Posts Categorized: GFG exhibitor!

guest blog: Gluten Free Consultant

Sushi by Chef David Chung of Akasaka Japanese Restaurant. Guest blog post by JoAnne Bennett Mirsky, aka the Gluten Free Consultant.


My most rewarding gluten-free project to date was planning my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah this fall—a completely gluten-free affair for 140 guests. I was lucky to have Chef David Chung of Akasaka Japanese Restaurant working with me for this special occasion. There was an Asian-style hut set up in the foyer of Le Parc where people could help themselves to gluten-free sushi that was being prepared fresh by Chef David. The sushi was served with gluten-free soy sauce (tamari). When it was time for the guests to move into the dining room, Chef David got ready the Asian Station, one of the four stations for dinner. The Asian Station included pad Thai, fried rice and chicken yakatori. Not only was the food prepared gluten free, it was also made without nuts and shrimp. Chef David did an outstanding job of omitting the things that we couldn’t have in the food while maintaining the fantastic taste of all the dishes.

I love working with Chef David because he always figures out a way to make food safe while ensuring that it is delicious. He runs his restaurant like that as well, which is why Akasaka is one of my favourite restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area. Chef David and his staff are so accommodating and willing to make the changes that are necessary for people to feel safe while dining out. I helped Chef David make his restaurant gluten-free friendly over five years ago. Akasaka has a gluten-free menu that is plentiful and includes many great items to choose from and the staff is well trained on how to manage a gluten-free order. While dining at the Teppanyaki tables, you are served a miso soup that is gluten free and a salad with gluten-free dressing, and the chefs prepare the meal with gluten-free soy sauce (tamari) and teriyaki sauce. We always get a delicious meal when we go to Akasaka and I leave feeling like the gluten-free request was taken seriously and that they truly know what they are doing with respect to keeping the food safe.


she’s got the GF beat: Pimenton


Last month marked the one-year anniversary of the Toronto Underground Market. TUM is a social food market held at the Evergreen Brick Works that provides space for burgeoning home cooks/entrepreneurs to showcase their unique and delicious food creations.

On this crisp evening, I happened upon a wonderful chef named Jose Arato. He owns a Spanish and Mediterranean restaurant called Pimenton on Mt. Pleasant. I was lured to Pimenton’s stall by aromas of slow-cooking meat, seafood and rice and remained captivated by the spoon that was slowly churning the paella. This traditional Spanish dish—a Pimenton specialty—is made in a large paellera (traditional paella pan) and is rich and soulful. I devoured every last morsel of my steamy rice stew with fresh chicken, muscles, shrimp and squid. In addition to being tasty and hearty, paella is gluten free!



TUM might be over, but fortunately you (and three lucky friends!) can indulge in Jose’s paella at his gourmet food store or buy it by the pound on Saturdays to take home. Choose from Paella Marinara (fresh seafood), Paella Valenciana (chicken and fresh seafood) or Paella Vegetariana. Pimenton also offers paella cooking classes, where you will learn techniques to make paella like a pro. Better yet, why not host a paella party and have your own personal paella made right in your home?

Pimenton also makes delectable gluten-free baked goods—chocolate beetroot brownies, pumpkin chocolate loaf and ginger cake—and will be bringing them to the Gluten Free Garage!

Rebecca Feigelsohn is a recent graduate of McGill University who now works as a freelance writer interested in food, culture and social justice. Visit her blog at to read about her gastronomic adventures.


she’s got the GF beat: deFloured

Our gal on the street got deFloured at the Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market!


Gluten-free bakery Defloured sells its savoury and sweet baked goods at various farmers’ markets and cafes in Toronto. Defloured duo Krista Tobias and Chris Brown aim to make food that tastes good while not restricting customers who have food allergies or limitations. Everything they bake is gluten and nut free, and some of their products are also dairy free (they substitute coconut milk for cow’s milk). Krista began her business making gluten-free potpies during the winter months—a hearty staple that will be available at the Gluten Free Garage! Defloured is 70% organic and most of the ingredients come from local vendors at farmers’ markets across the city.  —Rebecca Feigelsohn


Mini peach pies


Sweet mini galettes


Chocolate brownies: decadent and rich with a strong chocolate flavour


Fruit turnovers


Buckwheat vegan chocolate chip cookies


Sweet and savoury galettes. We’ll take one of each!


Come get Defloured at the Gluten Free Garage!

Rebecca Feigelsohn is a recent graduate of McGill University who now works as a freelance writer interested in food, culture and social justice. Visit her blog at to read about her gastronomic adventures.

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.