Monday 25 June 2012


I have had some questions about how I live in a house of a bunch of gluten eaters. I recognize that making the whole family eat Gluten Free would be easier for day to day life.  But I don’t think it would make things better in the long run.  

Co-existing is one of the most difficult things we humans do. Despite what I would like to think, my kids aren’t going to live with me their whole lives. They are going to have to navigate the world alone and that means learning how to function with other humans around. Who knows, they might have a roommate one day that eats only ginger snaps and guava juice and walks on one foot on Fridays. They are going to have to live with that. I would like to think that I am teaching them how to adapt and accept others for who they are. Also, I don’t want to spend 9 bucks on bread twice a week. BARF!

This is how we Co-exist so Mommy is safe:

1)      The kids know I have Celiacs – they understand what I in general can and cannot eat. They can be militant about this. Julia often points an accusatory finger at someone who is offering me food and demands “Is it Gluten Three?”

2)      I have two of everything – serving and cooking spoons, cutting boards etc etc – there is no wood allowed – only plastic

3)      MY items are red. Red means stop – don’t use my shit or I will kill you

4)      We wash everything in the sink with hot water then use the sanitizing cycle of the dishwasher every time – I KNOW this uses more water than a small Taiwanese village. I would apologize to the polar bears myself if I weren’t sure they would rip my head off.

5)      When I have a party or a dinner, I make everything… like everything. My friends have come to the conclusion that when I say “Bring nothing but wine” I’m not being coy or cute, I need you to not bring stuff and put it on my Gluten Free buffet for it to contaminate everything else.

6)      If someone brings a special treat for my husband (AKA butter tarts from Saskatchewan) they have to bring them in a container and they are put away for later or put on a side table away from the GF food.

7)      Most of the condiments in our house are GF – Soya sc, etc. I Use a squeeze bottle for everything that is at a risk of cross contamination (ex mayo)

8)      I have my own peanut butter and butter that no one else can use

9)      My pantry is labeled GF or NON GF items.

10)  We wash our hands A LOT and the kids are not allowed to share a water bottle with me

11)  Most of the kids gluteny snacks are pre-pkged (aka goldfish in the little bags)

12)  Meals I make for the family are GF  - I don't make two meals

That’s pretty much it really and it’s all become a part of our lives – how we co-exist. We have involved the kids in my safety and by doing so, teach them so much more.

Family isn’t about control and judgement, it's about having a place where you feel important. It isn’t about getting your own way and bending others to your will. Our children learn so many things from us, how to compromise is one of them. I have always wanted to make sure that my kids understand that our home is a safe place to be, that nothing bad will ever happen to them here.

Trev and I provide that safety for them and I think it’s only fair that they return the favor.   

And that's how we live...

Friday 22 June 2012

Shame On You!

Have you ever felt like you missed a train that you didn’t even know you were supposed to be on?  Have you ever felt so completely out of the loop that you don’t even know who is in the loop? Have you ever sat with a group of friends and realized that there was a wicked party that you were not invited too? This is how I felt yesterday and to be honest, I blame all of you!

 There is an Amaranth in South Calgary… I know right? Who knew? I have a sneaking suspicion that SOMEBODY knew and (not to point fingers here but) I think some of YOU people (and by 'people' I mean assholes) knew. I think you ALL knew and didn’t tell me. Hurtful…

 It was the youngest spawn’s birthday this week and so she got to pick where we went for dinner. Well, I told her she could pick where we went for dinner but really what I was thinking was ‘Momma isn’t cooking tonight and in exchange, I will make you a stupid theme cake from scratch for your party on Saturday.’

 Julia wants to go to Montana’s because at six, the bigger deal you can make out of her birthday the better. Montana’s makes a BIG fucking deal out of your birthday. Seriously, the wisemen were more slack about baby Jesus being born. They haul out this GIANT helmet with horns on it and they all scream and sing and carry on with clapping and hollering and Julia was BESIDE herself with glee at this.
I do not wish to discuss how many people have worn this thing
 As a side note – I have mentioned this before but Celiacs can eat at Montana’s, you can basically have the chicken or the ribs but if you make it clear that you have Celiacs, they handle it very well. The manger comes over and chats with you too which always helps. I have never been poisoned there.

So we do the helmet and the yelling and because it is kid’s night, there is a guy making wicked ass balloon characters. Julia of course feels that we ordered this person for her and, because we are shitty parents, we didn’t correct her. Let the girl think she’s a Kardashian for a minute. Why burst the bubble? 
Does my kid ask for a dog or a butterfly? HELL NO! My spawn wants a PIG balloon becuase THAT''S normal.

 So dinner was good and we go to leave and I see it, shining in the distance AMARANTH HEALTH AND WELLNESS. I knew that there was an AMARANTH in the far north of our city but I had NO idea that there were two in Calgary.

 I ignore the protests of the children and force Trev to pull in. He immediately warns me that Amaranth might be closed. I yelled “Don’t jinx it!” as I started to jump up and down in my seat. He rolled his eyes, (he doesn’t think I saw him but he totally rolled his eyes) as he pulled in. I dive out of the car and saw on the sign that Amaranth closed at 8. Eagerly, I checked my watch to see that it was 7:59pm. Completely disregarding politeness, I leapt for the door. Should I have come back another day? Yup. But I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I just HAD to see what was in there.  Again, this is your entire fault for not telling me about this place before.

In my defense, I only went in to find People Food Perogies (which are God’s gift to Celiacs) but they had SO much more. They had everything from vitamins, to body care products to cereals and bread all Gluten Free and made for me. I was literally a kid in a candy store.

 The lady working could not have been more pleasant about our late visit. You would not know that we walked in thirty seconds before closing and if she thought I was an asshole, she didn’t let me know it! She even walked me through the store and helped me find some Quinoa.

(SIDE RAGE – the word Quinoa is pronounced “Keen- wa” NOT “Kwin – NO – wa”. Please pass this around because I might start to slaughter people if I hear it said incorrectly again).

 She acted like she had ALL the time in the world to let me look around. Bless her. And so I just kept looking.

Finally, I was looking at some yummy GF cookies when Trev caught my eye and silently mouthed the words, “You are being a fucking asshole.”  Once again, Trev wins the “Voice of Reason Award”. I finally dragged my sorry ass out the door with a promise that I would be back, certainly at an appropriate hour. 

Even though I suspect that you all knew AMARANTH was there and have had parties there and purposefully didn’t invite me, I forgive you. I can’t say that I blame you really because since finding AMARANTH in the south, I hence forth claim it as mine. Stick a “Freaking Celiac” flag in its front, because now I am in the loop, on the train and invited to the party. Go visit AMARANTH in South Calgary, but don’t be the asshole I am and go at closing.

PS – I can’t even tell you how awesome ‘A Freaking Celiac Flag’ would be. Someone get on that please…stat.

Monday 18 June 2012


It’s really amazing how much you hear when you shut the hell up. I don’t know if it is apparent in this blog but I am a bit of a talker. And by ‘bit’ I mean, if someone in a room is talking, it’s me. I can make conversation in an elevator or a funeral. I once met a lady when I got called for jury duty, we chatted through the whole thing, didn’t get picked and went for lunch. I can talk, to almost anybody, about almost anything.

 I don’t know why this is. Maybe it’s because I am the youngest of four equally vibrant siblings and when we were kids it was often like Lord of the Flies.  Some kids fight for toys, we would fight for the conch shell of attention. It’s not that I don’t like silence, I do, a lot. I feel though, that we humans were made with the gift of speech for a reason, use it or lose it I say. Every once in a while though, I  shut the fuck up and listen. It can really pay off.

Case in point –  I attended a Gluten Free Workshop put on by the Gluten Free Advisor, Karen Renaud. The workshop required very little talking on my part and it allowed me to learn a few things that I didn’t know before. If you don’t know who Karen is, you kinda should. Here is a link to her website Gluten Free Workshops. She is the former Calgary Celiac Association Chapter Co-ordinator and quite the expert on all things Gluten Free. 

Overall, the workshop was very informative. Karen also had a table of GF items that she uses and the Gluten Free General Store was there as well. You all know how much I love the Gluten Free General Store The Gluten Free General Store.  Also, Karen went around the room and some people shared their diagnosis story. That part was kind of cool too. I heard some stories that were similar to mine but some that were totally different. Again, I was not talking so I could take this all in.

I learnt a great deal – here is a list of how much smarter I am now. These are taken from my notes.

-          Your small intestine is 3 times your height in length (ewwwww)

-          It takes 3 to 6 months for villi to grow back after being damaged

-          One crumb of gluten can cause one inch of damage to your intestine

-          You should do a blood test every year to determine if you are getting glutened by accident – lipstick, cross contamination, stupid people

-          Xanthum Gum is better for breads than Guar Gum

-          Kinnikinik will ship anywhere UPS – if you are going on Vacay, they will make sure there is a package at your hotel for you when you arrive - GENIUS- Kinnikinnick Foods

-          Chapman’s Frozen yogurt is Gluten Free (YIPEE)

-          Dr. Alessio Fasano is one of the foremost experts on Celiac’s – one of his presentations can be found here.

-          The requirement for the designation of GF in the United States is very different from the requirements for Canada. – Canada says that an item has to have LESS than 20 parts per million of Gluten in order for it to be determined Gluten Free. In the United States, it is MUCH higher at 200 parts per million

-           After that, I wrote the word “Lemon Grass” but I have no idea why

-       I also drew a picture of a duck with a balloon, I doubt they meant anything.

 I highly recommend one of Karen’s Workshops if you can. Shut the hell up for a minute and you might learn something…just like I did, then go make a new friend in the elevator....just like I did.