Posts Categorized: GFG exhibitor!

#GoBeyondTheGut

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It’s Celiac Awareness Month and the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) is urging people to #GoBeyondTheGut. When most people think of celiac disease, they think of gut and digestive issues—diarrhea, constipation, bloating, cramps, stomach pain, gas, weight loss. But what about the less obvious signs of celiac disease?

We’re all about the tummy love, but there is so much more to celiac disease than that. Here are some of the atypical signs:

  • anemia
  • bone issues
  • liver disorders
  • neurologic problems
  • reproductive problems
  • short stature

For more detailed information about each one, click here.

According to the CCA, “over 80% of people with celiac disease have yet to be diagnosed.” Is it because they don’t have the classic signs of celiac so it’s not even on their radar? Very possibly. That is why it is so important to be aware of the less common signs. Celiac disease goes beyond the gut—it’s autoimmune, it impacts the whole body. Check out this brilliant infographic from Gluten Dude, showing 84 different symptoms of the disease.

Unfortunately, so many people suffer for years with symptoms that they don’t think are related to celiac. A recent CCA survey of more than 300 people showed that the average time until diagnosis is 10-plus years. This is what else it revealed:

  • 85% of respondents experienced multiple visits to healthcare practitioners before diagnosis
  • 86% had blood work other than for celiac disease
  • 42% had ultrasounds
  • 20% believed their diagnosis was delayed because the test was not covered by OHIP

That’s right, Ontario is the only province that does not cover blood screening of celiac disease! The CCA is advocating for this test to be made free. You can join them by downloading this petition and sending it to the CCA  to your local Member of Provincial Parliament.

 

The Gluten Free Garage muse at every GFG from 2012 to 2017.

 

On a personal note, my daughter, Lily, presented with a lot of tummy trouble (bloating, constipation, pain) and then ultimately throwing up, which is what alerted us to the fact that something serious was going on with her. She was tired all the time, and her blood work revealed very low iron levels; she was on the verge of anemia. (Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most frequent presenting problems in celiac disease.) She was also below the average height for her age; “not thriving,” as the doctor put it. After our second visit to her pediatrician, he suggested we get her tested for celiac disease. He noted that the test wasn’t covered and I would have to pay for it.

Soon after he called to say that Lily had celiac disease.

Within two months of eating gluten free, Lily started to blossom. She wasn’t having stomach aches, her bloated belly basically deflated, and she stopped throwing up. She had so much more energy, her hair started growing, and she started to fill out in all the right places. All because we removed gluten from her diet (which definitely took some trial and error!). We’re so lucky she was diagnosed at the young age of three.

In those early days, the CCA was a big help to our family. I went to a few informative evenings held by our local Toronto chapter, where I learned about different aspects of celiac disease and living gluten free. I didn’t leave my house without the CCA’s pocket dictionary of foods for the gluten-free diet (I still carry a worn-out copy around in my purse!). And when the kids were little our family went each year to the CCA holiday party where everything and everyone was gluten free!

On May 16th the CCA is hosting a free webinar on children and celiac disease. Pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Dominica Gidrewciz will review the classic and lesser-known signs and symptoms of celiac disease most often seen in children. And registered dietitian Jessica Wu will share how to maintain and improve your child’s health after diagnosis.

To give back to the Canadian Celiac Association and help support the important work it does for and on behalf of people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, I donate a portion of the proceeds from GFG ticket sales to the organization. From advocacy to  awareness, the CCA provides support, information and resources to people living with celiac disease.

If we spread awareness about celiac disease, my hope is that more people will become aware of the myriad symptoms and will get tested and diagnosed so they don’t have to suffer short- or long-term. I also hope that by sharing stories about this autoimmune disease, people will realize that for more than 1 in 133 people being gluten free is not a choice but a treatment they require to stay healthy. For people with celiac, food literally is medicine. It should be delicious.

On that note, there isn’t a better time to be gluten-free than now. Gluten free has come a long way, baby! Come taste for yourself at Gluten Free Garage on May 27th!

This year the Canadian Celiac Association will have a table at #GFG18!
Say hello to executive director Melissa Secord!

lasagna for GF pasta lovers

Sweet potato gratin lasagna made with Italpasta’s new gluten-free lasagna pasta and a creamy, dreamy béchamel sauce.

 

What do you want first? The good news or the great news?

Let’s start with the good news.

Our favourite gluten-free pasta brand, Italpasta, has added a new product to its gluten-free line: lasagna! Along with fusilli, penne, elbows and spaghetti, Italpasta now has five varieties of gluten-free pasta!

Made from a blend of rice, corn and quinoa, this certified gluten-free and non-GMO lasagna has the flavour and texture of traditional pasta (it’s kosher too!). You would never know the difference. Plus, it’s oven ready, so you don’t have to boil the noodles before cooking them! So far we’ve made two hearty lasagna dishes at home—one with a meat ragu and the other a vegetarian version—and they are now family favourites! As a busy working mom, I really appreciate cutting down on prep time—just layer the sauce, pasta and cheese and put it in the oven. (The trick is to use lots of sauce and make sure the noodles are covered well.) Then wait for the sensational smell to fill your kitchen as the lasagna bakes and bubbles away!

And now for the great news…drum roll, please…

We are so excited to welcome back Italpasta as platinum sponsor! This will be their sixth time as lead sponsor of Gluten Free Garage! On May 27th at Artscape Wychwood Barns, they’ll be sampling three different delicious pasta dishes—including a lasagna—and will have vegan and dairy-free options. At every GFG there is a lineup at their booth for most of the day, but this year we might need to bring in some crowd control!

 

Italpasta’s Chef Gianni Ceschia making pasta for the people at last year’s GFG.

 

Here’s a decadent lasagna dish to impress your family and friends.

GLUTEN-FREE SWEET POTATO GRATIN LASAGNE

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes | Serves: 6

Ingredients

1 pkg (250 g) Italpasta Gluten-Free Lasagne
2 medium sweet potatoes (8 oz/250 g), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
3/4 tsp (4 mL) each salt and pepper, divided
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
16 sage leaves
2 tbsp (30 mL) gluten-free rice flour
4 cups (1 L) 35% whipping cream
1/2 cup (125 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp (1 mL) grated nutmeg
3 cups (750 mL) shredded mozzarella cheese
3 tbsp (45 mL) hazelnuts, toasted, crushed
1/3 cup (75 mL) crushed gluten-free amaretto cookies

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Toss together sweet potato rounds, olive oil and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet; bake for about 10 minutes or until tender.

Reduce oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease 8-inch (2 L) square baking dish; set aside.

Melt butter in saucepan set over medium heat; add sage leaves. Cook for about 5 minutes or until ends begin to curl and butter is browned but not scorched. Transfer sage leaves to paper towel–lined plate.

Stir rice flour into butter in saucepan; cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in whipping cream, a splash at a time, until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining salt and pepper, Parmesan and nutmeg.

Ladle 1 cup (250 mL) sauce into bottom of prepared dish. Top with one-third of the lasagne noodles, breaking noodles to fit snuggly. Top with 1 cup (250 mL) sauce, 4 sage leaves, 1 cup (250 mL) mozzarella, 1 tbsp (15 mL) hazelnuts and one-third of the sweet potato slices. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining sauce and sage leaves.

Place heart-shaped cookie cutter in centre of lasagne and fill with crumbled amaretto cookies.

Cover with foil; bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil; bake for about 15 minutes or until noodles are tender and sauce is bubbling. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Tips:

♥︎ Grate whole nutmeg on a fine rasp for the best flavour.

♥︎ Pierce a medium sweet potato all over and microwave on high for 4 to 6 minutes or until tender. Let cool until easy to handle; peel and mash before adding to sauce if desired.

♥︎ Add a layer of shredded duck confit to make an extra-special lasagna.

 

Every gluten-free pasta lover deserves lasagna!
 

 

#tbt to last year’s GFG

 

Who’s excited for the 7th annual Gluten Free Garage?

Toronto’s pop-up gluten-free marketplace will be back at Artscape Wychwood Barns on Sunday, May 27th from 10 am to 5 pm! With 60-plus vendors, food trucks, libations, guest speakers and more, Gluten Free Garage is your one-stop shop for the latest and greatest gluten-free goods! We are grateful to welcome back platinum sponsor Italpasta (have you tried their new GF oven-ready lasagne noodles?!), along with silver sponsor and snack kings Neal Brothers.

Last spring, Chef Adam Heard, of Adam Cooks Everything, took his cooking video series Wheat Sucks! on the road to Gluten Free Garage.

Featured are GFG sponsor Ste. Anne’s Bakery, a few of our awesome local vendors, including Social Lite Vodka, Sudsatorium, Just Shut Up and Try It and Steambox Dumplings, and gluten-free queen Rachael Hunt who runs GlutenFreedom Inc., the popular blog dedicated to dining, cooking, travelling and living gluten free.

We still have room for more vendors this year, so let us know which brands or products you’d like to see at Gluten Free Garage! Drop us a line at info@glutenfreegarage.ca

 

look who’s coming to #GFG17!

 

The 6th annual Gluten Free Garage, Toronto’s original (and only!) pop-up GF market, is returning to Artscape Wychwood Barns on Sunday May 28, 2017. A one-stop destination for any and all gluten-free needs, Gluten Free Garage is a curated food festival where GF people can safely indulge in a wide variety of delicious offerings from 65+ vendors. Think of it as a farmer’s market for foodies that happens to be safe for people with celiac disease!

S P E A K E R S

In addition to the plentiful food and beverage options at Gluten Free Garage, attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from industry influencers and experts at GFG’s speaker panels. This year’s special guests include North America’s leading gluten-free expert, nutritionist and cookbook author Kathy Smart, who will reveal “The 5 Gluten-Free Foods You Haven’t Heard About—and Why You Need to Eat Them”; Yorkville Health Clinic’s Dr. Katherine Kremblewski, ND, who will teach you to “Love Your MicroBiome: The Importance of Digestion in Optimizing your Health”; and 11-year-old Lily Eklove, GFG muse and daughter of festival founder RonniLyn Pustil, who will share her “Top 10 Things I’ve Learned from having Celiac Disease” and co-host a Cupcake Decorating Extravaganza with Almond Butterfly Bake Shop. Lily was diagnosed with celiac disease when she was three years old, so she’s learned a few things over the years.

“Gluten Free Garage is a tummy-lovin’ party that I wouldn’t miss for the world! I’m looking forward to inspiring my fellow gluten-free fans with the new foods that are in MY kitchen!” says returning speaker Kathy Smart.

S P O N S O R S

With the reputation of a truly one-of-a-kind food festival, Gluten Free Garage is proud to have satisfied gluten-free community staples like Italpasta, Neal Brothers Foods, Fiesta Farms and Hero Certified Burgers (look for their food truck!) as returning sponsors while bringing additional celiac-friendly powerhouses on board.

“We are very pleased to continue our lead sponsorship of the Gluten Free Garage—an essential gluten-free community resource. Italpasta Gluten Free Pasta—now made with a delicious blend of four grains: corn, rice, buckwheat and quinoa—is a great alternative for pasta lovers who suffer from a gluten allergy or sensitivity without having to sacrifice good taste or quality. We look forward to sharing samples with our gluten-free pasta lovers on May 28!” says Frank DeMichino, COO of Italpasta Limited.

“Here at Neal Brothers, we love making sure our products are accessible to as many people as possible, and part of that is making sure a range of our products are gluten free,” say Chris and Peter Neal on why their involvement and continued support of Gluten Free Garage is a priority.

New to the sponsor roster is Ste. Anne’s Bakery, a dedicated facility in Grafton, Ontario. Its affiliation with the iconic Ste. Anne’s Spa allows gluten-free spa-goers to enjoy a delicious and stress-free dining experience to ensure total relaxation.

“Ste. Anne’s Bakery is proud to be a sponsor of the Gluten Free Garage. We can’t wait to share our passion for gluten-free products with everyone at the May 28th event. Come see us for some delicious samples of our breads and granola!” says director of operations David Navia.

C O N T E S T  A L E R T S

STE. ANNE’S SPA: Upon entry to Gluten Free Garage, fill out a ballot to WIN an All-Inclusive Day Spa for Two. This deliciously relaxing getaway includes (per person): $120 spa allowance, 3-course lunch, afternoon tea and complete use of the facilities.

 

FIESTA FARMS: Look for the Fiesta Farms shopping cart at Gluten Free Garage and grab a ballot to WIN all the gluten-free goodies inside! Valued at $700, this gluten-free grocery giveaway is packed with pantry staples, snacks, sauces, sweets and more! Ballots must be handed in at the Fiesta Farms store (200 Christie Street) to qualify to win.