Posts Categorized: Lily’s corner

she’s come a long way, baby

This is what 8 looks like.

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


This is what 3 looked like.

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.)


Lily, pre-diagnosis, eating big bowl of fettucine.

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.


Lily's face in this photo.

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.



holiday wishes

3 wishes

The pills in question would allow Lily to eat gluten and not get sick. What’s on your wish list? We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

the pink-alicious donuts

The donuts on the front of our new postcards were inspired by...

In case you were wondering, the donuts on our new postcards were inspired by…


    All dressed up with somewhere to go: one of the sweet highlights from spring 2013 GFG

these pretty-in-pink gluten-free donuts that Tori’s Bakeshop brought to the Gluten Free Garage last spring.


They also sell them at their bakery in the Beaches. We nabbed the last one today.

Today we went to Tori’s in the Beaches. We were lucky enough to nab the last donut in the display. This donut is organic, vegan and gluten free. And totally scrumptious.


Because sometimes you just want a donut.

Because sometimes a gluten-free girl just wants a donut.



gluten-free kids in the kitchen

Way back in June, my girl Lily and I went to the Canadian Celiac Association's national conference.

Way back in June, my girl Lily and I went to the Canadian Celiac Association‘s national conference in Mississauga, hosted by the Halton Peel Chapter.


We were there for the food.

We were there for the food! Lily participated and I volunteered in a cooking class for kids that ran as part of the conference’s youth program “Surviving Gluten Free.”


We weren't afraid to get our hands dirty.

After a short bus ride from the conference site to the PC Cooking School at Loblaws, we donned our aprons and got busy. Here are the kids baking buns for subs. What a fun, yummy morning!


Hot out of the oven buns for subs..

Gluten-free buns fresh from the oven.


Quick and easy tri-colour pasta salad.

Quick and easy tri-colour pasta salad.


Turkey sub with a side of pasta salad.

And, voila! Turkey sub on fresh-baked bread with a side of pasta salad. Lily was stoked to be eating a sub that she made herself! She was just so happy to be able to take part in a cooking class, period.


Donut holes BEFORE

Doughnut holes BEFORE


Waiting patiently for the doughnut holes...

Waiting excitedly…


Donut holes AFTER

Doughnut holes AFTER


Our teacher Monique van den Wildenberg and TK TK.

Chef and registered dietitian Amanda Li and chef Monique van den Wildenberg helped the kids whip up a gluten-free feast.


They tossed the hot doughnut holes in a cinnamon/icing sugar mix.

They tossed the hot doughnut holes (which were actually shaped more like mini muffins) in a cinnamon/icing sugar mix.


A hole in one.

A hole in one!


Jaime Plain, the fearless youth program coordinator, put together a fantastic weekend for kids with celiac.

Energetic youth program coordinator Jaime Plain did a super job of organizing an educational, camp-like weekend for kids with celiac—the CCA’s first conference youth program! Look at this happy camper! Jaime, you rock!


 The Gluten Free Garage was proud to sponsor the kids’ cooking class as part of the youth program of the 2013 CCA national conference.

i scream, you scream

We all scream for ice-cream sandwiches!

We all scream for ice-cream sammiches!


One day last week Lily came home from camp feeling sad because it was ice-cream sandwich day. A few days earlier I had received a call from the camp director asking me if there was a gluten-free ice-cream sandwich that they could get for her so she could have what everyone else was eating. I told him about a brand I had heard about that we hadn’t tried yet and where he could pick them up. I felt grateful that he had called and I was happy that Lily wouldn’t feel left out.

So why was she upset? She said that it wasn’t a real ice-cream sandwich, that the outside was hard and crumbly like a cookie instead of being soft like the other kids’ treats. She understood that the camp had gotten that ice-cream sandwich especially for her and she didn’t want to make anyone feel bad so she had wrapped it up and put it in her napsack. This is my seven-year-old gluten-free girl.

A couple days later I’m trolling around on Facebook and up pops a post from Bunner’s Bake Shop with a pretty pic of what they called a “classic ice-cream sandwich” wrapped in tissue and tied with a ribbon—their latest vegan, gluten-free (re)creation, available on weekends only. I had faith in this ice-cream sandwich because, well, it’s Bunner’s and they don’t mess around when it comes to gluten-free baking. Case in point: Their “fauxstess” cupcakes. So Friday rolled into Saturday and we rolled into the Junction.


Lily came

“It’s a real ice-cream sandwich!”


She would have given it two thumbs up if she wasn't holding her sammie in her other hand.

She would have given it two thumbs up if she wasn’t holding her sammich in her other hand.


While Lily was living it up with her ice-cream sammie, I spotted this happy woman coming out of Bunner's sporting a GFG tote bag! That made my day.

While Lily was living it up with her gluten-free ice-cream sammich, I spotted this happy woman coming out of Bunner’s sporting a GFG tote bag! Move over sammich…this gal made my day!