I was recently featured in an episode of "A Canadian Celiac Podcast" (Thank you to Sue for featuring me!) to discuss my experience living with Celiac Disease and how I have managed to travel to various all-inclusive resorts with confidence. If you are planning on travelling or have an interest in considering travelling to all-inclusive resorts, you should definitely listen to this episode. In this episode, I provide multiple tips on how to successfully explain Celiac Disease to resort staff, to ensure that you can relax and enjoy your stay and not have to stress about getting sick.
All-Inclusive Resorts can be daunting to Celiacs, and I am glad to tell you all that they don't have to be. If you follow the steps I explain in this episode, you will be able to enjoy resorts just as much as any of your friends or family that don't have Celiac Disease.
Please click the link below to listen to the episode:
Love to all xo,
Happy 2019 to all of you! Although it’s already 2019, I want to take the time to reflect on the incredible year of 2018 and where we’re going for 2019.
Reflection is important for everyone! No matter where in the world you are. 2018 was filled with ups and downs. I’m not one to share the downs and focus on the negative and personal aspects and challenges that the year brought. To me, I keep that news to my family and very close friends only, so I am going to focus on the positives. Jake and I celebrated our engagement with family and loved ones, I started a new job at the end of January 2018, we travelled to Los Angeles a few times, Thousand Islands, Ottawa, New York, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, and more! Jake and I got married, enjoyed our Honeymoon Down Under (in Australia). And thanks to you guys, I was nominated and won Notable Food Influencer of the Year! This was a HUGE accomplishment for me and the celiac community, as we’re gaining more and more awareness about the disease and how to overcome the challenges that face us every day.
Reflecting on my year, I got back into shape, started to visit the gym, specifically spin classes at Cycle Bar Leaside. Going to spin classes on a daily basis has allowed me to release stress, and has made me feel a lot better both mentally and physically.
I spent New Years in Sydney Australia, which has always a dream of mine. It was an incredible experience because I have always wanted to make it happen, and I actually did! Don’t give up on your dreams, hopes, travels and life! Although you see lots of positives, great times through Instagram, please know I am a person just like you. I face many challenges every day, but I am fortunate enough to have great things in my life like family and friends to help support me. We are all human and we need to know not to be too hard on ourselves, but also know when it's the right time to give yourself a little push.
I know that 2019 will be a great year, so take the time to reflect on 2018 and all of the good and bad that this year brought to you, and then prepare for all that 2019 has to offer! Make the best of it for you! And with that —- happy new year to the My Celiac Life community!
Love to all xo,
It’s a stressful, yet exciting time of year. The holidays are right around the corner, and you’re planning the best gifts for your favourite people during the long awaited winter season. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, or no holiday at all, there’s always a good reason to treat yourself while you’re looking for gifts for your loved ones. Maybe that means celebrating the New Year with a new piece of jewellery, or taking your bestie to an all-natural spa treatment, I’ve got you covered for all of the gift ideas this season!
For those of you who have followed me for a while, you know that I am all about skincare, specifically gluten free skincare products. Arbonne products are often my go-to. You have asked me which are my favourite, so right now, as the weather gets colder, here are the ones I use:
In terms of a beautifully packaged giftset, that you, your friends (male and female), and your family would love, it would be basd body care’s scents and products. My favourite is the Crème brûlée body wash, body scrub and body lotion, but they also make beautiful sandalwood and mint scented products. On top of the amazing smell, this brand is all about natural beauty. They’re organic, plant-based, cruelty free, and bring out your natural beauty by providing you with the feelings of confidence, strength, feeling sexy, and resilient… Perfect for the holidays for you, your friend or family member. www.basdbodycare.com
What girl or guy doesn’t love jewellery? Shopping for your mom, best friend, sibling or even yourself just got much easier! My friend Jessica, from Jessica Jewellery, is an absolutely beautiful woman inside and out. Her products are all real (never plated), so none of her pieces will tarnish or irritate yours or anyone else’s skin. She is amazing to work with when it comes to designing custom pieces. Not only is she reliable, she is accommodating and such a helpful and honest person. I’m sure that you’ll feel the same way that I do, because Jessica’s pieces are the perfect balance between classic and trendy, which is hard to find when it comes to high-quality jewellery! https://jessicajewellery.com
Here are some of my favourites that I know you will love:
Love to all xo,
Luxury, relaxation, AND gluten free food? Sign me up! Ste. Anne’s Spa is like no other. You are treated like royalty from the moment you walk into the breathtaking spa! I brought my amazing fiancé alongside me for a day of relaxation and of course, gluten free eats.
Upon arrival, the wonderful staff at Ste. Anne’s Spa welcomed us, and provided us with an itinerary for the day. First stop, the Spa Gem, Ste. Anne’s Signature Facial! My esthetician was outstanding, and used tons of formulas and special techniques to leave my skin feeling soft and hydrated. Following the treatment, we went to visit the pool for some rest, relaxation and swimming! This meant quiet time, with a book and sunshine for me!
The next stop, the “Fieldstone Grotto”. This facility is open year-round and features a hot tub, plunge pool for cooling down, and a lap pool. It’s excellent for your joints and muscles! Since I spin every day, this worked wonders for my muscles!
Lunch time! Ok – don’t even get me started here! The servers are absolutely fantastic! I walked into the restaurant, said my name and got a Celiac Food card. This made my experience much easier and showed me just how seriously they take food allergies. As a starter, I ordered Cucumber Wrapped Greens. This included mixed greens, frisée, candied pecans, heirloom tomatoes, edible flowers, and purple grapes wrapped in a cucumber with orange blossom vinaigrette. For my main entrée, I ordered the Strawberry & Almond Salad, which was swapped out from Strawberry to Peach, and included toasted almonds with cooked peaches, arugula and spinach. As you can tell, I was trying to save as much space as possible for the food to come later!
Following lunch, Jake and I went to sit in the Eucalyptus Steam Room, which was incredible! Because I have been getting over the flu, this room was the perfect cure for my cough. Now time for the Quiet Room! Filled with therapeutic massage chairs, puzzles, colouring books and more, this room is where I spent tons of quiet time, just sitting in a chair and closing my eyes.
Jake and I were so full from all of the food, so we decided to go for a nice walk before our bakery tour. Ste. Anne’s Bakery is truly one of a kind! They’re certified gluten-free, and provide tons of baked goods, breads, chocolate and a whole lot more! While we were visiting, we got to try their chocolates, ice creams (which are brand new and fabulous), as well as their cookies! This bakery is phenomenal, and I highly recommend trying their breads and other baked goods!
Before high tea, Jake and I continued to walk! How else could we keep on eating? Walking in the area, past the horse stables, visiting the other cottages nearby, and the fitness center was amazing. We truly felt like we had left busy Toronto for a fun country adventure, and had a beautiful, relaxing day! Of course, we made it back for Afternoon Tea, and we ordered the gluten free sampler, which included a Sandwich Plate, Cheese & Crackers and Sweets!
Jake and I had the most outstanding, fun-filled day at Ste. Anne’s Spa. They gave me the royal treatment (to say the least), and I was so glad I didn’t have to worry about my food and meal options throughout the day. It was an absolute treat, and I can’t wait to visit Ste. Anne’s Spa again soon!
Be sure to visit Ste. Anne's Spa's website to book your stay!
Love to all xo,
In the heart of Ottawa’s Little Italy, I found the most amazing gluten free/celiac safe restaurant, La Dolce Vita! I haven’t seen a place with such an extensive Italian GF menu like this since I visited Italy in August of 2016, so this was extremely exciting to me! I did my usual, call during the day (when the restaurants are typically less busy), to ask my classic questions. In this case, the conversation went a little something like this:
Question - Hi there, I’m calling to inquire about your gluten free options. How are they cooked?
Answer - All of our gluten free dishes are made separately, fresh pot of water for pasta, separate area for GF pizza, separate utensils and even separate storing units. Only gluten free items are put in our fryer and we have an extensive gluten free menu that is perfectly celiac safe.
Question - Amazing! And you have a good understanding of celiac disease and cross contamination as this is not a preference for me.
Answer - Yes. You can actually find us on the Canadian Celiac Association list of recommendations! We have just started the process of becoming the first certified gluten free restaurant in Ottawa and expect to have this completed in the next 6 weeks!
Question - Oh wow!!!! That’s amazing! I’ll make a reservation for tonight at 8!
Jake and I had such an outstanding dinner the first night we visited Ottawa. We were so impressed that the owner and head chef of this beautiful restaurant, took the time to come over and chat with us about how we enjoyed our meals, the research that went into understanding gluten sensitivity and Celiac Disease, and a whole lot more. You could feel and taste the love and passion of Nelio’s outstanding work, and so we decided to visit again our second night in Ottawa. This time around we got to sit down and have a lovely dinner, conversation and little question and answer period with the incredible daughter of Nelio, Alexandra.
Here are some of the questions we asked her about La Dolce Vita: When did your family start this restaurant?
We took over La Dolce Vita, November 1, 2016. To own and operate a restaurant has been a life long dream for my parents. The previous owner had gluten free options on her menu and was a pioneer in the industry when awareness of gluten sensitivity began. She created many of the pasta recipes and even developed her own pizza crust, however, when we took over, we quickly realized that although the restaurant may have once been on top of their game, the industry had come a long way. We saw opportunities for improvement to product innovation and to the standards in place to avoid any risk of cross contamination. From the moment we took over we have made it our mission to provide people with Celiac disease a delicious and safe place to dine!
How did your family learn about the importance of this diet? And what inspired you to make this a celiac safe environment? I’m so impressed that you have made it your mission for those with gluten allergies and celiac disease to feel comfortable and enjoy so many wonderful options!
Before deciding to take on this responsibility we did, what seem to feel like endless research. It didn’t take long to realize that it was much more serious than just a preference or an aversion. We all agreed that if we we’re going to take this on, we were going to make sure that we could provide safe but satisfying meals for every single guest, every single time. Through conversations with some of our guests it was clear that some of the restaurants that offered gluten free options were not always concerned with, or aware of, the risks associated with cross contamination. We wanted to offer our guests the comfort of knowing we care about their safety and health. Although sometimes challenging, it is the smiles and the sincere gratitude of this genuine community that inspire us and give us the fuel to keep on going.
What made you decide to get celiac certified?
For us, it was the next logical step. We wanted all of our staff to have the most thorough training possible and are thrilled that the training is offered on an ongoing basis. With the high staff turnover in this industry, it is a comfort for us to know that any new staff will receive the same training as the staff before them. It will be part of our onboarding process. We will also now have a direct resource for any questions we may have and we will have access to the newest information available. As well, we want the auditor to visit our kitchen and tell the world that we meet the standards set by the celiac community. We work hard to ensure the safety of our guests and now we want to make it official!
How are foods in your kitchen prepared?
Our gluten free dishes and desserts are prepared separately, on clean and sanitized surfaces and labeled gluten free. Labeling is so important. Everything is stored separately in designated areas. Our cooks wear gloves that are changed before and after handling the gluten free food items. We have separate coloured cooking utensils, and of course separate sauces. Our gluten free pastas are cooked in separate water and pots. We get our pizza crust and baked bread from Finally Gluten Free Foods. Each pizza is placed on a separate metal pan for in the oven for cooking and is thoroughly washed after each use. A little secret about our deep fried food items is that all of our deep fried items are gluten free. We have developed such delicious gluten free fried products that our regular customers don’t know their meals are gluten free! We do not put anything into our fryer that isn’t gluten free. We use the same strategy with our desserts- all but one are gluten free and taste delicious!
What is your favourite gluten free meal at your La Dolce Vita?
Mine is the Di Funghi salad (mixed blend of deep fried mushrooms + asiago + spicy parm aioli + arugula, in a vinaigrette), the Toscana Pizza (artichoke + heart of palm + kalamata olives + feta), as well as the Five Cheese Pizza (asiago + fontina + mezzetta + parm + tomato + red onion on a hazelnut pesto base), and of course the Gluten Free Tiramisu.
The Di Funghi salad and Tiramisu are some of my favourites as well but honestly my absolute favourite is our new lunch menu hit, the beef carpaccio with crispy potatoes drizzled with our spicy aioli. I could literally eat it every day!
Thank you for dining with us and sharing your experience it was a pleasure meeting you! I’m so glad you came back the second night and that I had the chance to sit down with you and Jake. Good meals are those shared with friends, great meals are those which turn strangers into friends! Until your next visit....cheers!
Love to all xo,
Welcome to MCL World
I am currently in my 20's, working a full-time job in downtown Toronto, and enjoying the foods I have always dreamed of. I absolutely love to travel, and I am always excited to explore new gluten-free restaurants that I can feel comfortable at in a new city or country!