Gluten-free Product Review: Oggi Ravioli

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I recently tried these ricotta & lemon ravioli from Oggi Foods and I definitely recommend them for a great quick weeknight dinner. Ravioli is something us celiacs very rarely get to eat so I was very happy when I found these. Only a few minutes minutes in boiling water and they are ready! I also like that they have a simple ingredient list.

I recently discovered Oggi’s Montreal made products, trying their frozen pasta, frozen pizza and frozen pizza dough. I ordered these ravioli from Lufa Farms and have also seen them at the pasta store in the main hall of Jean Talon Market. We tried both flavours, I preferred the ricotta and lemon and my boyfriend preferred the 4 cheese. A package makes a good meal for 2 people with you favourite sauce. I have seen a package for $7.50-$8.50, last I checked Lufa Farms was the cheapest.

I also highly recommend their pizza, which you can now find at Costco.

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May Contain Gluten…

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This picture of my gfbff Ari perfectly encapsulates how I often feel at the grocery store when finding out naturally gluten-free products may contain gluten!

A term I have grown to hate is “may contain gluten”. Why do these plain whole almonds maybe contain gluten? I understand the argument for cross contamination but the label makes me nervous. While companies are trying to cover their liability by saying may contain it reminds me way too much of the cheapest possible boxed wine I drank many times while backpacking in Australia in my early 20s. After drinking it throughout our travels we realized it may contain milk, fish and eggs! Bottom line those of us with celiac disease should avoid “may contain foods” but it is nevertheless annoying to have to avoid “safe” foods because of possible contamination in processing.

This post a little bit of a rant but it is something that I see almost everyday and as someone who loves to eat it haunts many of my meals and grocery store outings. I will take this as a sign it’s time to eat even healthier this year, cooking more at home and going to that second store to find that cayenne pepper that is marked gluten-free. It’s extra work, but feeling well is worth it. By bringing light to this and voicing our concern to companies we can make them better aware of the importance of avoiding cross-contamination and creating truly gluten-free and allergen-free products.

Do you ever eat products that should be gluten-free but state that they may contain gluten on the label?

Zero 8 Restaurant Review

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

Zero 8 has just re-opened in a new location in Rosemont near my apartment and I decided to try it out last month. To be honest this allergen-free restaurant, formerly on St Denis, wasn’t at it’s best when it closed its last location. So in trying the new location I wasn’t sure what to expect. Well it turns out it is okay. My boyfriend who can eat anywhere wouldn’t go back and I probably won’t unless I am with another person with celiac disease or a serious allergy. I will also note that my boyfriend is not so picky and likes almost everything.

Zero8 has always been a hard place to go with someone with no allergies since it doesn’t serve anything with any of the 8 most common allergens, which includes dairy, nuts, soy and fish. With so many ingredients missing it isn’t the best for people without allergies and the price is quite high. The appetizer above was $10. In total our bill was over $70 with two mains and one appetizer and no drinks or dessert. That would be fine for a special dinner but the food wasn’t amazing, and 70$ without alcohol and tip is quite expensive for on a student budget.

Overall I highly recommend this restaurant if you have a loved one with a severe allergy as the food is decent, the service was good and overall it’s a cute place. But I won’t be taking any of my non-gluten-free friends here for dinner anytime soon since this wasn’t the first time my plus one was not so impressed at this restaurant. I do feel bad writing this as I really want to support local gluten-free restaurants but I think more can be done to cater to a range of needs with more variety and fresh and affordable options.

http://www.zero8.com/

Accommodates gluten-free:  Yes

Price: $$$

Gluten-free menu: Yes

Duck poutine

Duck poutine

I’m back for more gluten-free adventures in 2016

Always prepared...

Always prepared…

I have been MIA for a few months since I returned to full-time studies in my second language while working and trying to maintain a normal life. Surprise, surprise, I haven’t had time to post. I will try to be better this year and continue to share my gluten-free challenges, triumphs and experiences in Montreal and beyond.

Having such a packed schedule and many 12 hour days has been a real challenge in regards to preparation. I quickly realized that by not eating or not eating any healthy food for a few days I would not have a very effective semester so I had to learn to plan in advance,  which is the reality of being gluten-free. I had to at least twice a week prepare some real food, like lasagna or a big stir fry etc. and make some smoothies and oatmeal to grab on the go. There are very few places I trust for gluten-free pick-up and none of them were on my route between school and work so I had to adapt if I wasn’t going to live on just granola bars and coffee.

This past year was a great learning experience and a blessing. I got gluten poisoned several times, mainly when traveling, but it’s all part of the journey. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year full of lots of love and delicious gluten-free meals. I am off to New York for a belated Birthday trip and will keep you posted about all the great places I find!

The not so fun part of living with celiac disease

Passing out on the grass from exhaustion while walking around Quebec City after getting 'glutened'.

Passing out on the grass from exhaustion while walking around Quebec City after getting ‘glutened’.

I have been sick all week. I have a mouth full of canker sores. I am exhausted. I feel like my stomach is a toxic dump. And I am up most nights in the washroom. I have hit my low. I try incredibly hard to be positive about having celiac disease but weeks like this really bring me down. I love traveling and eating out but eating out while traveling is what made me so sick and there is very little those of us with celiac can do about it.

Option 1: Travel and eat out and take chances.

Option 2: Stay home, eat safe and have FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

Option 3: Balance of option 1 and 2.

I try my best with option 3 but it is hard adjusting no matter how long it has been (over 10 years since diagnosis and 8 years eating strictly gluten-free). This is a bit of a rant but I think I should also represent the reality of celiac disease sometimes. Having celiac disease sucks and while I will continue to be positive about it the majority of the time and share recipes and gluten-free tips for eating out I will take moments here and there to recognize the pain and frustration. It is not fun to be sick for a week and not feel right for a week later. It sucks to miss out on birthdays and dinners to stay home being ill. It is not fun to spend vacation in serious pain. It’s even more stressful to be the person who cancels work meetings at the last minute because they can’t leave the washroom. It all sucks. Rant done.

Hope everyone is taking care of their diets and feeling well. I tend to take my health for granted until I get a bad exposure and I am reminded why I have to be so careful.

Any tips on what helps you when you have been glutened?

Restaurant Manitoba


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A few months ago I had a nice meal at Restaurant Manotiba and forgot to post it (I am a little behind on posting since I have had a busy past few months!). The menu is seasonal so make sure to call in advance and check their gluten-free options for the evening. It is also highly recommended to make a reservation. The night I was there almost half the dishes could be made gluten-free.

Manitoba has a great atmosphere and is definitely a good option for meat eaters. But while there is a lot of meat (I myself I am 99% pescatarian) I really enjoyed their spaghetti squash with romesco sauce, brussels sprouts, roasted veggies, beans and labneh. It was one of the best meals I had had in a while and was full of flavour.  My date and I had oysters to start and the waitress helped us choose a nice wine. He had the bone marrow and our friends had the chefs special. Everyone enjoyed their meals and I would recommend checking out their menu and trying it out for a gluten-free date night.

Here is the review in the Gazette:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Chesterman+Fine+Dining+This+resto+Manitoba+name+spirit/10038405/story.html

Manitoba

271 Rue Saint Zotique O, Montréal, QC H2V 1A4
(514) 270-8000

http://restaurantmanitoba.com/?lang=en

Accommodates gluten-free:  Yes

Price: $$-$$$

Gluten-free menu: No

** As always it’s recommended to call in advance and state you are gluten-free and to tell your server that you are celiac. Service and prep can change between visits.

Delicious spaghetti squash

Delicious spaghetti squash

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My Ultimate Dream Food Day in Montreal

Baked to Go Gluten-Free Croissant

Baked to Go Gluten-Free Croissant

I thought I would share my dream Montreal food day. This can serve as inspiration if you are a local looking for gluten-free foodie inspiration  or planning a gluten-free visit to Montreal. I was inspired by one of my favourite food blogs The New Potato. My ultimate dream food day around Montreal is obviously a day where there are no calories, I don’t eat at home and there are no stomach aches from too much gluttony. This Montreal gluten-free food tour would probably be feasible done in two days.

Breakfast: Brunch at Aux Vivres with my boyfriend who is obsessed with brunching. I would order the friend polenta served with salad, beans, guacamole and vegan “eggs”. Or I would just pick up a chocolatine (chocolate croissant) from Baked to Go with a big almond milk latte from a local cafe (probably Café Vitto).

La Polenta from Aux Vivres

La Polenta from Aux Vivres

Lunch: An avocado and cheese arepa from Areperas du Plateau with my brother who is also celiac.

Arepa from Areperas du Plateau

Arepa from Areperas du Plateau

Dinner: A double date at Toqué enjoying a fancy and delicious meal.

Delicious and simple salad at Toqué

Delicious and simple salad at Toqué

Dessert: Sharing a pastry or slice of cake from Le Marquis Sans Gluten.

Some of the treats at Le Marquis Sans Gluten

Some of the treats at Le Marquis Sans Gluten

Midnight Snack: Sharing a classic poutine @ Poutineville  with my girlfriends after a few drinks at a local bar.

Poutine

Poutine

A girl can dream…