May 2016 Chapter Meeting Minutes


We all enjoyed Pizzas from Jim’s Place in Vernon, what a nice treat. We had a small number attend 19 in total. We also had gift certificate from Inspired by Happiness for a free cake. These are the best cakes ever I think that everyone agreed as they had samples to try.

mary-hicks-thank-youMary Hicks our dietician is retiring from her position as our dietician. The chapter presented Mary with a small token of appreciation for all the work she had done for our members. Selina deVries will be taking on the position of dietician for our chapter (Thank you Selina.)

Marilyn gave her treasures report to all the members. Our current balance is 7707.00 and 14,000 in GIC investments.

Jennie Johnson updated us on membership. We are still having problems getting correct information from National. It was suggested that if we have members that cannot afford to renew or join our chapter that we on a case by case bases maybe support them by paying half of the fee. We all agreed that National needs to look at a new business plan. It was suggested that they drop the membership fee and hope to get more donations. Our chapter is losing members as are most other chapters.
Marie sent out 100 new letters 80 e-mailed and 20 mailed it helps save money if we can e-mail the newsletters.

Our Chapter donated $300.00 to the Vancouver Chapter to help with the cost of having a booth at the Family Medicine Form later this year.
Irene will be going to the conference in Newfoundland and will bring back information to our meeting in Sept.

David Fowler has been helping with getting information up on our web page at no charge. The chapter decided to send David a small token of apparitions for all his work on behalf of our chapter. We now have advertisers on our web site.

We as members agreed to donate to National. We first need to know what the money would be used for. We do not feel we want the funds to go into general revenue.

The next meeting is September 11, 2016 a regular potluck.

Donate your Shoppers Optimum Points


shoppers-optimum-cardThe CCA has teamed up with Shoppers Drug Mart’s Optimum Points program to give you a convenient way to help the CCA. By donating some (or all) of your Shoppers Optimum Points to the CCA, you are making it possible for us to use your points at Shoppers Drug Mart toward the purchase of products and supplies we need for our ongoing operational, education and support activities.

To donate your Shoppers Optimum Points, please visit: You can select the Canadian Celiac Association on their list of registered organizations. If you are not presently a Shoppers Optimum Member, just ask for a card at your next visit to Shoppers Drug Mart. You can get a card issued, on the spot, at no cost.

We thank you in advance for helping us “optimize” our fundraising dollars and continue working for a better Canada for all who have to eat gluten free.

Don’t Listen to your Bartender


By CCA Board of Directors
For many people, bartenders have become experts about gluten in beer. After all, they are educated by brewery representatives who have a job selling beer, not those dietitians and doctors who seem to just make your life miserable and unfulfilling! Over a period of four weeks we were told by CCA members and other celiacs that at least 12 different mainstream beers are “OK for people with celiac disease”.

beer-not-gluten-freeDespite the obvious appeal of listening to those bartenders, there are a few problems with their analysis:

  • Symptoms are not a good indicator of the absence of gluten in a product.
  • Beer is not distilled so the proteins are not removed from the grain ingredients – including malted barley.
  • We do not have verified technology to measure the amount of gluten in beer. That means that a gluten test might give you a number but we have no way to know if that number is correct, or if it might be significantly underestimating the amount of gluten in the beer.
  • As per Health Canada, any product containing barley or malt directly added is not allowed to be called “gluten free”.

Gluten from barley is the hardest type of gluten to detect on a test. In beer, where the barley proteins are broken into pieces, detecting the “bad” part of the proteins is even harder. The conventional tests will give you a number for the amount of gluten in a beer sample, but there is no way to verify that number. Studies that use mass spectroscopy to look at the broken pieces of barley proteins have found gluten in all barley-based beers. This research article gives details if you would like to read more.

Some manufacturers use an enzyme that is supposed to break the gluten sequence in beer into pieces so that it won’t trigger a gluten reaction. This treated beer that is “Crafted to remove gluten” and sold in Canada must carry a statement that indicates that there is no way to accurately measure the amount of gluten in beer. This message has been seen on bottles of Daura Damm in Ontario. It was on the label around the neck of the bottle in very tiny print.

End result, the CCA does NOT consider beer made with gluten as safe for people with celiac disease, treated to remove the gluten or not. Beer is one of those things that does not meet the gluten-free criteria, just like wheat-based bread isn’t safe. There are alternatives that are not really the same (just like with bread). You either get used to them or you stop eating bread. The same rule applies for beer.

Would you pay a gluten-free “surcharge” at restaurants?

By Sue Newell, CCA National Office

We have been having an interesting discussion on the CCA’s National Facebook Forum about extra charges for gluten free food in restaurants. The discussion was triggered by a CBC article about a Laval woman with food allergies who filed a human rights complaint against a local restaurant, “insulted” she had to pay a surcharge to make sure her meal was nut and soy free.

Some people were willing to pay the extra to cover the extra food and staff costs of preparing an allergen-safe or gluten-free meal; others felt that everyone has a right to safe affordable food, and point out that the person with celiac disease is usually the person who picks the restaurant. Catering to people with celiac disease brings in more non-celiac customers.

The National CCA Facebook forum has become an important place for people across Canada to ask questions or share a new food discovery. Whatever topic comes up, you can be sure of a quick answer and (usually) a number of alternative suggestions.

The forum is a closed forum, which means your request to join must be approved, so that we minimize the junk messages, but all are welcome to contribute to the discussion or to be a passive reader. To ask to join, search for CanadianCeliacAssociation.

Kelowna Celiac has posted it in on their Facebook page below if you’d like to join the conversation there too.

Busting myths: So-called “gluten allergy”

wheat grain on stalk

Courtesy Kitchener-Waterloo Chapter Newsletter

wheat grain on stalkThere are a lot of myths out there about what celiac disease is, or what non-celiac gluten sensitivity is, but the one I come across most often is the mysterious “gluten allergy”. That may be an easy way to characterize celiac disease to “get the message across” to restaurant wait staff, but allergies and celiac disease do not even involve the same immune system.

“Gluten” is a collective noun – a word that describes a group of several different proteins: secalin in rye, horedin in barley, and glutenin in wheat, among others. Since all the proteins lead to the same reaction in someone with celiac disease, it’s easier to use one simple word, “gluten”.

People with a wheat allergy might be fine with gluten but there are three other classes of proteins in wheat that can trigger their allergic reaction.  Recent Canadian research suggests that about 0.2% of the population has a wheat allergy, about 5 times fewer that are believed to suffer with celiac disease.

You can have celiac disease, you can have nonceliac gluten sensitivity, you can have a wheat allergy, or you can have dermatitis herpetiformis. But a gluten allergy? As far as we know, such a condition does not actually exist. Unless you’ve engaged in scientific testing, with your response to pure gluten (not gluten that comes as part of wheat, rye or barley), how could you know?

That’s why wheat, and not gluten, is listed as a priority “allergen” on food labels. Gluten labelling is of course critical for us as celiacs, but for people with allergies, wheat is the one we can identify with. But remember, celiac is an autoimmune disease, nothing like an allergy and should not be confused as such.

Pizza Potluck Recap and Photos

mary hicks award

Thanks to Chapter President Irene Wiseman who took these photos of Sunday’s Pizza potluck.

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The turnout was small (perhaps the weather was a little too nice?) but those that attended enjoyed Pizzas supplied by Jim’s Place, a Chapter sponsor, in Vernon. Regular members brought salads and desserts.

Cake was supplied to us by “Inspired by Happiness“, another chapter sponsor. According to Irene, these were the best cakes that she has EVER purchased. Inspired by Happiness also provided each event attendee a coupons for a free cake. See what happens when you miss a potluck?

At the meeting portion of the potluck, there was discussion on how to revamp CCA membership. Some suggested that the membership fee should be done away with in the hopes that people would then be more likely to donate to the CCA. Volunteer burnout is also another issue with most chapter. It has been a factor with the Kelowna chapter – with many long-term executive members wanting to step down, but no one willing to step forward to take their place. If you are interested in volunterring please contact chapter president Irene Wiseman at [email protected]

CCA standardizes post-diagnosis follow-up for celiac disease

celiac awareness month

celiac awareness monthFollowing several months of research, discussions and consultations, the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) is celebrating 2016 Celiac Disease Awareness Month with the unveiling of a detailed algorithm to be distributed to all family doctors across Canada. With awareness and understanding of celiac disease varying greatly within the medical community, the result until now has been a hodgepodge of treatment and follow-up plans that leads to confusion and, in many cases, continued illness and suffering.

The new best practices algorithm, developed by the CCA’s Professional Advisory Council, aims to bridge this gap by clearly outlining the diagnosis and follow-up regimen for a Canadian with celiac disease.

“We hear it all too often,” says Anne Wraggett, president of the CCA. “Some doctors give the patient their diagnosis and simply send them on their way. Others recognize the need to monitor vitamin and mineral absorption levels, watch out for bone density problems, and be aware of the connection between celiac disease and other serious disorders such as type 1 diabetes and thyroid disease.”

“This is all about creating a standardized regimen, based as much as possible on evidence-based medicine,” adds Sue Newell, operations manager for the CCA. “We hope that this will lead to a consistent approach among all medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, gastroenterologists and other medical professionals. We need everyone ‘singing from the same songbook’ on this, so those diagnosed with celiac disease get the support they need.”

Medical professionals, patients and others can easily download the best practices algorithm from the CCA website ( Our popular website receives millions of hits each year and contains up-to-date scientific information and details of the CCA’s programs to support all Canadians with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

The Canadian Celiac Association is the national voice for the roughly two million Canadians who are adversely affected by gluten, and we are dedicated to improving diagnosis rates and quality of life.

Pizza Potluck May 1st

gluten-free-pizzaOne next Celiac Meeting is Sunday, May 1st.

This will be a special gluten-free pizza themed potluck!

This is a CHANGE from regular meetings.  Please just bring a salad or dessert. The chapter will pay for the pizzas.

Celiacs & their families, can each enjoy their two slices of gluten-free pizza.  A great time to bring the kids and your teenagers.

We need to know who will be coming by April 24 so we can order enough pizzas. Please email Marie at [email protected] or phone 250-763-7159 if you plan to attend.

Non-celiac members will pay $5 for the 2 slices.

Lake Country Winfield Seniors Activity Centre, 9832 Bottom Wood Lake Road

Doors open at 12:00-noon

We will ask adults to each donate a ‘toonie’ to defray the hall rental costs.

What is the CCA Professional Advisory Council?


As we approach the month of May each year, there is always an interesting debate about what to focus on for Celiac Awareness Month. This year was easy! We are highlighting two excellent new documents created by the CCA’s Professional Advisory Council (PAC) and designed to provide much-needed guidance to primary health providers:

  • Follow-up of Patients with Celiac Disease: this guide, for medical doctors, aims to ensure proper follow-up and care for a patient diagnosed with celiac disease
  • Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: also for medical doctors, this document explains non-celiac gluten sensitivity and how to diagnose it and differentiate it from celiac disease

Do you know what the PAC is? It is an expert advisory body for the CCA comprised of medical doctors (both general practitioners and specialists), dietitians, and even a cereal scientist! Their role is to help ensure that the CCA remains the best source of quality, science-based factual information on celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet. The combined knowledge and dedication of this group of professionals is absolutely critical to the CCA’s reputation as a reliable, invaluable resource. This is a volunteer role; they give their time to the cause out of the goodness of their hearts, and we truly appreciate it. Hats off to the PAC!

Watch for more news about Celiac Awareness Month shortly and you will soon find the new documents online at Take a copy to your next medical appointment.

Hope spring is coming your way!

Anne-Wraggett-ccaAnne Wraggett
President, Canadian Celiac Association