What are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions from our "help" line? We have listed a few below:

The Diagnosing Journey
Everyday life

The Diagnosing Journey 

What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease (CD) is a permanent intolerance to gluten, a protein found in various wheat (e.g. durum, kamut, spelt), rye, barley and triticale. Gluten consumption causes damage to the absorptive surface of the small intestine and can result in malnutrition, anemia, nutritional deficiencies and an increased risk of other autoimmune diseases and some cancers of the gut.

Where do I find a gastrointestinal doctor?
Unfortunately, our association is not able to recommend specific physicians, however, there are a number of Gastrointestinal specialists in BC.  You will need to talk to your family doctor about whom to go to, and they will also need to make the referral.

I think I might have Celiac Disease.
I've been to my family doctor, and he/she did blood tests, but they were negative. It might be because I haven't eaten Gluten for a while - I stopped eating it and felt so much better.  I've been told I need to go back to eating gluten in order to do the blood tests properly - but I simply don't want to go back to feeling that bad. What can I do now.
Unfortunately, this is all too common.  It is very important that you continue to eat gluten while you are being tested for Celiac Disease in order for the diagnosis to be the most accurate.  At this point, it is important for you to discuss your medical questions with your doctor.

I think I might have Celiac Disease - is there a blood test I can do at home to do a check?
Yes, there are now home-tests on the market that test for Celiac Disease.  However, they are about $50, and in British Columbia, this test is covered by the BC Medical Plan. (it's free for you) So, it might be a better idea to have the test ordered by your doctor so you can both be confident in the results, and discuss plans together, depending on the outcome of the test. The blood test descriptions are found in the pamphlet, "Blood Testing for Celiac Disease".

Everyday Life 

I'm new to this lifestyle (or, I'm from out of town)....Where do I eat?
You may find the information on our "Restaurants" page helpful, along with ideas and experiences from local blogs You can also contact Drop-in Group representatives for local ideas specific to the area you might be interested in.

Where do I find groceries?
It's becoming more common to find Gluten-free items in many large grocery stores, and there are also a growing number of specialty stores.  For a list of places to start, please see our Shopping page.


I have Celiac Disease, and now have a baby/young child - when should I expose the kids to gluten?
Unfortunately, we haven't seen any consistent information to answer this question - the best idea at the moment is to discuss with your family doctor or gastroenterologist.

My son/daughter has Celiac Disease - how do I provide variety in his/her school lunches, and try to keep the costs down?
One idea is to bake a variety of GF bread products to keep the lunches interesting.  Another idea is to have them take something to school that they can share with others (e.g. cupcakes from the great new mixes that are available) - if you are having trouble finding ideas about this, we might have a member that is willing to talk through some specific ideas with you - and may even do a baking demonstration for you!  If you are interested, please call our information line at 604-736-2229.

My teenager has Celiac Disease and is telling me that they aren't feeling the gluten effects anymore - that they're fine, and they are now ok with gluten. What do I do?
Although it might be hard to determine if there really are no symptoms happening, the damage still being done to their bodies if they are eating gluten.  This message may or may not be effective since at that age, it may be hard to think about their health down the road - but it is important for them to recognize.


What can I bring as "emergency" foods while travelling through airports, and to keep me surviving before I have a chance to shop at my destination?
Smaller tins of tuna (now there are many flavoured kinds and they open without a tin-opener), crackers, nuts, cheese are easy to carry and will typically not be a security problem (you will most likely be able to buy fruits, vegetables and dairy products where you are going. Also, as you are probably aware - NEVER travel without your toasting bag.

What can I eat if I'm in a hotel room with only a fridge and microwave, and not many G-Free restaurants around?
Items that you might want to stock up on from the local grocery store (chain):
  • Gluten free sausages /deli meats (already cooked);    frozen salmon (can be cooked in microwave)
  • Yogurt, whatever kind of milk works for you, cheeses
  • Rice packets that can be used in the microwave
  • Salad fixings and dressings
  • Vegetables (e.g. yams) that can be cooked in the microwave
  • Fruit
  • G-free bread and toppings (e.g. nut butters)
info@vancouverceliac.ca or at 604-736-2229. Phone only takes messages.
© 2010 Canadian Celiac Association - Vancouver Chapter