Gluten-Free in Montreal: La Fabrique for Brunch

Gluten-Free Breakfast at La Fabrique

I have a new person in my life and they love going out for brunch. I used to love going out for brunch. Pre-celiac disease crepes with raspberry sauce was my go to and brunch with my friends was always a great experience. Post celiac disease brunch became a little scary. Brunch spots can be so busy, have so much bread and so many opportunities for contamination. While on the other hand breakfast at home is pretty easy to make and I make a pretty decent brunch in bed. I have missed plenty of friend brunches eating my eggs and potatoes at home but this new person may have convinced me to attempt brunch out again once in a while. I have always felt comfortable at Aux Vivres which has a gluten-free items marked on their menu but it would be nice to broaden my horizons a bit.

This week we tried La Fabrique on St-Denis, near Sherbrooke Metro. While nothing on the changing menu is marked gluten-free they are very familiar with gluten-free and told me to look at the menu and they would make me something around what I liked.  I chose the Gravlax and they served it on a potato base with a yogurt sauce and they added an egg. I would definitely recommend La Fabrique for brunch if you are in the area but wouldn’t say you should go far out of your way. I also tried it once for dinner and it was great but there weren’t a bunch of gluten-free options since I don’t eat red meat. I ended up having two starters as my meal.

I will keep you posted about my future gluten-free brunch experiences.

La Fabrique 

3609 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X 3L6

http://bistrotlafabrique.com/

Accommodates gluten-free: Ok

Price: $$

Gluten-free menu: No

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Gluten-Free in Montreal: Le Sain Bol

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This little brunch spot near the corner of Laurier and Fabre is great at accommodating gluten-free. I haven’t tried it for brunch yet but will keep you posted. You can reserve a spot for a Friday night table d’hote. Dinner at Le Sain Bol made for a cute date spot that was a refreshing change from your average restaurant. I definitely recommend trying this place out. It’s quiet and feels like you are having dinner in the chefs kitchen. We had 4 delicious light courses, all completely gluten-free. It was the perfect fall meal and at $22.50 a person it was a great price for a 4 course gluten-free meal.

Note: I forgot to take a picture of the smoked salmon appetizer before I ate it!

Le Sain Bol

5095 Rue Fabre, Montréal, QC H2J

(514) 524-2292

You can also check out this review in the gazette: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Casual+Dining+Sain/5616551/story.html

Accommodates gluten-free: Yes

Price: $$

Gluten-free menu: No but almost everything on the menu is gluten-free

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To all those new to the gluten-free world: You can do it!

Happy and healthy in the kitchen

Happy and healthy in the kitchen

Taking on a strict gluten-free diet can be scary and this fear can keep us from our ultimate health. For the first few years of my diagnosis while I was in my early 20s I was overwhelmed by the idea of being 100% gluten-free. It was too hard. Too time consuming. Too confusing. Too isolating. Too restricting. Too much missing out on good stuff! It wasn’t until I continued to be sick and learn more that I realized enough was enough. My illness was real, I was slowly seriously damaging my body and I needed to take care of my self because no one else would.

Talking to a friend of a friend today and motivating her to take the steps to start a gluten-free diet to treat her health problems and get tested for celiac disease reminded me of all those fears from years ago. Fear is normal but focusing on your health and little steps will get you through it.

My tips on how to start a gluten-free diet  and deal with the fear of the unknown (for those who need to be strict in their diet and exposure to gluten):

  1. Read and learn as much as you can. Many doctors and even gastroenterologists don’t know a lot about celiac disease or the effects of gluten on inflammation and auto immune diseases. It was through my own research I learned that my terrible canker sores were a sign of celiac disease. There are lots of website about celiac disease and healthy eating. A few of my faves are Gluten Is my Bitch, My New Roots and Oh She Glows. I have also found my local library has a lot of gluten-free cookbooks. Before buying I like to check them out to make sure they are worth the purchase. I love this cookbook “It’s All Good” by Gwyneth Paltrow because it’s a “secret” gluten-free cookbook filled with healthy and pretty simple recipes that happen to be gluten-free. It features lots of clean recipes and ideas for flavourful and good for you food.
  2. You will make mistakes and it’s ok. One thing that was hard for my mom and I who are perfectionists: not realizing the hidden sources of gluten. We often felt defeated but it’s a learning process. Don’t feel bad about making mistakes just learn from them and keep moving towards a gluten-free life! My friend tried to make me a gluten-free feast this past weekend and then realized the cooking spray he used had flour in it!?!? He felt so bad but it happens and that’s how you learn what to avoid. We just whipped up something else for me to eat and it was no biggie at all!
  3. Take this as an opportunity to make positive changes.  A gluten-free diet done right is healthier and I now follow a much much healthier diet than I did when I was a 20 year old student living off of bagels and diet cokes.  The limited choices available for eating out of the house has forced me to learn how prepare meals and be organized about packing lunches and snacks.
  4. RELAX. Let’s not forget about stress and how it can worsen digestive symptoms and your overall health. Exercising, meditating, journaling  etc. are good ways to reduce stress. When I have been gluten poisoned but not in my I can hardly get out of bed stage, I find a light run sometimes helps my symptoms and helps lessen the pain. Stressing about gluten only complicates things for your digestive system.
  5. If you don’t know how to cook it is never too late to slowly learn the basics. If you don’t already cook start with learning how to make an easy salad dressing, stir fry, omelette, soup and pasta dish. You don’t need to become an amazing cook but being healthy and gluten-free is a lot easier if you can make a few things at home in your safe kitchen and pack some lunches for work. And speaking about safe kitchens I am currently lucky to live alone but if you share yours with someone who eats a lot of bread they need to slowly learn how to keep the kitchen gluten-free friendly for you. Also- don’t go kissing people who have just eaten a huge sandwich or chugged a pint! Sounds ridiculous but if your aren’t using the same toaster as one that has had bread in it you shouldn’t be kissing someone who just ate a bunch of it.
  6. Focus on the foods you love that are already gluten-free. Mine are: potatoes, rice, seafood, goat cheese, eggs, greens, chocolate and wine. Focus on all the good stuff and things you can make to replace the stuff you are missing. Nachos, home made french fries, most meat dishes have always been gluten-free. This is helpful when eating out, which is where most of my panic still comes from. I try to avoid eating at restaurants that have no clue what gluten-free is or think it’s in normal rice and potatoes. My friends have gotten great at accommodating my diet and those few times I have to go somewhere I am not sure about, for example for a birthday, I will call in advance, check the menu and talk to the manager and if I’m still not sure I will just have a glass of wine. You aren’t being picky you are making sure you are not made seriously ill for the next few days/weeks.
  7. Tell the haters to shut-up, in a nice way. There will still be a few people that don’t get it and will tell you to just eat bread or it’s all in your head and just ignore them. People who love you will slowly learn with you and help you out with your new lifestyle. My friends pick me up new products and love trying new gluten-free recipes but this didn’t happen over night. The important people in your life will learn not to double dip in the shared containers. Peanut butter, butter, jam, mayo, cheese etc. And you will learn to always serve yourself first at a group meal before bread gets into and all over everything. When I go away for the weekend with friends and or people I don’t live with I will write my name in bold marker on the top of containers I want to keep gluten-free and tell everyone that they can use them but cannot double dip any utensils that have been used on or near bread products.
  8. Now is the best time ever to be gluten-free! There has never been more certified gluten-free products. They are almost everywhere. Always read your labels and when you are uncertain check online and or call the company.

Yes it can be overwhelming to drastically change your diet but feeling healthy feeds so good. More specifically not feeling like I was being slowly poisoned to death was the biggest push to continue following a strict diet. Not spending my life lying in a ball, running to the bathroom or staying home having a date with the washroom is to this day the reason I will never ever ever eat gluten again on purpose!

You can do it! Good luck and feel free to send me questions!

🙂

Softest Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

Gluten-Free & Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

You need to try this chocolate chip cookie recipe! They are a great vegan option and no one will know they are gluten-free and vegan. I under bake mine and everyone I know loves a soft cookie. These were a big hit at a recent pot luck BBQ in my backyard. Bonus- the dough is vegan so you don’t have to feel bad about eating it raw!

The recipe from Yammie’s Gluten-Freedom, one of my favourite gluten-free blogs, is perfect as is.

http://www.yammiesglutenfreedom.com/2014/05/gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies.html

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Veggie Bowl with Easy Peanut Sauce (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

Easy Veggie Bowl with Peanut Sauce

This is one of my favourite quick dinners to make after the gym with my girlfriends. With a few of us doing the chopping and cooking it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare a healthy, fresh and delicious dinner. This recipe is also great on work nights because it makes the best lunches.  It’s always a combination of rice noodles or rice, veggies and a quick peanut sauce we make with whatever we have on hand. The recipe below is general because these bowls are all about making something delicious and quick with what you have in your kitchen. There are many recipes for the best peanut sauce online but the two methods are super easy and delicious. To me this is the perfect indulgent but healthy gluten-free dinner that is almost too easy to make.

Quick Veggie Bowl

  • Prepare your rice or noodles (We used these amazing Brown Rice and Wakame Noodles).
  • Pan fry your tofu or protein of choice. We fried our tofu in sesame oil and added some gf tamari once it was getting crispy.
  • Prepare your veggies. We usually keep most of our veggies raw (julienning the peppers and grating carrots). We steamed the broccoli. Also great with brussels sprouts, bean sprouts, spinach, bok choy, mushrooms etc.
  • Prepare your bowls and add the peanut sauce.
  • Can be served with green onions, chopped peanuts, fresh herbs, sambal olek and limes on the side

Quick Peanut Sauce

In a pot combine about a cup peanut butter with half a can coconut milk  (you can add more coconut milk depending or thickness and preference, I usually don’t measure).  Bring it to a simmer over medium heat then lower heat. Add gluten-free tamari (or gluten-free soy sauce), sambal olek or hot sauce, a squeeze of lime, a little brown sugar, ginger or garlic to taste. All of these ingredients are optional. An alternative method if you are missing the coconut milk is to combine all the ingredients except  for the coconut milk and add boiling water until you reach your desired consistency.

That’s it!

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Easy Veggie Bowl with Gluten-Free Peanut Sauce

Gluten-Free in Montreal: Café Verdure (Currently CLOSED)

Gluten-Free Veggie Burger

Gluten-Free Veggie Burger

Café Verdure is a great little gluten-free vegan cafe on Mackay, right on top of Crudessence. It’s super affordable and everything I have tried so far is delicious. I couldn’t believe a place serving gluten-free veggie burgers was right near my work and I had no idea! I was very happy to have my delicious burger that was so good I had to double check it was gluten-free!

I have tried the bagel and “cream cheese”, the cupcakes and the veggie burger and all has been great so far. I definitely recommend this place for a quick bite if you are downtown.

https://www.facebook.com/CafeVerdure

Café Verdure

2159 Rue Mackay

(514) 842-2212

Accommodates gluten-free: Yes

Price: $

Gluten-free menu: Yes, everything is gluten-free

Delicious Vegan and Gluten-Free Cupcakes

Delicious Vegan and Gluten-Free Cupcakes

Lots of Celiac Friendly Sweets

Lots of Celiac Friendly Sweets

Gluten-free bagel with vegan cream cheese

Gluten-free bagel with vegan cream cheese