Posts Categorized: Lily’s corner

from the mouth of a gf babe

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.

Was it hard when you first went gluten free?
I don’t think I really noticed a change in my diet, except I remember asking my mom for the Puffins cereal I loved and she said “no more Puffins” and I got really upset with her. But I don’t remember my parents having to say “no” a lot. I just remember them giving me food to eat and I was happy.

How do you feel now, after being gluten free for eight years?
I feel fine.

Your hair is really long now.
Yeah! It keeps growing!

What’s it like to eat gluten free all the time?
I don’t really notice. I don’t really remember eating gluten. Sure, I see my friends eating it, but I feel like I have food that tastes better, I bet, and it looks better. You can always find something that is gluten free, so I can eat just about anything. Basically I don’t think that my diet defines me. It’s part of me, but it’s not me.

Are there ever times when you wish you didn’t have to be gluten free?
Not really, because I can basically have the same foods as everyone else, except they’re gluten free. There’s always a replacement. Sometimes I do feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I want to eat something with gluten, but then I remind myself that somewhere in the world there is a gluten-free version of the same thing. I just have to find it. Plus, I just think about how sick I’ll get if I eat it. It’s not worth it.

When was the last time you got glutened?
I was in Florida at a hotel and they said that there was a gluten-free buffet table and that everything would be safe. There was even a dedicated gluten-free toaster! I ate a bagel, muffin and fruit. At the beach, my stomach starting hurting but I sort of ignored it and didn’t think much about it. And then I started feeling really nauseous and told my mom. My stomach started to really hurt so we went back to our hotel room and I started barfing all over the place. Then I took a nap.

Do you prefer eating in or going out?
Eating at home is so easy. Our house is totally gluten free because we don’t want me getting cross-contaminated or eating something with gluten by accident.

I love going to restaurants and I have my favourites. But sometimes when we eat out my parents make a big fuss about things. I know they’re just trying to make sure the food is safe for me, but it embarrasses me.

What would you tell a friend who finds out that they have celiac disease?
That it’s not that big of a deal. You can always adapt to it. In a few weeks, you’ll think it’s natural.

I’d also recommend some bakeries. Almond Butterfly has the best bagels and cupcakes. Bunner’s has the best cinnamon buns. Cock-A-Doodle-Doo has the best muffins. Sorelle and Co. has the best donuts. And I love Tori’s cupcake with a donut on top.

Do you have any friends who also have celiac disease?
I have a few friends who have celiac disease. We tell each other about great restaurants we’ve been to.

What are your top 3 restaurants?
I can’t name just three. There’s Pukka for Indian. Edo for sushi (they have gluten-free tamari!). Mad Mexican for nachos and tacos. Live has the best burritos. For brunch I love to go to Cocoalatte, Public Kitchen and Hibiscus (best crepes!). And we recently discovered Basil Box, Asian food that is totally gluten free and so yummy!

 

 

What do you love about Gluten Free Garage?
I can go to all the different vendors and eat whatever I want without having to ask if their food is gluten free—I know it’s all safe! But the day is not just about finding yummy food that’s gluten free, it’s also about letting gluten-free people know that they’re part of a larger community and they’re not alone. I feel very proud of my mom and happy that she did this for me and for all the gluten-free people in the world.

What are you doing this year at Gluten Free Garage?
I’m very excited to be a guest speaker! And even more excited that Almond Butterfly Bakeshop is partnering with me to do cupcake decorating! I’ve wanted to be a speaker for a few years and my mom kept saying wait until you’re older. This year I finally convinced her that I can do it. I’m older now and a lot more responsible. Every month at school I have to present a book report to my class and it’s made me a better public speaker and more confident to share my ideas.

 

Lily Eklove is the Gluten Free Garage muse and taste tester. Diagnosed with celiac at age 3, she has grown up with the autoimmune disease and has learned to be her own advocate when it comes to the foods she can and cannot eat. A fifth-grader in French immersion, Lily dreams of going to Paris one day to eat gluten-free croissants. In the meantime she’s pretty happy with the cupcakes from Almond Butterfly.

 

 

one bite

 

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.

 

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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.

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Fries before guys

Serving up some attitude with a side of fries.

Serving up some attitude with a side of fries.

 

Flashback to Gluten Free Garage in the fall of '14 with gluten-free girl Lily and her pal Axel going to town on some Hero Burger 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!

GFG sponsor Hero Burgers / Photo: Lewis Mirrett

Keep on truckin’ / All photos by Lewis Mirrett

 

Hero Certified Burgers is a Silver sponsor of Gluten Free Garage.

 

FEAST your eyes

 

The first thing you notice is the fabulous fork wallpaper.

How fabulous is this graphic fork wallpaper?

 

These chocolate donuts were my life.

But even more fabulous are these Triple Chocolate Love donuts. (It’s always all about the donuts.)

 

This summerFEAST  landed on Queen West across from Trinity Bellwoods Park, adding to the 'hood's cool factor. Toronto's first allergy-friendly gourmet food store, FEAST prides itself on catering to the allergic and sensitive types. Just our kind of place.

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.

 

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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.

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.

 

Lily had the meat pie.

X marked the spot for Lily, who gobbled up the beef pocket pie…

 

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all the while soaking up the world’s second-coolest ‘hood from her window seat.

 

A little circle of gluten-free love.

She chased it with this cinnamon sugar donut.

 

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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!

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