Death and Taxes - Lets talk about the latter

There is a popular saying in life that nothing is certain in life but death and taxes.  Lets talk about the latter.

I talk about taxes every year and I'm probably not going to be saying much new, but some may not know that if you have a Celiac Diagnosis, there is some medical expenses you can claim every year.

Revenue Canada has changed their website this year, so they no longer have a page dedicated to the Celiac Tax Expense on gluten free products, but it is still all laid out on their Details of the Medical Expense page.

It is probably one of the more sophisticated claims, so I'm not sure why they removed a dedicated page on it.  But if you scroll down on the page (Click here for the Details of the Medical Expense page), this is what you will see:

Gluten-free products – Persons with celiac disease (gluten intolerance) can claim the incremental costs associated with buying gluten-free products as a medical expense. The incremental cost is the difference in the cost of gluten-free products compared to the cost of similar products with gluten. It is calculated by subtracting the cost of a product with gluten from the cost of a gluten-free product. 
Generally, the food products are limited to those produced and marketed specifically for gluten-free diets, such as gluten-free bread. Other products can also be eligible if they are used by the person with celiac disease to make gluten-free products for their own use. These include, but is not limited to, rice flour and gluten-free spices.
If several people eat the product, only the costs related to the part of the product that is eaten by the person with celiac disease may be claimed as a medical expense. 
Do not send any supporting documents. Keep them in case we ask to see them later. You will need to keep all of the following:

  • A letter from a medical practitioner that certifies that the person has celiac disease and needs a gluten-free diet
  • Receipts for each gluten-free food product that is claimed
  • A summary of each food product that was bought during the 12-month period for which the expenses are being claimed (see example below)

Example of summaryFood product: Bread
Number of products bought (for the 12-month period): 52
Average cost of product with gluten: $3.49
Average cost of gluten-free product: $6.99
Incremental cost: $6.99 - $3.49 = $3.50
Amount to claim: $3.50 x 52 = $182.00
So what does all mean?  It means, if you keep all of your receipts for the upcoming year, you can get some money back.



A lot of people will argue that it is not worth it.  A lot of people also hesitate because of the third paragraph "If several people eat the product, only the costs related to the part of the product that is eaten by the person with celiac disease may be claimed as a medical expense.".  But I still say it is worth going forward because why not get back some money if you can.

I'm assuming if you are newly diagnosed, you don't have any receipts, but if you want to start, 2018 is just around the corner!

Eating gluten free on WestJet flights

WestJet's got game!

I can't say I fly many different airlines.  So I really don't have much to compare too except for what others have commented to me about.  But apparently, WestJet is a super hero when it comes to flying and needing an on board gluten free snack.

In the past couple years, I've flown Sunwing twice for vacation, and WestJet, maybe 5 to 6 times.

During my recent flights I looked at on on board menu, and not only saw a gluten free snack available, but a gluten free snack box available.  And for a decent price!  Check out the snack box option below!


Not only that, on a recent WestJet vacations flight I saw the Chopped Leaf bistro box that comes with gluten free crackers.  See below:


I think this great that these options are being offered.

Click here for WestJet's onboard menu.

I did look up Air Canada, and noticed they currently carry Made Good snacks.  Just not on the snack bar, they say peanut free, but it looks like it does contain nuts, just not peanuts.



Click here for info on Air Canada's on Board Menu




4 things we learned about eating gluten free in Mexico

We recently traveled to Mexico.  This was not our first trip to Mexico by any means. It was not even our first time travelling outside of Canada seeking gluten free eats.  But this trip seemed a bit different.  Eating at resorts in generally can be a daunting task.  Food at resorts is always hit and miss.  Then through in the curve ball of eating with a dietary restriction in a buffet situation with a potential language barrier.  Oy!

We left the Crown Paradise Club in Puerto Vallarta a little wiser.  Here are 4 things we learned about eating gluten free in Mexico that we needed to be reminded about.

1. Buffets can be messy, but there is always a chef to speak to

Buffets can be messy and scary for cross contamination.  We were reminded by the Crown Paradise Club Facebook page that there is always a chef to speak with to prepare you something off menu:

2. A la carte specialty restaurants can lead to more gluten free options than the buffet

Once we got a hang of the reservation system for the resorts specialty restaurants, we ate their for all of our dinners. It allowed for easy customization of the meals and a safer space to reduce chance of cross contamination since there was not a buffet.


3. Don't be afraid to ask, you are not being a trouble maker

Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself.  Not just for a gluten free meal, but for a tasty gluten free meal.  You don't know what they can do until you start to ask questions.  There were a couple of times at the specialty restaurants they offered up dishes with no sauce.  I expect better than that when you pay money to stay at a resort.  So we asked them to prepare a different sauces to go with the meal, which ended up to be a simple garlic butter sauce which pairs well with lots of foods.  There is one time they actually sought out a gluten free pasta to make a dish for Amanda as well.

4. Crowd sourcing works

Don't be afraid to ask your friends on social media for tips and advice.  We did!  And a lot of you responded.  Thank you so much for that!  We are always learning.  Check out some of the comments in the Facebook post below and add your own tips!

Dollarama continues to deliver gluten free snacks

I am not going to lie, Dollarama is one of my favourite places to shop in general.  I get lost in all the knick knacks tat can be found.  Sometimes really poor quality, sometimes good quality.

The City Centre Dollarama in downtown Edmonton was closed for a year as the mall went through renovations and the Dollarama had to be relocated and rebuilt to make way for expanded underground parking.

I missed it.  And when it finally re-opened, I was there on day 1!


What people may not often know is that there is a good variety of gluten free snacks available at Dollarama.  Just check out these quick finds while doing a quick run through:

Junior mints labelled gluten free and nut free (top left corner)


Doritos labelled gluten free, on back of package:

Lay's Stax Original, certified gluten free by the Canadian Celiac Association:


Rice Vermicelli Bowls labelled gluten free (see bottom left label), beef and chicken.


Gluten Free at Pannizza in West Edmonton Mall

We were at West Edmonton Mall recently and while munching on some lunch I noticed on an advertisement and then on the back wall of Pannipizza that they had a gluten free pizza option.


That prompted me to ask some questions about what the options were.  So what I was told is that they have a gluten free crust available.  See below:


I asked about cross contamination, and obviously like all restaurants there is not guarantee.  So then I asked about procedures.  This is what they have in place to try and reduce risk:
  1. They have pans and trays for gluten free to go through the conveyor belt system
  2. All but on topping is gluten free
  3. They have a separate sauce and ladle for gluten free pizzas ready
  4. They do not have separate containers for each topping. 


There is a extra $2 charge for gluten free crusts.

I know the separate sauce and ladle is a big deal for a lot of people as the ladle is typically used to spread the sauce around on the crust.  So to have a separate sauce and ladle which comes in direct contact of crusts really does help.

We have not tried their pizza yet, but let us know if you have!



Pannizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato