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.

Japanese Rice Cakes recalled due to undeclared wheat

Canadian Food Inspection Agency News Releasewismettac logo

Food Recall Warning (Allergen) – Japanese Rice Cakes recalled due to undeclared wheat
Recall date: April 7, 2017
Reason for recall: Allergen – Gluten, Allergen – Wheat
Hazard classification: Class 2
Company / Firm: Wismettac Asian Foods
Distribution: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec
Extent of the distribution: Retail
Reference number: 11318

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
N/A (Japanese Characters Only) Japanese Rice Cakes (Kashiwa Mochi Sk Br.) 250 g All codes where wheat is not declared on the label 4 903226 102106 &
0 74410 70824 5

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

CCA 2017 National Survey

cca logo

cca logoThe Canadian Celiac Association is the national voice for all Canadians adversely affected by gluten. To make sure we are working on your behalf as best we can, we are planning to review of our priorities and the support, awareness and advocacy work we do.

You are a valuable member of our online community, and we would greatly appreciate it if you could take around ten minutes and complete a short survey to help us as we move forward. We’d request your input no later than March 18.

All Canadians with a “gluten problem” are invited to participate. All opinions are welcome.

Link to the survey:

Thank you very much for adding your voice. We actively use feedback to improve our organisation and provide the gluten-free community with the best possible service. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected]

Mark Johnson
Board of Directors
Canadian Celiac Associatio

“Strategies for Eating Out” – Gluten-Free Wellness Group Meets February 22nd

selena-de-vriesWednesday night, February 22, 2017 our Kelowna Celiac and Gluten Intolerant Wellness Group with Registered Dietitian, Selena De Vries meets.

The topic: “Strategies for eating out”

When: 7 – 8 pm

Where: Orthoquest Kelowna Kinesiology at 1021 Richter Street, Kelowna, BC

Cost: Free to CCA members, $2 donation for non-members.

Wellness Meetings are held in the months of January, February, March, April, May, October and November.

Contact Selena at 778-990-6047 for more information.

No Need to Fear Modified Starches

corn starch mixed with water

corn starch mixed with waterIn the past, people eating gluten free were advised to avoid modified starch, not because of the “modified” but because of the “starch”. Starch is made from grains and although it doesn’t directly contain gluten, the starch and the proteins, including gluten, are mixed together on the inside of the kernel, the endosperm. When the type of starch was not identified on the ingredient list, it could be wheat starch. Unfortunately, many people focused on the wrong word, so when the rules changed and gluten-containing starches were required to be identified (wheat starch or modified wheat starch) people still worried about the word “modified”.

So that you can finally put that fear to rest, here is an exNo Needplanation of how and why starches are modified.

Natural starches can are made from many grains and vegetables, but the pastes and gels that are created are often too gummy to be used in commercial food processing, so their properties are modified for high or low temperatures, high and low pH (acids), and extensive mixing. Different techniques are used for the four biggest uses in food production: binding, thickening, forming a film, and tenderising.

For example, if you are making pudding, you need a different type of starch for a cooked pudding than you need for an instant pudding. Pregelatinized starch can be used to thickening products without heat. It is made by cooking the starch, drying it, and then grinding it to a powder or making flakes to mix with the rest of the ingredients. The properties of this type of modified starch can be changed based on the length of cooking time, the temperature used to dry the starch and the size of the ground fragments. Modified starches treated with phosphate absorb water so that when you are defrosting a frozen dinner, it doesn’t fall apart as it warms. When you are making candy, treating the starch with acid leads to the shell on the outside of the jelly bean. There are ways to process starch to meet almost any use in food production.

The important thing to remember is that none of the processing methods include gluten grains. If it doesn’t say modified wheat starch, you can stop worrying.

Kelowna Celiac Welcomes Patsy Pie


Kelowna Celiac is pleased to announce a new sponsor: Patsy Pie

patsy-pie-cookiesInspired by old family recipes in 2001 Patsy Pie founder Pat Libling created a range of traditional all-butter cookies using alternative flours and without adding starchy fillers that the commercial gluten-free bakeries tended to use.   The cookies were so good that everybody just loved them – Patsy Pie was born.  Passion for great tasting products has been the driver of this Lachine Quebec company. Patsy Pie is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Program.

Their products include:

  • Organic Chocolate Cantuccini – Mini Chocolate Biscotti
  • Organic Double Chocolate Quinoa Cookies
  • Organic Choco-Orange Quinoa Cookies
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Snappy Ginger Cookies
  • Lemon Shortbread
  • Cranberry Orange Biscotti
  • Almond Biscotti
  • Candy Cookie with M&M’S®
  • White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Cookie
  • Double Chocolate Cookie
  • Double Chocolate Brownie
  • Double Chocolate Cookies
  • White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Cookies
  • Double Chocolate Brownie 14 ct
  • Mini Double Chocolate Brownie

See photos and the ingredients in their yummy gluten-free products at their website.  You can also purchase their products online!


Gluten-Free Minestrone Soup


minestrone-soupSoups and chilis are great ways to add beans to your diet, especially on chilly winter days. When you have the time, cook your own beans (can be done a day or two ahead) and use in place of canned.


  • 4 cups water or broth
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped cabbage (or 1 cup diced potatoes)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • Pinch of celery seed
  • 1 cup any shape dry rice gf pasta
  • 15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Combine water, tomato sauce, carrots, cabbage, onion, celery and seasonings in a large
    soup pot.
  2. Cook until vegetables are tender (20 – 30 minutes).
  3. Cook pasta separately according to package directions. Drain and add to soup pot.
  4. Add kidney beans 10 minutes before serving.
  5. Thicken the soup by adding a roux of 2 Tbs cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute more.

Makes about 8 cups.

Hidden Sources of Gluten

magnifying glass

magnifying glassWhen you first start the gluten-free diet, it may seem like there’s not much left you can eat. While there is a large part of processed foods you can’t eat anymore, there are still a lot of amazing options available — both naturally gluten-free and otherwise.

There is a huge importance when you’re on a strict gluten-free diet to read and re-read labels on everything food related for your safety. Many times we forget about the products that maybe we’re not eating, but could be indirectly contaminating ourselves with gluten. There are also products that are typically contaminated without much thought and even beauty products could be the reason why you’re still feeling ill.

If you think you’re on a strict gluten-free diet, but you’re still not feeling well or blood tests still show reactions you may be contaminating yourself without really realising it. There are some common hidden sources of gluten that you may want to check into as the first possible reason you’re not feeling well even though you’re eating gluten-free.


It’s one of those makeup products that is likely going to end up in your mouth at some point. Licking your lips and eating will transfer the lipstick ingredients into your digestive system and one of those ingredients could be gluten (typically wheat or barley). You need to be sure to check the ingredients on the package and know those tricky scientific names for gluten.


Typically those commercial glue sticks are going to be fine, but when it comes to household glue products, you need to be careful. While most envelope glues are derived from corn, they do have the potential to contain wheat (and they don’t come with an ingredients list) as does wallpaper glue and gluten can even be found in tile grout. While you’re likely not going to eat these products, they can be inhaled or ingested in a secondary way.

Hand lotion

If you have an insensitivity to gluten when ingested and not just topically, you may be able to get away with this product, but be wary. Hand lotions can contain a lot of ingredients and one often found is wheat—making it unsafe for those with celiac disease or gluten allergy.

Vegan meat substitutes

If you’re looking to go vegetarian, many of the meat substitutes that are soy-based also contain gluten. You need to make sure that you’re  reading the labels and checking if it’s safe for you to eat — being free from one ingredient doesn’t mean it’s safe for everyone.

French fries

If you’re a big fan of French fries, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating safely! There are a lot of fries that contain a gluten-based light reading to give them an extra crisp when they’re fried up. Also, if you’re getting your fries from a restaurant, you will want to make sure they’re not fried in the same oil as other glutencontaining products like onion rings because your food will be cross-contaminated.


While potato chips are made from — well, potato — the seasoning is not all the same so you need to be extra careful. Some flavourings contain gluten in their ingredients and others may not. Another word of caution — just because one brand of chips doesn’t contain gluten, doesn’t mean any brand of the same flavour is safe so read those labels!

Your peanut butter jar

While typically peanut butter is gluten-free, there is a huge risk of gluten contamination with your peanut butter jar. If you’re making a sandwich with peanut butter and using gluten bread, then placing the knife right back in the container — you’ve just put gluten into all of the peanut butter. You need to make sure that you’re being safe, so always have separate containers!

Items labelled “wheat free”

If something is labelled wheat-free you may assume you’re safe to eat it on a gluten-free diet, but that’s risky business. Wheat free and gluten free are two different things because a product could be wheat free but contain barley, rye, or oats making it unsafe for those on a
gluten-free diet.

Processed meats

If your family is a fan of pre-shaped, frozen burgers, hot dogs or deli meat you need be extra careful to check the ingredients. Many use
wheat crumbs or simply list “filler” in their list which could be wheat flour or barley. There are a lot more products being put on the shelves that contain no fillers and are labelled to be gluten free so keep your eyes out for those.