Saturday, August 29, 2015

Stretch Your Gluten-Free Dollar With These Tips





1 .  Buy In Bulk


You can save a lot of money with a membership to a club store such as Costco. If you don't want to pay for a membership, many regular grocery stores offer family packs or club size items as well. Keep an eye out for those "stock up and save" promotions as well.



2 .  Bargain Hunt


This is worth making the extra time for. 

  • Look at flyers to find sales
  • Visit clearance racks
  • Price match
  • Take advantage of discount produce with minor imperfections
  • Buy private label brands



3 .  Frequent Discount Stores


There are actually a lot of places you can find gluten-free food with a price cut. 

Almost Perfect deals directly with major manufacturers. Prices are kept cheap as items are the result of overproduction, cosmetic imperfections and or packaging changes.

Marshalls, HomeSense and Winners sell brand name gluten-free items at 20%-60% less than you would see in other stores.

Dollaramma has many gluten-free items including cereal, snacks and beverages. 



4 .  Use Coupons


There are several ways to find coupons for gluten-free items. Some companies offer printable coupons direct from their website. Signing up for an email newsletter is another great way to get coupons. You can also visit the sites below, to either print coupons and or have them mailed to your home.



5 .  Shop Online


There is an abundance of gluten-free shopping to be done online! Many online retailers even offer free shipping with a minimum order. Not sure where to get gluten-free goods online? Read up on Where To Find Gluten-Free Groceries Online here.



6 .  Use Your Freezer


Once a month, prepare several freezer friendly meals. If you don't have time to do that, make a little bit extra with every meal. This way, you will have food to put aside for freezing. Having something available that can be effortlessly popped in the oven will save you money in the long run. By transforming leftovers, you will also be less tempted to head out to eat.



7 .  Look For Naturally Gluten-Free Food


Fresh fruits
Vegetables
Seeds 
Nuts
Eggs
Brown Rice
Lean Meats
Popcorn




8 .  Keep Those Receipts



Canadian's who have been diagnosed with Celiac can submit a Doctor's note with their taxes. They can then claim the incremental cost of gluten-free food as a medical expense every tax season. Please visit the Canada Revenue Agency for more information.




9 .  Grow Your Own Produce


There are several benefits to starting a garden. 

  • Taking care of a garden involves exercise and time outdoors
  • You will be more likely to eat healthy
  • It's a great family activity
  • You will learn something
  • Gardening is a great way to relax
  • You will also save money







Tuesday, August 11, 2015

7 Gluten Free Mistakes You Don't Want To Make






7. Assuming You Don't Need a Support Network


Adjusting to the gluten-free diet is a big lifestyle change and it's not easy.Surrounding yourself with people who are supportive is vital. Celiac associations, friends, and family should all be a part of this circle. Just as important is distancing yourself from those who bring you down. You know, the people who get offended that you won't can't eat gluten-containing food.



6. Being in the Dark About what Celiac Disease actually is


Celiac is a life-long autoimmune disorder, so understanding what it's all about is paramount. While you won't become an expert overnight, reading an educational book or two on Celiac will certainly help you out. The more you understand it, the more likely you are to maintain the diet. Knowing what Celiac is all about and sharing that knowledge with those around you is a double win.

5. Overindulging In Gluten-Free Junk Food


Just because it's gluten-free doesn't mean it's magically good for you. Junk food is still junk food and moderation is key. True story. Since we are being honest, eating a healthy gluten-free diet requires some extra work. Why? Well, most gluten-free food is full of sugar and various other substitutes to make up for that missing wheat stuff. This means it's even more important to be aware of what you're eating and not over do it with the junk.



4. Failing to do Your Own Research 


Please don't accept everything you see or hear as fact. Although the interwebs are full of great resources, rumours and inaccurate information lurk everywhere. Myths are abundant and a Facebook meme doesn't come with guaranteed authenticity. Fact-check legitimate resources such as the CCA or NFCA. Also, if there ever is a pill/cure/therapy etc. Those two sites will list it front and centre. Until then, everything is either in research mode or non-existent hocus pocus.


3. Focusing on What You Can't Eat


There is an entire world of "yes" food out there just waiting for you to dig in. Seriously, the gluten-free food department has come a long way. You're going to have to get creative and shop around more, but you will discover great products.You may even learn new kitchen skills in the process. By focusing on what you can enjoy, you will bypass that feeling of missing out.

2. Not Creating a Celiac Safe Area in Your Kitchen


This is a big deal. Without a safe zone to prepare your gluten-free food, cross contamination is just hanging around, waiting to happen. It's important to keep your food clearly labelled "gluten-free" and away from any non-safe items. Designate the top two shelves in the fridge for gluten-free only. Also, pick a cupboard to house all of your gluten-free pantry items. You can and should keep a separate cutting board, strainer and dish sponge in a special non-gluten zone.



1. Forgetting To Be Your Own Advocate


I can't stress how important it is to look out for number one - that's you!
Not everyone has an in-depth understanding of Celiac Disease, so speak up, be firm and when in doubt go without.


Friday, July 31, 2015

My Gluten Free Bucket List







1. Master the art of Gluten-Free baking. Seriously, I need help.

2. Visit Feast in Toronto. I've known about this gem for some time now and I really need to get there! 


3. Read:

  • Gluten Freedom by Alessio Fasano, MD 
  • The Gluten-Free Revolution by Jax Peters Lowell
  • Mayo Clinic Going Gluten Free: Essential Guide to Managing Celiac Disease and Related Conditions by Joseph A. Murray


4. Take another Walt Disney World resort vacation, aka Gluten-Free paradise

5. Add final touches to the Gluten Free Doll website & officially launch it

6. Attend a Gluten-Free expo/conference


7. Cross-border shop for Gluten-Free goods which are not available in Canada


8. Encourage Rogers Centre to host a Celiac Awareness night


9. Help rid Celiac of the fad stigma


10. Find a delicious Gluten-Free croissant and eat it









Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Little Things Make Life Sweet

Good friends are important. Always. 

As someone with a dietary restriction, I find it important to surround myself with those who accept me for who I am. People who take steps to understand Celiac Disease. People who don't make me feel awkward or like a nuisance.

Recently, at a friend's BBQ, I was treated to safe gluten-free food. I say "safe" as it was prepared properly with no risk of cross contamination. This really warmed my heart. I was included as an equal and didn't stick out like a sore thumb.




Gluten-Free Pasta Salad



Wanna know what else I was treated to?


  • Ribs
  • Corn on the Cob
  • OMG Chicken Wings - That's what I call them because they were that tasty!
  • Blue Corn Chips with Tomato Salsa
  • Watermelon Salad




Share with me YOUR stories about the little things that friends and family do to go the extra mile.




Sunday, July 5, 2015

Mini Donuts: Gluten Free & Homemade




I made the above yummy donuts with my Babycakes mini donut maker. I followed a recipe from Mini Donuts: 100 Bite-Sized Donut Recipes to Sweeten Your "Hole" Day, by Jessica Segarra. The recipe I worked with is called "Nutella Mini Donut".

I simply swapped out the regular flour for a gluten free one. In this case, I used President's Choice Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend. 

Overall, I was really quite happy with how these little donuts turned out! Even the gluten eaters in my family enjoyed them. So much so, that they have been requesting that I make more!