In honour of Celiac Awareness Month this May I have a really exciting gluten-free event in the works. You’ll hear it here first! Be sure to follow me on Twitter and this blog to find out all of the wheat-less details!
Before I left for Austin I was pretty concerned about what my gluten-free options were going to be while I was there. On my last trip, I indulged in
terrible delicious comfort food like chicken-friend steaks and burritos that were neither healthy or gluten-free. Plus, no one wants to spend their vacation being a picky eater or clutching their bloated stomach for the rest of the day because it was just easier to eat whatever the food truck had.
Lucky for me (and my host/bff/tour guide), it’s actually really easy to eat gluten-free in Austin. It was so easy that I actually only slipped up once (with the exception of some cheap Texan beer).
Chips and salsa are served as a complimentary appetizer at almost every restaurant in Austin. This was at El Alma, just off South Congress. Their Queso was absolutely delicious, but more on that later. The chips served are (in my experience) always corn chips!
Torchy’s Tacos is a place you just have to eat at when you visit Austin. What started as a food truck with experimental goodies has turned into multiple locations across Texas. What you see here is a “Trailer Park” (chicken, cheese, lettuce, green chiles, pico de galo) and a “Crossroads” (beef brisket, grilled onions, jack cheese, avocado, jalapenos, cilantro). Both came on a flour tortilla but I substituted for corn tortillas at no extra cost!
Juan in a Million is a hip breakfast taco restaurant in Austin. It promises cheap food, quick service, and high fives from the owner, Juan. This was what was left of my Don Juan breakfast tacos when I was done. While we were ordering our coffees I asked our server if they had corn tortillas and he looked at me like I was crazy. Apparently EVERYWHERE in Austin has corn tortillas! Step up your taco game, Toronto!
Roll on Sushi Diner was a special treat while I was away. Yes, I know soy sauce is not gluten-free. And yes, I know those fried slices of heaven (called “fire sticks”) are also probably not gluten-free because of their breading. But this was my one cheat and let me tell you – it was worth it! Roll On had a number of other options that were gluten-free but who could turn down these specialty rolls? I think we ended up going with the Guaca Rolly (pictured here) Cholesta Roll, and the Beefy Texan from this menu.
Thank god BBQ is gluten-free. This delicious plate is from Stiles Switch which is one of the top 3 BBQ joints in Austin. I decided on pork ribs, beans, and potato salad. But only because I was being good and not ordering the Mac n Cheese.
Best. BBQ. Ever.
And the best part about eating gluten-free is that I never get those “so full my stomach hurts, roll me home, I’m going to be sick” feelings.
Salad joints! LEAF in downtown Austin made fresh salads to order and since they made either own dressings, it was really easy to figure out which ones I could have and which ones I couldn’t.
The good news is, if you can’t find any gluten-free options in Austin, you can always find a good margarita!
Imagine if someone told you, as a gluten-free snacker, that there was something delicious, gluten-free, and not terribly unhealthy? Would you get really excited? Because I sure do every time I see popchips in the grocery aisle.
popchips are just that: popped chips. Compared to the traditional fried or baked choices in the chip aisle, popchips provide a guilt-free snacking option that you can enjoy guilt-free.
They have recently announced their new line of popped tortilla chips. Made using stoneground corn masa (the same ingredient in traditional corn tortillas) seasoned with natural ingredients. Nothing artificial. No trans fat. Gluten free. Lower fat and calories. Did I mention they were gluten-free too?
Have you tried popchips and will you be adding the new popped tortillas to your snacking regime?
My newly adopted gluten-free lifestyle comes with it’s own set of drawbacks. Life without pastries, fluffy fresh breads, and pizza is pretty rough. But life without Dufflet is downright depressing. On my worst nights, I have flashbacks of Dufflet‘s signature carrot cake with creamy frosting melting in my mouth after a hard day at the office. And then I saw this:
Dufflet has announced a line of it’s popular desserts including the chocolate cake, carrot cake, and chocolate chunk brownie all made gluten-free! I can’t wait to head down to the Queen Street location and sample one of each! If I do it in the name of the blog then the calories don’t exist, right?
What are your favourite spots to pick up gluten-free baked treats?
I’m always looking for new gluten-free tricks and treats to make cooking, snacking, and eating out easier. Just yesterday I discovered that my local bakery has amazing gluten-free treats but I had been avoiding it in order to avoid the treats I’m not allowed to have any more! Imagine going to an event or store where you don’t have to read the labels on everything? Well I’ve found just the opportunity:
Gluten Free Garage is a pop-up market place featuring local merchants, bakeries, and restaurants that cater to gluten-free eating needs. You will be able to enjoy gluten-free food prepared onsite by local chefs, sample and purchase gluten-free food and lifestyle products from vendors, and hear from guest speakers who will speak on their experiences and expertise in gluten-free living and take the chance to chat with local health experts. You can also grab coupons for future #glutenfreegluttony purchases!
Want information about gluten-free living? The Canadian Celiac Association will also be onsite to provide information, resources, and support! Proceeds from all ticket sales ($10 for those aged 12 and up!) go to the Canadian Celiac Association.
Sunday April 28, 2013
10am – 4pm
Artscape Wychwood Barns in the Covered Street Barn
I think I mention my love and fondness for pizza in every post, so maybe you’re starting to get an idea of how much I miss my favourite pies. Enter: TasteAway.com, a sister site of Teambuy.ca. TasteAway is the latest online pick-up and delivery ordering platform to launch with a selection of over 150 restaurants in Toronto and the GTA. Their goal is to provide a more visual marketplace for customers to “eat with their eyes”.
Similar to the other online delivery ordering services, TasteAway.com offers a selection of restaurants based on your delivery address. You can browse through menus and popular dished from local restaurants, order directly from the website, and pay online by credit card or with cash on delivery of your order.
Ordering gluten-free foods online is generally fairly easy when you have a large selection. I lean towards thai or vietnamese dishes because they tend to be rice-based.
While the online food delivery companies generally have the same or at least the same types of restaurants, there is very little room to stand out. So what makes TasteAway stand out to me?
Two words: Magic Oven.
Magic Oven is a Toronto-based family-run chain of restaurants offering pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches. Their healthy pizzas can also be made to accommodate a large range of dietary concerns by offering organic spelt or gluten-free rice flour crusts and vegan or lactose-free cheese, and organic meats. With over 6 fully licensed locations in Toronto, there are lots of opportunities to treat your gluten-starved brain and body with a healthy pizza!
A few months ago, I treated a fellow gluten-free girlfriend to a special night in with her favourite wine and a gluten-free rice flour crust pizza to try out the TasteAway delivery service. Our verdict: delicious, gluten-free pizza delivered hot in no time! And a new favourite restaurant for us to indulge our carb cravings!
A year ago, if you told this girl she would be giving up fresh pastries, pastas, bread, and pizza she would have laughed in your face.
Now, more than 2 months in, I’m beginning to really see the benefits of a gluten-free diet. And while I don’t think I will ever stop missing thick crust doughy pizza or a fresh pastry, I’m trying to manage my cravings.
At the end of last year I tried a 3-day juice cleanse and despite really missing food and the social routines that surround it, I felt absolutely great. When I was done the cleanse and began reintroducing food, I decided to try to avoid gluten as a test to see how I felt. After a few successful weeks (which were way easier than I anticipated), I noticed that I hadn’t felt bloated and I was consistently losing weight, and more importantly, feeling better. After surviving Christmas with my new restrictions, I knew this was something I could adopt consistently.
My Game, My Rules
I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to be celiac or have a gluten intolerance. While eating anything with gluten now makes me quite uncomfortable, I know that I can eat it whenever I want to. I also have a short list of cheats that I can also decide to eliminate at any time. My list of allowable foods include things made with spelt flour (which is on a weird spectrum of gluten-free where some people allow it and others don’t), soy sauce, beer, rye, and whiskey.
In exchange for my cheats, I try not to substitute my favourite gluten-filled foods with gluten-free alternatives. In addition to feeling better, part of this challenge is to eat healthy in general. Eating gluten-free has encouraged me to eat way more fresh fruits and vegetables and protein in the form of meat and nuts. It wouldn’t be eating any healthier if I ate equal amounts of gluten-free pizzas, pastas, and breads!
Despite feeling like this some days (and I can’t imagine how my
personal chef boyfriend feels about it), I am really happy with my decision to eliminate gluten from my diet. I hope to share with you some challenges and frustrations in eating gluten-free, some great recipes, and my own personal story in living gluten-free.