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Canadian Celiac Association’s National Conference 2012, Kelowna, BC!

7 May

Canadian Celiac Association National Conference: May 24-25, 2012

As many of you may know, I live in the beautiful Okanagan region of BC, in Kelowna (you can usually find me tweeting @misskelowna!) Well, I’m super excited about the upcoming Canadian Celiac Association Conference this month, because it’s in my hometown! I just marked my third year anniversary of being gluten free (aka 3 AD – 3 years after diagnosis), so I’m looking forward to going to my first Celiac conference, and being around people who really “get it.” I’m looking forward to also learning about the latest in Celiac and gluten free research, and of course, to the gluten free food that will be sampled and served at the conference!!

Conference Speakers

This year’s keynote speaker at the conference is Dr. Sheila Crowe. Dr. Crowe has over 25 years of experience in Gastroenterology and is the co-author of Celiac Disease for Dummies – a book I read when I was first diagnosed! Dr. Crowe served as a Consultant “Ask the Expert” for the New York Times Health online section on the topic of celiac disease. Although Dr. Crowe doesn’t have celiac disease herself, she is certainly well versed in the disease. In fact, her month-in-law, the late Mrs. Kay Ernst, co-founded the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) 40 years ago. You can read her full biography here. (Opens in a PDF).

Other speakers include Dr. Ian Blumer (speaking on celiac disease and its relationship to other autoimmune diseases), Dr. Hardy Limeback (speaking on dentistry and celiac disease), Dr. Brent Barlow (speaking on naturopathy and celiac disease), and Dr. Mohsin Rashid (speaking on “Celiac Without Borders: A Global Perspective”).

On Sunday, Dr. Connie Switzer will be delivering the Professional Advisory Board Report. Dr. Switzer was actually the gastroenterologist* that did my endoscopy back in Edmonton, and delivered me the news, “Yep, you definitely have celiac disease.” After that day, I never intentionally ate another speck of gluten. (Luckily, I had decided to load of on some of my glutenous favourites before that endoscopy, as I had a feeling I’d never have them again: perogies at the Farmer’s Market, fresh bread (of any kind), fresh sourdough bread (oh how I miss you), and my old Friday night tradition, Panago Pizza.)

*A gastroenterologist is an internal medicine physician that specializes in the treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

Kelowna Gluten Free Expo

On Saturday, May 25 at the conference (non-conference attendees can go for $5), there will be a gluten free expo. Click here for more info. The following exhibitors will be sampling goods and/or providing info on their services:

For more information about the conference and gluten free expo, check out For those of you who are attending, I look forward to seeing you there!!


Gluten Free on “The Dish” – link to my interview on CBC Radio-West!

19 Jan

I had a great on air chat about the life gluten free, with the new-to-Kelowna Rebecca Zandbergen of CBC Radio-West. She’s a lovely lady and fantastic interviewer , and as she predicted, 6 or 7 minutes on air felt like a mere minute. There’s a lot of great tips I completely forgot to add during the interview, so I’ll have to post them here on the blog!

And soon to come… gluten free shopping tips-it doesn’t have to cost you every penny in your possession. Also, awhile back I promised to send Vernon girl Kerry K Taylor of Squawk Fox, some of the things I do to live as a money-conscious Celiac! Although she’s probably already in the know. (They’re coming Kerry!) If you haven’t visited Kerry’s frugal living blog – Squawk Fox – where frugal living is sexy, delicious, and fun – you must!

And here is the interview…click on the image to listen in on CBC Radio’s website!

Gluten Free on The Dish - CBC Radio West

Happy New Year!! Your Favourite 2011 Recipes (preceded by a red wine coloured rant)

4 Jan

Happy New Year everyone! Wow, 2012, sounds so futuristic, doesn’t it?!

So people have been asking me over and over, “when are you going to start blogging more”? No matter that these people are all of my real life friends who are asking me because they’ve referred recently diagnosed friends. But they have a point. Having a stale blog makes me feel icky, I mean, I work in marketing! How often do I huff at blogs that I really want to read but have gone months without a new post. And that’s what I’ve become?

Note to readers here: this is just my personal “forgive me, I have blinned” (blog sinned, made that one up) rant. Skip down for the hottest in recipes from 2011 ladies and lads.

I have to say though, that nagging feeling I get when I’m blazy (blog lazy, ha!) is when I talk to people who feel like getting diagnosed Celiac is going to ruin their life and cooking is going to be impossible. And I tell them, “No sister, it ain’t gonna ruin you, you just gotta learn the secrets.. I can tell you.. And you can find them on my web log!!” Okay, I totally don’t talk like this.

But I do tell people to not let a diagnosis get you down, that things are going to get easier. Because you quickly learn what you can and cannot eat. And you learn that you don’t have to follow complicated gluten free recipes to be able to eat. (Just learn how to substitute ingredients like a seasoned Celiac!) And let’s not forget that not only is gluten free knowledge on the uptake in society because people think it’s a weight loss tool (idiots), but because more and more people are being diagnosed with it. Restaurants and grocery stores are finally starting to get it. Some more slowly than others. (And yes, some will possibly be forever oblivious.)

But these secrets, and developments, are what I wish someone had told me when I was first diagnosed with Celiac. I thought my life was ruined! And it was not. I’ve learned to live with it, and make tasty food in a jiffy, and you can too.

So expect to see more of my rants and raves throughout 2012!

Now, for the top recipes of 2011? Here they are!

  1. Oven Baked Risotto. Apparently this was popular with the new-to-risotto crowd. So if you’re reticent of making your first batch of risotto, start with this one. And then try some of my other risotto recipes and see what you’ve been missing all these years! Risotto – gluten free food of the gods. And perfect for a creamy, savoury treat if you have to refrain from dairy as well!
  2. Cranberry Banana Walnut Loaf. Shave off 10 minutes to make muffins, or add in chocolate chips for a real anytime treat. Yummzers!
  3. Celery Leek Soup. I’m glad you liked it as much as I did! Because simply, it’s to die for. Put it on your list for a winter-warm-up fast!!

Enough from me for today. I wish you all the best in 2012 and look forward to continuing our gluten free journey together!

Slowly, Life with Celiac Becomes Easier

25 Mar

Nobody will tell you that it’s easy in the beginning.Feeling sick, being diagnosed with Celiac, and dealing with a huge life change is just plain hard.

I’ve been on the gluten free diet for about 11 months now and I can say that although I’ve come to accept my Celiac disease, it’s still a bit hard sometimes. And I do have to remind myself that having Celiac isn’t the worst diagnosis for me symptoms that I could have received. Crones, Colitis, stomach cancer – there are much worse conditions that can’t be dealt with via strict diet change! So in that regard, I am relieved that I was diagnosed with Celiac and not something worse.

I just read this post by Anne over at Gluten Free Musings, who is celebrating her one year gluten free anniversary! Here’s a clip from her post that I can really identify with (I’m sure you do too!). I still feel this way, but slowly, life with Celiac becomes easier.

I used to get so depressed wishing I could just eat what was put in front of me, no questions asked, like all “normal” people. I wanted to go to a restaurant and just order and be done with it. I hated to feel like I was missing out, I hated to feel like people felt sorry for me, I hated that people didn’t take me seriously, I hated that I had to be extremely careful and sound like a broken record to anyone involved in preparing any food for me. I was angry and bitter, and just plain sad. I am someone who has always loved food…

I must say however, that Anne’s post has a positive ending, so don’t take it from me, please read the whole post! It’s inspiring for anyone still struggling with life with Celiac disease in their first, or third, or even tenth year of Celiac disease.

PS Anne also writes the Chicago Gluten Free Food Examiner – definitely worth a read!

Misconceptions About Celiac Disease

6 Jan

I just read this great article called “5 Misconceptions of Celiac Disease” by Jessica of Gluten Free Chops about the many misconceptions of Celiac disease. I think the many misconceptions (like “Celiac disease goes away”, or “going gluten free can help you lose weight”), would be laughable if they weren’t so annoying!

Here are the misconceptions she wrote about.

  1. I don’t experience any outward symptoms…so I can’t have Celiac Disease
  2. I’ve tried the Gluten Free Diet for a few weeks…but I still have symptoms. This means I don’t have Celiac Disease.
  3. Celiac Disease goes away.
  4. Everyone should go on a Gluten Free Diet, it’s a great way to lose weight.
  5. It’s okay if I slip up and have gluten every once in a while, I don’t feel sick.

I encourage you to read the article on her blog!

I’ll take mine gluten free please!!

3 Jan

There’s been a few times when people have said to me, “why can’t you just have a bit of this (fill in the blank with a glutinous food).” Or “can’t you just cheat this once”, or “you don’t know what you’re missing out on!” Well guess what – I do know what I’m “missing” out on; I was only diagnosed with Celiac 7 months ago!I'll take mine gluten free please!

I know the taste of fresh French bread, I know what it’s like to go to any restaurant, any time, and eat straight off the menu, I know what it’s like to never have to read a single ingredient list. And do I miss it? NO!

Yes, I do occasionally miss some of my favourite foods and I’m slowly learning to recreate most of them in a gluten-free style, but I do not miss being sick!  I’m finally starting the slow healing process of Celiac disease, my iron levels are slowing going up, and I don’t feel nausious after every single meal. (Except for when I have milk – please let me not be allergic to milk too!) Why would I want to go back to that?!

I do know however, that no one ever tries to be ignorant about Celiac, it’s just a lack of education that has people thinking that “a little can’t hurt” or “can you really get sick from a little amount of cross-contamination.”

The other day I stopped by a bakery while my brother and sister-in-law picked up some flax bread. I saw mini signs on select items (such as meringues) that said “gluten free.” I asked if the items were made in a separate kitchen. They weren’t. Separate dishes? No. The girl behind the counter said they can’t guarantee that the items are completely gluten free, but that they should be “gluten free enough.” Right! I’m sticking by my laurels – if they don’t know anything about Celiac disease or food allergies in general, I’m not consuming it!

I’m super appreciative for the education that is slowly emerging about Celiac disease in the media, like this article in the Huffington Post yesterday. The more we all know, the better off we will all be, whether we have Celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or any other food allergies! I’ll take mine gluten free please!!

The $3 test, or “If Celiac disease is so prevalent – why don’t we test for it more often!”

26 Nov

You’ve heard it once or you’ve heard it a thousand times – the story of someone, maybe yourself, who was sick for years and years, misdiagnosed over and over again (often with IBS) and then finally got diagnosed with Celiac disease.

My story isn’t so dramatic – I went for years of feeling “off” and sick after I ate. For the most part I always assumed I have a “sensitive stomach” and when I was lucky enough to have a family doctor in my younger years, the doctor always told me I was simply “stressed” and that it was “making me sick – literally.”

Finally, my boyfriend, a family doctor, marched me into a walk in clinic and insisted I get tested for a few different things, including Celiac disease. A positive blood test (and later biopsy), confirmed it. I was had Celiac disease. (See full story on my “About” page.)

Fast forward 6 months. I’m living in a different city and chatting with a new friend who happens to work for the provincial health authority. Celiac testing comes up and she tells me that the antibody blood test for Celiac disease costs the system three dollars. Continue reading

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