Posts Categorized: GFG exhibitor!

house call: Dr. Jodi Larry

Toronto naturopath Dr. Jodi Larry practices family medicine, with a strong focus on mental health (anxiety, depression and stress management), women’s health and digestive health. All naturopathic treatments are used in her practice with an emphasis on nutrition, herbal remedies, counseling and acupuncture.


In the past five years gluten has become a word that pops up everywhere—celebs are going gluten free, gluten is a hot topic in the health world, and there are gluten-free stores, restaurants and products galore. But even with all the hype, gluten still remains a mystery for most.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in common grains like wheat, rye and barley. It is a component of most breads and carbohydrates (think pasta, pastries, pizza), but it can also be found in sauces, dressings and condiments. People with celiac disease must avoid gluten at all costs. They endure massive intestinal discomfort when ingesting gluten, as well as nutritional deficiencies that result from intestinal inflammation and malabsorption. People on a gluten-free diet who have celiac disease have adopted a gluten-free life without any other choice. They are at the extreme of the spectrum.

Gluten intolerance

There is another group of people (a massive group actually) that does not have celiac but suffers from gluten sensitivity or intolerance. When they ingest this protein, they may experience a range of symptoms, including:

  • bloating after eating
  • fatigue after eating
  • constipation (less than 1 bowel movement per day)
  • loose stools
  • stomach cramps
  • upset stomach
  • gas
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

How to know if your symptoms are caused by gluten

Gluten is a very hard protein for the body to break down. It requires a strong digestive tract and a lot of energy. This poses a problem for people with an already sluggish or weak bowel. Since gluten is so challenging to break down, adding it to a compromised system will only make matters worse. If your colon has been symptomatic (with the above symptoms) for a period of time, ingesting gluten will almost always exacerbate it.

In the last six years of my practice, I have come to specialize in digestive health, specifically helping people overcome IBS. What I have seen from experience is that when people with IBS eliminate gluten fully from their diet, symptoms almost always get better! Gluten elimination also leads to increased energy, better skin and less inflammation and pain.

Beyond gluten

The culprit is not always gluten though. Sugar, dairy and processed foods can also be at the root of the problem. The best way to really dig deep and discover an answer for yourself is to embark on a cleanse program. When participating in a cleanse you eliminate all possible triggers for a 10-day period so the body can heal itself. Once symptoms are eliminated and digestion is restored, you slowly incorporate one food group at a time to see how your body reacts. This is experiential learning—it is the best way to get to the root of the problem and has the power to truly change your life!

What I have seen from leading and guiding hundreds of people through this process is that when people introduce gluten back into their diets they usually experience bloating, a sluggish feeling and fatigue right away. Since gluten takes a lot of energy and digestive power to break down, eliminating or reducing it from the system can improve digestion and save more energy for your system as a whole.


hooray for Hollywood

Lasagna made with fresh gluten-free lasagna sheets!


Rob declared this the best gluten-free lasagna we’ve had yet. The girls licked their plates clean. I had seconds.

It was the usual recipe, so what made this lasagna different from all other lasagnas I’ve made?

The pasta was fresh.

I took the noodles out of the package and simply started layering. No muss, no fuss. No starchy, slippery, wet noodles falling apart or sticking together. If you’ve ever boiled gluten-free lasagna noodles, you know what I’m talking about. And not only was it easier and more time effective to make lasagna with fresh pasta, it tasted so much better. Once you go fresh, you never go back!

Hollywood Foods is the place to go for fresh gluten-free pasta. The thing about their pasta is that it’s made from a rice-free egg noodle, so it tastes like real
authentic pasta and holds together way better than its rice-based competitors. Located on Ossington north of Queen West, Hollywood Foods sells its gluten-free products under the brand Antipastos Kitchen. If you can’t make it there, in October you’ll be able to find their cut pasta, ravioli and gnocchi—along with several frozen gluten-free entrees—at supermarket and specialty stores throughout the GTA. Entrees will include meat and vegetarian lasagna, manicotti, meat and veg cabbage rolls, eggplant Parmigiana (can’t wait for that!) and a variety of raviolis and gnocchis.

If you want to impress your family and friends and make your own lasagna with Hollywood Foods/Antipastos Kitchen fresh GF noodles, read on for the recipe…


lotsa GF at the Veg Food Fest

This past Sunday we went to the 28th Vegetarian Food Festival at Harbourfront Centre. Hosted by the Toronto Vegetarian Association, it’s billed as the largest vegetarian festival in the world! We went in search of some gluten-free goodness. Lily brought along her business card.


We started things off with a strawberry, banana and pineapple smoothie.


Next stop: lunch at Live Organic Food Bar‘s booth.