Published online at GlobalTVEdmonton.com on July 18, 2011.
Linda Hoang, Global News: Monday, July 18, 2011
Special breakfasts promise a gluten-free, celiac-friendly meal
With summer festival season underway, this means a number of pancake breakfasts are also set to take place.
It’s a feast for the whole family, unless you have special dietary needs.
People who can’t tolerate gluten usually can’t have pancakes, but this year there are two breakfast events where everything on the menu is gluten free, including celiac-friendly flapjacks.
In people with celiac disease, gluten damages the small intestine, making it unable to absorb nutrients.
“You need to be really careful. You need to read labels every time, you need to always be checking ingredient lists,” said Lori Waters-Sim, who has celiac disease.
“When we would go to pancake breakfasts, I couldn’t eat. I just wouldn’t eat or my mom would have to bring food for me.”
But for the past few years, Kinnikinnick Foods, which offers gluten-free food, has also offered a special pancake breakfast just for people who can’t tolerate gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye and barley.
“There’s no possibility of cross-contamination, because we don’t allow any of the conventional grains in the plant,” said Jerry Bigam, president of Kinnikinnick Foods.
“They can come for breakfast and they know that anything they eat here is safe.”
More consumers are demanding more gluten-free options these days, and Kinnikinnick’s Annual Pancake Breakfast is one answer to that demand.
Bigam started Kinninnick Foods in 1991 because his wife and later, his son, have celiac disease.
Business has exploded and so has the annual breakfast.
It’s gone from 30 people attending in the first year to more than 300 flapjack-hungry people attending last year.
“We started in the Farmer’s Market, so that was pretty tiny. And now today we supply something in the order of ten to 12,000 stores across North America,” Bigam said.
Kinnikinnick will be serving gluten-free breakfast at two events this week, one at the Capital Ex Safeway Pancake Breakfast on Thursday in Churchill Square from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
And the official Kinnikinnick Breakfast on Saturday at 10940 120 Street from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. All proceeds at that event will go to the Canadian Celiac Association.
“They work with hospitals, dieticians and medical people to try and raise a level of awareness about what celiac disease is, what the symptons are and what you need to do to get diagnosed.”
With files from Su-Ling Goh