This is Lily.
A few things about her:
She likes to read, draw and swim.
She takes dance lessons (hip hop) and plays on a basketball team.
She speaks French.
She has a younger sister who is the bomb.
She loves her tiny dog Chiquita.
Her favourite food is rice (brown and white)—in sushi, fried or just plain steamed.
Her favourite subject in school is math.
She has celiac disease. She was diagnosed when she was three.
On the morning of her 11th birthday, Lily woke up with a stuffy nose. When asked what she thinks it means to have a cold on her birthday, she replied, without missing a beat: “It’s going to be a SICK year!”
That’s Lily, always making lemonade out of lemons. See for yourself.
What is celiac disease?
It’s a disease that affects your gut [specifically your small intestine]. What happens is when you eat gluten, it doesn’t sit well with your gut and your body gets angry and tries to get it out. Some people have symptoms and there are many different kinds of symptoms—I throw up, get bloated and get bad stomach aches. Some people don’t get symptoms, but it’s still doing damage inside of them.
[For a more complete definition of celiac disease, go to www.celiac.ca]
What is gluten?
It’s a protein that’s in found in certain grains, like wheat, rye, spelt, kamut and barley. When I was younger my mom and I made a sign out of stickers with these words and taped it up in the kitchen to help me learn how to read them. It’s really important to read ingredients and not just assume something is safe to eat, unless it’s a fruit or vegetable of course.
Do you remember when you found out you had celiac?
I was only three, so I didn’t really know what was happening to me. I was getting sick (barfing) every night and I had lots of stomach pain. Then I remember one day we were at the doctor’s office and I was getting my blood taken. That’s how we found out I have celiac disease. After I stopped eating gluten I felt much better. My hair started to grow and I started to grow. more…
One bite = a big bloated belly so tight and distended that it has her doubled over in pain
One bite = countless bouts of puking until her stomach is empty and blood vessels have burst in her cheeks
One bite = fierce explosions of gas
One bite = extreme fatigue
One bite = a painful canker sore in her mouth
One bite = constipation for days
All it takes is one bite.
My daughter Lily’s visual interpretation of what it feels like to be glutened (she did this drawing when she was 8). Those little bean-shaped things in her tummy are “gluten guys” that she says are “karate chopping, stabbing and punching” her. I’m not sure why they’re wearing berets.
Serving up some attitude with a side of fries.
Flashback to fall 2014 Gluten Free Garage with gluten-free girl Lily and her pal Axel going to town on some Hero Burger fries.
This year Gluten Free Garage is hosting an unprecedented number of vegan and vegetarian vendors. But we know that there are many gluten-free carnivores out there who will be asking: “Where’s the beef?”
Enter Hero Certified Burgers.
You know what my beef is with Hero Burgers? Their french fries, which themselves are gluten free, are made in a shared fryer, so there is a risk of cross-contamination. Hence, my daughter, and everyone else with celiac disease, cannot have them. Which is a bummer, because Lil loves fries.
But I appreciate that Hero Burgers is very clear about this in their communications, because it keeps people with celiac and gluten intolerance safe. Also on the plus side, most of their proteins (except for the hot dog) and condiments are gluten free and they have gluten-free buns from O’Doughs that are warmed in a dedicated toaster. And, most recently, they added gluten-free naturally smoked beef bacon to the menu.
Click here for a full list of the gluten-free offerings at Hero Burgers.
Back to the fries. You may wonder why Lily is eating them in the above photos. Is it an act of gluten-free child rebellion? No, she knows how much it sucks to get glutened. It’s because at Gluten Free Garage the Hero Burgers food truck serves up fries—and poutine!—made in a dedicated fryer with fresh, clean oil. So Lily and her fellow celiacs get to order a side of fries with that!
Keep on truckin’ / All photos by Lewis Mirrett
Hero Certified Burgers is a Silver sponsor of Gluten Free Garage.
Click on the images below to find out
what 6 super people with celiac disease want you to know!
#celiacawareness #knowledgeequalspower #celiacpros #celiacknowitalls
How fabulous is this graphic fork wallpaper?
But even more fabulous are these Triple Chocolate Love donuts. (It’s always all about the donuts.)
We are at FEAST. Toronto’s first allergy-friendly gourmet food store landed on Queen West across from Trinity Bellwoods Park, adding to the ‘hood’s cool factor. FEAST prides itself on catering to the allergic and sensitive types. Just our kind of place.
Part bakery, part grocery store, FEAST is celiac friendly, with no trace of gluten—or any of the top 8 food allergens. This allows me to order my daughter Lily’s food with ease and confidence because there is zero risk of cross-contamination, a godsend for someone with celiac disease. And have I mentioned that the food is delicious?
V is for vegan, as in the vegan curried black bean pocket pie I devoured. The perfect comfort food—warm and savoury and bursting with flavour—made with love in the store’s 100% gluten-free kitchen.
X marked the spot for Lily, who gobbled up the beef pocket pie…
all the while soaking up the world’s second-coolest ‘hood from her window seat.
She chased it with this cinnamon sugar donut.
We couldn’t leave the store without a couple of these coconut milk caramels, made with raw organic cacao nibs and crispy rice cereal, and we’re glad we didn’t!