Introduction and Update from Nicole Knegt: Publicity and Awareness for Kelowna Celiac

By Nicole Knegt

Nicole KnegtHello everyone!  My name is Nicole Knegt and I have taken on the position of Publicity and Awareness for the Kelowna Celiac Association.  I thought that it would be good for me to introduce myself and write about a few opportunities I have had to represent the Kelowna Celiac Association in the past few months.

A bit about myself. My husband and I were the owners and operators of Four Spoons Gluten-Free Bakery, that served the Kelowna Farmers and Crafters Market for three years.  I baked and Matthew took care of the business side of things.  I am the owner and content developer for Four Spoons Gluten Free Recipes .com, as well as the Four Spoons YouTube Cooking Channel.  I am also a contributor to Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube Network.  I am in front of the camera teaching how to bake gluten-free and my husband does all of the videography and post-production.  We have a lot of fun doing it.

Okanagan Culinary Arts Program

In February and March I was given the opportunity to lecture at Okanagan College in their Culinary Arts Program.  The first lecture was for the apprenticeship program and consisted of an hour and half talk on food allergies, intolerance and the gluten-free diet.  For the first half of the lecture I discussed ways to mitigate the risk of cross-contact in the restaurant kitchen when serving gluten-free and allergic customers.  For the second half, I spoke on gluten-free baking technique.  It was an incredible opportunity to teach these new chefs the basics and help to remove any misconceptions they may have had regarding allergies and celiac disease.

For the second lecture, I spoke to the Pastry Arts Program.  The students in this particular class were very interested and engaged in the subject matter.  I presented the same lecture, but it took almost twice as long because the students had so many questions.  After the lecture we got down to some gluten-free baking in the school’s bake shop.  We made a master dough that could be used to make bread, buns and cinnamon rolls.  It was such a pleasure to teach these students because they were so interested and enthusiastic.  That particular lecture lasted almost 6 hours in total!

I have encouraged one of the head Chefs of the Okanagan College Culinary Arts Program to take the Gluten-Free Learning Module through the Canadian Celiac Association.  My hope is that the school will include a gluten-free module in future curriculum.  If we can see the Culinary Arts Program educate the next generation of chefs with a working knowledge of celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, we will really be getting somewhere.

Nicole Knegt and Gluten-Free Cooking Class

Okanagan Chefs Association

I also had the privilege of addressing the Okanagan Chefs Association.  This group is dedicated to the food and beverage industry in the Okanagan and includes most of the top, gourmet chefs throughout the valley.  This past Monday I joined the association for their monthly meeting, held at Ricardo’s Mediterranean Kitchen.  I was given about fifteen minutes to address the chefs on the subject of the food allergies and the diseases that necessitate a gluten-free diet.

It was an incredible opportunity to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions around the gluten-free diet. It was also really good to hear the frustration that many chefs feel when it comes to people who choose to be on a “gluten-free diet” that is not medically necessary.  This frustration stems from the contradictory behavior of some customers who ask for a gluten-free meal and then cheat at the end of the meal with a not so gluten-free dessert.  It takes great care for a chef to prepare a gluten-free meal and this extra work is a waste of time when a customer does not stick to their diet.

A number of chefs approached me to tell me of the policies and procedures their restaurant has put in place in order to safely serve celiacs. I was very encouraged.  I hope to begin a series of blog posts highlighting restaurants in the valley that are doing an excellent job at serving gluten-free meals.  If you have a favourite restaurant that you would like to give a shout-out to on this site, please contact me at nicoleiknegt@gmail.com.

Sourdough bread is OK for celiacs? NO!!!

By Sue Newell, CCA Operations Manager

Sourdough

The first time I heard someone with celiac disease claim that she could tolerate regular sourdough bread I was at a conference sponsored by one of the US celiac support groups. My seatmate insisted that she could have half a slice of sourdough toast every other weekend “without any trouble”. While I expressed concern about what was really happening to her gut, she was insistent and I let the matter drop.

Over the next few years, the same story popped up here and there on the Internet, claiming that the fermentation process that happens with sourdough somehow rendered the gluten safe for people with celiac disease. Since these articles were generally found on the loony side of the gluten-free spectrum, I still let it go unless someone specifically asked.

In the last few years, however, I have seen more and more articles suggesting that rumour is true. Some cited “studies” from Italy, along with lots of anecdotal evidence, and the articles started to appear in the mainstream press (even on CBC.ca).

The stories were appearing in the United States too, and Registered Dietitian Tricia Thompson, the Gluten Free Watchdog, decided to take on the claims in a particular blog post. Like many others, the article mis-interpreted a study that included two people with celiac disease eating baked goods made with wheat flour that was processed to approximate sourdough bread. While these people did not develop clinical symptoms, one developed increased antibody levels and both developed clear villus atrophy and increased markers of inflammation in the small intestine. While the atrophy was “subtotal”, that is, not complete villus atrophy, the subjects were clearly NOT safe eating sourdough bread.

In case there is any confusion, wheat-based sourdough bread is NOT safe for people with celiac disease even if you do not experience physical symptoms.

If you would like to read more details, including the gluten test results of a loaf of bread from Dan the Baker, visit glutenfreewatchdog.org. Thompson regularly tests products for gluten and reports the results to her subscribers. The current subscription fee is $4.99 USD per month.

Gluten-Free in Palm Springs

By Irene and Clarence Wiseman/Thompson

irene-thompson-desertClarence and I arrived in Palm Springs on the last week of February. We stayed at a timeshare called Cimarron close to the airport in Cathedral city. We settled in and got ourselves familiarized with the resort and what it had to offer. We needed to find a suitable restaurant where I could get gluten-free food so it was off to the office to see if they could help us out. That did not turn out well as they did not seem to know anything about gluten-free restaurant in the area. In fact, I am not sure that they even knew what gluten free-food was all about. They suggested that if we found a restaurant that could accommodate my request to let them know.  (Not off to a good start however it gets better.) I did not go hungry we found a nice place close by.

The next morning we Googled “gluten-free restaurant” and found that we had a good selection to choose from. The highlight was our Valentine’s dinner at Lulu’s in downtown Palm Springs. They had a great gluten-free menu and were planning a five course dinner for that special night. I was assured that I would have many gluten-free items to choose from. What a treat to sit outside on a warm night and enjoy the best dinner ever. Then there was the dessert: a triple chocolate cake shaped like a heart. (See photo.)  I am not a dessert person but let me tell you it was so good that there was not a trace left on the plate. Needless to say we returned for another great dinner on the night before we came home.

We also had two nice dinners at P.J. Chang’s on what is called The River. Once again it was warm so we decided to enjoy the evening and sat outside on the patio. This is a man-made river on a nice boardwalk. There were many great places that we did not get to try. It is so cool to see so many outdoor patio’s with so many people enjoying them and all they had to offer.

We did some of the tourist things like going up to the top of the mountain on the aerial tram that has a revolving floor so that everyone could enjoy the view. There are only two of these, one in Palm Springs and another in Europe. I guess I should not mention this but it was nice to experience a little bit of coolness as the temperatures, while we were in Palm Springs, were in the high 80’s during the day. We also went to the living desert and a few other tourist attractions. We found that there was no shortage of things to do.

Palm Springs must be the theater capital of the U.S. as there seems to be one and sometime two in the same location. They are all large with up to 14 different presentations, all very comfortable and well appointed. Needless to say we took advantage and saw some really great movies. We felt we needed to keep abreast of all the pictures that were nominated for the Oscars as our friends had told us that we were invited to dinner and an Oscar party as well as a sleep over. What a great evening we had.

Palm Springs has some of the best golf courses in the world. Clarence only played one round with a friend as well as a few practices at the driving range.

When we arrived back in Canada we had left our car at a motel in Winfield. Here is a tip for you. The Lake Country Inn will let you leave your car at no charge, if you stay there. It will cost the price of a cab to and from the airport. It was too late to find anything to eat in Winfield so it was off to Kelowna. We went to the Cactus Club and what a treat that was. They do have a gluten-free menu that is not all that extensive. He assured me that if I were to choose something from the regular menu that we would check with the kitchen to see if they could make it gluten-free once again a great meal and of course a glass of wine.

I did not get any gluten the whole time I was away. Please do not let Celiac Disease stop you from enjoying life, traveling eating out or enjoying a meal with friends and family.

This was a great vacation that we both enjoyed.

Video: Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns

This traditional Hot Cross Bun recipe makes eight beautifully fluffy fruit buns with plump, juicy currants, warm spices and a sticky orange glaze – full of flavour and a treat for everyone to enjoy this Easter. Plus they are gluten-free.

Staring in the video is Kelowna local Nicole Knegt who is anaphylactic to all dairy and is also sensitive to gluten, yeast, and a number of other foods. Her husband Matthew also has a number of sensitivities to various foods.  This is Nicole’s second appearance in a Jaime Food Tube video.

The Kelowna couple recently closed Four Spoons Bakery to focus on creating an online educational resource, fourspoonsglutenfreerecipes.com, for individuals with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and food allergies. They also launched a YouTube cooking channel in September 2014.

Celiac & Gluten Intolerant Wellness Group March 26th

Mary Hicks

Thursday night, March 26, 2015 we have our Kelowna Celiac and Gluten Intolerant Wellness Group with Mary Hicks, our Dietitian.

Topic :Travel Snacks and quick snacks away from home.
When: 7-8 pm
Where: Interior Health, Capri Centre Mall, Kelowna,118 – 1835 Gordon Drive, Room 3,

Free to CCA members, $2 donation for non-members.  It’s 7 pm to 8 pm at the Capri Health Centre (118 – 1835 Gordon Drive) meeting room three with parking available at the back by Capri insurance.

Contact Mary Hicks 250-717-3639 for more information.

Gluten-Free Culinary Nutrition Workshop – April 11th

selenaAre you:
  • Celiac?
  • Gluten Sensitive?
  • Trialing a Gluten Free Diet?

This workshop is for anyone who is experimenting with a gluten free diet.

April 11, 2015 – 1 pm to 4 pm   $49

We will cover superfoods to include and how to translate them into a delicious and nourishing pizza!

Includes:

  • Mini Food As Medicine Lecture on The Super Gluten Free Pseudograin
  • Hands on Cooking Class:  Make Your Own Gluten Free Pizza
  • Q&A With Selena Devries, Celiac Dietitian and Founder of Healthbean

There are very limited spots available.  So, if you would like to join us, please reserve as early as possible.

You can register via Selena at 778-990-6047 or via  Eventbrite:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/gluten-free-culinary-nutrition-workshop-tickets-15862010701

Selena Devries, RD, CLT
Integrative Registered Dietitian