• Episode 21 – Interview Reflections on The Gluten Free Garage, Part 1

    Let’s start the blog with the Show Notes for this episode:

    This episode featured the voices and opinions of different people who attended the Gluten Free Garage Food Show in Toronto on May 27, 2018.  I have attached a list of the sponsors, as well as a diagram of the show floor for your information.  Many of those I interviewed mentioned specific companies and products, that you can follow up with if you choose.  Here’s a link to the listing of the sponsors page https://glutenfreegarage.ca/sponsors/


    My Thoughts –

    This blog is going to be shorter than most, as I did interject often with my thoughts between the interviews.

    I am a huge proponent of gluten free vendor shows.  It is such a great opportunity to become aware of new foods and products and meet the actual producers and distributors.

    One of my interviewees was from New York.  He lamented that he had never been to such a show there.  We are lucky to have dedicated people and companies that join together to put these shows on for our benefit.  If you have the opportunity to attend an event like this, just do it, you have so much to gain.

    I have been going to gluten free food shows for more years than I can count.  It was always a treat to sample, buy and unpack at home.  I feel I learn something from every show I attend, either as a vendor, podcaster or an attendee.

    What I learned from this show was that everyone attends for their own reasons and their own diet restrictions.  These days, gluten free is far more than food for people with celiac disease.  More power to us, and thanks to those who supply to us.

    Next week’s episode will be more interviews, including my conversations with children, bloggers, and entrepreneurs in the gluten free space.

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  • Episode 20 – Amy Horrock RD – Persistent Gut Issues

    Let’s start the blog with the Show Notes for this episode:
    This episode is an in-depth discussion with Registered Dietitian Amy Horrock about persistent gut issues after starting a gluten free diet. The GF diet, although like a magic pill for celiac disease often is not the complete answer. For many, the gut responds with partial remission, or other problems. Amy looks at what some of these problems might be, and what might be causing them. The big takeaway is that most of these issues can be cleared up by some diet modifications. Everyone is different, so the solutions must be made through consultation on an individual basis. For more information regarding Amy’s services, you can go to her website at www.clearfocusnutrition.ca She can also be found on facebook at Clear Focus Nutrition and on Instagram at gluten_free_dietitian

    My Thoughts –
    I remember when the doctor first told me I had celiac disease – it was after waking up from the grogginess of the endoscopy. He told me he saw evidence of celiac disease and that I would need to start a gluten free diet. He also asked me to go for blood tests the next day before starting the diet and that he was making an appointment with a dietitian in the next couple of weeks. The timing of this wasn’t great, it was just before Christmas. Once I researched what gluten was, I remember saying to a friend “He can’t mean no gluten. It must be like diabetes or other diets where you have to count the gluten”. Wow, that sounds naïve, but that explained my situation, pretty naïve.
    After my dietitian visit and lots of information from the Canadian Celiac Association, I started the gluten free diet in earnest. I recovered fairly well, then months later, set my daughter on a similar road to recovery. I was surprised how long it was taking for me to feel “normal” again. But I also realized that I hadn’t known normal for so many years that I may not recognize it. A celiac friend at the time told me it would take a year before passing a bakery would cause a noticeable reaction, anythingfrom mental to physical. I thought she was a little crazy, but must admit that at the one-year mark, I was much more comfortable with the diet and how it made me feel.
    Gas, bloating and heartburn were problems that surfaced over the next few years. I was able to tweek my diet and the timing of my food (I enjoyed eating late at night) and those issues became manageable. Then, out of the blue, I had an attack, like a gluten attack, but with no known cause. I must have eaten gluten, but couldn’t find it. It wasn’t long after when I was visiting a celiac friend that I got a similar attack, but this time it was worse. I did everything I could to hold my husband back from taking me to emergency. It wasn’t gluten.

    It took me a few years, a couple of attacks at celiac events and dinners out to finally identify an allergy. My allergist helped and confirmed my allergy to flaxseed. Apparently, not something mainstream, but it was an answer for me. What I know now, is that every exposure is worse than the last. I will spare you the details. The good news is now I know.
    For me, the gluten free diet is now also a diet that excludes flaxseed. I can do this. The fact that the gluten free diet is a treatment for celiac disease is a miracle. The reality of other allergies is just a pain, but one that, once identified, I can work with. I am happy with my gluten free (flax free) diet. I feel normal now, whatever that may be.

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  • Episode 19 – A Discussion with Ronnilyn Pustil from The Gluten Free Garage

    Let’s start the blog with the Show Notes for this episode:

    The Gluten Free Garage is a pop-up vendor show featuring a wide variety of gluten free foods and beverages.  The event is being held at Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie Street (near St. Clair) on Sunday, May 27th from 10am – 4pm.  Admission is $10, with children 12 and under getting in free (cash only at the door or purchase tickets online).  Street parking is limited, but public transportation is very close by.  Advance tickets are available.  You can find more information at www.glutenfreegarage.ca


    My Thoughts –

    I have always loved food shows – who wouldn’t?  You get to sample foods to help you decide if you’d like to buy them, you get to meet the owners, producers and bakers behind the new food experiences.  Once I had to eat gluten free, food shows took on a more important role.

    I’ve been fortunate to see both sides of vendor shows; as a member of the public visiting the booths, and as a vendor selling and sampling my wares.

    As a vendor, the work and preparation that goes into a show cannot be underestimated.  First you must decide what you wa

    nt to showcase to hungry potential customers, then you must work out the logistics of having samples and product to sell.  Bringing too much product means you go home with it, bringing too little, and you have a missed opportunity.  The other big unknow

    n is what the other vendors are going to have.  As a baker, showcasing my brownies and carrot cakes, I was just hoping that there wouldn’t be too many other brownies and carrot cakes, and that mine would stand out.  I had to decide how many staff (family) I’d need to b

    ring with me to help with the samples and sales.  As always, there are the logistic issues of getting the food to the venue fresh, organizing the food for samples (how many samples????), and making sure we were following the local food handling regulations.  Attending a food show as a vendor is a big undertaking.

    As a customer at a food show, there is always lots to see, taste and sample.  I can’t emphasize enough the value of having the creators of these foods manning the booths and being available for questions.  We all know that gluten free food is more expensive than mainstream food, but at a show we are able to see the passion and commitment that the vendors put into producing foods and drinks to make them not only gluten free (a big commitment), but making them smell, look and taste good.  Many of the vendors are small producers making specialty food for us.  We can reward them with our feedback and by purchasing their products.  Yes, there will be lots of samples, which the vendors are happy to hand out, as they are proud of their products, but as consumers, we have a wonderful opportunity to show our support of these dedicated small business people.

    A food show is big undertaking, both for the organizer and the vendors, but it’s also a unique opportunity for us, as consumers to come out and support the businesses that take a real interest in our special foods. The podcast will be there to talk and record your thoughts on the products and the day.  Please stop by, introduce yourself and let me record your reviews – See You There!

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  • Episode 18 Melissa Secord Talks about Celiac Awareness Month

    Here are the upcoming dates for events Melissa spoke about:

    May 10 – Facebook Live Day sponsored by Schar


    May 14 – CN Tower Lighting (green)

    May 16 – Celiac Giving Day and Twitter Party 9pm EDT

    May 23 – GF101 webinar– Open to the public with Val Vaartnou, Vancouver Chapter

    May 29 – Bone Health webinar in partnership with Osteoporosis Canada (free)


    My relationship with the Canadian Celiac Association goes back to my diagnosis.  Within a couple of weeks of my diagnosis, an appointment was made for me with a dietician.  Before the appointment, I was contacted and asked to bring my cheque book with me (back when we used cheques regularly).  I was living in Bermuda at the time, so I just assumed there was a user fee for the dietician.

    At my appointment, we sat down and started talking.  I quickly realized that I was in way over my head.  There was so much to learn and master quickly.  It wasn’t long before I was told about the Canadian Celiac Association.  It was described as one of the most reliable and comprehensive sources for information and support.  I was given an armful of informational booklets and brochures, all with the CCA logo on them.  I was asked for a cheque to pay for my first year’s membership, and was sent on my way.

    I didn’t realize at the time that this was not the norm for newbies to celiac or the gluten free diet.  I was comforted from the get go that I was now part of a wider community that would be my crutch, my support.  I quickly became involved in a small local group and realized that the CCA, although, not officially guiding this group, was a major part of both education and support.

    Once my daughter was diagnosed a few months later, we became more involved in the CCA, even flying to Canada to attend a conference in Hamilton.  My daughter met another girl who was also there with her mother, and they became fast friends.

    On moving back to Canada years later, it wasn’t long before I looked up my local chapter and became involved.  To me, celiac disease, the gluten free diet and the Canadian Celiac Association go hand in hand.  I could not cope with either the condition or the diet without the CCA.  We are fortunate to have such a well-respected organization to be our voice.  I encourage everyone with celiac disease, or gluten sensitivity to become a member.  The CCA touches many lives, it’s great to be a part of the organization that represents a solution.

    Ep 18 Melissa Secord of the CCA on Celiac Awareness Month

    May is Celiac Awareness Month and the Canadian Celiac Association has many events planned to celebrate and inform.  Melissa Secord is the Executive Director of the CCA, and she explains what is being done online and across the country.  Some of the events she mentions coming up are: May 10 -


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