Donate your unused Aeroplan Miles to the CCA

Aeroplan

AeroplanThe Canadian Celiac Association has joined the Aeroplan charity program.

Help the CCA go the extra mile for celiac disease by donating your unused Aeroplan Miles. The CCA is hoping to raise 25,000 miles in one year to help off-set volunteer travel and assist with program supplies and materials.

Aeroplan will top up your miles by 10% with every donation, every time.

Click to visit the CCA-Aeroplan donation page today.

Gluten-Free Cheerios Still Getting Complaints

Cheerios is back in the news with an update article from Buzzfeed. According to the article, Celiacs are still being glutened from gluten-free Cheerios that have become cross-contaminated in the manufacturing process.

Gluten-free Cheerios is controversial as it is labelled “gluten-free” but also has a “may contain wheat” statement. The CCA made the unusual move of issuing a special statement to warn Celiac’s not to consume it.

Kelowna Celiac regularly posts Celiac related updates to our Facebook page. The article has received a high number of views and comments. read more below.

Posted by Kelowna Celiac on Thursday, July 6, 2017

Gluten-Free Myths Busted

Source: Newsletter of the CCA Ottawa Chapter

People with celiac are always thin

gluten-free weight lossThis is a serious myth that I know even medical practitioners believe. According to Melinda Dennis, a Registered Dietitian at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre at Harvard, 40% of people diagnosed with celiac are overweight at their time of diagnosis. 4-5% are underweight.

 

I will lose weight on the gluten-free diet

Again, wrong. Overall, according to Melinda Dennis, most patients tend to gain weight when their gut heals and they can absorb nutrients again. Better absorption of food + same caloric intake = weight gain.

 

All of my cosmetics, lotions, hair products must be gluten free because the skin absorbs gluten

No. Dr. John Zone, who is a dermatologist, says the skin has stratum corneum which is like a “Saran Wrap” or a protective barrier to keep gluten from permeating into the body. The same holds true for hair follicles which have a protective barrier. However, a break in the skin will allow absorption.

Gluten-Free Moroccan Travel

Tajine

By Gabrielle Loyer, gluten-free traveler and CCA member

Morocco mapMorocco is an Arab country situated in the north-west corner of Africa, south of Europe. It is 15 kilometres from Spain, on the Mediterranean. Morocco is a major destination for tourism and Mediterranean travel. An estimated 9 million tourists visited the Kingdom of Morocco in 2010. Morocco offers a complete destination for any traveller seeking the sun, the sea, mountains and/or the desert. In Morocco, you see stark contrasts; you can pass by the Sahara with its extreme heat, or head up to the snowy Atlas Mountains with its frigid temperatures. With many cultures within one country, both the population and cuisine are diversified. Moreover, Moroccan cuisine is considered by many as one of the best in the world, with its Mediterranean flavour characterised by a variety of dishes originating in Arab and Berber traditions, complemented by numerous spices. Their food has characteristics similar to other cuisines in the Maghreb region, but while conserving its unique cultural identity.

Moroccan cuisine offers a number of gluten-free choices. Their tajines (stew), based on a variety of meats, such as beef, chicken and lamb, are probably the best choice. Tajine is the traditional plate “par excellence” of Morocco. It is a simple dish, so the success really depends on the cooking method: it must be done slowly so the meats, fish, veggies and spices mingle their scents together. You may be surprised by the sweet and salty tajines, which feature the taste of spices, almonds, and prunes. Served with vegetables, olives and the famous Moroccan eggplant salad (Zaalouk), tajine makes for a fine meal. Don’t forget that a Moroccan dining experience cannot be considered complete without a coffee or a delicious sweet tea, scented with fresh mint.

TajineSome Moroccans speak English, but the majority speak French, and certain Arab words can be useful: wheat (khramèh), barley (zarra), bread (khrobz), milk (halib) and allergic (azèzia). While Moroccans tend not to be aware of celiac disease, they are very respectful and followed our wishes with care in order to avoid cross-contamination. That said, wheat is quite common in Moroccan dishes. For breakfast, the majority of options contain gluten. There’s gheffa, a sort of wheat cake. Harcha is also prepared with wheat. Baghrirs are Moroccan crêpes that locals have with honey, butter or fresh cheese. Bread does go with all meals, but you can just leave it on the table. Moroccan pastries are varied and refined, but unfortunately, they are made with a wheat flour base. In certain spots, though, you can find nut macaroons that are gluten free. To finish off your meal, you’ll always have the chance to sample a nice seasonal fruit, such as melon, grapes, figs, or oranges. And the Moroccan snacks cannot be beat – dried fruit, dates, almonds, pistachios, grapes, apricots and figs. Olive oil and olives play a major role in Moroccan cuisine, and it’s that which gives it the Mediterranean flavour.

It’s possible to find products labelled gluten-free in the special diet section of certain commercial supermarkets, such as Marjane and Acima. The products are there, but there is not much choice – a few chocolate or ginger cookies and rice cakes. At these stores, you can also find some refrigerated gluten-free products like compotes that are labelled GF. Further, the SANTIVERI boutiques (www.santiverimaroc.com) offer a large choice of fresh, gluten-free bread, cookies, pasta and sauces.

The Cuisine Kingdom of Morocco is, therefore, a dream spot for those who love Mediterranean cuisine, with some Arab and Berber. It’s a trip to a world of flavourful and diverse gastronomy, and it will leave you eager to try Moroccan cuisine yourself when you return home.

Besaha – Bon appétit!

Vaccine to treat celiac disease clears first stages of clinical trials

immusant-logo

Contributed

immusant-logoFor a number of years, an American company called ImmusanT has been working on a potential vaccine to protect celiac sufferers from the effects of exposure to gluten and the gastrointestinal symptoms that can result such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating.

The Massachusetts biotech firm says it has completed its first phase 1b trial of Nexvax2.

As many of us are aware, celiac disease is remarkable among chronic diseases in that it is very common but has no proven, approved treatment beyond dietary restriction. It affects around 1% of people – though an estimated 90% remain undiagnosed. In most celiac cases, the disease is thought to be caused by a mutation in the HLA-DQ2 gene, which is involved in immune regulation.

Developing effective treatments is important as, despite being on the gluten-free diet, around a third of people with celiac disease still suffer from symptoms as well as damage to the cells lining the intestines – often without even realizing it.

This is rather complex, but ImmusanT’s big idea is to use three “peptides” (an amino acid-containing compound within our bodies) as an immunotherapy that it hopes will encourage the T cells involved in the inflammatory reaction in celiac disease to become tolerant to gluten. After a first course of the vaccine, to induce tolerance, the company hopes that this tolerance can be maintained by periodic re-injection with the vaccine.

It’s a case of “so far, so good”, with the phase 1b trial in 38 patients revealing no concerns about safety or tolerability and showing that the immunotherapy seemed to have the desired effects on the immune system.

The study also allowed ImmusanT to select a dosing regimen for planned phase 2 trials that will see if Nexvax2 can be used alongside a gluten-free diet to protect patients when they are accidentally exposed to gluten, which ImmusanT sees as the quickest route to approval in the United States.

Depending on the results, a follow-up program is planned that will focus on an immunotherapy that could do away with the need for the gluten-free diet entirely. The company is also developing a companion diagnostic for the vaccine which could guide its use and help improve diagnosis rates.

 

Gluten-free diets don’t help people without celiac disease, study finds

CBC Marketplace Gluten-Free

CBC Marketplace is running an interesting segment on how gluten-free diets don’t help non-celiacs.

CBC Marketplace Gluten-Free

Here’s an excerpt from the article.

Gluten-free diets shouldn’t be promoted to prevent heart disease among people without celiac disease, gastroenterologists say after a large U.S. study.

The food industry has stimulated popularity in gluten-free diets. Recognising this public interest, researchers at Harvard Medical School said they wanted to see whether avoiding gluten actually has health benefits for those without the disease.

To that end, Dr. Andrew Chan, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, and his team used diet and health outcome data collected from 110,000 health professionals over 26 years to link estimates of gluten in the diet to diagnoses of coronary heart disease.

Read the full article on CBC.ca

May is Celiac Awareness Month

National CCA Release

Join the Canadian Celiac Association as we host several public outreach and education initiatives and encourage your support during our donor drive. Our goal this campaign is to raise $45,000. These funds will help us offer member-only education, increase counselling support and develop programs for safer places to eat.

Twitter Party — May 1

  • May 1 we’ll be hosting our first Twitter Party! Join us at @CCAceliac
  • Follow #AskTheCeliac from 8–9 pm EDT
  • Join us to learn more about celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and the gluten-free diet
  • Test your knowledge to win one of 10 prizes including a $100 Catelli prize pack
  • Thank you to Catelli Foods for generously sponsoring this party

2017 twitter party header

 

International Celiac Awareness Day — Tuesday, May 16

  • All federal Members of Parliament will be sent a letter with a Celiac Awareness ribbon and will be asked to wear it on May 16 to show their support
  • Watch your mail for a little something to help us spread awareness in your community on this day!
  • Help us reach our goal of $45,000. Watch your social media, share #CeliacAware and ask your friends and colleagues to donate to CCA.

CCA Education webinar — Wednesday, May 17

  • CCA will be offering two one-hour webinars on labelling
  • 5–6 pm EDT and then 8–9 pm EDT to accommodate time zones

Facebook Day — May 31

  • We’ll be hosting an “AskTheCeliac” Day on our public Facebook page on May 31 to round out the month of activities. Post your questions! Share with friends

Should we screen everyone for celiac disease?

uspstfThe US Preventive Services Task Force recently reviewed all the relevant research on screening for celiac disease to determine if it makes economic or health sense to screen everyone for the disease. They looked at the accuracy of the screening tests for people of all ages and debated the potential benefit and harm from screening.

The conclusion: there isn’t enough information to make a well-supported decision. There are too many false positive tests to make universal screening appropriate, and we don’t know enough about the benefits and harms of a gluten-free diet on someone with positive blood tests but no symptoms.

They did conclude that it is important to test people with celiac-related symptoms and they defined celiac disease as “a multi-system autoimmune disorder which can have both gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss) and systemic symptoms (anemia, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, and ataxia), both of which are improved by following a gluten-free diet”.

That definition of CD alone may remind family doctors that celiac disease is a lot more than just diarrhea. We need to take victories where they come.

Frying wheat products does not make them gluten-free

Canadian Celiac Association New Release

April 3, 2017 (Mississauga, ON.) The myth that frying wheat products makes them gluten-free is endangering people with Celiac disease.

gluten-free fryerPeople often liken the frying process to cooking an egg. In the case of an egg, frying it changes the colour and structure of the egg. While heating gluten in a fryer does change the structure of the gluten protein, it does not make it safe for someone with Celiac disease.

Heating wheat to 65°C (140°F) unwraps the three-dimensional structure of the protein, like it does for eggs, but that is not enough to prevent an immune system reaction for someone with Celiac disease.

The trigger for the gluten reaction in someone with Celiac disease is a very short peptide chain within the larger protein. Peptides are chains of amino acids that make up a protein. The only thing that will break the peptide chain apart and make gluten safe for people with Celiac disease is a complete breakdown of the chain into its component amino acids.

“These peptides are extremely difficult to break apart – they are designed to resist the harsh environment of the gastrointestinal tract,” explains Sue Newell of the CCA.

There is some question about the exact temperature for this complete breakdown, with a suggestion that heating the food to 315°C (600°F) for 30 minutes may be sufficient. At that point, however, the food is inedible.

The Canadian Celiac Association recommends that people with Celiac disease and gluten sensitivities avoid any food cooked in oil has also been used for wheat-based products.

How to Read the Ingredient List for Gluten

gluten-free label

Wheat – Rye – Barley – Gluten – Oats

If you see any of the words above on the ingredient list or CONTAINS statement, the product is NOT OK.

Fast Factsgluten-free label

  • As of August 2012, food manufacturers must declare gluten sources in the ingredient statement
  • Gluten-containing ingredients must be listed in either the Ingredient list OR the CONTAINS statement
  • Avoid packaged foods with no ingredient listing
  • Oats are safe to eat only when they are listed as “gluten-free oats”

Where to look:

Step 1: Find the ingredient label on the package

Step 2: Look for a CONTAINS or MAY CONTAIN statement (at the bottom of the ingredient list)

If you see a CONTAINS statement:

  • PRODUCT IS NOT OK: If you see wheat, rye, barley, oats or gluten listed
  • PRODUCT IS OK: If the CONTAINS statement does NOT include a gluten ingredient
  • If there is a CONTAINS statement, you can stop reading now. If not, look for a MAY CONTAIN statement.

If you see a MAY CONTAIN statement:

  • PRODUCT IS NOT OK: If you see wheat, rye, barley, oats or gluten listed
  • If MAY CONTAIN statement does not include a gluten ingredient, then go to Step 3

Step 3: If there is no CONTAINS statement, read the ingredient list:

  • PRODUCT IS NOT OK: If you see wheat, rye, barley, oats or gluten listed
  • Product IS OK: If you do not see any gluten containing ingredients