GFG Pop-Up at the Green Living Show

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In honour of spring and the GFG muse
the Gluten Free Garage has exciting news

 We’re hitting the road, don’t you know
and popping up at the Green Living Show!

 A celebration of gluten-free food
Guest speakers to get you in the mood
Loads of GF goodies to score
Plus this show has so much more…

 For all of our dear gluten-free friends
we’ll see you in April, the last weekend!

Check out our awesome vendors!
For more info click here

Sponsor of the GFG Pop-Up at the Green Living Show

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she’s come a long way, baby

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This is what 8 looks like. My happy, healthy, vibrant girl, gluten free for more than four years now.

 

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This is what 3 looked like. Lily’s big bloated belly was a startling contrast to her skinny arms and legs.

 

We had asked her pediatrician about it at a few appointments. He said there were other children in his practice who had big bellies like this, it would go down. My mother-in-law said, “This is what Robbie’s body looked like when he was her age.” Lily was a super happy girl and rarely complained of tummy aches. Until Christmastime 2009, when for three nights in a row she awoke in the middle of the night, throwing up. Thinking it was the stomach flu, I took her to the doctor, who prescribed a medicine for acid reflux. That night she threw up again and I took her back to the doctor the next day. This is not acid reflux. Look at her belly. It’s getting bigger. He ran some blood tests and asked for my consent to test her for celiac disease. (It’s $60—OHIP doesn’t cover the cost of the celiac blood panel. Ontario is the last province not to cover the test. Shame!)

The call came a few days later. Lily’s test came back positive and her doctor said that her autoantibody levels were so high that he had no doubt she has celiac disease. He would refer us to a gastroenterologist. That night my husband and I took to our laptops and Googled celiac, gluten and gluten-free food into the wee hours.

What was this celiac disease? And what on earth was gluten? I soon learned that Lily was lucky to have been diagnosed at such a young age, before too much damage was done. She didn’t have to suffer the brutal symptoms of celiac for long, nor did her disease require a lifetime on meds. But the more my husband and I read about the gluten-free diet, the more overwhelmed we felt. Finally, we decided to turn our house into a full-on gluten-free zone so that eating could still be a positive, safe and joyful experience for Lily.

The next day we cleaned out our kitchen and Lily went gluten free (and so, by default, did we). In time I read about the importance of having an intestinal biopsy to confirm the diagnosis, but my gut told me to get this girl off gluten. (When we eventually met with Lily’s gastroenterologist, she said it was rare for her to not recommend the biopsy but she was convinced that Lily had celiac, based on her symptoms, blood test and how she was thriving off gluten.)

 

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Lily, pre-diagnosis, eating a big bowl of fettuccine. When I look at this photo, I feel sick that we were inadvertently poisoning her.

 

In retrospect, there were other signs besides her big belly that indicated something might be up. Lily had dark circles under her eyes, even though she was getting enough sleep at night. And she was tired, oftentimes falling asleep on her teacher’s lap in the afternoon, so we switched her to morning nursery. It’s no wonder that she was so fatigued, she was on the verge of anemia, as her iron counts showed. She also didn’t seem to be growing at the same pace as her pals—”failure to thrive,” as it’s put.

 

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And then there was Lily’s face in this photo, taken months before her diagnosis. We had just left a restaurant where we celebrated my younger daughter’s birthday. Lily didn’t say anything about not feeling well but she looks so uncomfortable in this photo, like she’s in pain. It breaks my heart.

 

more…

winter survival salad

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It’s been a looonnnggg winter and my body needed this salad. I literally loaded it up with everything I was craving. It’s packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, protein, iron, fibre, calcium, beta-carotene and more. And I’ve eaten it every night this week. It goes like this:

Winter Survival Salad

arugula
spring pea mix (pea shoots, radish, red choi, buckwheat)
chickpeas
avocado
beets (steamed)
red onion
peeled grapefruit segments
raw walnuts
honey goat cheese

Dressing:
really good extra virgin olive oil
balsamic reduction
Himalayan pink mountain salt

 

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Every mouthful is a delicious, nutritious treat.

they’ve got the power

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5 healthy ingredients and a whole lotta love

 

These Power Balls are  one of many easy cleanse-friendly recipes that come in Dr. Jodi Larry‘s handbook for her Cleanse for Life program, which I’ve participated in twice and wrote about here. With spring on its way (please), there’s no better time to consider kick-starting a new, healthy lifestyle.

Craving chocolate or something sweet? Pop one of these babies in your mouth! They are a breeze to make, with only 5 ingredients, and are so delicious you won’t believe they’re so good for you.

Dr. Jodi’s Power Balls
6 medjool dates (soak for a few minutes and remove pits)
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
2 tsp raw cacao powder
unsweetened shredded coconut

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Roll mixture into balls. Roll the balls in shredded coconut. Refrigerate for about an hour, if you can wait that long.

(My friend Mia, who is a fantastic cook, recommends adding a pinch of sea salt before blending ingredients. I can see where she’s going with that.)