3 Tips To Stay Safe At Holiday Gatherings

by Selena De Vries

The holidays can be a challenging time to stay gluten-free. But, with a few strategies in your back pocket, the holidays can be confidently enjoyed gluten-free! Here are three tips to try for your next holiday social.

family-gathering

1. Bring your own delicious GF dish to share.

This is a tried and true strategy that will ensure you have something safe to eat. Afraid the host may not approve? Communicate your concern by saying “I have celiac disease and even a tiny bit of gluten can cause me to feel extremely unwell. I have (an event, a presentation, a family outing etc) and it would be very unfortunate if I have to miss it because I’m ill. So, I brought my own dish just in case!” Something along those lines is always well received.

2. Be involved with the food preparation as much as possible.

Whether the event is close to home or far away, technology can be your friend! If someone else is taking the lead in preparing the food, make sure your voice is heard.

In a Kitchen: Physically help prepare the meal by showing up in advance of the event so you can have eyes on potential sources of cross-contamination and ensure all ingredients being used are gluten-free.

Away from the Kitchen: Talk to them on the phone ahead of time to help plan the meal, get family/friends to text you pictures of ingredient lists, Facetime with them in the grocery store, and let them know brand names of your favourite GF foods.

3. Be armed with confident communication skills.

Being able to politely decline food that has had so much love and effort put into it, is one of the hardest things to do as a celiac. Here are some example responses that you may want to try:

Comment: “What do you mean you can’t have these cookies, I made them special just for you!”

Response: Thank you so much for thinking of me. I really appreciate it. But, I have to be so careful as even something as little crumb can make me very ill for days. And, with the holidays, I just can’t risk it. Maybe next time we get together, we can bake cookies at my house!

Comment: Come on, a little gluten won’t hurt!”

Response: I wish that was the case, but unfortunately, even a little would cause my digestive system to be damaged. Just imagine one smartie split into 4 pieces. Just one of those quarters still contains 25x too much gluten for me to safely ingest! It really is such a small amount. So, I do have to be very careful about the choices I make and really appreciate your understanding

CCA 2017 Holiday Survival Guide

holiday survival guide

​Happy Holidays from the Canadian Celiac Association!

This holiday season we are pleased to give you our CCA Holiday Survival Guide.

holiday survival guideClick the link or the image to the right to take you to an online version of the guide. The guide contains tips and recipes from a team of passionate volunteers, who perhaps like you or a family member, face the challenges of celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity during a time of the year when food-centred activities take place.

​If you have enjoyed the support, education and information from CCA over this past year, we hope that you will consider a donation towards our annual Festive Campaign. Donations allow our charity to continue to advocate on your behalf, increase access to safe foods and improve the quality of life of people with CD and NCGS through investing in research and education, and more. To make a secure online donation, please click this link to Canada Helps.

Wishing you all a fun and gluten-free holiday season!

Best wishes,
Anne Wraggett

What is Important to you this Christmas?

by Sue Newell

Sue Newell

Sue Newell

For someone with celiac disease, a food allergy or a food sensitivity, a holiday built around parties and food can be a real-life nightmare. There are so many unknowns: Can I eat that? Did she use the ingredient brands I asked? Were those vegetables cut on the same board used for the bread? How many people have dragged something with gluten through that dip? What do I do – he put my gluten-free crackers on the same plate as the rest of the crackers? What do I say to Aunt Mary who just offered me her special Fluffernutter Cookies?

If you try to make everything perfect, odds are you will have a meltdown long before Christmas dinner and will want to hide in a closet until it is all over.

So here is my suggestion: figure out what things are the most important to you, and let everything just happen. I’m not suggesting that you don’t pay attention to what you are eating; I’m suggesting you make sure you have something tasty to eat at those events, but don’t fret if it is not the same as everyone else. Bring you own food if you need to, but spend a minimal amount of energy fussing about it. If someone asks about it, say “I cannot eat wheat, rye and barley and I brought my own food so I could spend time with everyone, rather than worrying about safe food.” If that isn’t enough for them, too bad; don’t argue, start a conversation with someone else.

For the important things, find the key elements and make sure they work for you. One of our Facebook members mentioned that everyone in the family gets to eat their favourite cereal on Christmas morning, even the sugary-sweet ones that are not on the table through the year. She knew that Chex wasn’t going to do it for her, so she asked for suggestions from the group. Forty responses later, she had a long list to consider including some with no nutritional value (the exact definition of a Christmas treat!). In my family, I missed having scones for Christmas lunch, but a batch of gluten-free biscuits (Nova Scotia style) satisfied my needs and gave another option to the other people at the table.

If a turkey dinner is not complete without stuffing, focus your energy on making sure there is safe stuffing (and an un-stuffed turkey) and don’t worry about the rolls and vegetable casserole with those little crunchy onions on them. If your absolutely favourite square or cookie is available, does it really matter that there is a plate of cookies you cannot eat?

This probably requires some thinking on your part, and the first time you take your own food to a party, you will be very nervous, but press through and I bet you will realize that it wasn’t so bad after all.

I know it isn’t easy, especially if it is your child who needs the gluten-free food. Make sure you discuss the situation in advance so your child knows what is going to happen and that his or her food is going to be safe. Keep an eye out that they are not being pressured to eat something that is not safe by well-meaning relatives.

Depending on the type of party, it is probably worth speaking with the host before you arrive to let them know what you will be doing. This is especially important for events planned around a menu. Be clear and be firm – you are not trying to insult them, this is what you need to do to keep healthy.

Christmas Treats and Treasures

If you are still looking for Christmas cookies, try these options from Gluten Free on a Shoestring, Food.com and The Roasted Root.

Some of these recipes may require a few clicks to find the instructions and when you see “oats” mentally substitute it with “pure uncontaminated oats”, but with 92 choices, at least one should call your name. I want to make the Chocolate Peppermint Meringue Christmas Trees.

Christmas is often a time for making special ornaments with your children or grandchildren. some craft materials may contain gluten but you can make ornaments from cinnamon and applesauce, or salt, water and cornstarch, or even cornstarch and baking soda with some glitter thrown in for effect.

Gluten Free Christmas Cookie Class

gluten free cooking class
Organizer: Healthbean Nutrition Selena Devries RD

Where: Central Okanagan Sailing Association

When: Dec 12th 6-8:30pm

Register: Online at healthbean.ca or call Selena at 778-990-6047

White Chocolate Dipped Gingerbread
Chocolate Dipped Macaroons
Homemade Hot Chocolate on a Stick

PLUS:
+ Learn the 3 golden rules of how to convert gluten filled recipes to gluten free
+ Take home the foolproof recipes and be able to replicate them again and again,

These classes are hands on so be prepared to roll your sleeves up!

Christmas Lights for Celiac

by Alek O. Komarnitsky

celiac christmas lights 2013It is the holiday season again and back online for 2012 are the Controllable Christmas Lights for Celiac Disease.

Once again, three live webcams and X10 technology allows web surfers to not only view the live action, but also control 20,000+ lights, inflate/deflate the giant 15′ Santa Balloon, Santa on Skis, in a Helicopter, and flying a Plane along with Elmo, Frosty Family, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the Homer Simpson Santa – D’OH!

The website is totally free (and totally fun) but also raises awareness and funds for charity via voluntary donations – over $70,000 for the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research – my two sons have this condition, so it’s personal for me.

Last year, Internet surfers from 146 countries stopped by.  Tell your friends, blog/facebook/tweet about it, and spread the word.

Click here to view! 
Merry Christmas!

Alek

Annual chapter Christmas meal delicious fun!

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Christmas is here! The executive cooked us a yummy gluten-free Christmas meal Sunday afternoon. The meal included turkey with all the trimmings and Christmas pudding!

Following the dinner we drew for door prizes and the three wonderful food baskets.

The kids also got a special present too.

Thanks to the executive for all their hard work, and thanks to our sponsors!

The baskets were from:

  • Choices (Kelowna) won by Nora Eaves of Penticton
  • Nutters (Salmon Arm) won by Winnie Cowland of Kelowna
  • El Peto (the invisible one) won by Sid Sargent of Penticton

The gift certificates were from:

  • Simply Delicious (Vernon), $25 won by Carl Hare of Kelowna
  • Jim’s Place (Vernon) for 2 gluten-free pizzas won by Susan Morrison of Kelowna

Also Save on Foods (Orchard Plaza) donated a 30 pound Turkey and Save on Foods (Salmon Arm) donated a $25 certificate towards the purchase of the second turkey.

About 50 attended the annual dinner at the Winfield Seniors Activity Centre. If you missed it this year, be sure to attend the meal in 2011!

Christmas Party Photos

Thanks to our newsletter editor, M. Marie (Loyst) Ablett, we have some photos from our Christmas party, November 29th.

Special thanks to our hard working executive who cooked about 50 members a delightful gluten free dinner.

The kids who attended enjoyed the GF food and each got a gift.

Congratulations to Kathy Post, a newly diagnosed member, who won the basket from Choices Market at the Christmas Dinner. 

Do you have more photos  from the party?  Email them to [email protected] for inclusion here. 

We’ll post more photos from our other events on an ongoing basis now that we have our new website.