Vegan Chocolate Mousse

By Jessica Danford

I am all about cooking without a recipe and using what i have on hand.  Adapting to my preferred tastes and favourite flavours. This is a versatile recipe, a simple delicious base with four ingredients that can be jazzed up with whichever add-ins you like.

The first time I made this hubby found it in the fridge where I left it to set for 30 mins and ate it up thinking it was just normal chocolate pudding or mousse…  he had no idea it was dairy free and vegan. Talk about sneaking in the greens!


  • 2 avocados
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 lemon or lime
  • 2 to 3 cups of cooked GF pasta
  • salt and pepper
  • optional: topping could be anything from baked with vegan cheese or some hot sauce, or maybe a crispy crust of gluten-free crumbs with herbs, how about for a non-vegan add some tuna and diced radish for a fresh tuna salad


1. Take all ingredients to combine in a bowl. I recommend using a hand mixer to get the smoothest consistency.

2. Add the milk as needed to thin to desired consistency.

3. Then place in the fridge for 30 mins to set and serve with your favourite toppings like shredded coconut or banana slices.

Get Support On Our Facebook Group

by Janet Dalziel

The CCA’s Facebook group is a diverse, engaged community that offers help and support in real time.

join our Facebook groupWhen the Canadian Celiac Association was created 1984 support for people with celiac disease was one of several lofty goals, including advocacy and awareness, for its ambitious volunteers.

Back then, support meant local chapter meetings, national and chapter print newsletters of varying quality and a 1-800 national phone line. Requested materials could take weeks to arrive, the phone was not answered in the evening or on weekends, and volunteers did their best to make contact with members but with limited results.

Today, support from the CCA encompasses the best of the past along with a tremendous effort on social media. If you are a member of long standing and have not yet checked out the CCA Facebook group, you should do so. Traditional membership in the CCA is lagging while membership in the closed Facebook group shows phenomenal growth, with more than three times as many participants in the group as members, with lots of overlap, of course.

This support works for a variety of reasons:

  •  Myths and misinformation are corrected by our own experts very quickly; people can ask for clarification and are answered virtually immediately
  • Recipes are shared and adapted, successes are congratulated and photos are admired
  • Users frequently announce new products and where to find them, along with reviews on their palatability
  • Restaurant and travel recommendations are requested and quickly received from people with direct experience
  • Questions about the safety of ingredients are not just answered with a “safe” or “not safe.” Rather, the answers
    usually come with advice on how to become self-sufficient in reading food labels
  • Pleas for help in navigating difficult social and family issues provide tremendous insight from a variety of points of view, with practical suggestions and life lessons in dealing with difficult people
  • Food and lifestyle bullying or shaming is not tolerated
  • The Facebook group bypasses the geographical chapter structure and brings people together
  • Everyone in the group can benefit from everyone else’s questions and advice, unlike one-on-one support

People in this group are of all ages, from all over Canada, with quite a few from other countries as well. What unites them all is the need to survive and then thrive, from diagnosis problems through eating for health and pleasure. Many are worried parents doing their best for recently diagnosed children or struggling to get their children diagnosed.

It does not matter how long you have been dealing with any of these issues yourself—there is always something to learn and frequently some wisdom to add to the discussion. The support is ongoing and constant and it goes back and forth: Some days, you are the one getting new information you didn’t know you didn’t know, and other days, you are the one providing needed reassurance to someone else who is just learning.

And some days you are just laughing together at a shared joke. Participants often comment that finding this support group has been a lifesaver for them and their stories bear this out.

We finally have the shared community we always wanted, with real peer support. The experienced want to share stories about what they have learned and how they learned it; they want to help. The newbies are relieved to know they are not alone, that there are answers, that others had similar experiences and can offer advice, that their panic or grief or misery is understood. This is what we wanted when we joined the CCA, to learn and to help and to make it better for all of us. This is what we do. But remember that we can only do it with financial support.

External link: CCA Facebook Discussion Group

Don’t Try So-Called Gluten “Digesters”

By Adrianna Smallwood
Registered Dietitian, owner of Newfound Balance and member of CCA’s Professional Advisory Council

If I take a gluten ‘digester,’ can I eat a little bit of gluten and not get sick?”

adrianna-smallwoodFollowing a gluten-free diet can be extremely difficult. From missing our favourite foods to feeling left out at social events, it can sometimes be challenging and discouraging. But once symptoms have subsided and blood work returns to normal, a lot of people wonder whether can they add just a little bit of gluten back to into their diet, or if can they can “cheat” periodically?

Unfortunately, the answer right now is no. The only cure for celiac disease is complete avoidance of all gluten in the diet. Currently, the market boasts several forms of gluten ‘digesters.’ Often found in the vitamin aisle of drugstores, these products promise to break down gluten so that you don’t feel as sick when you’ve been “glutened”. But don’t get your hopes up. Gluten digesters have not been shown to work for people who have celiac disease and so should not be used to let you “cheat” or as a substitute for the gluten-free diet. At the moment, there are products being tested that might, one day, allow those with celiac to ingest gluten safely, but they aren’t approved or available yet. The Canadian Celiac Association is the trusted source for all information pertaining to celiac and the gluten-free diet, so you can be sure that when such products are proven safe and effective and come to the market, the CCA will make a big announcement.

So, what exactly are the consequences of continuing to eat gluten or incorporating it back into your diet after your symptoms have subsided? Firstly, you’re likely to experience a return of symptoms. That said, even if you feel fine, if you were previously diagnosed with celiac disease, you still have it, so eating gluten will cause damage in your intestine. Long-term consequences of continuing to eat gluten when you have been proven to have celiac disease include nutrient deficiencies, intestinal damage, decreased bone mass and even cancer. It’s serious business.

The moral of this story? Celiac disease should be taken seriously. This isn’t like a weight-loss diet, where the occasional “cheat” is acceptable. If you have celiac disease, diagnosed by your doctor or gastroenterologist, then you’ll need to strictly avoid gluten for the rest of your life. There are more and more gluten-free products available every day—having a bite of gluten isn’t worth the risk to your health.

Beer Labeling Changes Proposed

The Canadian Celiac Association lead the response to recommended changes to beer standards including the need for labelling of gluten and other food allergens last summer.  As a result of the community response and from stakeholder groups, Health Canada has recommended changes to the beer standards. Click here to read.

beer-not-gluten-freeAmong these changes is that that beer will no longer be exempt from the labelling requirements set out in the Food and Drugs Regulations for allergens, gluten and added sulphite.

In order to be successful, our community needs to respond to a second round of public consultations before the regulations are finalized. We’ll let you know when you can participate and ensure these regulations move forward as proposed.

As usual the beer industry will lobby hard against these changes so we need your support! Every letter counts.

Osteoporosis and Celiac Disease

by Nicole LeBlanc, Dt.P. (Translation by Mark Johnson)

Osteoporosis is a frequent complication of celiac disease, linked to the malabsorption of calcium. This nutrient is absorbed in the first portion of the small intestine, which is also the main area of intestinal damage in someone with untreated celiac disease.

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the skeleton and is characterized by low bone density and the deterioration of bone tissue, rendering the bones more fragile. This problem can lead to pain as well as deformities in the spine.


Indeed, osteoporosis is a major public health problem in Canada, and the prevalence is only increasing with the ageing population. Looking at gender, women are four times more likely than men to have osteoporosis – the decline in estrogen production results in a 2-5% loss of bone density per year over the course of the first few years post-menopause. Osteoporosis is also more common in people with a new celiac diagnosis than among the general population – and with celiacs, men have the same percentage of risk as women do.

Risk factors

People are at greater risk if they present with the following factors:

  • Family history of osteoporosis (e.g. fractures in the hip, wrist or vertebrae)
  • Being a woman and over 50 years of age
  • Weakened bone structure and a weight at the lower end of the healthy range – BMI between 18.5 and 25)
  • Early menopause (before the age of 45)
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Low intake of dietary calcium
  • Excessive caffeine consumption (more than four cups per day)
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Using certain medical drugs, including cortisone, for more than three months
  • Diseases that interfere with the absorption of nutrients (e.g. Crohn’s disease, celiac disease)

Celiac Research Tidbits – June 2018

Still getting glutened an ongoing problem

A February study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that unintentional exposure to gluten may be greater than was previously thought. One of the study’s authors, herself a celiac, talked about how she was still getting sick, and used mass spectrometry to find out that some of the “glutenfree” pasta she was eating in fact contained gluten.
For more information:

Mono linked to celiac, other disorders

New research from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found that the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) – best known for causing mononucleosis – also may increase the risks for some people of developing seven other major diseases, including celiac disease. Other linked diseases are: systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes.
For more information:

New wheat with less gluten coming out

Arcadia Biosciences, a California-based company, has developed wheat in which gluten has been reduced by around 60%. While this wheat will still not be safe for people with celiac disease, the company is targeting those who have gone gluten-free by choice, or feel they are sensitive – the vast majority of those who are eating GF.
For more information:

Does baby delivery method impact celiac?

Much research has been published suggesting that babies delivered by caesarean section are more likely to develop celiac disease. However, new research published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology suggests that this may not be the case. Researchers used data from administrative registers and health administrative registers from Denmark and Norway and linked the data at the individual level. The mode of delivery was not associated with an increased risk of diagnosed celiac disease.

For more information:

May 6th, 2018 Kelowna Chapter Meeting Minutes

Our meeting was our annual Pizza dinner with pizzas supplied by Jim’s Place in Vernon. As always the 22 members in attendance all enjoyed a variety of pizzas.

Marilyn our Treasurer gave her financial report: We have $2,700.00 in our account and a GIC to come due in July. We will be donating to a research project at our local University.

Marie gave a report about the newsletter she is trying to update members about safe restaurants in the area.

Our membership is down as is happening in many chapters.

The chapter is also having an issue with members not being able to get to meetings. We are all busy with life.

Most of our executive has been on the board for many years and are putting out the word that we need members to come forward and fill the executive position at the Sept meeting. These are the positions that will need to be filled.

President, Secretary, Treasurer, It would be nice to have all the positions filled but you can still have a chapter with only these positions. You would also need to have two (2) meetings a year.

Our September meeting will be a very important meeting so I would encourage members to step up and take on these positions.

Thank you Rachel for taking the minutes for us.

I also want to thank the executive for their many years of hard work and dictation to the Kelowna Chapter.


Irene Thompson / Wiseman


Researchers Replicate Celiac Disease in Mice

By Dr. Valerie Abadie
Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, University of Montreal


Canadian scientists have figured out how to replicate celiac in mice, which could lead to breakthroughs in new treatments.

Celiac disease (CD) is highly prevalent in North America, with around one percent of the Canadian population affected by the disease. The classical pathological changes of CD in the small bowel encompass an increased number of intraepithelial lymphocytes, the presence of autoantibodies, and a destruction of the lining of the small intestine (called villous atrophy). The only effective treatment currently available for CD is a lifelong gluten-free diet (GFD), yet persistent symptoms and intestinal tissue damage are common among celiac patients that adhere to a GFD.

Non-dietary therapies that would improve patient health and alleviate the social and personal constraints associated with following a GFD are under investigation. However, the development of new therapies has proven challenging because of our incomplete understanding of the mechanisms responsible for damaging the intestinal tissue and the lack of a disease-relevant animal models.

Several animal models of gluten-sensitive disorders have substantially contributed to a better understanding of how gluten intolerance can arise and cause disease, yet none of them represent a suitable mouse model for preclinical validation of new celiac drug targets as they do not display intestinal tissue destruction upon gluten ingestion as seen in active CD patients.

For the past years, with the support of the J.A. Campbell Research Award, the laboratory of Dr. Abadie at the University of Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center in collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Jabri at the University of Chicago has worked extensively on the characterization of a novel mouse model that develops all the features of CD upon gluten ingestion including the development of villous atrophy.

Following oral gluten administration, the development of anti-gluten immune responses characterized by the expansion of cytotoxic lymphocytes and the development of antibodies against gluten, as well as CD-associated histological abnormalities were monitored and confirmed that this model develops a disease that closely resembles human CD.

In addition, this work confirmed that the induction of CD-like pathology requires the predisposing genetic factor HLA-DQ8 as in humans. This new mouse model is likely to revolutionize research in CD by allowing studying the complex immune mechanisms that lead to villous atrophy. Hence, it is currently used to take the first steps towards the mechanistic characterization of the immunological players involved in the development of villous atrophy in CD, and to better understand how intestinal immune responses towards gluten are deregulated in the context of CD. In particular, Dr. Abadie’s group is studying how B lymphocytes -specialized cells involved in the secretion of antibodies and autoantibodies- contribute to the pathogenesis of CD and whether autoantibodies against the enzyme tissue transglutaminase contribute to the development and/or the exacerbation of the disease. In addition of allowing to considerably gain some fundamental knowledge on CD pathogenesis, this long-awaited physiological animal model of CD represents an invaluable tool for the preclinical validation of new celiac drug targets and to test novel non-dietary therapies.

Celiac Disease and Oral Health

By Dr. LouAnn Visconti, President of the Ontario Dental Association

Taking care of your teeth can be a challenge for people in the best of health but for those with medical conditions or diseases, having a good dental care routine is essential to preventing further problems from developing.

One issue people with celiac disease can experience is being less able to absorb the minerals and nutrients that are essential for developing bones and teeth. Although the disease can develop at any age, if it occurs in children younger than age 7, when permanent teeth are developing, there can be defects to the dental enamel. The number of teeth affected is also strongly linked to factors that include the age at which a gluten-free diet is started.

Some research suggests children with celiac disease are at a higher risk of getting cavities. This may be related to the inability to fully absorb calcium and other key minerals. Another issue that can affect dental health is recurring canker sores and a dry or burning sensation on the tongue because of difficulties absorbing Vitamin B-12, folate and iron.

One of the best ways to deal with these symptoms is the early diagnosis of celiac disease and the implementation of a gluten-free diet, which has been shown to greatly reduce the severity of some of these dental issues by allowing the body
to absorb essential vitamins and minerals.

Most people wouldn’t realize that the dental office actually has supplies that may contain gluten. This can include dental products such as the paste used to polish teeth after a cleaning, fluoride, topical local anaesthetic, gloves and even orthodontic retainers.

It’s critical for people of all ages with celiac disease to maintain a regular dental care routine and that includes the basics like brushing at least twice a day and flossing on a daily basis. Just keep in mind that dental care products commonly used at home, such as toothpaste, floss and even mouth rinses can also contain gluten and if ingested, could result
in heightened symptoms of celiac disease.

How to Order a Gluten-Free Meal

By Ellen Bayens, The Celiac Scene

the celiac sceneGoing out for a dinner? Communication is the key ingredient to every successful gluten-free restaurant meal. When diners, chefs and servers are able to collaborate on what is required and what can be reasonably delivered, there is cause for celebration.

The following is a list of suggested questions to help get you started when you dine out. Start anywhere and in very short order, the responses you receive will allow you to gauge any given restaurant’s degree of gluten awareness – and willingness. For the very best outcome, call ahead or take your host or server aside before ordering.


  1. What ingredients will be used to make my order?
  2. How do staff know whether ingredients are really gluten-free? Says so on labels? Checked product website? Called the manufacturer?
  3. Will pure spices, prepared seasonings or soy sauce made from wheat be used to make my meal?
  4. What other food items are cooked in the oil that gluten-free items are cooked in?
  5. How are sauces and dressings thickened?


  1. How will my server communicate with the kitchen that a gluten-free order has been placed?
  2. How are gluten-free orders prepared in relation to the regular flow of the kitchen?
  3. Will staff wash their hands / change gloves / change aprons clean surfaces before preparing my order?
  4. Will fresh toppings be used to dress my order? How do staff ensure that all utensils used in preparing my food are free from any trace of gluten?
  5. Separate or scrubbed frying pan? Griddle scrubbed? Aluminum foil barrier? Dedicated pots? Dedicated
  6. What other precautions do staff take to minimize / prevent cross-contamination?
  7. How will my server confirm with the kitchen that the order they are collecting has been prepared gluten-free?
  8. How will my server confirm that the order they are delivering to me is gluten-free?

Questions Specific to Pizza Restaurants

  1. Are gluten-free crusts prepared on-site? During regular operations? Before regular production?
    During downtimes / days?
  2. See questions in ingredient section above.
  3. Are pre-made gluten-free crusts purchased from a dedicated gluten-free manufacturer? Who is the manufacturer
  4. How are gluten-free sauces and toppings prepared?
  5. During regular operations? Before regular production?
  6. During downtimes / days?
  7. How do staff ensure that all utensils used in preparing gluten-free orders are free of any trace of gluten?
  8. How are utensils, crusts, sauces and toppings protected from cross-contamination with gluten while waiting to be used?
  9. How will my order be protected from cross-contamination with gluten once it has been prepared and/or while waiting to be served?

Ellen Bayens operates The Celiac Scene™ in Victoria, Vancouver Island & the Gulf Islands and is a source for gluten-free diners in the region.