Gluten is rarely found in medications

gluten-free medication

gluten-free medicationWhile wheat and barley are very rare in medications, medications are always on lists of “places to look for gluten”. Drug companies and even pharmacists are not always very helpful on this issue. If they do claim there is gluten in a product from something other than wheat starch, they are almost certainly wrong! These companies frequently misidentify ingredients that start out as wheat starch as possibly containing gluten, when, in fact, they are so highly processed they are safe for people with celiac disease. This includes ethanol, mannitol, sorbitol, sorbitan, maltitol, xylitol, lactitol, erythritol, and maltodextrin.

So what to do?

First, recognise that wheat products are very rare in medications, except those that come in wafer form. If a gluten source is used as an ingredient, it is expected to be identified in the ingredient list in Canada. Second, if you have been prescribed a medication, take it, even if no one can get an ingredient list late at night or on a weekend. The risk of it being one of the few medications containing wheat starch is likely much lower than the risks of the illness or injury for which it has been prescribed. If you would like to learn more about any medication available in Canada, check the Canadian Drug Products Database. Most of the listings include the Product Monograph, a standard way of presenting scientific information for drugs. Look for DOSAGE FORMS, COMPOSITION AND PACKAGING section at the end of Part 1. It contains the active and inactive ingredients in all forms and if there is a gluten-free claim for the product, it will be stated there.

Make Your BBQ Gluten-Free

Many events with family and friends are planned around the BBQ, and this is a source of worry from many people with celiac disease. The concern is the transfer of traces of sauces that contain gluten, or crumbs from breaded products or buns being heated on the BBQ. Since grilling season is here or almost here across Canada, I went looking in my local Canadian Tire store for ways to provide a physical barrier for your GF food on the BBQ. You can use aluminium foil, but some people have asked about reusable options.

I was surprised at the number of options I found and at the range of prices.

If you only need to deal with the problem when visiting others, consider a silicon grill mat or a lightweight grill topper. Both are generally priced between $5 and $10. They are easy to transport and clean up well.

If you miss grill lines, and if you don’t need to travel with your solution, look at a separate grill pan that can sit on top of your basic grill. These pans are made from ceramic or cast iron and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce and marinades are places where you often find gluten. The problem ingredients are likely to be Worcestershire sauce, malt vinegar, soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. A few commercial products may also contain hydrolyzed wheat or barley proteins which are also not gluten free.

Don’t try to shop for a new brand in a hurry — it can take a while to check the small print on all those jars on the shelf.

I went looking for some online recipes and found a lot of recipes that were also paleo or healthy or low carb and even vegan, but they all contained ingredients that most people don’t have on hand. Sambal olek, agave syrup or coconut aminos anyone?

This recipe is a basic sauce with the key flavours represented: salty and sweet flavors in the ketchup, more sweet from the honey and then a good tang from the mustard. You can add your favourite spices and gluten-free versions of soy sauce and Worcestershire, or you can use the basic sauce as is.

Chapter Sponsor Profile – Idaho’s Namaste Foods

Daphne Marks Taylor

By Daphne Taylor, owner of Namaste Foods

Daphne Marks TaylorNamaste Foods is a family-owned and women-operated maker of exceptionally tasty food that is better for you than the run-of-the mill choices on most grocery store shelves. We’ve been in business since the year 2000 making outrageously delicious food that everyone in your family can enjoy, including those with food allergies. We care deeply about the quality of the food we eat and we know you do, too.

Our approach has always been very “grassroots” in nature. When we first started, we didn’t have the money to hire advertising firms, public relations people and expensive brokers like everyone else did. So we just started reaching out to people. We delivered Namaste Foods products to a handful of local natural foods stores and contacted support groups. We offered free samples for people to try and as it so happens, people loved our food! (Well, we knew THAT would happen!) Word spread and we started hearing from people all over the country, people who wanted Namaste Foods. And a company was born…

Today, we still don’t do things the ‘big guys’ do (because that ends up costing YOU more) and we rely heavily on what got us to where we are today, good ‘ol word-of-mouth advertising. It’s the biggest compliment anyone can give us and we appreciate it more than you know.

In return for your patronage and your loyalty, we work extra hard to be a better company than most and make better products for you and your family. Here are some of the ways we do that:

Nameste Perfect Flour-BlendWorry-free products – Unlike many manufacturers, our facility is owned by us. We don’t contract with another company to make our products because we care more than they do. It’s only natural. As the saying goes, ‘if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.’ And that’s what we do. Also, our dedicated facility is free from the Top Food Allergens making it the safest environment for people challenged by food allergies and sensitivities. And, it is certified Gluten Free, Kosher and USDA Organic among other things, too.

Why go through all this trouble? It’s simple. We care.

A better value – We know that eating healthier can be more expensive and that just doesn’t seem right. That’s why we continually strive to give you more for your hard earned dollar. Take our cake mixes for example, they make a TWO layer cake as opposed to one. And for about the same price as other companies who just give you a one-layer cake. (Who ever heard of a one-layer birthday cake anyway?!)

You deserve the best – in customer service. So, we invite and welcome your questions and comments about anything that is important to you. If you contact us, we promise to get back to you promptly and offer you outstanding customer service. In addition, your suggestions for new products are always welcome so we know what to be working on next!

Truly delicious food! – That goes without saying yet bears repeating. We work diligently to try to offer you products that make your mouth water and your face smile! We truly believe Namaste Foods products to be heads and shoulders above the rest in taste and texture – because you’ve told us so!

Namaste-LogoMany people ask us what the term “Namaste” means. We will do our best to explain it here.

The word “Namaste” (pronounced “Naa-Maa-Stay”) is an ancient Sanskrit word with no literal translation. After many hours reviewing all the different translations, we decided we like this one the best.

“The Spirit within me honors and respects the Spirit within you.”

The word ‘Spirit’ in this context has no particular religious connotation. You could substitute the word ‘Heart’ or ‘Soul’ if you like. The essence of the phrase is simply that the best part of me wishes you well – in every way. In seeking to offer you healthier and delicious foods, we nourish the body. In nourishing the body, we hope to help nourish the mind and the spirit. So you can enjoy life just a little bit more.

From all of us here to each and every one of you,


Daphne Taylor CEO and Chief Cook and Bottle Washer

PS: Please take a moment to check out our website at and our recipe section and discover yummy new ways to use our products. Then, find a store near you in our store locator and give us a try. If your local store isn’t listed, please do go in and ask for us by name. Then e-mail or call us with their information. We will follow up with them and in the vast majority of cases, get our products in there lickity split!

Don’t Depend On Safe Candies List


By Sue Newell, CCA Operations Manager

chocolate-barEvery year about this time I start to see the “where is the list of safe candies” queries. The CCA does not publish a list of safe candies and it strong discourages you from depending on one. Why? Because the information you need is on the package and that is the ONLY reliable place to find it. Lists from other people and especially lists from multiple people are risky. Is that the Canadian or US product? Is that the small, mini. micro, or treat-size package?

The information you need is right there on the package: look for wheat, rye, barley, oats.

It is frustrating when you have a mini treat with no ingredients on the bar. Now is the time to go to the grocery store and look at the ingredients for the ones you like. That way, when you are confronted with temptation at the office or at a party, you will already know what is safe.

Candy isn’t just a temptation for kids. You will find candy on offer everywhere you go for a couple of days so keep a few safe options in your pocket or purse or backpack so you have a treat too. If you prefer, promise yourself a special indulgence or maybe a speciality coffee that day.

When you are dealing with a child who is gluten-free, you need to talk out the ground rules in advance. Some parents do a 1-for-1 swap for gluten-containing treats, others do a bulk swap for something other than candy. Almost all set a “no candy until you get home” rule. Many schools have done away with the “treats at school” practice, but make sure you check it out in advance so your little one won’t feel left out.

Halloween is a challenge for everyone with a need for gluten-free food. It is almost inevitable that there will be something on offer you cannot eat and it will hurt a bit, even if you have been doing this for a lot of years. With a bit of planning, you will not only survive but enjoy the day.

Featured Gluten- Free Business:  The Original Cakerie

Inspired By Happiness Truck

Submitted by Val Vaartnou

Inspired By HappinessI recently met with Doris Bitz, Senior Vice President and Michelle Tiang, Director of Marketing of Retail Sales & Marketing for The Original Cakerie, which produces a new line of products, Inspired by Happiness. This “Better for you” product line includes decadent gluten-free cakes: Dreamin’ of Chocolate and Cravin’ for Cookies and Cream.

Founded in 1979 by two passionate entrepreneurs in British Columbia, Canada, The Original Cakerie has grown to be one of the leading commercial premium bakeries in North America. The original business philosophy still resonates today – use the very best ingredients and manufacturing processes to produce superior tasting cakes, deliver product efficiently and NEVER compromise on quality. With many employees who have been with the company over 20 years, The Original Cakerie takes pride in the quality of the products produced for the market and their families. Michelle is known as the “cake lady” when she visits her relatives.

Michelle Tiang explained that the development and testing of the gluten-free products took over 2 years. Their objective was to produce a great tasting, high-quality product that you could not tell was gluten-free. In fact, many of the focus groups included non-celiac/non-gluten sensitive individuals. Doris Bitz shared that they believe that desserts are meant to bring people together, and so with that in mind, their objective was to produce a product that everyone could enjoy – with or without celiac disease. The final product contains no artificial trans fats, no artificial colors, has natural flavors and have also been Kosher Certified, BRC Certified as well as, Gluten Free Certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP). I have enjoyed both the Cravin’ for Cookies & Cream and the Dreamin’ of Chocolate and found the cakes to be moist and decadent. My husband could not tell they were gluten-free.

The Dreamin’ of Chocolate cake is a chocolate lover’s dream come true with moist chocolate cake between layers of the finest Belgian chocolate mousse and finished with chocolate ganache. Cravin’ for Cookies and Cream is a family favourite as it comes with chunks of cookies (gluten-free, of course) between generous layers of vanilla cream mousse. Smothered with dark chocolate ganache, this cake is also unbelievably gluten-free as well.

Inspired By Happiness TruckIn producing these exceptional cakes, gaining certification initially was a challenging process as their internal standard is to produce a product that contains below 10 ppm of gluten (the Canadian standard is 20 ppm). The integrity of the gluten-free product is key as those of us who have tried gluten-free baking would know. However, with an AA rating for BRC certification, The Original Cakerie has managed to consistently produce quality products to meet growing demands of its gluten-free desserts.

Inspired by Happiness cakes retails between $10.99 to $12.99 and can be found in the in-store bakeries of IGA, Sobeys, Longo’s, Overwaitea, Save-On, Safeway and Thrifty Foods. As they are available in select locations, if you do not see them at your local store, ask for them. They are great when you have company as they are designed to be enjoyed by everyone! For more information, visit

Canary Seed – Not Just for Canaries


Canary Seed, coming to a bake shop near you?

canary-seedThere has been a lot of recent media coverage about canary seed, a grain grown in Saskatchewan and newly approved for use in food for humans. Canary seed is high protein and can be used in a wide variety of baked goods as a whole grain or ground into flour. It has the potential to replace sesame seed in a number of foods; an important substitution to replace a primary allergen.

One of the reasons for the revival of this seed is its gluten free nature, although it does contain a protein similar to other proteins found in wheat. To be clear, there are no proteins in canary seed that are similar to gluten found in wheat, rye or barley, so it is safe for people on a gluten free diet. There is, however, a protein in canary seed that might cause a problem for someone with a wheat allergy.

As a result, products made with canary seed are expected to carry a precautionary statement something like this: may not be suitable for consumers with a wheat allergy. This might be a bit confusing at first glance, but Health Canada was very careful in the pre-approval research, consulting scientists with expertise in molecular biology, microbiology, toxicology, chemistry and nutrition to ensure the validity of the results. The technical details are on the Health Canada web site. Allergenicity considerations are covered in section 9, and labelling is covered in section 10.

See this Globe and Mail article for more details.

FAQs about

Courtesy Sue Newell, CCA National Office

We get a lot of questions about the service that mails coupons for gluten-free products to your home. Here are some common questions and answers:

Q. Is this a CCA program?

A. No. It is run by a third party. The CCA endorses the program due to the value it offers people, but we do not run the program.

Q. Do I get the coupons automatically when I join the CCA?

A. No. You must sign up for the coupons at

Q. Does the CCA get any money from the program?

A. Yes, the CCA receives a payment based on the number of participating vendors.

Q. How often are coupons mailed out?

A. Twice a year – May and October.

Q. How do you pick the coupons I get?

A. There are four distribution categories – Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, and the West. You get the coupon set that matches your address. Sometimes vendors choose to offer coupons in only one area. Some products are available in only one area of the country.

Q. Why can’t I use a coupon for (fill in your favourite product name here)at any store that sells it?

A. Some coupons are offered by the manufacturer, some coupons are offered by the store. Manufacturer’s coupons can generally be used anywhere the product is sold. Products offered by stores can only be used in those stores.

Q. I don’t want to get coupons from (fill in store name here) because there isn’t one near where I live.

A. You can feel free to throw those particular coupons out. Alternatively offer them to someone who lives near the store. Post a note on the CCA’s Facebook Forum (CanadianCeliacAssociation). I’m sure you will find a taker!

Q. Can I get my coupons online?

A. Some manufacturers are exploring online coupons and a few have already been made available. If you live in Ontario, see below for an offer from Flamingo.

Gluten-Free Story Books for Boys & Girls


  • Adam’s Gluten Free Surprise
  • Hailey’s Gluten Free Surprise (the identical girls’ version)

These books by Debbie Simpson aren’t just for kids; they help teachers, grandparents, and others understand gluten-free and how strict this diet is. The books share the child’s experiences through the first six months of a new school year just after being diagnosed with celiac. They are about the acceptance that is required by the child with a special diet and the understanding required by those who are important in his or her life. For more information go to

M&M Meat Shops Gluten-Free Product List

Thanks to member Michelle McFetridge who recently got this email reply from M&M Foods and shared it with us.

m-m-logoCurrently, a “gluten-free products” search is not available on our website. We hope to have this feature available soon. You can search for all of the M&M products that do not contain gluten using our filtered search & drop down menus. I would like to offer some information on our allergen protocols and some of the tools that we have in place to assist our customers who have allergies or sensitivities in making their food choices.

Customers with dietary restrictions, especially related to food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances, represent a growing portion of our customer base. In order to serve these customers better, we realize that accurate information on all ingredients in our food products, beyond the standard label declaration, is needed. With this in mind, we have requested of all our suppliers to search their ingredients for any sources of the eleven food ingredients commonly known to cause allergic reactions or sensitivities. The eleven food ingredients are peanuts, tree nuts, crustaceans/shellfish, fish, milk, egg, gluten/wheat, soy, sulphites, sesame and mustard. Their individual responses have been compiled into our Product Information Manual. As well, if the manufacturer identifies a significant risk of cross contamination with one of these ingredients, it is identified as present in our listing for that M&M product.

The M&M Gluten Free products (23) bearing the oval orange flash “Gluten Free” are specially made in facilities operating under gluten-free certification. Some of these products are:
Boneless Pork Chunks (172), Breaded Chicken Fillets (185), Country Style Chicken Breasts (207), Bacon Wrapped Chicken(208), Chicken Chunks ‘n Wings (286), Homestyle Mashed Potatoes (412), Cheddar Cheese Stuffed Potatoes (511), Gourmet Stuffed Potatoes (512), Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Potatoes (513), TOO TALL® Chocolate & Cream Cake (619).
I have contacted our supplier for Fried Potatoes to clarify the processing steps and I will contact you again when I have additional information.

Consumers can use the nutrition and allergen search from their computers on our public website at To access this nutrition and allergen search can be found on the ‘home’ page under the “NUTRITION & ALLERGEN INFORMATION” block in the middle of the page. You will be redirected to a page where you will have an option to do a filtered search. Select “ingredients to avoid’ and ‘gluten”. Our web site provides the nutritional information and allergen information for our more than 450 products, although complete ingredient listings are not available. We have approximately 164 products that do not contain gluten ingredients. For your convenience I have attached a list of our products that do not contain gluten.

DOWNLOAD PDF: M&M products that do not contain Gluten – December 2015



Sourdough bread is OK for celiacs? NO!!!

By Sue Newell, CCA Operations Manager


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

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 Thompson regularly tests products for gluten and reports the results to her subscribers. The current subscription fee is $4.99 USD per month.