May is Celiac Awareness Month: Enter to Win!

May 16th is Recognized Internationally as Celiac Awareness Day!

By Cindy Fletcher, Publisher Macaroni Kid Vancouver Island May 3, 2023

Celiac disease is estimated to affect 1 in 114 Canadians, although about 90% are undiagnosed. Celiac disease is a life-long autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestine. It is triggered by the consumption of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When a person with celiac disease consumes gluten, their immune system attacks the small intestine, damaging the lining and preventing the absorption of nutrients from food. Left undiagnosed, Celiac disease can cause life-threatening conditions.

Symptoms of celiac disease can vary widely, but may include diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, weight loss, fatigue, and anemia. Some people with celiac disease may also experience skin rashes, joint pain, and a range of other symptoms. Celiac disease is diagnosed through blood tests and a biopsy of the small intestine. There is no cure or pharmacological treatment for celiac disease, but the condition can be managed through a strict gluten-free diet. This means avoiding all foods that contain gluten, as well as any medications or supplements that may contain traces of gluten. With proper treatment, most people with celiac disease are able to live healthy, normal lives.

May is Celiac Awareness month and May 16th is internationally recognized as Celiac Awareness Day. It aims to increase the public's knowledge of Celiac disease. Celiac disease awareness is very near and dear to my heart, as my 16 year old was diagnosed with Celiac disease three years ago, and our lives have changed drastically. People with celiac disease face significant barriers to travel, dining out, and socializing due to the limited availability of gluten-free food options. This not only lowers their quality of life but also increases the indirect costs associated with the disease. For individuals with celiac disease, dining out can be especially challenging, as even minor gluten exposure from sources such as cutting boards or utensils can cause damage to the small intestine.

Managing celiac disease can be particularly challenging for busy families with active children who participate in sports and various activities. For instance, my daughter used to be a competitive softball player, and we would frequently travel across Canada and the U.S.A for games. Often, the team would have "team meals" where her dietary restrictions were not always considered. Even restaurants that offer gluten-free (GF) options on their menu may not follow proper food handling procedures to prevent cross-contamination, making it difficult to ensure safe food consumption.

When you're a family affected by Celiac disease, finding a restaurant that prioritizes safe and trusted dining becomes a lifelong commitment. The Celiac community places great emphasis on promoting restaurants that invest in gluten-free options and safe food handling practices. In celebration of Celiac Awareness Month and Celiac Awareness Day, we have partnered with some of Vancouver Island's most reputable restaurants, offering exciting giveaways for those with Celiac disease or wheat intolerance.

Thank you to our sponsors for providing the prizes for this awesome giveaway. ENTER HERE


101 - 680 Berwick Road, Qualicum Beach (250) 594-0052

Open 11:30am - 10pm Sunday to Wednesday & 11:30am - 11pm Thursday to Saturday


2 - 180 Craig Street, Parksville (250) 586-1158

Closed Sunday & Monday, Tuesday to Saturday 11:30am - 7pm


102 - 240 Cook Street, Victoria (250) 380-0669 ext 1

315 - 777 Royal Oak Drive, Victoria (250) 380-0669 ext 2

Open 11am - 8pm daily


Celiac Canada

Canadian Celiac Association

Canadian Digestive Health Foundation