Monday 21 December 2015

The 2015 Christmas Post

It's time for my Christmas post. A lot of people think that my Christmas posts don't have enough to do with having Celiacs because I don't usually mention it as much.

Shockingly, I disagree.

I firmly believe that what ever powers that be, gave me Celiacs for a reason. Before being diagnosed, I was on a long and exhausting path of spending my life entrenched only in the contentment and approval, of others. I used to lay awake at night, worried and fretful that Christmas (or any other major or minor event in my life) wouldn't turn 'out'. That it wouldn't be perfect and therefore, be a complete and utter fail and THAT made ME a complete and utter fail. It was fucking exhausting. You see, too many of us are far too wrapped up in the fact that what we produce, is who we are, and how people will judge us, as people, as mothers, as fathers. It's a horrible way to live. 

Celiacs changed that.

Celiacs forced me to think about myself. Not every day, not all the time, but certainly, far more than I was before the diagnosis. I am forced to consider myself and my happiness to be more important than the other crap that floats around my life. I have to come first sometimes. And that, dear reader, was my biggest lesson of all. 

From that lesson I have learned what is important, and vital for a Christmas season to not leave me resentful and exhausted. 

Here is what IS NOT important at Christmas:

1) Matching glassware - if it holds booze, use it. Including any 'sippy-cups' that you can wrestle away from your toddlers.  Fill them with Jagermeister.

2) Symmetrical decorations that are re-purchased in the newest fashion each year - the more crap that your kids made on the tree is a barometer to your inner peace

3) What the neighbors are doing with their lights or what ever bullshit inflatables that litter their lawns - suck it Jones' ....suuuuuuck it.

4) Spending more than anyone else on gifts for your kids - stop competing, Trump will always win. 

5) Your children looking and acting perfectly - they aren't supposed to....they are CHILDREN. Let them wear their jammies to Christmas dinner or a fish hat or nothing at all. It's the ONE day they set the schedule...give them that.

6) Anything on Pintrest involving a speed set camera - it's the seventh circle of Hell. Avoid. 

7) Anything else you don't want to do - stop doing things you don't want to do. Stop. Now. The world will keep spinning.

My tree currently has no less than two strings of burnt out lights. There are entire black holes on the fucking thing. You know what? I looked at it, I took a deep breath, and I thought of Mary. 

Mary, as I say every year, gave birth in a barn. A fucking barn, with cows and pigs and goats nibbling at her toes while she is trying to push out a baby. The most iconic mother in modern history, didn't have perfection, far from it, and she was happy. She pushed out a baby in the dead of night, with no one around, surrounded by stinky cattle, and she was happy. 

So, you see, the lights aren't supposed to matter. The money you spend is worthless, the fretting and the ironing and the fussing, doesn't all. 

You matter...

Mary put herself first. She knew it was her time, hopped a squat and took care of business and she never once, cared what anyone thought of her outfit or whether or not the baby cried too much or shit up the back of his diaper. 

So don't, just don't. Don't fret, don't panic and worry and stay up all night making anything 'perfect'. Because it won't be perfect, it will never be perfect. Let it go. Relax, breathe, enjoy your children and your spouse and your friends. Enjoy Christmas. 

Put yourself first and have the Christmas you want to have. Because at the end of the day, that's what Mary did, and that's what I am going to do. 

From My Heart to Yours,

Have a drunken, laughing, belly filled, hug exhaustive, holiday. May it be as imperfect as mine and just as happy.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Do's and Don'ts of Hosting a Celiac

This is an artistic rendition of my colon after last Christmas Season.

'Tis the season for entertaining. Brace yourself for the onslaught of family and friends piling through your doorway. Some of those people might have Celiacs. Remain calm. There is no reason to not invite someone because they have a pain the ass disease. See what I did there? I'm funny. I have also not been invited to things because the host didn't want to have to feed me. It kind of hurt my feelings, so I lit their house on fire. 

My Grandma Theresa always said that if she came to see your house and eat your food, she would have come when you weren't home. 

That's the way it is with Celiacs. We come to your home to see YOU, not to eat. Maybe we come to drink, that's true but mainly we come to hang out with you so don't get too hung up on feeding us. Chances are, we have already eaten. However, if you want to feed us, here are some DO's and DON'Ts of hosting a Celiac in your home.

Do - Clean everything that will touch their food. A dishwashing sanitizing cycle works well. 

Don't - Assume that your drying towels or dish cloths are clean enough. Remember that sandwich you made yesterday? Remember you wiped your counter with that cloth? That cloth you are about the wash a Celiac's dish with? See where I'm going? Yeah. Paper towel. Wasteful? Yes. Clean? Indeed.

Do - check the ingredients of every single thing you are putting together. 

Don't - Call the Celiac with every single ingredient. This will make them feel like they are causing too much trouble. Just Google it, that's what your friend with Celiac's will do anyway.

Do - Keep it simple. A plate of gluten free crackers and cheese is just fine. Don't get all fancy and try to make a gluten free angel food cake when you have never made a cake in your life. It will look and taste like shit and your poor Celiac friend will have to eat it anyway. Thanks for nothing.

Don't - Put their food on the same table as the glutened food. Put it to the side. Don't make a big deal, just make it less likely that some drunk asshole will sprinkle bread crumbs all over the cheese while yelling, 'PIXIE DUST TIME'. This has literally happened to me.

Do - Make their food first and have them eat first. This cuts down on cross contamination. 

Don't - Make a big production of any steps you are taking for your guest. There is nothing more uncomfortable than someone doing something nice for you and then repeatedly telling you how nice they are. It takes away a lot of the niceness. Do it to be kind, don't do it for a pat on the back. Remember, Celiacs live like this so you making one meal with the precautions they take all the time, and expecting a trophy, is kind of an asshole move. 

Do - Know that your Celiac friend does not expect anything from you, except to enjoy your company. They didn't come for the food. Celiac's have learned to not go anywhere for the food. They came to laugh and drink and have fun with you. 

Don't - Assume that they will tell you if they get sick. Here's a secret, I have gotten sick at lots of friends homes. Friends who have taken precautions. They will never, ever, know. Why? Because it's fucking rude to tell them that's why! Jesus, you are such an asshole sometimes. I know I could get sick anywhere, I know I sometimes make myself sick. It's a risk all Celiac's take. If a Celiac tells you that they got sick at your house, tell them I say they are a douchebag and then punch them.

Just like my Grandma, I don't go to your house for your food. I go to see you and laugh with you and hug your children. I go because I love you.

And to drink your wine, I mainly come to your house to drink your wine.

Saturday 28 November 2015

Just Cheat

"Just cheat, take the risk."

I've heard this hundreds of times since being diagnosed with Celiacs and I'm so sick of it, I feel like grabbing a bat and smashing the person's car up. 

There are several problems with this statement and making it to a Celiac, let's go through them in a vulgarity laced tirade shall we?

Number one, fuck you. How dare you tell me what to do with my body. How dare you shrug at my disease like it is nothing but an inconvenience. This isn't like having a glass of  wine while on antibiotics or a mini chocolate bar while you are trying to lose weight so you fit into a tube top. It's not a God damn option so stop suggesting that it is. Stop implying that I have a choice in the matter. Your tone is both dismissive and insulting. Let me switch it up on you. 

You: "Oh, I can't eat that peanut butter, I'm allergic."

Me: shrugs while looking at a TV guide from 1981, "You could cheat."

You: "Well, then my tongue would swell up and I would have to take an epi pen shot."

Me: "But it's PEANUT BUTTER. It's the best thing in the world."

You: "Well, it's really serious."

Me: Shrugs again while shoving handfuls of peanut butter in my mouth. "I know people who don't even think your condition is a real thing anyway."

You consider buying a gun.

See where I'm going here? Feel like an asshole? You should.

Number Two. It's not worth it. It really isn't, and this is coming from a serious bread addict. I love bread. I adore it. The whiter, the more gluteney, the better. I miss croissants and sourdough and baguettes and donuts and eclairs. I jones for them like heroin addicts jones for a hit twenty years after their last hit. THIS is how much I love gluten so I assure you, if it was even remotely worth cheating, I would do it without your shittily timed suggestion. If I eat a minute amount of gluten, I get sick. Really really really sick. Have you ever had stomach poisoning? You ate some bad sushi or didn't know that the chicken shouldn't be pink? Remember that feeling like you wanted to die? Yeah. That's it. Right there. That's how it feels to be glutened. So, think about it. Would you choose to feel like that? For anything? Me neither.

Number Three. The damage is long term. The chances of me dying from colon cancer are three times higher than they are for you. The more gluten I eat, the bigger the chances of that happening. So, it's not worth it. If you don't think that colon cancer is a big deal, you are more than welcome to goggle image it. Go on, I'll wait...... You're back? Did you like that? Colons that looking like they are some distressed alien planet? That doesn't look painful at all does it? Does it look like something you would be willing to cheat for? Is there a Twinkie out there that is delicious enough for you to get that? Think about it. Then shut up.

So stop. Don't tell a Celiac that they can cheat. don't shrug at our disease like it's a choice. Don't treat us like we are being silly or overly cautious. 

We can't eat gluten, any more than you can eat drain cleaner. It's poison. 

Get it? Any questions?

Monday 12 October 2015

This Is Where You Belong. So Be Thankful Dammit.

Can Turkey's Fly? Can they?

It's time for the Thanksgiving post. I know, I know, I haven't posted in what seems like forever and for that I am sorry. We have moved back to Calgary and if you haven't seen how much I have to drink during moves, check out that post HERE so getting a blog post in was a little rough. We are settled back in our Calgary home, the kids back in their school, me and hubby back at work so that took some doing and wine.

We talk a lot about being grateful on Thanksgiving and that's awesome. However, if you are only grateful on this one day, I have to tell you, you are doing life wrong. I think that the secret to getting good stuff to happen to you is to be grateful for the things you already have, as meager as those things seem. 

I know, it's hard to count your blessings when you are in the dredges of life. It's frustrating to see someone else being handed everything that you have to work hard for. I know it feels impossible to be grateful when you watch some rich old dude on tv win 30 kajillion dollars in the lotto that he played ONCE  and let's be honest, he's going to be dead by Thursday. You shake your head and say, 'where's my lottery? When it is my turn?'

Hot damn you are right. You are totally right. You deserve better, we all do. But try to imagine, for one second, someone who doesn't have what you have. And not in a 'there are starving children in Africa', although, there ARE starving children in Africa and I think we should totally take care of that. My solution is to tell the Kardashian's that feeding starving people is the new 'it' thing for fall and it will make their asses bigger. 

No, think of what your life would be like without the things that make it great. What if you had no job (as shitty as your job feels like sometimes), no friends (like NONE), no children (imagine this when they are playing nicely or hugging you, not when they are rolling their eyes at you), what if you didn't have your home, your couch, your socks, your cheese (dear lord what would we do without cheese), or be able to walk or talk or dance. What would that feel like? Honestly, think about it. 

You win the lottery every single day that you open your eyes and have a new opportunity to be grateful. You won my friend. This is your day, throw your hands in the air and fist pump in victory. You win. You are exactly where you are supposed to be in this place, on this day, with these people. 

This is where you belong. So be thankful dammit. 

Am I grateful that I have Celiacs? That's something I struggle with. I am thankful for being healthy and happy and eating well which fuels my body and allows it to thrive. Would it be easier if I could just make a normal pie crust? Yup. Is life about easy? Nope. So I am grateful that we can afford the gluten free flour to make the crust. I am grateful that mashed potatoes and turkey are naturally gluten free. I'm grateful that without Celiacs, I would not have started this blog and through the course of it, become a published author. These are good things and that is what I focus on.

And I get to spend my day, cooking and laughing with my favorite people in the world. 

That is what I consider a win. 

Find something to be grateful for, every single day, not just today. Today, try to ignore your Celiacs and be grateful for everything else. 

My thanksgiving feast :

A smoked turkey (thanks to the hubby and his monster smoker for that)
Udi's stuffing recipe Recipe HERE
Roasted Carrots and Beets Recipe HERE
Mashed Potatoes (call your grandma)
Green Beans Recipe HERE
Gravy Courtesy of Club House Gluten Free Gravy Mix
Pumpkin Pie Recipe HERE - I used President's Choice GF Flour
Homemade Whipped Cream (literally whip some cream with sugar - buy that canned stuff and I will hunt you down.)

Saturday 5 September 2015


There are new GF products hitting the shelves every day and it's hard to keep up. Now, I am in Canada so there are many products that I don't get yet. Fuck You  NAFTA. 

I've tried a few new items in the last few months, check them out below. 

My new favorite GF item. These corn tortillas are awesome. I use them in place of bread or buns. They need to be heated up though. I just put them in a frying pan for a minute but I'm sure you could nuke them.

Let me make it very clear that I love UDI's Products. I love their bread and bagels and their buns are kick ass. But this? This is gross. Full on, gross. The ends are super gummy, the filling is bland and lacking texture. I don't know if I would ever, ever eat one of these again. I don't know if I would eat it if the world got taken over by mutant zombies and I was running for my life. They are really that gross. UDIs needs to do better because they are better.

Chex are awesome. It's great to get a cereal that you can eat by the barrel full and not have to mortgage your house to do so. I love Chex and the Cinnamon flavor is pretty good. My personal favorite Chex flavor is CORN though which ironically, is not included on the GF list. Weird right? Get on that Chex....I mean it.


I despise figs. I don't understand why anyone likes figs. It's not crunchy like a fruit or soft like a butter, it's like paste. Weird brown paste that looks and smells like Mother Natures ass. Fig cookies always remind me of visiting my Great Aunt Marion and how it smelt like moth balls and scotch. I don't like fig bars. That being said....these are good...if you like figs which means you have no soul.....just saying. 

I love my Robin Hood flour and you should too. Replace cup for cup and add a bit of Guar Gum to any baking. It's awesome. No one can tell the difference. Thank you Robin Hood. 

Tuesday 21 July 2015


Stop everything you are doing. Stop it. I don't care if you are in the middle of micro surgery or driving a wrecking ball. Stop.

This is a game changer.

Not that Celiacs is a game, it's not. If it is a game, it's a really shitty one designed by those Mayans who invented that demented version of soccer where the losers get hung up by their balls and get their skin flayed off, or whatever.

Celiacs is a game no one wins at. UNTIL NOW....

A scientist in Alberta (where I live btw, you're fucking welcome) has developed a pill that allows Celiacs to eat gluten. Yeah. That's right. It's a thing.

I will pause here for you to read the ARTICLE and then jump around a bit, drink a bottle of champagne, cha cha with a homeless dude, call everyone you have ever known and do the Ne Ne for a while.

You all good? Excellent. Let's move on.

This is the perfect solution to our problems. Celiacs have always said that we aren't sure if we would take a full cure for Celiacs. We don't necessarily think that gluten, even if we could eat it, is a great thing to eat. There is lots of debate about the place of gluten in a balanced diet and each person can make up their own mind about it.

However, for Celiacs a lot of the things that we want to eat and can't, are usually the things that are kind of shitty for you. Which is why we wouldn't necessarily need to be able to eat gluten items everyday but to be able to eat it every once in a while? Oh dear lord in heaven above, that would change my life.

Literally, change my life. Like, you know how having children or learning to walk or robbing that Chicken on the Way store totally changed your life? That's how much this is going to change my life.

Times that a two hour break from my Celiacs would be more than welcome.

- In Mexico when the delightful waiter smiles a lot but shrugs when I say the word 'gluten'

- Travelling...anywhere really. Road trips, long shopping days, running from the Terminator, you know, standard stuff.

- 3 am....drunk

- 3 pm....drunk

- Parties. I hate saying no to birthday cake. It feels like I am putting a bad omen on people. I refuse to eat the thing that symbolizes your happiness for the next year. People are also really pushy about the cake. I don't know why. Everyone offers you the cake, even people who have nothing to do with the actual party. Other guests will constantly be pushing a floppy plate with a six pound sugar brick toward me until I leave. It's weird. It would be nice to eat the cake.

- When I get hangry. For those of you who don't know, hangry is a mix between hungry and angry and it happens when you are past the point of logic for eating. This spirals into a possible terrorist incident when everyone else is eating a deep dish pizza and I am sipping water. I call this, 'Def Com 4 HANGRY' and is not fucking pretty.

- OR anytime really. That's the beauty of this. It would be so great to be out with people that I don't know and NOT have to discuss my intestines. That.Would.Be.Amazing.

The discussion then turns to cost. Everyone hates big pharma. Go ahead and hate them, but if they make my Celiac pill over the counter? They are my favorite people. The over the counter thing is important because it makes it more affordable and accessible to everyone. Celiacs is expensive enough, don't make it worse. That being said, I would pay a lot for one of these buggers. Like a lot. I don't know really what that means or where I would stop but it would be a stupid amount. Why? Because it's paying for peace of mind as much as it is paying for me to go gluten crazy. I would pay a lot for peace of mind.

But let's not go all Donald Trump on this thing. Let's try to be inclusive okay Big Pharma?

So of course, I have started my wish list, of course. I don't think I would eat this all on the same pill but it is certainly a starting point!

FOOD I WOULD EAT IF I HAD A CONJUGAL VISIT WITH GLUTEN (keeping in mind that they would taste like shit because most of them are shit. I don't care, I would still want them. It's the principle of the thing).

- A deep dish pizza (yup, the whole thing. Reach for a piece and you will come back with a bloody stump)
- French Bread (the entire loaf and a bucket of butter please)
- Croissants (all warmed up and flaky....mmmmm)
- A Big Mac (I know, I know, shut up)
- Fried Chicken (not necessarily KFC but close)
- Fried Onion Rings
- Anything at a diner really (doused in gravy)
- A Sub (loaded, soft, stretchy bun)
- A S'more (or fifty)
- My Aunt Val's cream puffs
- My Aunt Barb's Nanaimo bars
- My Friend Natasha's butter tarts
- Naan Bread
- Bread on SALE (take that capitalism)
- Breaded wings
- Chinese noodles
- Kraft Dinner
- Something from a vending machine

And.... ANYTHING I want at a restaurant.....ANYTHING! I can have anything I want and not have to have a lengthy discussion with the server and give them an IQ test before they take my order. It wouldn't matter if he/she got it wrong. There would be no consequences for a kitchen mistake. I could go into a restaurant full of blind zebras making my food and no matter what....I could eat there and I would not suffer any consequences other than a zebra hair in my dinner. This thought is dizzying to me.

To be honest, I got a little weepy when I read the article. It's a game changer bitches. So when you lay your heads down at night, say a little prayer to whoever you think is looking out for you that this actually comes into play.

I know I will.

Now, go make your lists of what you are going to eat and let me know what is on them so I can add them to mine.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Are You There Wine? It's Me, Potato. My Trip to PEI.

We are still in Atlantic Canada and I'm sure Atlantic Canada is thrilled with that.

We recently visited Prince Edward Island for the weekend. As we have discussed before, I'm not afraid to travel, well, I'm terrified but I never give up on something that scares me. Never.

The best things in life are those things that scare you the most.

 Celiacs is something that I have, it doesn't have me. Nothing decides my life for me, least of all a selfish bitch like Celiacs. So, I went to PEI because no one is going to do it for me.

Prince Edward Island is the smallest province in Canada. It's so teeny tiny that you can drive from tip to tip in about 4 hours. It is just about the most beautiful place in the world, which is why it has changed hands so often. PEI was originally (like everything else) the home of the native Canadians who believed that the Great Spirit placed the red clay in the ocean in the shape of a crescent.

What a beautiful thought. Hey, let's ruin it.

The French then took it over and the British took it over from the French. At one point, the Americans tried to take it over during the revolution. Finally, like the Kardashian Clan they are, the British Monarchy named it Prince Edward Island after the Duke of Kent's son, Edward.

Daddy loves me so much he took over an Island and named it after me. #Blessed #BitchesLoveTheIsland #Balling

The most famous city in PEI is Charlottetown where the Canadian Confederation was signed in 1864. It's all very historical and pretty and lovely.

Is PEI Celiac friendly?

In a word? Yes.

Mainly because it grows the best potatoes in the world and has gorgeous wine to go with it so I was a happy Celiac for most of the time.

We are not a family that can just figure things out as we go. I wish we could but because of my Celiacs I have to plan ahead. I am a spontaneous gal (read, spastic) and like it when things feel organic and magical but my Celiacs determines that planning ahead has to happen. If not, I will spend all vacations either sick or starving. In order to balance out the two sides of myself, I make a list.

I research every single Gluten Free option in a 50 Kilometre radius of where we are going. I either save them on my phone or write them out and keep it with maps and travel paperwork. This list includes, every restaurant or bakery that lists itself as gluten free, every chain restaurant that I know I can eat at from experience (although, I hate eating at chain restaurants while we are travelling, seems like a waste), every grocery store that in a pinch can provide me with a frozen gluten free meal and finally, the most risky option, the restaurants that I think I could probably eat at but they don't list themselves as gluten aware.

That way, we can wander and feel aimless while I still have options to eat.

I, of course, had to bring a cooler full of boiled eggs, GF pepperoni sticks and gluten free crackers in case there was nothing I could eat, anywhere. This is the worst case scenario. There is nothing quite so pathetic as biting into a cold, old, hard boiled egg while your family eats hot dogs and ice cream cones. I always feel like Charlie Brown when he has that sad rain cloud over his head.

I have a sad food cloud.

It's better than getting sick I guess.

So armed with my list, we set out for PEI and were amazed by the beauty of the Island but overall weren't too dazzled with the people. We went at the end of June and were continuously faced with locked doors and closed signs with the explanation that 'it wasn't the tourist season'. I found this to be a very bizarre policy. Here I am, a tourist, with money to spend and I was informed that it wasn't my time to show up.

How about if I decide when I want to show up because I 'm the tourist? How bout that?

Still, we saw most of the Island and all the important parts including the areas where Lucy Maude Montgomery was born and did most of her writing. Don't know who LM Montogomery is? She wrote Anne of Green Gables. Don't know who Anne of Green Gables is?  Don't admit that in public, especially in Canada. Google it. Don't ask anyone because you will lose all their respect. Look it up now because I am going to mention it again in this post and I'm going to get pissed off if you keep asking stupid questions. Go, google it. I'l wait....

You back? Excellent. Let's move on.

We went to the wax museum where everyone from Princess Diana to Michael Jordan just looked like different versions of Nick Noltle. The kids loved it though. We also saw the Ripley's Museum which was far more impressive than I expected. We also went to Sandspit Amusement Park which has a wicked fun roller coaster.

We saw the gorgeous red shores, blue water and vibrantly green grass. Basically, PEI is shockingly beautiful. It's so gorgeous that you expect Peter Pan or a Hobbit to walk past you at any moment. You have to see it, you just have to.

Where did I eat? Here's the list.

1) The Rodd Charlottetown Hotel- This is where we stayed and I loved it! Loved! It's an older hotel with all the charm of the set of Downton Abbey. Gorgeous views, right in the middle of downtown and amazing staff. I had breakfast there and the staff had no problem with my special order. They offered Gluten Free toast but I wasn't in the mood. We really enjoyed the lounge with the bartender Kim and oh look, wine.

2) The Dundee Arms Inn- This is an Inn right beside ours. It looked like a really cute place to stay too. We ate dinner there the first night and man was it great. I had The Island Potato Bruschetta.
This dish was crazy good. It was like an elevated potato skin. Delish. Loved it. Great service too. Wine list was extensive and not overly priced. Had two glasses, they were large and in liquid form.

3) Fishbones - Located on Victoria Row the pedestrian walkway in Charlottetown that is filled with bars and restaurants. They were playing live music and we had to wait for the patio which was worth the wait. It was my favourite meal in Charlottetown. I had the Lobster Risotto and it was amazing. Service was good. Another great wine list, a little pricier than the other places in town. The only weird thing was that the live music stopped at 8pm. The patios are full, people are milling about and enjoying the only warm night of the week and the city pulled the last performer off the stage. It was strange. Like we had all been bad at a kids party and the clown was refusing to work under these conditions.

4) Shaddy's Restaurant - Located in Charlottetown. Had this place on my list as a huge hopeful for a great family meal. We didn't even walk in. The windows were dark, the sign was falling off, there was vomit on the sidewalk outside and the door handle was sticky. Ewwwww. This is where I pulled out my list and got to work finding an alternative. We ended up at Fishbones and were happy with the change.

5) Fisherman's Wharf Lobster Suppers - Located in North Rustico. Lobster Suppers are the best thing ever. It's like all you can eat, only with mussels and lobster. They all feel a little touristy but they are awesome. I had lobster and, of course, wine....shocker.

6) Reds Corner Restaurant - Located in Montague (the town names are awesome) PEI along the coastal highway drive. We stumbled upon it on Trip Advisor and could not have been happier. I, again, had a baked potato and a Greek Salad. They were great. Our server Stan seemed to have a great understanding of Celiacs and did a great job taking care of the whole family. A must stop on the way to the Wood Island Ferry.

7) Red Island Baked Potato - Left the best for last here. I can't tell you how much I loved this place. It is tucked away in Avonlea Village in Cavendish. (Avonlea is the small town near Green Gables where Anne (with an E) lived in the book written by Lucy Maude Montgomery who know what? Fuck it. If you haven't Googled it by now, you suck. )

Refocus - Red Island Baked Potato is a gem of a place tucked in this little touristy boardwalk village. I stopped there because they had a sign out front that said they had Gluten Free Options. I would encourage all places to have a little sign out front to advertise gluten free options. I'm not going to go into every single restaurant I see to ask you. I'm either too lazy or drunk so just put up a sign okay?

Red Island Baked Potato sells just that, Baked Potatoes with a kick and a side of love. It is run by Lucie and Mark who were the only Islanders who didn't berate us for having the audacity to show up three days before tourist season. They welcomed us with open arms and told me all about the menu and the gluten free options. Everything looked fantastic but I settled in on "The Islander" a baked potato with all the fixings and a side of slaw and pickle.

I got to eat this....I'm not kidding. I got to EAT this instead of eating my sad food.

If you are going to PEI and you go to see the Anne of Green Gables stuff (again, google it) you simply MUST stop here. Great food, great people and one happy Celiac.

So overall, PEI offered up some solid Gluten Free options. Don't be afraid to add it to your bucket list. In fact, I insist upon it. Make a list, take a deep breath and hope for the best.

Celiacs doesn't mean you can't be you anymore. It means you just have to make a list now and then. It means you have to take a calculated chance once in a while. It means you can't be as spontaneous as Anne and Diana when walking past the Lake of Shining Waters (for fuck sakes look it up!)

 Celiacs also means that you might just find gorgeous food, made by wonderful people on the prettiest island in the world, even if it was named after a spoiled little prince.

Go be a Celiac in PEI....I dare you.

Friday 20 March 2015




Monday 16 March 2015

Celiacs Know Things That You Don't....

Celiacs aren't geniuses. Well, I'm sure some of us are. Maybe the guy who invented the Sauna Pants is Celiac. Sauna pants are genius.

 Sauna Pants are a thing and Mother's Day is coming.

But you don't have to be a genius to have Celiacs. Thank God because if that were the case, I would be screwed. I'm pretty clever, but I'm no Sauna Pants inventor.

I saw a thing on someone's Facebook that in order to have diabetes, you have to have a masters in mathematics and patience. All I could think was, thank god I don't have diabetes. In fact, about 10% of Celiacs have diabetes too. Why? Because God has a sense of humor that's why. I am horrible at math...horrible. I should think that Justin Bieber is better at math than I am and he stopped going to school when he was 7 and before that attended in Oakville so he was screwed to start with. None of the last statement was based on fact or even personal knowledge. I just thought the sentence was funny.

I'm not known for my patience either. Ask the lady at the grocery store on Thursday. She was arguing about the cost of a package of toilet paper. It had been advertised at $3.49 cents and it had been rung in at $3.89. The girl behind the counter didn't have the ability, or launch codes to change the price so she was just going to void the item and ring it in by hand. The lady didn't think that this was an acceptable solution. She felt that they were trying to TAKE her. They wanted to suck her into their store with these fancy promises and then fleece her of her hard earned 40 cents. I had no patience for this shit. I reached in my pocket, pulled out two quarters, and slammed them on the counter. She hates me now.

So I'm glad that I don't have to be patient, a math whiz or a genius to have Celiacs.

 However, there are some things that we Celiacs know that the vast majority of the planet do not. Here they are.....

1) Celiacs has to be diagnosed by a doctor. Not Dr. Strangelove or that douche who wears a "I'm a Doctor, take off your clothes" T-Shirt at the mall. A MEDICAL DOCTOR, preferably a Gastroenterologist. You can not decide this for yourself. If you feel better after not eating gluten, you do not necessarily have Celiac Disease.

2) There are no short cuts, there is no way to be a 'little bit Celiac'. Someone told me once that she was 'basically a Celiac too'. Like we were both had the same parole officer or had the same waxer. Saying that you are 'basically Celiac' is the same as being a clingy little roady slut and claiming to 'basically' be in the band. Sorry, unless Ozzy Osbourne is handing you the mic, you aren't in the band and unless you have been diagnosed by a doctor, you don't have Celiacs. Consider yourself lucky on that one.

3) Gluten does not make you fat. It doesn't make you slow or ugly or give you warts. There is no proof that a gluten free diet helps you lose weight.

4) Gluten can do weird things though. Gluten can give us headaches, and strange brain fogs that make us forget our hair color. Gluten can give you nausea, vomiting, gas and diarrhea. It can give you sores inside your mouth and viciously itchy rashes on your arms and legs. Gluten can effect the growth of a child and the growth of your hair. Gluten is a wily bitch.

5) Gluten is everywhere. It really is. It hides in every restaurant you have ever been to. It is in soy sauce and cereal and crackers and breads. Gluten lives in canned soup and pre-made,,,,anything. Some bacon has gluten in it, most sausages, some cheese. It's in beer and rye and burbon. It's in sauces and pastas and every single convenience food there is. It lives in some ice cream and gummy bears. It's in some makeups and face creams and candy canes. Everything fried. GAH!

6) Celiacs know how to read labels. We read labels on everything. A Celiac can read a label faster than Superman can get naked in a phone booth. We know the long and involved list of garbage that resides in food and which ones of those contain gluten. We know to scan for Xanthum Gum first because if something has Xanthum gum in it, it usually means that it doesn't have gluten.

7) We know how long a loaf of bread has been sitting in the freezer at the grocery store. You aren't getting anything over on us. We know that Udi's should not have icicles or look like a polar bear den.

8) We know you think you are an expert on our disease. We know you are wrong. Please don't tell me what I can or can not eat. Please don't tell me you know how horrible it is because you get gas when you eat red peppers.That must be terrible for you. You poor baby.

9) Being Celiac is an inconvenience. But that is ALL it is. There are plenty of worse diseases out there. We don't have to take a bunch of creepy medicines or pump our bodies full of poisons, we have to cut out gluten and that is something we are actually grateful for every day.

10) We know that Sauna Pants are the stupidest thing we have ever seen and yet we secretly want a pair. See? We are just like everyone else.

Friday 30 January 2015

Thank you NASCAR

A reader emailed me asking me to respond to the NASCAR ad that will play at the Superbowl. If you would like to see it, watch it HERE.

I also know that lots of other Celiacs are blogging about this issue. One of my favorites, Gluten Dude, has posted an ARTICLE about having the ad pulled. I usually agree with Gluten Dude because he is the guru of Celiacs, but on this one, I have to respectfully disagree.

I think Ron Swansen did us a favor.

He wasn't talking about Celiacs. He isn't making fun of Celiacs. I think he is talking about all the morons in the world who have gotten it into their heads through whatever Pintrest article they read that says that gluten is bad for everyone.

I think he is making fun of them, not us.

Thank you NASCAR. 

(There's a sentence I never thought I would type. Included on this list is, 'I bought new gun rack with the money I earned stripping.')

I think people who don't eat gluten because they think it will make them skinny or smart or have blonder hair or be better at croquet, or whatever the reason of the month is, are soft. I think they are whiners. I think that George Washington would think they are idiots.

And yes, those whiners eat from the same restaurants that I do and yes, they are the reason that a manager said to me, "Don't worry, there was only a little bit of flour in it." Those whiners should be made fun of, mocked, ridiculed and then maybe they would stop doing it. NASCAR just called them out. They pointed at them and publicly called them names. I think they did us a favor.

As far as I'm concerned, the less that Lyndsay Lohan pretends to have my disease, the better it is for me.

Celiac fakers are stunting the gluten education curve more than any Superbowl ad could.

NASCAR didn't say anything about Celiacs and I think we are getting a little sensitive on this issue. I think we, as a community, need to build a thicker skin on this. Anytime someone puts their two cents in about gluten, we all stand up and scream fowl.

Celiacs aren't soft and NASCAR isn't saying we are.

Don't get me wrong, if they had said the word Celiacs, this would have been a very different post. It would have been a lot longer and had a great deal of unladylike language in it.

Making fun of people with a disease is not okay, making fun of self righteous liars is always okay and honestly, that's what I think is going on here.


Entertaining side note: Canada doesn't get American commercials during the Superbowl. We have never figured this mystery out. We get all your other commercials during all other TV shows, causing us to get excited about all the cool stuff you have only to realize that we can't get it. Can anyone say Chipoltle? But NEVER during the Superbowl.

Monday 19 January 2015

An Open Letter to Restaurants with a Gluten Free Menu

An Open Letter to Restaurants Who have a Gluten Free Menu,

Or Gluten Friendly or Gluten Easy or Gluten Sensitive menu or whatever your lawyers wanted you to call it so you wouldn't get sued.

I have Celiac Disease and I'm sorry about that.

I know that sucks for you. I know that it used to suck for me when I was a server and a manager at various restaurants over 20 years - insert obligatory Flintstone joke here..... It's annoying. It's tedious and at times, it feels like a total waste of your labor (and certainly, food) costs. I know that some of you think, I am, at the very least, being dramatic and at the most, a complete raving hypochondriac.

I know some of you think it's fake.

I know you hate it when I come in.

But, and trust me on this one, I hate this disease more than you do.

I hate the way the servers roll their eyes at me. I hate the way the new shift manager, who is barely out of diapers, saunters up to my table, (reeking of Axe Body spray) assuring me that my meal will be gluten free. I know for a fact, that this kid has never been in the store at 8am to witness the prep team do their work, doesn't know who your suppliers are, and certainly has never put on a set of whites and watched anything be prepared on the heat of the line. I hate dealing with him and his 'I know my shit' attitude because he doesn't know his shit and it terrifies me that I am getting the same 'trust me' line that he gives to the rookie hostesses just before he tucks them into his mom's Corolla. I hate telling every staff member who approaches our table that I have Celiacs, prompting everyone eating with us to have a long and involved discussion about my intestinal health.

I hate talking about my disease more than you hate cooking for it.

And here's the thing. I, unlike some of my Celiac compadres, completely understand cross contamination. I know that on a Friday night, asking you to wash your tongs repeatedly or change your gloves, or deal with my meal when you have 57 open tables seems like cruel and unusual punishment. I understand how much of a challenge my food is to cook and therefore, I am ALWAYS prepared for cross contamination. I know that it might happen, not because your BOH staff are lazy shits but because they are busy. They are busier than most employed people are on any given day of their careers. They are so busy that they want to punch their accountant friends in the face when they claim to be 'swamped' at work. You don't know 'swamped' until Mother Day Brunch.

I understand cross contamination so don't insult me by explaining it to me again.

What I don't understand is a restaurant not educating your staff on what gluten is and what foods it is in and what foods it is not in. I don't understand the times when I have ordered something off of your gluten free menu, checked with the server, who checked with the manager, who had the sous chef expo the food to then be served something WITH flour in it. I am willing to risk my gluten free bun touching a regular bun in the craziness of the rush but I will never understand having a glutened item on your gluten free menu. This is completely unacceptable and irresponsible.

I don't expect a Celiac Association stamp of approval meal, I expect, at the bare minimum, one without flour in it. I expect you to know that the tiniest bit of flour makes me very ill. I expect you to understand that there is no such thing as 'a little bit of poison' to you and therefore, no such thing as 'a little bit of flour' to me.

I expect your servers to know the ingredients of the food they are serving. I expect cooks to know that gluten is not a germ nor can it be killed by wrapping the food in plastic wrap for ten seconds.

These are my expectations and I don't think that they are unreasonable. By opening a restaurant, you have agreed to serve the general public and like it or not, I am a member of the general public.

I don't expect you to be experts on my disease, but I expect you to be able to serve me food without flour in it. I expect you to educate your staff on what foods those are. I expect you to have a process in place for handling Celiac food and I expect you to follow that one hundred percent of the time.

I expect this much like a person with a peanut allergy expects to eat something without peanuts in it. Because like it or not....that is how serious Celiac Disease is. Just because I don't have an epi pen, and don't react right away, doesn't mean it's not serious.

I know that Miley Cyrus and the rest of the Hollywood idiots have turned my disease into a joke. The Atkins of the decade. I know that confuses things and if I had a magic wish and  by some cruel twist of fate, was no allowed to wish away my Celiac Disease, I would force everyone who can eat gluten to start eating gluten again. But I can't. So I am leaving it to you, good servers and managers and back of house staff to sort through it all.

I know it's a lot to ask. On a night when you are completely in the weeds and two bartenders are late (and - let's be honest, possibly high), your bussers don't understand the word 'bussing', your lounge servers were just sexually harassed by a skeevy regular and the line just informed you that you are out of fries. FRIES. I come in and start asking questions about your Gluten Free menu.

I hear you. I get it.

And dear God, please know that I am so sorry that you have to deal with this garbage disease with me.

I want to thank you for taking the time you do to make my meal safe. I know it's not always perfect but I truly hope you will try your best.

As a matter of fact, I'm counting on it.

With great respect and a high tip percentage,
I am...
A Freaking Celiac

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Cheeky Monkey

Our adventures in Halifax continue. Don't worry Haligonians, I am only here until August so you won't have to put up with my 'aggressive' driving forever. 'Aggressive' here meaning, 'driving the speed limit on a dry sunny day'.

Did you know I used to be a flight attendant? Fact. I was a very good flight attendant but I wasn't allowed to drink on the job so I had to leave and become a stay at home mom and writer instead. These are both jobs which require huge amounts of booze to function properly. I do, however, still know a lot of flight attendants and one of the bonuses of knowing a lot of flight attendants and living in a city far from home is that they can come and visit.

Case in point, Friday night, our friend Marlaine came into Halifax to visit. She is a flight attendant, but Trevor went to high school with her so we have known her for years. She's also in Roller Derby and convinced me to try it when I get back to Calgary. Trevor is hesitant of this plan. I can't imagine why.

We decided to go to The Wooden Monkey, a restaurant in downtown Halifax that focuses on locally grown, organic food. It's menu even has notifiers for meals that are Celiac safe. Think about that. CELIAC safe. Not just 'Gluten Friendly' or 'Gluten Aware' or 'It's Complicated' which is what is on Gluten's facebook page. That's because Gluten is an indecisive whore if you ask me.

The Wooden Monkey actually uses the word Celiac, which is awesome. The only bad thing about it is that I couldn't decide. Usually, I only have about 2 choices on a menu and one of them is always green salad. To be given so many choices was almost overwhelming. I know how Heidi Klum feels in a Victoria Secret now. It was dizzying.
Every single entree was gluten free. PS I suck bags at taking pictures.

I finally decided on the Scallop Pasta. It was fantastic. Like really awesome. The pasta was tender and it didn't have that creepy starchy taste that a lot of GF pastas do. The scallops were good. The sauce was a nice texture and full of flavor. My only disappointment was that I asked if I could have some kind of garlic toast or something because I knew they had GF bread but after checking, the server said that she would have to serve it as a GF bun with butter on the side and garlic in a bowl on the side as well. I thought this odd considering that they served GF burgers and sandwiches that they couldn't butter a bun to go with a plate of pasta. For dessert, they have a tofu chocolate pie which was to die for and I usually despise tofu.
Celiac Safe Scallop Pasta

Service was okay, she was sweet and eager to please. I asked for a recommendation and she didn't really have one off the top of her head. She didn't have a great deal of food knowledge though and had to keep going back to the kitchen to ask questions. We weren't asking hard ones either, I feel that the server should know how the chicken is prepared. She wasn't sure about the desert and had to ask about it too. However, I would always prefer a server go and ask the kitchen than make something up or not give a crap at all.

I was thrilled with the Wooden Monkey. However, Trevor and I don't always agree. We agree more than Tory Spelling and her husband agree on the use of tranny's in a marriage but we don't always agree. Trev was less than impressed with the Wooden Monkey. He had the roasted chicken and a coffee. He was underwhelmed with the portion size of his plate. He only got two small chicken legs on a huge pile of mashed potatoes and the veggies were hiding in the mash. Trev's opinion was that the price was fairly high considering the small amount of protein on the plate. He also had to ask for every single coffee refill he got. Which even I admit, got a little irritating. He felt that for a $3.00 cup of coffee, refills should come fairly regularly. Trevor didn't feel that the portion size or the service reflected the price point at the end of the night.

I don't agree. Again, we don't agree on everything, like how I should be a roller derby superstar or the fact that we should have a married couple secret handshake. We should totally have a married couple secret handshake. We would be the talk of the play dates with something badass like a secret handshake.

We did agree though that it was good to see our friend Marlaine because she is fantastic. I will certainly be back to the Wooden Monkey because I feel like I should try every single thing on the menu but I don't know if I could get Trev to come back with me.

We have since come up with a secret handshake. Trev insisted that it ends with him giving me the finger, which I feel is just his way of giving me the finger for making him develop a secret married couple handshake. He is adamant that it is how all the cool ghetto kids end their handshakes.