2013 Louisiana Purchase Dinner hosted by the Canadian Celiac Association Edmonton Chapter

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May is just a few days away, and for those of you that don't know May is Celiac Awareness month!  So there are tonnes of events happening, including the Canadian Celiac Association Edmonton Chapter's most popular Celiac Dinners at Louisiana Purchase in downtown Edmonton.

This years dinner is on May 26th from 6pm to 8pm.  At a cost of $36 a person, you can't miss out this three course meal that will not disappoint.

Did I mentioned Louisiana Purchase was recently featured on Food Networks You Gotta Eat Here! with John Catucci?

Click here to visit the Canadian Celiac Association Edmonton Chapters website to learn more on how to register for this great event.  There are only a limited number of tickets available for this event so don't miss out on the chance to be able to mingle with other people from the Celiac community right here in Edmonton. Its certainly a great time to chat with others, learn where they like to eat, where they shop, and maybe even exchange a recipe or two!

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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Somerville Wine and Cheese Room in Edmonton

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May is just a few days away and that means it is Celiac Awareness Month!  How about try out this place during the month!

124th Street in Edmonton has a lot of nice restaurants to eat at.  Sheri, the owner of Somerville Wine and Cheese Room in Edmonton emailed me to let me know that their tapas bar is gluten free friendly.

Although their menu is updated a few times a year, there are often items available that are gluten free including some of the top items on their menu.  Sheri keeps gluten free crackers available for any dips and their chef never uses flour in sauces and dips!  Sheri noted that they have also hosted some private gluten free events.

So I can't give a personal account of their food, but I always appreciate when Chef's and restaurant owners email us.  It is often a good sign that they understand the gluten free diet.

So maybe next time you are on a date, check out their online at www.somervillewine.ca see if anything catches your attention and give them a call to make sure what you are craving is gluten free.  Their menu says that most of their items are gluten free.

Email any questions to Sheri at info@somervillewine.com or Tweet them at @SomervilleWine

Somerville Wine Room on Urbanspoon

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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Gluten Free products at Winners and Sobeys to check out

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**This article will be seen also in the Edmonton Chapter Celiac Circular Newsletter May issue**

As someone who is always looking for a good deal, I find myself often checking out places like Winners & Homesense for new and different products. Now, I know, you need to have some time and patience when in those stores only because they have so many different things to look at and consider. Winners & Homesense have locations all over the city and the selection at each location varies. This means that if you find something you’re interested in, you should buy it because it may not be there when you come back or if you go to another location. However, they may have other great finds instead.

I always enjoy looking through the food section and seeing what’s new and different to try. Since becoming Celiac, of course, I am looking at and for different items than I was in my pre-gluten free days. I am always quite amazed at just how much great gluten free stuff is available at Winners & Homesense.  I have found a variety of boxed baking mixes, granola type bars as well as prepackaged cookies and cereals....All gluten free!!

Here’s a list of the items I found this month at Winners & Homesense that I had not seen before.

  • Sticky Fingers Bakeries Scones Mix – Lemon, Original and Wild Blueberry flavor
  • The Pure Pantry – Dark Chocolate cake mix, Chocolate Chip Cookie mix, Pancake baking mix, All purpose baking mix and Oatmeal cookie mix
  • Wholesome Chow – Vanilla cake mix
  • Better Batter – Pancake & Waffle mix, Yellow Cake mix and All purpose flour blend
  • Eco Ideas – Pancake Crepe mix
  • Baking Co. – Fudge brownie mix, Vanilla cake mix, Pancake mix and Chocolate chip cookie mix
  • 123 Gluten Free – Chocolate Pound cake mix
  • Bloomfield Farms – Vanilla Cake mix
As well, at Sobeys this month I found a couple of new brands/items I had never seen before.

  • Qi’a Super food Cereal : Made of Chia, Hemp and buckwheat – Apple Cinnamon, Original and Cranberry Vanilla flavors
  • Southern Home-style – Cornflake Crumbs and Tortilla Crumbs
As you can see, there are always new and exciting gluten free options coming out and sometimes you will find them in places you might not have expected.

Happy & safe gluten free eating everyone.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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More Gluten Free Options found at Bulk Barn

I had written about the large and ever increasing selection of gluten free items available at Bulk Barn awhile ago so this is simply meant as a revisit. Bulk barn continues to add to their selection of gluten free products both bulk as well as pre-packaged.

I am always amazed at the selection of gluten free products available at Bulk barn and this visit was no different. I have added a brief list of the new gluten free products that I found at Bulk barn in the west end located at 18431 Stony Plain Rd. There are a ton more gluten free products, but these are just products that I had never seen there before.

Newly found gluten free products at Bulk Barn
- Lesser Evil Brand Chia Crisps: Feta cheese and black olive, Southern BBQ, Dill Pickle & JalapeƱo Cheddar flavours *
- Natures Path cereals : many flavour varieties in different sizes of package
- The Simply Bar (protein bar): in many flavour varieties (I bought the caramel peanut one to try this time)
- XO Baking Co.  mixes: Chocolate cake, Fudge brownies, Vanilla cake, Banana bread, Corn bread, Chocolate Chip cookie, All purpose flour blend
- Mrs. Crimbles: Crackers, Macaroons and Chocolate or Yogurt covered rice cakes
- Enjoy Life: individually wrapped cookies in various flavours
- Neal Brothers Foods: Bandito Blue Corn tortilla chips
- RW Garcia: 5 Seed Crackers in onion & chive, rosemary garlic or tellicherry cracked pepper flavours

*Just an in any shopping expedition it is important to always remember to watch out for products marked as gluten free but stating “may contain...” or “produced in a facility that also processes wheat”.  Of all of the new gluten free products that I have listed above, only the Lesser Evil Brand Chia Crisps product said gluten free, but also said “produced in a facility that also processes Wheat”. Always remember to read the labels carefully and use your discretion.

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A different type of patient advocate for Celiac Disease...

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In my job, I work for a publicly funded not-for-profit organization that exists to raise awareness and facilitate implementation of ideas and best practices to achieve a transformation in patient safety.  We advocate for patient safety within the Canadian healthcare system.  We do some tremendous work and I know we really make a difference in improving patient safety.

I like to think that the work Amanda and I do on this blog, is advocating for patients as well.  Well, I am confident in saying that we are advocating.  In some cases we are advocating to the health system in raising awareness about the diagnosis.  But really and truly, we are a different type of patient advocate, because our work is not as much with the healthcare system, but the food, beverage and hospitality industry.  Weird eh?

I am not saying we don't speak about the healthcare system and how you should be speaking to your doctor on a regular basis about your diagnosis, but we talk a lot about the food and beverage industry.  And why?  Because Celiac Disease is not treated with a pill (not yet at least), but it is treated through a gluten free diet.  It is the food and beverage industry that controls Amanda's ability to eat out, and shop at certain grocery stores.

So that is why we are always speaking with grocery stores, and restaurants to raise awareness, and ensure that gluten free foods are available. We want to ensure that proper processes are in place to try and reduce any harm to you, the gluten free consumer.  We do our best to advocate, but we also want you to be your own advocate. One of my employers mantra's is ASK.LISTEN.TALK, good healthcare starts with a question.  So be sure to ask questions, this is your health.  Ask questions of your servers about handling the food the serve you.  Ask questions of the food manufacturers about their food manufacturing plants and control systems they have in place.  Ask questions of your doctor about your diagnosis to make sure you understand all the facts, and they do too.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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Five Guys Burgers and Fries, make that gluten free burgers and fries!

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Five Guys Burgers and Fries is fairly new to Canada and spreading pretty quickly country wide.  There are already three or four location in Edmonton and area.  The burger lovers we are, Amanda investigated and found on a Celiac.com discussion board that malt vinegar and the buns are the only gluten ingredients in a Five Guys Burgers restaurant.

Does that mean it is safe to eat there?  Well, if your name is Amanda, then it is yes!  I am sure that people will have their reservations, but as long as you are diligent as always and ask them to prepare the burger with new utensils and with no bun, then you are golden.  And then fact that they do not sell any onion rings, means the only thing that goes into their deep fryer are freshly cut potatoes.  How do we know they are freshly cut? Well when you walk into a Five Guys Burgers location, you walk into a wall of 20lbs bags of potatoes that staff keep on pulling from to make their fries.

We visited the location at the Currents of Windermere.  I already my regular cheese burger, and Amanda ordered her bacon cheese burger, no bun.  Sorry, let me correct that we both ordered little burgers.  Why little?  Because their regular burgers are all double patties, and trust me, a little burger is more than enough.  We also shared a french fry, because they are monstrous portions.

So Amanda had one little blip with her order.  Some would say big blip, but easily rectified.  The cashier forgot to say no bun to the kitchen staff.  Which was more annoying than it was dangerous, because they simply made a fresh bacon cheese burger and prepared it in a takeout metal container instead of a foil used to wrap burgers.  Next time Amanda is going to ask them to prepare it more like Rodeo Burger does, on a bed of lettuce.  Their burger was still really tasty, not to mention their fries were really addictive.  Doesn't hurt that they give you so much of them.

One other allergen note, this is certainly NOT a peanut free zone.  Five Guys usues peanut oil for their french fries, and you can eat shelled peanuts freely at the tables.

Let us know if you've tried them out yet.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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Gluten Free Cocoa Pebbles at Superstore in West Edmonton

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This is just a quick note that gluten free Cocoa Pebbles can now be found at Superstore's in Edmonton.  For the time being they have been found at the Superstore on Stoney Plain Rd!

In the last few years, Fruity Pebbles received gluten free status in the United States.  Unfortunately Fruity Pebbles had stopped selling in Canada many many years ago.  I can't remember the last time I had them in Canada to be honest with you.  I think (my opinion only), the gluten free status really opened up a market for them to bring it back here to Canada.

I had posted an update on Facebook about the arrival of the gluten free Cocoa Pebbles at the beginning of April and it received an overwhelming response.  That is hopefully some positive reinforcement that Post cereal needs to keep them on the shelves here in Canada.

We already have a box in our pantry!

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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Pour some gluten on me...

And so it begins!

Amanda wrote about "here comes the gluten" in March, and talked about all of her worries, and they are quite justifiable if you ask me.  I can't imagine not being able to experience having to reject a piece of bread being offered by your child because it will make you ill.

I've already begun to be the middle man for gluten in our household.  It seems to go my way now, which I can see probably frustrates Amanda to have to have me take a bite of some bread to make sure it is the right texture for our little girl to gnaw on with her gums. Also to see if  "this" (gluten filled) cookie dissolves quick enough in your mouth so she doesn't choke on it.  I certainly didn't mind, but I can certainly see how it interrupts Amanda moments with our little girl.

Then this week, I started to panic more.  To this point, our house has been pretty much gluten free, because it has just been easier that way.  I have only eaten gluten when eating out or if it was in the form of a pre-packaged granola bar for my lunch.  When our little one was born, I started to have some cereal that contained gluten (under Amanda's orders).  I think it helped ease the notion of there being gluten in the house.  But this weekend, bread entered the house.

Yes, our little girl is now big enough to munch away on some toast.  We have a toasta bag to help prevent cross contamination, but oh boy do crumbs still get everywhere on the counter!  And then I clean up some crumbs with a sponge and panic, because now I got crumbs on the sponge, that I clean stuff that Amanda eats from by using that same sponge! Yeeps!

We certainly use the dish washer a lot more now because there is a sterilize function, but not everything can go in there, and gluten is starting to show up everywhere!  How do I protect my wife from it? And how do I keep myself from turning into a complete nut case with worry about gluten hiding in our home!

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta


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Eating Gluten Free on Celebrity Cruises Got Better

We recently went on our second cruise with Celebrity Cruises.  The first one was absolutely fantastic, and they served up some great gluten free food.  We were so impressed we had to have two blog posts about it:
What I want to share with you is that Celebrity Cruises really has stepped it up!  In the previous posts we explained that if you had any dietary restrictions, you would get the menu the day before, choose your meal and they would make sure it was prepared gluten free.  That is still an option if you want to do that, however, now the main dining room menu's have markings for what is gluten free, vegetarian and dairy free.  This new addition really makes choosing your meal easy.  However, Amanda did admit she still preferred being able to see the menu the day before because there are items that are not marked as gluten free that they can prepare gluten free for you ahead of time if you ask.

They also changed the way they handle gluten free bread at the buffet.  Previously they had the bread put out with the other bread, just covered and with separate tongs.  Now, probably through cross contamination complaints, they don't keep the gluten free bread out.  You simply ask for it, and they get it for you straight out of the bag in the kitchen.  If you get it toasted, they clean off a press, and cover your bread and use the press to toast it.  Amanda was really impressed with how they did that without her even having to ask.  We also found out that they use Enjoy Life gluten free bread.

A couple extra things they had that they didn't have on our last Celebrity Cruise was gluten free cookies at the cafe.  They had one jar on top of the counter with a separate pair of tongs and a red circle beside it to remind staff that the tongs are only for gluten free items.  Still to be safe, you can ask them to grab a new set of tongs.

They also have all day long made to order gluten free pasta.  They use fresh everything when it is requested.  The pasta was really good.  All of their sauces were naturally gluten free, including the meatballs.  I personally loved the bolognese sauce.

I think Amanda's highlight meal of the cruise was the veal cordon bleu, breaded with rice flour and stuffed with cheese and ham.  The part she liked the most about this meal was that it was made the same way for everyone, not special because you are gluten free. I made sure to take a picture of that too!  Here are some of the pictures we took of the various gluten free foods available:

Enjoy Life gluten free bread

These were really good.  Switched between this
gluten free cookie and a macaroon
Gluten free veal cordon bleu

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta


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Sherwood Park Celiac Support Group Announces the 2nd Annual Celiac Children's Camp!


Cathy from the Sherwood Park Celiac Support group sent me a press release at the beginning of March about their second annual Celiac Kids Camp that children with Celiac Disease from Sherwood Park, Edmonton and area can attend!  What a great opportunity.  Below is the release:
The Sherwood Park Celiac Support Group is thrilled to announce the 2nd
annual Celiac Children's Camp! 
Our first camp, which ran in July of 2012, was a huge success with both the
Celiac campers and parents alike.  We received wonderful reviews, not only
about the gluten-free food served, but also about the fabulous activities
at the camp. 
The Sherwood Park Celiac Support Group partnered with the Allergy Asthma
Information Association (AAIA) and YWCA YoWoChAs Outdoor Education Center to provide an opportunity for children with Celiac disease to attend summer
camp.  The camp is open to children 6 - 15 years of age and will be held at
the YWCA YoWoChAs Outdoor Education Center (80 km west of Edmonton, AB) from August 5 - 9, 2013.  The Celiac campers will participate in all camp
activities.  They will eat with their assigned groups, but receive a
modified menu and serve themselves from a gluten-free buffet.  Every effort
will be made to ensure that there is no cross-contamination. 
We would like to make this opportunity to go to camp available to ALL
Celiac children.  Your help in accomplishing this would be greatly
appreciated!  I've attached our poster.  If you know of any Celiac children
that may be interested in going to camp, would you be so kind as to pass
this along?  Thank you, in advance, for your help! 
If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail us at spceliacs@gmail.com.

Visit the Sherwood Park Celiac Support Group Facebook Page.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta


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