After being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, it became MUCH more difficult to go to restaurants. Oftentimes my friends make comments such as; “There are gluten free options, so you’ll be fine.” Mhmm… Thanks, BUT I have been to TOO many restaurants that say, “Yes, there are gluten free options, but it’s ‘gluten free’ not ‘Celiac safe!’” That leaves me to either getting a plain, small, and dressing free salad, or sitting at a dinner table with no food. Yup! You heard me right!
I am extremely careful when it comes to eating at restaurants. I will not take any chances, because Celiac Sick, Glutened, Gluten-ated, whatever you want to call it, isn’t fun. You tell me how many people would be okay getting instantly and violently ill in public, and feeling the after effects for a solid week?
From my experiences, these are some of my most important tips. Don’t feel uncomfortable? Ask the questions you need to ask! If you don’t, you’ll be sorry you didn’t take the time to get over feeling embarrassed. It is important to be confident, and make the effort to ensure that you have a great, safe meal!
I often like to go to the same restaurants, as I am comfortable that the owners, waiters, and waitresses understand my allergy, and will ensure that the food is made completely gluten free. Many of them even know my order! Truthfully, it’s a pleasure not even needing to order when you sit at a restaurant! Although some people may find that to be embarrassing, I love it! I feel more comfortable knowing that they’re taking the time to remember my order, and to make sure I will be safe.
I ALWAYS ask and remind waiters and waitresses that it is not a preference, but an allergy!
When it comes to:
Salads – nuts, salad dressings, etc. often contain gluten. If you’re not sure, just make sure you ask to not have it in your salad. Make sure you remind the restaurant that it needs to be made separately, the kitchen needs to wash their hands, and ensure it is made in a safe area of the kitchen.
Pastas – Cook the GF noodles in a clean and fresh pot of water. No utensils can be the same as other pasta dishes being cooked. Yes, it takes longer to cook… but who cares! The goal is to get fresh and gluten free food. I never allow restaurants to add Parmesan cheese, because you can never be certain that the waiter hasn’t touched gluten prior to shaving the cheese, therefore leading to a potential cross-contamination situation.
Pizza – Unless it is made in a different oven, or placed in a special pan that keeps it from touching the oven, I am not comfortable, and you shouldn’t be either! Why take a chance, right?
Meat and fish – Unless sauces are GF, I avoid them at all costs! Plain, lemon and dill… simple, but still a tasty way to go! (I recommend the same recipe with cooked veggies!)
Sandwich/bagel/wrap places – be very careful (Speak with the manager or owner if possible)
Sushi – No soya sauce, teriyaki sauce, and request that the chef washes his/her hands (Sushi restaurants are generally quite careful if you notify them of your severe allergy).
All-you-can-eat/buffet – Can’t be sure that there hasn’t been cross-contamination ever, as people are able to touch and contaminate foods very easily!
Chain restaurants – More difficult for me, as there are too many options on their menus. (However, I have noticed that some chain restaurants are beginning to make dedicated gluten free spaces within their kitchens, always confirm though!)
Fast food – Be VERY careful. (They work quickly, and have difficulty avoiding cross-contamination) I avoid fast food restaurants at all costs!
Take-away meals – More difficult because you cannot interact, explain, and see the final product prior to it being packaged. Ask questions, etc.
Love to all xo,
Namaste Foods is a fabulous brand that truly cannot be beat! Free from the top 8 allergens, and family-owned, Namaste has created delicious foods that all people can enjoy! Worry-free products, with an entirely safe facility, there is no chance of possible cross-contamination in this factory – leaving al customers satisfied and happy! Namaste Foods is not only free of the Top 8 allergens (wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish), but they are certified Gluten Free, Kosher and USDA Organic among many more things! Sold on this brand? I AM.
Namaste Foods provides all different (and very simple) products including mixes for breakfasts, easy meals, desserts, sugar-free options, organic products and pantry staples. Every single Namaste product I have EVER tasted, I have absolutely LOVED! Not only does Namaste Foods provide incredible baking mixes and products that every single person can be safe, comfortable, and enjoy eating, but they also offer recipes on their website: http://www.namastefoods.com
Namaste sent me this incredible package of goodies and a unique reusable grocery bag, which gets used daily! They sent me the AMAZING Blondie Mix, Pumpkin Baking Mix and Golden Flax Meal. All of which I loved! Their mixes are simple to make and taste unbelievable! I have had other mixes of theirs since, and I have never ever been disappointed in the way their products taste. They’re to DIE for!
All in all, I would LOVE to stay and bake these Namaste gems all day long. Do you blame me? Get ready for more Namaste favourites to come!
Love to all xo,
An invite to Almond Butterfly made my Brunchin’ day one beautiful Sunday morning. Never have I thought I would find an amazing bakeshop that reminds me just what foods tasted like before I knew I was Celiac… Need I say more?
Almond Butterfly opened its doors in 2011, in Montreal, Quebec. This incredible café is owned and operated by Melody Saari. Today it is located in the heart of Toronto, and it is free of gluten, wheat, soy, and they even have vegan and paleo options! They’re open daily, and have recently opened their shop on Sundays, which has quickly become one of their busiest days of the week! Melody has a heart of gold, and places a strong importance on health and fitness. With Melody’s difficulties digesting gluten and dairy, she knew that she wanted to help others with similar digestive problems. Combining her passion for healthy eating, and her unique baking talent, she came up with a wonderful concept, to use her baking skills to create a gluten free café like no other. With her delicious recipes, she has taken the Toronto gluten free scene by storm, and has been able to create this one-of-a-kind, fantastic bakery!
The ability to eat all the goodies such as; cookies, cinnamon buns, scones, cupcakes and even bagels, has made me and my Celiac tummy smile! This busy bakery, located on a picturesque street (100 Harbord St) in downtown Toronto, is the perfect place to spend your morning, lunch and afternoon! Sip on some coffee, do your homework, get a snack to go on your daily walk, and enjoy an ENTIRELY Gluten Free meal, at a very low cost!
Some of the foods I tasted at Almond Butterfly included:
See it for yourself: http://www.almondbutterfly.com
Love to all xo,
Ever since I was a young girl, I always knew something wasn’t right with my stomach. After lactose tests, a variety of false diagnoses, and a vacation where I became extremely sick, I said, “That’s it! I am taking matters into my own hands, it can’t simply be lactose intolerance, and IBS or IBD.” So, my research began!
After some exploration, I decided that my symptoms were very similar to individuals with gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease. Whilst still on vacation, I decided I would cut out gluten entirely for the rest of the trip. This time around, cutting out gluten was not to the extreme that I am aware of now, as I was still consuming dressings, nuts, yogurts, etc. that I didn’t realize had gluten in them. However, cutting out my original understanding of what gluten was from my diet made a significant difference to how I was feeling the rest of my trip.
Upon my arrival back home, I made an appointment with my doctor, and explained to him that I think I have a gluten intolerance of some sort, and told him about my experience on vacation. He insisted that I am likely not Celiac nor do I have a gluten intolerance, but I insisted on getting the blood tests to confirm. Of course, my blood test came back positive, showing that I was Celiac. Unfortunately, that also meant I needed to continue to eat equivalent to a piece of bread every day in order to confirm my Celiac Disease through a scope procedure 4 months later. THIS WAS BRUTAL!
4 months later (thankfully) the scope day had finally come! It was finally confirmed that I had Celiac Disease, and this was to be the first day of my new life as a Celiac! Although this was a relief, it also meant it was the start of my tough but survivable journey! Learning how to eat and function when I was 16 on an entirely gluten free diet was a challenge (who would think that so many products have gluten?). From toothpaste, to makeup and dish soap, I had to learn eating, drinking, and living, all over again! Visiting doctors, nutritionists, and talking to others who were going through the same situation as me became my coping mechanism.
8 years of finding my true strength and learning to cope with this disease, lead me to start My Celiac Life! I want to help those who have Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance, and teach them how to overcome their struggles, find brands that they are able to eat, and just live a normal and happy life! I want to help people in the same way that others helped me. I believe in the importance of being courageous and taking all possible steps to improve your life. We are a community who understands, loves, and cares for each other! Let’s get through this the only way we know how! Come along for a ride with My Celiac Life ~ Learn with me, grow with me, eat with me.
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!