CCA. 

You NEED to use the promo code CELIAC when you complete checkout.
Not a hockey fan, but know someone who is? Senators tickets make a great Christmas or birthday gift! Plus you will also be helping fellow Celiac's - A portion of ticket proceeds will support important awareness, research, and restaurant training programs. All brought to you by the CCA.                  
 

For more information, kindly email cca.communications@celiac.ca with your inquiry.


Thursday

Reporting Gluten-Free Issues In Canada

Gluten-Free Standards



In Canada, a gluten-free manufacturer is expected to ensure that no gluten containing grains are present as an ingredient and that all ingredients used in the manufacture of a gluten-free product are indeed gluten-free and have not been cross contaminated in any way. Meaning gluten-free equals gluten-free. Not maybe, or almost, but entirely gluten-free.


What Can You Report?


  • Foods containing gluten, being sold as gluten-free 
  • An adverse reaction you've had following the consumption of gluten-free food
  • Restaurants/bakeries which market gluten containing items as gluten-free
  • Food falsely advertised in print as gluten-free

How To Report Your Concerns


Please report your concerns to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). They are responsible for enforcing the labelling regulations that are set by Health Canada. Once they have your complaint, they will investigate further. 

Contact your local CFIA regional office or call the following toll-free number 1-800-442-2342.

You can also use this online form to report your food safety or labelling concern.


What Will Happen


When you make a complaint, the CFIA will open a case file and launch a food safety investigation. A representative from the agency will contact you and may visit your home. A home visit is necessary for retrieval of leftover food in question. A sample will then be sent to a lab to be analysed. They may also visit the store which you purchased the item in question at to collect more samples.

You will be asked for 



  • Brand Name Of Product 
  • Size, Universal Product Code (UPC), Best Before Date 
  • Name and Address Of The Store where product Was Purchased At 
  • Purchase Date(s) 
  • Home Address (ensures your inquiry reaches the correct CFIA regional office) 
  • Daytime Phone Number so an inspector can reach you


Please keep any remaining product as a sample may be needed for investigation

You're Making A Difference


Speaking up and voicing your concerns is priceless. I cannot stress enough how important this is. Every complaint is taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.

 Thanks to our help, the CFIA is able to:

- Issue Food Recalls
- Implement Label Updates
- Provide Allergen Safety Alerts
- Prevent Companies From Engaging In Misleading Advertising
- Notify Manufactures About Allergen Protocol



Did you know that you can sign up for food recall warnings via email? There's also a handy web application  which you can download free of charge, to stay up to date as well.

Monday

Interview With Gluten Free Garage's Ronnilyn Pustil & Contest

May 1st marks the beginning of Celiac Awareness Month. If you live in the greater Toronto area or are up for a drive, you need to check out Gluten Free Garage.

Although 2016 marks the event's fifth year, it will be my first time attending and I am super excited!


This event is sort of like a farmers market meets a pop-up shop. It brings together the gluten-free community for a great cause. Plus, you will have the opportunity to discover local vendors, sample goodies and listen to some amazing guest speakers.





I had the pleasure of interviewing the founder of Gluten Free Garage, RonniLyn Pustil. See below to find out how the event got its start, what you can expect to find, and more!




Interview




1. How did Gluten Free Garage get its start?

I started Gluten Free Garage in 2012, about three years after my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease. By then we had gone through a lot of trial and error with different gluten-free products. What was out there was disappointing—think sawdust crackers, crumbly muffins, cardboard pizza, mushy pasta. If the only treatment for celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet for life, why should people with celiac have to sacrifice taste or quality? I wanted my daughter to find the joy in food, rather than feeling deprived and sad about what she couldn’t eat. So I made it my mission to find gluten-free products that tasted good and were good for you. I scoured the city and its outskirts for fresh, delicious gluten-free food. I found quite a few small local businesses making yummy and healthier gluten-free food; many were vendors at farmers’ markets or food events. Whenever I brought something new home to try—whether it was a fresh loaf of gluten-free sourdough bread or savoury falafel balls or a new granola bar—there was excitement. I wanted to share them with other people who also had to eat gluten free. At first I thought about opening a retail store. But then, one sunny fall day I was at my neighbourhood farmers’ market at Wychwood Barns and the big garage-like doors were open; it was so bustling and lively and there was such a sense of community in that room. And that’s when the idea came to me to create a farmers’ market with a gluten-free twist, and to host it at the Barns. Hence the name, Gluten Free Garage.

2.      What can a first -time visitor to the event expect to encounter?
A lively food event with an astounding array of gluten-free products—from pasta to pastry to pierogies to popsicles! A first-timer might find it hard to believe that all the food at Gluten Free Garage are indeed gluten free! But it is, and everything is safe for people with celiac and gluten intolerance. Vendors will be sampling and selling their food, many will be preparing and cooking fresh food on site. There will be beer and cider tasting in the outdoor covered courtyard. And we have 5 dynamic guest speakers who will present on a variety of topics related to gluten-free living and eating.

2.      There will be several guest speakers, sharing their knowledge. Can you tell me a little about them?
We’ve got a group of four well-known and respected local nutritionists—Joy McCarthy, Meghan Telpher and Josh Gitalis, and Marni Wasserman—who will each give their take on gluten-free living and eating. They’re all vendors at GFG as well, so if you miss their talk you’ll still have a chance to interact with them. Ashley Wittig, co-owner of vegan and gluten-free Bunner’s Bakeshop (also a GFG vendor), will take a walk on the savoury side. And celiac advocate Jordan Middlebrook, aka King Gluten Free, will tell you why celiac disease doesn’t have to be a buzzkill.

3.      What makes Gluten Free Garage unique?
All the smiling faces! Many people are so excited and grateful for the delicious gluten-free finds at Gluten Free Garage. And just to be at a food event and be able to eat everything there. It’s a marketplace with a real community feel. 

4.      Which vendors are you most excited about?
How can I choose?! Of course, all the baked goods, because we have the best gluten-free bakeries participating. This will be the first time we have pierogies (Joe’s Gluten-Free Foods) and dumplings (Steambox Dumplings) at GFG. And the beer and cider tasting, which we introduced at our last event, will be bigger this year, with three beers, three apple ciders and one pear cider. 
5.      What do you want people to know about Celiac disease?
That it’s real and the only treatment for it is a strict gluten-free diet for life. 
 6.      Celiac awareness has come a long way thanks to wonderful people like you. What do you hope to see happen in terms of education and awareness?
 I hope that as more education and awareness is out there, more people with symptoms of celiac disease will get tested. About 350,000 people in Canada have celiac disease but don’t know it. And as long as they are still eating gluten, they are causing damage to their bodies in myriad ways.          
7.      Sometimes our day to day can get a little hectic and we need a meal in a hurry. What is your favourite gluten-free recipe to prepare when you’re in a time crunch?
 Pasta with whatever vegetables and protein I have in the fridge and a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan. I always have a few boxes of Italpasta in the pantry. Salads are easy to whip up and are always fresh. We love a good Nicoise salad and we usually have all the ingredients on hand.

8.      Do you have any favourite gluten-free products?
Yes, we all have our own favourites from different places. Many of them will be at Gluten Free Garage. 

9.      Finally, what advice can you share for someone who is just starting out on the gluten-free diet?
Learn to cook if you don’t already. Know what to look for on ingredient labels. Ask questions. When in doubt, don’t eat it. And don’t settle for anything less than delicious. 

When

Sunday, May 1, 2016  (10 am to 4 pm)


Where

Artscape Wychwood Barns (in the Covered Street Barn)

601 Christie Street (just south of St. Clair), Toronto


Ticket info

$10 / free for kids 12 and under

Free GFG tote bags for the first 1,000 people!


Giveaway Time!!!

Enter below to score a free pair of tickets to attend Gluten Free Garage.






You can connect with Gluten Free Garage on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook




Wednesday

A Little Awareness Goes A Long Way (pass it on)



WHAT is Celiac Disease?

  • Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder where the villi of the small intestine become damaged by consuming gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye)
  • When a Celiac consumes gluten, the body reacts by attacking itself because it views gluten as the enemy
  • Untreated, Celiac can cause anemia, malnutrition and increase the risk for other autoimmune diseases as well as some Cancers
  • Some people with Celiac also suffer from Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) which is a condition where the skin breaks out in painful rashes and blisters
  • Celiac is genetic, meaning it can be passed down in families
  • There is no known trigger, but those with the Celiac gene can develop the disease at any point in their life
  • Once the disease manifests, there is no "off" button and a strict gluten free diet is important


WHO should be tested

  • 1st-degree relatives of someone with Celiac such as a sibling, child or parent
  • Those with unexplained infertility
  • People with Down Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, Osteoporosis or Type 1 Diabetes
  • If you have unexplained and chronic GI issues or have iron, B12 or folate deficiencies

WHY accurate testing is important

  • With an accurate Celiac diagnosis, you are able to start a gluten free diet without doubt and you will have a better chance adhering to it
  • If you have a negative blood test and symptoms are still present, further testing needs to be explored as an IgA deficiency can cause a false negative blood test
  • Ruling out Celiac is just as important as confirming it. It enables you and your physician to further explore your symptoms and hopefully pinpoint the cause


HOW to be tested properly

  • Remain on a normal gluten-containing diet (cutting back gluten will sku test results as well)
  • Have your physician run a blood test to measure levels of certain antibodies - anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) anti-endomysium (EMA) and the anti-deamidated gliadin peptides (DGP)
  • While a positive antibody test is able to suspect Celiac Disease, it is not conclusive (false positives can happen for various reasons) and further testing needs to be explored. This is where a biopsy comes into play as it allows Doctor's to check for damage to the lining of the small intestine
  • Feeling better when gluten is avoided does not necessarily mean you have Celiac Disease. Irritable Bowels Syndrome (IBS), Celiac, Chronic Fatigue and various other autoimmune disorders are easily confused for one another
  • If you are already adhering to a gluten free diet, you will need to undergo a gluten challenge to ensure accurate test results. This means you will need to consume 10 grams of gluten (4-5 slices of wheat bread) daily for up to 8 weeks. If this is not an option for you, there is genetic testing available. It won't diagnose you as Celiac, but it can rule it out if you do not carry the gene.





The Celiac Iceberg


This is such an important visual of Celiac Disease and it's many facets. As the photo depicts, people who have Celiac and show symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg.


The Broken Road To Awareness

Why is Celiac Disease so misunderstood? Why is there so much varying information? Why can't we all be on the same page? Why? Why? Why?

Celiac is the only disease that I can think of, where the people who are diagnosed don't even really understand it, let alone the Doctor's diagnosing it.  We are sort of left to figure it out on our own, resulting in widespread misconceptions, wrong choices, inaccurate media coverage and best of all, the pain of accidental Glutening.


Uneducated Doctors : 
If the front line is not in order, how can we expect those who have Celiac Disease to fully understand their condition? Most family Doctors have minimal knowledge about Celiac. Many of them neglect to do the proper testing and suggest that their patients try a Gluten Free diet to see how it makes them feel. In the long run, they are only adding to the misconceptions. Due to the lax in proper diagnosis, some are just assuming that they have Celiac, when in fact they don't. Others face numerous hurdles in getting an accurate diagnosis.

Another issue is with the lack of Celiac Disease specialists. People who live near a facility such as the Chicago Center for Celiac Disease research luck out. But those of us who are nowhere near a research facility, often get put on the back burner unless we fiercely advocate for proper testing and the answers to go along with it.

Not enough awareness:  Celiac Disease awareness seems to be  IS severely lacking. Due to it being virtually non existent, people usually assume that eating Gluten Free is a choice and they do not associate it with a real disease. Both those who have Celiac and those who don't are not usually fully aware how serious this autoimmune disease is. Many people are too embarrassed to speak up and make sure food is Gluten Free, some admit that they "cheat" once in a while and others just don't know where to start. 

Resources are also limited. The support and information available to those who are newly diagnosed varies substantially from City to Province to Country. Celiac is a confusing and overwhelming disease to be diagnosed with. Many people are told they have the disease and then sent on their way with no formal education about it.

Fear mongers :  
There is a never ending flood of people with personal agendas. Weather they are out to make money, or to spread misinformation in hopes of roping people into their way on thinking (anti GMO, No Grains ect.) there are many who use Celiac as a platform to preach non related issues.

Greed: 
This one touches all facets of Celiac Disease. Gluten Free food does not need to be as overpriced as it is. Period. We have come a long way and it is clearly a highly profitable market. But we are still gouged at the grocery store. Why? Because we have no choice, we are chained to the medical need for Gluten Free.

Big companies want to sell us books on how to live and eat Gluten Free.  Many individuals have started websites to offer "helpful" information to those with Celiac Disease, but unfortunately you have to pay a fee to reap the so called benefits. Also, the information which is being sold, is widely available for FREE.

Scams and the people who buy into them:
I'm not even going to list the various companies that make this list,but I will tell you what to be vigilant against. There are MANY magic pills out there, offering a way to prevent damage after eating Gluten. Some even offer a downright cure. These are SCAMS!!! First of all, if and when a cure or remedy becomes available, it will be international news. You will hear about it from those who research Celiac Disease as well as awareness organizations such as the National Foundation For Celiac Awareness, Canadian Celiac Association and Coeliac UK . Also, after a medical breakthrough, it will be years before any type of medication reaches the market. I can guarantee you won't be able to obtain it without a proper prescription either. 


Media : Can we not get some legitimate air time? Everyone from local news stations to Dr Oz has something to say about Gluten Free. The problem is that the rare time that they mention Celiac Disease, they do so in passing, like it's not the real issue. I tend to cringe when I see a news report about "Gluten Free". The newscasters never seem to educate themselves about what they are discussing and the so called specialist is usually someone who has no real background or education in Celiac Disease. Do we discuss MS or Parkinson's with a Podiatrist? No. Contrary to what one may think, not all Doctors are created equal. This is why they specialize in specific areas of health.

The question I am left with is, how can WE as a Celiac public, band together and create the necessary and accurate awareness that is vacant from our communities?

Saturday

Blame Gluten....When It's At Fault

Sometimes people make me laugh, shake my head and then wonder.There seem to be a lot of folks out there who blame Gluten for just about everything. I have seen enough silly statements to draw a comparison to an old Country music joke. No offence to anyone who enjoys Country music ;)
Lets remember that misinformation spreads like wildfire. Celiac is not contagious but stupidity and ignorance seem to be. Believe it or not, many of the points below have been wildly debated about in Celiac forums. I certainly do not blame the newly diagnosed - it's a learning curve. There just seems to be so many people that add fuel to the fire by constantly spreading falsehoods about this complex and misunderstood disease. Heck, most Doctor's don't even correctly understand.


  • Celiac Disease is not responsible for your fear of heights
  • The dog did not do it's business inside to protest your Gluten Free ways
  • A mosquito landing on a piece of regular bread and then biting you, will not make you ill. Unless it's some West Nile Virus kinda thing.
  • Meat from a cow that enjoys wheat will not cause a Celiac reaction.
  • The scent of the bakery section at your grocery store is not making you ill. That's called anxiety and you are making yourself sick by fearing a reaction.

All jokes aside, the problem with blaming Gluten/Celiac for everything is quite serious and could be detrimental to ones overall health. As no two Celiac's are alike, it is up to us to understand our reaction(s) to Gluten. By blindly condemning Gluten when it is not the real culprit, we risk further harm by not seeking medical attention when necessary.



Sobeys Celebrates Celiac Awareness Month


Sobeys is celebrating Celiac Awareness Month. In honour of this, they are having a pretty nifty sale on Gluten Free items.





I was beyond happy to see Gluten Free sale items in their own highlighted box, AND that Sobeys went the extra mile to state that 1 in 133 people have Celiac Disease. 




Thank You  for doing your part to spread awareness Sobeys ! And thank you for stating that Celiac is an Autoimmune Disease!




* Please keep in mind that sale items may vary from location to location


Tuesday

Celiac Disease: What kids have to say

Friday

Power Voices For Celiac Disease

We NEED a famous name(s) to give Celiac Disease the voice it deserves.  The four wonderful people below have all been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Wouldn't it be fantastic if they got together for an official awareness campaign? I think it could really open some eyes and create not only understanding, but an increased level of interest.


Elisabeth Hasselbeck - Former Survivor castaway and a Co Host on the View, she often promotes awareness for Celiac Disease. With two books to date (The G-Free Diet and newly launched Deliciously G-Free) Elisabeth Hasselbeck is a true leader in the Gluten Free Community.

 Tom Kostopoulos - The Calgary Flames Forward  has teamed up with the with the Canadian Celiac Association and is a spokesman for the Calgary Chapter.

 Craig Pinto - This former arena football player launched the Kicking4Celiac Foundation, which raised money, provides scholarships and promotes awareness.

 Dennis Hallman  -  Mixed Martial Arts fame. I have not found any information on Dennis Hallman being involved in the Celiac Community.Just information on his diagnosis and how it helped him bounce back.

Wednesday

Alek's Controllable Christmas Decorations for Celiac Research

christmas banner 486x60



Do you enjoy looking at Christmas Lights?
There's a website on the Internet that uses several webcams to provide a live view of thousands of 'em.
You can also CONTROL them - yes, turn them on & off with a click of a mouse from your home PC ...
plus you can even inflate (or deflate) the giant Elmo, Frosty, Santa, SpongeBob, and Homer Simpson - D'OH!
So surf over to the Christmas Lights Webcam
to check out all the fun action at the totally free site which also raises awareness about Celiac Disease Research at the University of Maryland.







Wordless Wednesday - I am "That Girl"

Thursday

Alek's Controllable Halloween Decorations for Celiac Research


Alek Komarnitsky is a parent on a mission. His two boys have Celiac Disease and for the past 7 years he has been doing something spectacular to help raise awareness for the condition. He decorates his house to the extreme for Halloween. It really deserves to be on an HGTV Halloween special. It gets better too....We can control the lights! Alek's website offers us the opportunity to view the decorations on 3 live webcams. You can even inflate/deflate Homer Simpson, the Incredible Hulk as well as other awesome characters. Alek's Controllable Halloween Decorations for Celiac Disease is probably the most innovative and interactive way to raise money for Celiac Disease yet.




If you enjoy the decorations (and hard work) please consider donating to the  over $60,000 raised for the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research. Don't forget to  send an instant message over the webcam. You can also watch the fun and excitement on Halloween night. 

After the American Thanksgiving You can view Alek's Controllable Christmas Lights for Celiac Disease



Friday

Celiac Disease Explained For Kids

Has your child been diagnosed with Celiac Disease? Want a stress free, entertaining way of explaining the condition to your little one? Check out the video below! It's produced by Kumquats (named so because the original puppet was orange like the fruit).




Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - Celiac Disease PSA Video




Thursday

May Is Celiac Awareness Month


 April showers bring May flowers.....and Celiac Disease Awareness. That's right, the month of May is dedicated to raising awareness about Celiac Disease. To help celebrate, Amazon.com is offering up to 30% off on Gluten Free products. You can find the sale right here Amazon Gluten Free Sale.

This is a perfect time to teach those who are ill informed or just out of the loop, what Celiac Disease is all about. The spotlight is on us this month and I encourage everyone to learn more about CD. Educate those around you and encourage those with symptoms to get tested.

Host a Gluten Free get together. Invite family,friends, co-workers ect. This is a great opportunity for those of us with Celiac Disease to show others that we can have a good time as well.


  • Offer a variety of your favourite gf food for guests to sample.


  • Have information available about various Celiac support groups and websites.


  • Play fun games to help bring awareness and educate your guests. 


  • Encourage guests to learn about hidden sources of gluten.


  • Cross contamination is another key issue that you can enlighten everyone about.


There are many things we can do this month to celebrate and raise awareness.  

If you know someone who has been recently diagnosed, present them with a gift basket full of gf goodies. I find it fun to create my own gift baskets but if you are strapped for time or just unsure what to buy Winners, carries them in store. If you need to ship a basket to a special someone, GlutenSmart has a wide variety of goodies to choose from.

We can't forget the little ones who suffer from Celiac Disease. A gift basket or a trip to a special Gluten Free restaurant would be a great idea. Also available are wide range of books directed at children with Celiac Disease. Books include :


Consider Donating  to :
The University of Chicago  Celiac Disease Research Center
The University of Maryland Maryland Center for Celiac Disease Research.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness CeliacCentral.Org



Remember, whatever you do HAVE FUN! Gluten Free is only boring if you let it be that way ;)

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