Category Archives for Gluten Free Living

Tim Hortons Introduces Certified Gluten-Free Macaroon

Tim Hortons new gluten-free coconut macaroon offers celiac and gluten-intolerant guests a tasty treat 


Tim Hortons introduces its first menu item certified by the Canadian Celiac Association Gluten-Free Certification Program. The Tim Hortons Gluten-Free Coconut Macaroon is a delicious meringue-style cookie made with real coconut and drizzled with milk chocolate. It’s available in a pre-wrapped two-piece package at all Tim Hortons restaurants for $1.29. (CNW Group/Tim Hortons)

OAKVILLE, ON, /CNW/ – For the estimated one in 133 Canadians affected with celiac disease, grabbing a quick prepared snack when they’re on-the-go is not a simple task, as hidden sources of gluten in product ingredients are always top-of-mind. To help make that choice easier, Tim Hortons is now offering a new Gluten-Free Coconut Macaroon – the first menu item in a Canadian quick service restaurant to be certified gluten-free through the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) Gluten-Free Certification Program.

We’ve made a commitment to our guests to provide balanced menu choices, and the new Gluten-Free Coconut Macaroon is an example of that,” says Donna Finelli, Vice President Marketing, Food and Merchandise, Tim Hortons. “Given the growing number of people who have celiac disease and gluten intolerance, we’re making it just a little bit easier for friends and families to enjoy eating together at our restaurants. And the new macaroon tastes fantastic, which makes it a great snacking option for everyone, not just those with gluten intolerance.”

The Tim Hortons Gluten-Free Coconut Macaroon is certified through the Canadian Celiac Association Gluten-Free Certification Program, Canada’s only voluntary certification program designed for manufacturers of gluten-free products. The CCA’s Gluten-Free Certification Program trademark assures Canadians with celiac disease and gluten intolerance that products are safe to consume.

Living gluten-free can be challenging, especially when it comes to dining out,” says Peter Taylor, Executive Director, Canadian Celiac Association. “The new Gluten-Free Coconut Macaroon is a clear example of Tim Hortons’ leadership in the quick service restaurant industry for offering a high quality, high value product to a growing segment of the population.”

The new Gluten-Free Coconut Macaroon is a meringue-style cookie made with real coconut and drizzled with milk chocolate, and is sold in a pre-wrapped two-piece package to avoid cross-contamination. It’s available at Tim Hortons restaurants across Canada for $1.29.

About the Canadian Celiac Association 

The Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) is the national voice for people who are adversely affected by gluten, and is dedicated to improving diagnosis and quality of life. Based in Mississauga, Ontario with 28 Chapters across the country, its mission includes advocacy, education, research and community support. More information about the Association is available at Follow the CCA on Twitter:

About the Gluten-Free Certification Program
The Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP) is a voluntary certification program designed to help brand owners differentiate their gluten-free products from the increasing clutter of gluten-free claims, by displaying the GFCP trademark. Based on a robust third-party audit certification process at the manufacturing facility, the GFCP verifies their ability to regularly meet stringent requirements when managing gluten as part of their food safety programs.

The GFCP is endorsed by the Canadian Celiac Association and was developed so consumers can shop with confidence by selecting safe, reliable and gluten-free products displaying the GFCP trademark.

About Tim Hortons Inc.
Tim Hortons is one of the largest publicly-traded restaurant chains in North America based on market capitalization, and the largest in Canada. Operating in the quick service segment of the restaurant industry, Tim Hortons appeals to a broad range of consumer tastes, with a menu that includes premium coffee, espresso-based hot and cold specialty drinks including lattes, cappuccinos and espresso shots, specialty teas, fruit smoothies, home-style soups, fresh Panini and classic sandwiches, wraps, hot breakfast sandwiches and fresh-baked goods, including our trademark donuts. As of March 31st, 2013, Tim Hortons had 4,288 systemwide restaurants, including 3,453 in Canada, 808 in the United States and 27 in the Gulf Cooperation Council. More information about the Company is available at Follow Tim Hortons on Twitter:

Continue reading

Today is International Celiac Awareness Day


In honour of the first ever International Celiac Awareness Day (refer to the page set up by the Association of European Celiac Societies at I’ve decided to write about my experience with the disease so far. Please share your own story in the comment section below.

Almost two years ago I found out I have celiac disease. Since then, everything has changed.

For 47 years and 45 days, minus however long my mother fed me baby formula, I have been eating wheat, rye, barley, millet and other gluten-containing substances. The lining of my small intestine was damaged and many nutrients were not absorbed.

This disease may or might not be behind the stomach pains and leg aches that plagued me as a teenager, the days lost due to migraines (see, and a miscarriage between my two children. It definitely caused heavy periods, borderline anemia, four damaged molars and tooth enamel literally pulling away from some of my teeth.

Given that this is a genetic disorder and my dad doesn’t have it, I assume it caused my mothers’ life-long digestive difficulties, her extreme menopause symptoms and perhaps even the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that killed her when she was only 67 years old.

Eliminating gluten from my diet is clearly important for these reasons, but I’ve noticed other positive effects too. An uncomfortable bloating feeling I thought was normal has disappeared, as has a constant feeling of having to urinate. My doctor says my iron levels are higher than he’s ever seen them. The hot flashes and headaches linked to menopause are significantly less severe than they were, although that may be timing coincidence.

Given all those ramifications, it’s clear that knowing I have celiac disease is significantly better than continuing to damage my health by eating gluten. Despite this, there are many daily inconveniences.

I’m now 20 pounds too heavy and few of my clothes fit. Despite exercise and attempting to relearn how to eat, I keep getting heavier. Most of the weight is settling on my hips and stomach, a bad sign for someone whose family history includes heart disease and diabetes.

Worse than that is my frequent discomfort around food.

It took a while, but my family consumes fewer wheat products at home now, and that limits arguments. I can freely use the butter dish, the bread board, the knife, the pizza pallets and everything else. Other family members still enjoy bagels and bread, but they store them sealed in the freezer and carefully use a separate knife and cutting board for them. It was evident how far we had come the other day, when my daughter carefully put the dishcloth and towel in the wash after she contaminated it with a gluten-containing product.

We’ve also replaced the toaster for a four-slice one and my husband made a wonderful little steel cap to make sure that no one accidentally uses my side. It also prevents crumbs from wheat products from falling into it.

Everyone is working hard to protect my health.

We all still find the transition frustrating though. Pizza night no longer feels as joyful as it once did. Everyone has switched to gluten-free crust to avoid flour flying around, but not everyone likes it. Although family members are careful, mistakes still happen and I’m not particularly pleasant when I have to don rubber gloves to clean wheat bread crumbs off the counter or carry beer bottles to the basement. Every time I have to do this, I feel unloved.

Family and friends often go out of their way to make gluten-free dinners, but it’s clear they still find it uncomfortable. It’s even worse when hosts or hostesses feel bad either because they forgot or because their efforts didn’t work because they used some food product that is contaminated with wheat and they didn’t think to check the label. As one friend said, “who would imagine that mustard has wheat in it?”

Going out for dinner is difficult too. There aren’t many restaurants that provide gluten-free food.  The ones that do, like Chez Chose ( and Mozza (, work very hard, but even they can’t guarantee 100% gluten-free conditions.

Conferences and business lunches have been horrifying, not just because I have to take care to avoid wheat, rye and barley but occasionally another participant bristles at my request. After hosts caringly provided gluten-free options at one such event, another workplace participant harped at me about how unrealistic I am. She also rhymed off all sorts of things I should do, including treating myself slowly with gluten so that I wouldn’t get symptoms. Why do strangers feel the need to advise people on matters they know little about?

I’m afraid that the journey I’ve gone through may have made me equally annoying. I see gluten in everything and possible signs of gluten intolerance everywhere. I’m always asking people if they’ve been tested and I’ve been berating my children and my spouse about getting tested, although their doctor doesn’t think it’s necessary. Just ask me the tiniest question and I go into details about the disease that are just not polite.

Social discomfort aside, I’m also finding it difficult to figure out how to eat to avoid cravings, satisfy hunger and avoid over-eating. I get full faster, but it takes longer to actually feel it. It feels like I’m living in someone else’s body.

My doctor says my thyroid works well now that gluten has been eliminated but I’ll ask him to test it again when I next see him. He also told me to add folic acid to my diet, which I’ve done.

Avoiding dairy and taking iodine drops, like William Davis mentions in hasn’t helped yet, but it might, I suppose.

Perhaps even more protein needs to be added to my diet, as my nutritionist suggested?

I’ve also decided to try some of the tips that John Libonati provides in his article

He says to:

  • choose foods that contain glutamine – eggs, fish, meats, cabbage, beets, beans, spinach and parsley to satisfy gluten cravings;
  • take probiotics; and
  • try drinking a glass of water with 1 tbsp flaxseed meal before going to bed.

So these are my next steps. I’ll let you know how it goes.


Continue reading

A bistro for everyone, even those with allergies

I first heard about Chez Chose after the Quebec Chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association held a Sunday brunch there on September 30.

“The chef and his staff are highly qualified and delight in making everything from scratch themselves, including gluten-free brioches and English GF muffins,” wrote Margaret Duthie in our quarterly newsletter. “They even smoke their own Arctic Char.”

Homemade smoked arctic char? That was enough to encourage my family to try the small bistro on St. Denis.

I can’t eat gluten and my son can’t eat seafood, so small bistros can be a chore for us, but this place was really different. “Oh that’s no problem at all,” said the woman who answered the phone when we called to see if we could arrive within the hour. “Just come right along.”

After we arrived and hung up our coats, Robert brought over a chalk menu and set it up on a chair. He then spent about 10 minutes explaining our choices, describing each entrée’s ingredients with so much enthusiasm that our mouths were watering by the time he left to let us decide. Our main meal could be preceded by soup, salad or one of five appetisers, including the Arctic char. We also had a choice of eight main courses, from vegetable lentil stew to a rack of piglet, all of which were home-made. I haven’t had this much choice in a restaurant for ages.

Once we selected our main meals—vegetarian lentil stew, rabbit, Guinea Fowl and mackerel—homemade bread came for everyone. I even had my own basket and a separate butter slab to avoid contamination. Not many restaurants take so much care.

The food arrived at the table hot and savoury, but it didn’t last long. The rabbit and Guinea Fowl got the best all-round comments, but everyone enjoyed their own order best. Afterwards, the kids had dessert while we had a latte and cappuccino. The total bill came to more than $200 with drinks and tip for the four of us, but for such a delicious worry-free gourmet experience, I thought it was well worth the price.

If you go, Chez Chose is open for dinner from 6 p.m. until the last customer leaves from Wednesday until Saturday and for brunch from 10 until 2 on Sundays. It’s located at 4621, rue Saint-Denis, Montréal (Québec), H2J 2L4. For reservations, call (514) 843-2152 or email Their menu is posted at

Note: This article appeared on page 7 of The Suburban on January 2.

Continue reading

Mozza—A family-style Italian eatery

When a group of people who were in the same class at St. Pius X High School years ago decided to hold a mini-reunion in November, it didn’t take long to figure out where they wanted to meet. They chose Enoteca Mozza Restaurant at Centropolis in Laval, a place everyone calls “Mozza.”

“It’s a nice place to go in the winter time,” said Joey Mennitto, a 43-year-old who was among the group. “When you walk in, the place has glass on three sides. The inside is homey. All the pizza is cooked with wood burning ovens so it feels like you’re in front of a fireplace.”

When the group got there, they met a bunch of people from another class in the same high school holding a similar get-together. That’s because Mozza tends to attract people ranging from thirty-something to forty-something who are looking for a modern, yet comfortable place to have a good meal without paying too much. Mennitto finds himself meeting friends there every month or two.

“I usually have pizza and the prosciutto with arugula salad on top of it,” he says. For dessert, he recommends the calzone with Nutella inside. Since Mozza heats most of its desserts in the brick wood oven, the apple crumble and chocolate chip with ice cream are both good too.

Mennitto says that the restaurant side is often packed with families with young kids, but there are also 20 or so tables on the bar side for people who want a quieter space. “The older crowd still enjoys going out, but now they bring the whole family,” he says. “It’s not pretentious. It’s the type of place that you’d bring your mother for a fancy meal. It’s modern but still comfortable. It’s affordable, not expensive.”

Mennitto likes the fact that Mozza is convenient to get to with no issue for parking and that service is quick. “Typically, I go on a Sunday or a Thursday evening. On Sunday evenings, it’s full of families, friends and their kids celebrating some event. You always see balloons with someone turning 40 or 50.”

If you go:

Enoteca Mozza is located at 505 Promenade du Centropolis, Laval, QC H7T 0A3. Their phone number is (450) 973-3400 and their email is They are open from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, until 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 4 until midnight on Saturdays and 4 until 10 p.m. Sundays. The same company also has a location in DDO. Check out their menu at Lots of gluten free options are available.

Note: This story appeared on page 2 of The Surburban on January 2.

Continue reading

Senior Worries Move Might Limit Access to Healthy Diet

After years of effort, Carol Tansey, the 82-year-old author of two gluten-free cookbooks, finally has access to gluten-free food at her seniors’ residence. Now she worries that they’ll move her and she’ll have to start training staff all over again.

Carol Tansey should be happy. Five years ago, she spent six months lying in a hospital bed after seven different strokes took away all movement and reason. Today her hands shake and she has to use a wheelchair, but her speech has returned, she’s able to write again and she’s taught herself to use a computer. “My brain came back,” she says.

Since her recovery, she’s written two popular recipe books for those who suffer from gluten intolerance: “100 Gluten Free Soups,” which came out in April 2010, and “43 Gluten Free Dinners,” which came out in April 2011.

Yet financial and dietary struggles sometimes become too much for her. “Fifteen times, I have stopped eating and drinking,” she says. “I simply did not want to live anymore.”

Many of her frustrations came from a struggle to obtain a balanced gluten-free diet at the Father Dowd Home, where Tansey has lived for the past four-and-a-half years.

Tansey began a gluten-free diet in 1994, after a dietician recommended the move to eliminate stomach pain, gas and alternating diarrhea and constipation. When she was moved to the long-term health facility after her strokes, however, the facility demanded a doctors’ certificate to maintain the regimen, something Tansey had never received. It took months for the senior to find a doctor and submit to tests. She finally underwent a gastroenterology last January, without medication because doctors were worried that anesthesia would trigger another stroke.

Since the Father Dowd management got the results from that test earlier this year, meals have improved, although Tansey still receives bread on her plate occasionally. “One day, I was served a lunch of a large white round bun, which was replaced by a long white bun, which was replaced by a brown bread sandwich.”

“Institutions like this need in-service information to make sure that everyone knows the importance of providing gluten-free food to people who need it,” says Margaret Duthie, a volunteer from the Celiac Association of Canada, who occasionally visits Tansey with gluten-free goodies. “Even when kitchen staff is fully trained, someone else might add a roll to a plate not knowing that it can cause severe health problems in some people.”

Now that employees at the Father Dowd Home have learned to be more careful about Tansey’s meals, she fears that she might be moved from the full-care centre to an intermediate centre elsewhere in the system. “The kitchen here usually does very well by me at last,” she said. “I just can’t face beginning the fight for gluten-free again.”


Note: This story appeared on p10 of the Suburban on Wednesday, November 14, 2012.

Continue reading
1 2 3