We started our meal off with some delicious warm olives. Olives are something I recently started acquiring a taste for as I often struggle with being Sodium Deficient. Because my diet is generally very clean, and I never add salt to my food outside of a recipe, I often struggle with enough salt intake. So Olives are the perfect thing and these are great. They were warmed, super garlicky, and full of flavour. Great appetizer for sharing over a glass of wine.
I was hoping to try the Gluten Free Arncaini as I saw the menu was posted online, but the Ajax location did not have them listed on the Vegan Menu and the server advised they were fried in the shared fryer. They sound delicious though! Totally would have gone for those as an appetizer.
For the Mains we got the Spaghetti Bolognese with Gluten Free Rotini. They use “Beyond Meat” Balognese, with their own homemade tomato sauce. It was really delicious, and me who isn’t a vegan even liked the pasta dish. Speaking texturally, if you didn’t tell me it was a Vegan sauce I would have no clue otherwise. It doesn’t have the same greasy flavour that beef does. For me though, currently trying to eat relatively clean where I can, it was a really great alternative. I would certainly order it again as it was hearty, and reminded me just like a normal Balognese pasta dish.
And of course, pizza. My one true love. The Asparagus E Mozzarella Pizza was fantastic. I’m not sure if there is a gluten free dough and a gluten gree vegan dough, or if they are one in the same. But this dough was a bit sweeter which I enjoyed. It held together very well and did not crumble. The vegan cheese was melty and stringy and had great flavour. The asparagus was cooked perfectly and added a bit of crunch on top of the most delicious sautéed onions ever. It was a pizza match made in heaven.
I rate this menu very high on the list. As always, Il Fornello has wonderful Cross Contamination processes for keeping it Celiac Safe. Always call ahead, always do your own questioning and remember to make your own choices. My review is my experience only my options.
Click here to see my first review of Il Fornello
As of Friday we are officially into the most wonderful season (In my opinion) Fall. Oh my, what is NOT to love about the beautiful Autumn colours, smells, activities, food, etc.
First thing that is a benefit for me is my pain levels are generally super manageable without Pain Medication in the fall. Something about the cool crips temperatures, and light layers required during the fall that make me feel wonderful. I always have minimal migraines during the Fall which is a huge relief.
Knowing this, I have decided to name this the “Season of Self Care”.
So what does that mean exactly? During the Fall I will be doing a major focus on Self Care and Self Love. This Summer was a really good time, but I was so busy every single weekend being super involved in the Community events that I don’t think I slowed down at all. Now I am deciding to make a conscious effort to take more time for me.
So stay tuned on the Blog & my social media pages… each day I’ll be talking about Self Care in some capacity, and showing you MY personal Self Care routines, and ideas. I’m hoping to do a lot more home cooking, baking, and refocusing a bit on Food posts for you guys. I’ve been getting a lot of emails and DM’s regarding my favourite Fall Foods. I’ll also be taking part in an amazing Body Positive campaign with my good friend, and fellow Body Positive Blogger Kayla Logan. She is making moves in this industry and I’m so excited to be a part of something so powerful.
I’ll be doing some travelling during this time for some relaxation away, spa visits (because we all know how important those are), as well as just my favourite things to do with Self Care.
I’ll be hosting a Friends-giving with my closest group of Girlfriends, ensuring I have a fully Organic, Gluten Free meal for my girls to enjoy! (And a lot of Wine, Cider and of course Glutenberg Beer.)
I hope you will follow along this new adventure with me, and I look forward to blogging along this time period to talk about the changes both mentally and physically I’m experiencing, and why it’s so important for Self Care. I’m hoping that by taking these next few months to really focus on my well-being, it will transition into a great 2019 and my 29th year of life will be an even better and positive one.
If you are someone interested in collaborating and being apart of my Season of Self Care please reach out to me via email email@example.com
Until next time,
**Photo Credit Yvonne Reindel Photography**
I stopped into Healthy Meats in Downtown Whitby yesterday, and was blessed to meet with Owner Paula!
Healthy Meats has actually been in Whitby for 16 years, although you may refer to it as one of its prior names. Healthy Meats is a local Organic Meat Shop that provides locally sourced, organic, antibiotic and hormone free meat to Durham Region residents.
Paula has a personal relationship with all of her farmers, and she takes the time to understand where the meat is coming from, how its sourced, etc. All the leg work is done for customers so you can trust buying your meat from here.
Healthy Meats carries so many products- Pork, Bison, Salmon, Fish, Lamb, Beef, and Chicken! They also bring in fresh local Organic Produce, local cheeses, eggs, sandwich meats, Turkeys, and a small selection of assorted Grocery Items.
For us Gluten Free peeps, all the meat is Gluten Free. Items like Sausages, or chicken, will be marked with a simple Green Dot to identify it as Gluten Free. They have a really simple, yet effective and trustworthy way to buy your meats.
Paula has so much knowledge beyond just Organic Meat. Immediately when we met, we connected. Not only is she very spiritual, but she also is very in tune with her body, and understanding optimal health goes beyond just eating food. I had an absolute blast visiting the store, it is a great place to get high quality, tasty, and local products. I absolutely love Supporting Local, as well as Canadian Made products so the shop is a beautiful and exciting place for me!
They take custom orders and can coordinate with the farmers to do so. Don't be thrown off by the fact the meat is frozen. As it is butchered, it is frozen immediately so the taste is truly like no other. The taste is so delicious, and I prefer my meat frozen as I only eat one meal at a time and even when I'm meal prepping I still don't always use all the meat I have purchased.
I was able to grab some Raw Dog Food for Rex- I have been feeding him Raw for a year and a half and he loves it! I find him to be much healthier now a days and his fur is extremely shiny, and he's full of energy!
Keep an eye on my social media pages, I'll be working alongside Healthy Meats to give you guys the scoop on deals, whats in stock, etc. I really look forward to embracing an entirely Organic Meat experience- it is very difficult to find Organic Beef around here so this is quite exciting for this Organic Nerd!
Any of my fellow migraine sufferers been struggling this week? I have. This entire week I’ve been battling a never ending migraine and I couldn’t figure out why. Yeah the weather has been terrible, which is really what I was blaming the migraine on. But then I read the news this morning and this evening we are expecting a Full Moon. A strawberry moon to be exact.
So how exactly does a Full Moon cause migraines? Well Scientists and doctors aren’t sure of why migraines can be triggered by the lunar cycle however a certain number of theories are floating around:
So what have I done this week to try and help this migraine? I say that, because how often do friends, family members, or even strangers decide to say “Hey have you tried this?” And all I can think is that I have tried virtually every drug, treatment, natural remedy, etc. At this point its just about acceptance, and making it work when I have one.
I hope you all can find some relief tonight if you have been suffering this week! Let me know how the moon affects you!
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS
This years Whitby Rib Fest has quite a few options for us! The Whitby Rib Fest is in its 7th year, and welcomes over 50,000 guests annually. A weekend packed with entertainment, amazing BBQ, wonderful marketplace vendors, as well as a midway experience for all ages!
Friday July 6, 2018 - 12pm to 11pm
Saturday July 7, 2018 - 11am to 11pm
Sunday July 8, 2018 - 11am to 7pm
Taking place over the weekend of July 6, 7, & 8, 2018 this event is sure to please people of all ages. The event is situation at Victoria Fields in Whitby, which is a great location for the Rib Fest. You have the beautiful views of the Marina & Yacht Club and all the beautiful boats that will be sure to be having a blast! The Rotary Club of Whitby Sunrise enlists over 100 volunteers to creaste this successful event. The Rotary Club of Whitby Sunrise provides support to local community projects as well as international initiatives. The work that they put into creating this event each year really shows and their community involvement is above and beyond!
So now for the food:
I have confirmed with The Whitby Ribfest that the following options are available,
- SocialLite Vodka drinks will be served (They are LOCAL! Whitby Based, and these drinks are naturally flavoured and have no sugar in them)
- Heavenly Dream has Ice Cream that is Gluten Free
- Ontario Corn has Corn & Yams
- Hawgs Gone Wild has GF Sauce - Still waiting to hear back on their sides! Will update If I hear from them
- The Hogfather’s has GF Sauce
- Silver Bullet ; Sauce is GF - Ribs, Chicken, Cole Slaw & Beans
So all in all we have quite a few options. As always, it is up to you to determine what is safe for you. As I am not able to confirm ahead of time their practises, I’m just going off of their confirmation. Before ordering ensure to ask the typical questions for your safety and make your own judgement. I will be live covering the entire event on Instagram (www.instagram.com/gfdurhamregion) so make sure to follow along with me throughout the days! I’ll be posting all my finds (safe/not safe) and any other finds I come across!
Today I went to test out the new Plant Based Vegan Menu that came out just last week at Il Fornello in Ajax, ON.
The Vegan Menu has tons of wonderful options, and they all seem to be Gluten Free. I was super excited and thrilled to be able to test it out, I know a lot of you are Vegan and so this was a great chance to check out some menu items!
I got the Sol Burger, with no bun. The Instagram page for Il Fornello announced that certain locations will carry Molly B’s Gluten Free buns which are Vegan, but the Ajax location did not have them. Lets hope they come in stock soon! The burger was delicious, and full of flavour. It was earthy, with a delicious onion flavour to it. I’ve had a few different Vegan burgers in my day and this one was on par with the ones available on the market currently. It was topped with caramelized onions, and avocado. Two of my favourite things. I will say the burger was tad dry, but I think thats because it came without the Roasted Red Pepper aioli on it either. I didn’t realize that until right now. I’m keeping in mind they have only had this menu for less than a week, so they’re still getting used to it!
Instead of the bun I just got the Avocado Cashew Caesar Salad. Unreal combination….Caesar salad’s are typically very creamy, but when you add avocado, and cashews to the mix it elevates it to another level. The creaminess, and crunch of the cashew was a perfect marriage. I ate the whole salad and probably would have gone back for seconds!
Other menu items include:
Spaghetti Bolognese, Fettuccine, and Asparagus Mozzarella Pizza. Any of these can be modified to be Gluten Free of course. There is also a Sorbet for dessert which sounds really delicious.
All in all I had a great lunch, and I’m really happy to see Il FOrnello branching out even further to create a Vegan Menu as there are so many Vegan & Gluten Free people. While I am not exclusively Vegan, I do try and make the Vegan choice when it suits, and do try and be considerate of those who are Vegans. Let me know your feedback once you are able to try the new Vegan Menu!
So earlier this week I had a man who lives in my building approach me. I was on my way to a doctor’s appointment so of course in a rush as always. He says Hello, and asks how I am. I say “I’m Good thank you, how about yourself?”. Instead of answering, he abruptly says to me “Why are you so skinny? Do you eat?” I’m always taken aback when I get this question. It is so incredibly invasive and personal. And I always wonder what sort of response someone is expecting from a question like that.
I’m constantly seeing “Fat Shaming” but I have to say… “Skinny Shaming” is just as real and prominent. In some cases, I feel like “Skinny” sized is worse in a way. Most people with a brain, and a heart won’t come right out and ask someone who is overweight “Do you over eat?” or “Do you have a medical issue that is affecting your weight?” — However, smaller people get asked some of the most invasive and hurtful things. I think it is especially hard because A) I do NOT have an eating disorder. But yet my whole life, it has been mentioned no matter how much I eat, or tell people food is NOT my issue. When dealing with inflammation and auto immune conditions, everyones body is different. This particular day I was feeling extremely run down, and had 3 doctors appointments so I was not really in the mood to give someone my thoughts on their opinion of my body size.
Guess what? As Roxy Earle says.. #MySizeRox - This campaign that Roxy has created with Le Chateau is beyond amazing and I love everything that she is encompassing. She is creating clothing for women of all sizes and I have so much respect for that. Everyone is beautiful, sexy, and wonderful in their own way. I can't wait to order some of her pieces because they are really changing the lives of many women and changing the game. Size Shaming is no more thanks to Roxy.
While I wish I could be a bit more muscular, and about 10 pounds heavier, I’m not. It probably won’t happen unless I get on a feeding tube, and that is the harsh reality. So instead, I try and embrace my size. I can fit in small spaces, my hands can pick up almost anything, and I can at times, buy teen clothes (hello money savings!). So it has its perks.
I just wish the stigma surround ANY Size went away. People really don’t consider how hurtful their words can be, and lately I have been struggling with everything overall with my health, so to have a stranger assume I don’t eat, and ask in such a rhetorical way; was overwhelming. What would they say if I told them Yes I do have an eating disorder. I’m certain they would have no response.
So bottom line is- just because someone is “skinny” (in your eyes) it doesn’t mean you need to comment on it. I promise if someone wants to bring it to your attention they will. Have kindness, have heart, and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. I politely told this man that I had was on my way to some doctors appointments and I appreciated his concern but I am working on my weight but I am as healthy as I can be, with no eating disorders. Kill ‘em with Kindness my friends..
Last weekend on Sunday, May 27, 2018 I attended my first ever Gluten Free Garage.
RonniLynn Pustil created the GFG 5 years ago after RonniLynn’s daughter Lily was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. After learning more about going GF, and discovering the limited options available many years ago, Gluten Free Garage was born. GFG is a gathering of some of the top Gluten Free products and companies on the market, along with some fresh food and cold drinks to try.
GFG18 was such a success. Along with raising over 185 Pounds of GF Food donations (Way to go GFREEWIFEY!!!), there was also a panel with some of the Top GF Influencers in GTA. These women were brought together to empower, enhance, and educate others on living the best GF life possible.
Seeing as how this was actually my first year to attend, it was overwhelming. The sun was shining and so beautiful. I got to meet all my fellow Gluten Free Girl Bosses (shoutout to Rachael- Glutenfreedom Inc, Ashley- Celiacandthe6ix, Aalia - Seriously Gluten Free, Jessica- GFreeWifey, & Rafia - EatwithRaf. These women have become some of my closest confidants over these past few months since I have launched my blog. They are always there to run ideas past, give words of support during tough times, and just laugh with over the silliest things. I have come to really appreciate all these ladies for their own individual qualities. We all bring something different to the GF Table, but together I tell you these women will change the world. They give me hope, support, and encouragement day after day.
GFG is really like walking into a big hug. I was so overwhelmed with happiness for so many reasons. To walk in somewhere, and for once not be the one that sticks out like a sore thumb, is amazing. RonniLynn puts in so much work to make GFG the best experience for Celiacs & Gluten Intolerant alike.
My highlight was certainly The Burger’s Priest. Their burgers with the Keto Buns are out of this world. I could probably eat it every single day if they were closer (hint hint Burger’s Priest- time to expand to Durham Region ;))
All in all it was a very wonderful day full of so much yummy eats and lots to take home. I hope my ticket winners enjoyed the day, and you can bet your last burger that I’ll be there every single year!
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what is safe to drink during the summer! There are actually A LOT more options than you may think. This list is specifically my go-to for drinks, so I'm not covering off every single option, just highlighting my personal preferences. Some are pre mixed drinks, and others are just straight up. Totally depends on what you like, and how you like it. The possibilities are endless.
With the Long Weekend upon us, and the weather finally seeming to take a turn for the better, I think it is finally safe to post this blog and let you know my favourites.
These are all available at the LCBO or Beer Store- I also order some through Grocery Gateway as I prefer to avoid the craziness of the stores and have everything delivered. Yes, Grocery Gateway delivers alcohol too. Bonus! If you’re looking to try GG out, comment below & I will email you a code for $10 off your first order.
Without further delay, please find my list below. Feel free to add your own suggestions as well I always love to learn from you guys!
There’s a few different pre-made cocktails in this line, my favourite is the Margarita. It’s refreshing, and perfectly blended. Be careful though, this drink hits me hard! Also I enjoy the Cosmo, and the white wine.
Social Lite Vodka
This company is AMAZING. Hailing right here from Whitby, ON these pre-mixed vodka drinks come in a few flavours and are reasonably priced and good for the waist line as well (to those who are looking for that). 4 pack averages $10, and are available at LCBO. The line has Pineapple Mango, Lime Ginger, Lemon Cucumber Mint, and my favourite; Grapefruit Pomelo. Only 80 calories per can, they are unsweetened and only use 100% natural flavours. Win win win!
I love a great Cider; Pommie’s is very refreshing and I love the variety of flavours. They launched a new Cranberry Cider and I’m totally in love with it! They are also a local company, made in Ontario.
I enjoy both the Blonde & IPA. I’ve been drinking Glutenberg for a long time, and even used it to make a Beer Can Chicken once (try it! seriously delicious) They use GMO free corn, and they are vegan. I like this company because they really go the extra mile. The cans they use are BPA free, and this company is certainly growing bigger every day!
Tito's Handmade Vodka
This Vodka is distilled from Corn, so naturally it is Gluten Free. They're Certified Gluten Free (in the States) by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) which is another added bonus. I use Tito's when I'm mixing my own drinks. I love a good Ceaser, and Tito's is my go-to for them.
This blog has been a long time coming. I have been avoiding it, if I’m being totally honest. I’m sure you have noticed the fact that I have not been posting much, and this has been a huge adjustment.
Let’s start with the back story— I started noticing changes in my body last May (2017). It first started with waking up with sausage fingers that wouldn’t bend and were painful. My knees and ankles started swelling when I would walk the dog, which is something I have always done frequently. I blamed it on the summer weather because for years, when it is hot and muggy, I’ve experienced swelling. This went on all summer, and eventually I started experiencing shortness of breath when walking down the stairs. I was going through extreme bouts of exhaustion. This wasn’t your typical “I had an intense workout” type of exhaustion. This was — I ran a half marathon and am completely depleted with nothing left to give. Fall asleep on the couch well before bedtime sort of exhaustion. I also was having burning in my joints and lots of night sweats. Sleep became impossible, and migraines were constant. I have always been a migraine sufferer, but in November, I had a migraine that lasted 13 days with zero relief, thats when I really new I was fighting something terrible in my body.
In December I went and saw my family doctor, who referred me to a Rheumatologist. I was also put on Lyrica to try and offset some of my symptoms. The Lyrica worked for about 6 weeks then became null and all the symptoms creeped back in, and worsened. Right around Christmas I truly hit a low and could barely get out of bed. It felt like a long two months waiting for February to see my new doctor.
I am now being treated for Rheumatoid Arthritis. It has been about 8 weeks, and as you have probably noticed, the past 8 weeks I have not been posting or active online. I have been really trying to sort through all these changes which has been a difficult journey. I think I have been trying to stay positive, but it has been a huge mental struggle. Every day having to pre plan every aspect has become overwhelming. Between appointments, work, trying to stay active, as well as get enough rest, its consuming. The medications are hard to adjust to. I had a terrible time coming off prednisone, and in the past month I have really hit a low.
There are so many things to read about and educate yourself on this new disease I have been battling. Scheduling life is more difficult, as I feel like anytime should be spent trying ways to feel better. Swimming, and walking the dog are my only real forms of activity. I’m trying to embrace them, and feel positive about it. Limitations are hard to accept, and when I’m 27 it feels just way too young for these types of major changes. Acupuncture, massage therapy, naturopath, physiotherapy are just a few things I have to explore on this journey. Its really a trial and error situation because everyone’s body is different, and everyone is at a different stage.
The mental strength I simply have not had. It is hard to not be down on yourself when some days grocery shopping can put you in bed for the next day. To have people wonder why you don’t physically look sick, but yet are in tears curled up in bed crying after a simple day of cleaning the house and a long dog walk. The bottom line is, that having a chronic illness is completely unpredictable, and trying to have your mind and body connect is very difficult. It has sent me to the deepest depths of sadness trying to accept it. Some days I just wonder what did I do? I used to be extremely physically fit, loved going to the gym and doing leg day and cardio. Now I simply could not dream of it. Now a comforting day is baking something nourishing, reading a book, and watching tv cozied up in bed. Understanding your body takes so much time, and then to accept it, is even harder. I have been trying to process everything on my own, and I realized I’m just not strong enough to do it now. I have explored the option of a pain counsellor which is definitely something I’m planning to take advantage of. Not letting the sadness and confusion consume me has been the hardest.
Slowly I am able to gather my thoughts, and move in a direction that serves me best. Each day I try and think of something new to improve my thoughts and energy. I know there will always be setbacks, but getting into a positive mindset with a productive movement is the only thing I know to do.