Monday, December 31, 2012

Acceptance ... the word for 2013

Well soon 2012 will come to a close and then we dive into a brand new year ~ 2013 ... I am taking a moment to reflect on the old year and taking some time to ponder on what I plan for the New Year to hold ... I am trying to find a single word that will encompass what I wish the new year to bring, to hold, to hope for ~ but a few words go through my head that all have special meaning to me; as a woman and as a person with Celiac Disease.

Words like:

Looking back over the last year and all that has happened in life it has been a year of change, education, and awareness and the big one "acceptance".  And maybe when it comes down to it this may be the word that all the others fit into ACCEPTANCE. 

For to find the balance in life - between what I need to do for my health and sanity and what I want to do for my health and happiness - I need to "accept" my limitations, I need to truly "accept" that I have not found this balance but not be as hard on myself as I have been in this last year.  Celiac Disease did not "come over me" "afflict me" in one night or even in a year ~ Celiac Disease is an auto immune disease we carry with us from birth ~ and over 40 years living with a disease I did not know I have - did some damage.  I need to "ACCEPT" it will take time to learn, to heal, to recover and TO LIVE with this disease.  It will take time to find the BALANCE needed - for health and happiness.  To find the Balance between what I WANT to do and what I NEED to do even for this blog, relationships, employment, working with the Celiac Association, and other pastimes in life - I need to accept I am only one person, and I am not super woman ha ha and never likely to be ~ I need to once again accept those limits.

To find the "Change" I need to take ~ to better my health and my lifestyle I need to truly "accept" that I have to CHANGE.  Period.

To "Cleanse" - I need to "accept" the change with courage and grace.  I need to cleanse not only my outlook on life, relationships, health, and my soul.

To find the "Education" - I have to "accept" that though I feel I know myself and my disease that I need to put more into learning, more into educating myself.  Whether that is by classes, workshops, group discussions, reading and writing. 

To find more "Awareness" I need to "accept" that though only being "one person" I need to be part of the growing and learning that is taking place out there ~ in our Celiac Communities, In our Schools, In the media and in personal connections.  True awareness is an important part of the life of a Celiac and those living with Gluten Intolerance.  An integral part to our quality of life.

To keep "Hope" in the picture ~ I need to "accept" that there always is hope in our days ... being a celiac in these times can be trying and frustrating ~ for though there is more awareness than ever before in history about Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance - with it can bring more prejudice and misinformation.  I need to accept that there is HOPE for more informed awareness, there is hope that the Celiac Community will get stronger and stand together for more education and awareness for all those with Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance ~ and hope that we can "educate" with grace and patience. 

We need to ACCEPT that until we were diagnosed with Celiac Disease - an auto immune disease that requires that we stay strictly away from gluten ~ that to many of us were completely unfamiliar to what Celiac Disease, Gluten intolerance or even just GLUTEN was.  And that even with diagnosis and further basic information a lot of us - who have even been diagnosed for years - still have a lot to learn. 

We need to accept that patience is now a part of our daily game - patience with ourselves, patience with others ... and not let frustration and anger cloud what we HAVE to do to live a good if not A Grand life! 

Yes I think Acceptance will be a very good word for me to use for 2013 ~ I would love to hear ideas of "words" that you feel would be strong choices for the year.

I want to finish off this blog post by sincerely wishing you all a healthy and happy foray into the New Year ~ and raise my glass for us all to have a strong and peaceful step into another year - may it be filled with Love and Laughter and many days of Health and Happiness.

Take care of yourselves,
Cheers - Sherri

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Some Days ...

Some days it is a frustration ... Some days it makes me wonder if I will get a handle on this disease ... I know I will ~ because I know the knowledge of what I am facing helps on days like today where something (maybe gluten) has turned my system up side down and inside out and I just want to curl up in a ball and just rock back and forth.  The frustration comes from not being quite sure what set this reaction off ~ and not being able to truly explain to someone without this disease just how badly this has affected my body, my mind, my spirit today ... I just do not feel like myself - of course of late I am not sure anymore what "myself" is suppose to feel like.  I just do not feel good.

There is a small comfort in knowing - while I am working on getting this right - that I am not alone in this struggle ... that others have the constant roller coaster of health ... the up and down ... the getting thrown sideways, the fatigue and nausea.  The disappointments.  And I also love to read about how people are trying to get things right ... going for a more whole foods approach (which I have to be honest I haven't totally embraced yet) - looking to find a balance in what their bodies can or can not absorb - the trials and errors - there is so much information out there these days.  I am looking for ways to absorb and practice more of what I need to do to set my body on the right path.  To Wellness ~ to peace of mind ~ to uplifting of the spirit.

And to take days like today and yesterday - where I have upset my system by something - and this I did eating "safely(?)" at home ~ and find the energy and know how to control the depression at feeling like this ~ and find out what the culprit was.  It's frustrating when it is in your own home that you basically "poison" your system ... when we are out we can say "oh "someone" else wasn't careful enough" - when we are in our own home it often makes it sometime more difficult to pinpoint what exactly hurt us.

At times it is tiring to be in constant "spy" mode. :)  And I can see the benefit and wise advice in leaning towards more of a whole foods approach ... less ingredients ha ha.  As it is ... I know I have to go back and look at what we added to last nights supper - in the gravy mix perhaps? in the spice blend that we used to season the pork chops?  Brands that we have used before but just recently have bought new containers of?  Last night while dealing with the agony of cramps I was reading the side of the gravy mix ... well will have to go back and read it again - kind of blurred in my vision last night with all the ingredients.  Simple would be better ~ makes sense the less items you have to figure out the easier it is to do so, especially at a time where you are suffering from brain fog and doubled over with cramps.

Apply the "K.I.S.S" reasoning - Keep it Simple Silly (ha ha it is "Stupid" actually but I am feeling a touch on the weepy side today so don't want to set myself off ;)   So Silly it is.

I am thankful today that there is encouragement and hope out there ... that there are many that are having success in finding ways to "feel whole" ... and maybe a little cheered by the fact (though I honestly hate to see people suffer) that we all have our "some days" but that there is some really great days to look forward and strive towards as well!  :)

Cheers ~ now maybe some green tea to settle my stomach? 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Shout out to Gluten Dude and Irish Heart ... Be Thankful

Thankful for the beautiful daisies my son bought me for my birthday :) 
Wow ... I just read one of the best posts by Gluten Dude and his guest poster - Irish Heart ... and it touched me.  Though they are writing from places that are now this weekend are having "Thanksgiving" and up here in Canada we have been there done that ;)  they are writing about a subject that touches a lot of our hearts - to be THANKFUL ... While as a fellow Celiac I struggle with that every day ~ seriously lately, it is hard to be thankful when you feel so out of control of your health and emotions ~ but this post is so lovely in its simplicity.

Yes life can be a struggle at times having Celiac Disease ... no scratch that Life is a struggle at times ~ but we need to continue to try and focus on the good moments - no matter how simple or brief they may feel.

Like it was some good moments - having a potluck with Celiac Friends a couple weekends ago ... I felt blessed and thankful for that evening ~

I feel thankful for having a supportive man in my life ~ that has found eating gluten free has greatly improved his health and so for the most part our home is safe (my son still eats gluten but he is very careful - and of course he has a mom that cleans up after him ha ha)

I feel thankful for my bestie Dawn - she herself has an auto immune disease hypothyroidism and understands the struggles with diet being something that needs to be watched to control it.  She is a great and understanding friend in my life.

I feel thankful for my son and my sister ~ though neither truly understand Celiac Disease it does not stand in the way of their love for me ~ and they weather the ups and downs along with me.

These are a few things I am thankful for ... I read somewhere of a good exercise - a small step I am going to try and get back doing ~ simply to jote down one thing you are thankful for everyday ~ just before you go to sleep.  Started last night ~ use to do it a couple years ago but got out of the habit.  It is just a simple exercise to keep me "looking up" and reflecting on something postive.

Please give a read to Gluten Dude's Post today ...


What is one thankful thought you have today?

Take care
Sherri :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Quinoa Veggie Dish and Potluck with Friends ...

Last night we were invited to a Potluck supper at a friend's place ... and while an invitation like this would usually be one of a lot of extra work ... this one was a delight.  All the friends invited to this potluck eat Gluten Free ... Some because of having Celiac Disease ... and others because of being mates or friends of those with Celiac Disease.  It was simply a delightful evening ... good friends, good food ... sharing recipes and experiences ... a most relaxing evening. 

I do feel comfortable when I have supper in my own home as well and invite people over, but the difference being that I control the menu and make it all.  It can make for a hectic evening and I find we don't entertain as much as I would like ... this was certainly a refreshing experience ... and the meal was simple but awesome.  I realize I do likely overthink when I have people over and it has given me a new perspective on entertaining ... So thank you Abisaac and Amanda for that. 

Our awesome menu consisted of:
Chicken Schwarma with magic sauce (evening and recipe dedicated to the memory of Daniel Saraga)
Quinoa/Rice Veggie Dish (warm) - below - and veggie, crackers, sausage snack plate with dip
Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
Corn and Bean Salad
Lovely Lemon Cupcakes and Shortbread jelly cookies

Now though I make dishes I do not often follow a recipe and therefore I have a hard time writing up a recipe - so below is "guideline" on how to make Quinoa Rice Veggie Dish :)

Quinoa and Rice Veggie Dish (warm)

1 to 1 1/2 cups premade Quinoa (used the Bob's Red Mill Organic whole Grain Quinoa - seasoned with nutrimax chicken flavoured soup base (gluten free and vegetarian) and a touch of Red Garlic Sansel (Epicure)

1 to 1 1/2 cups premade Rice (for this batch we used Texana Natural Thai Jasmine Rice) seasoned with a little herb and spice Sea salt, black peppercorn mix and dried dill (Epicure) - a bit of Becel vegan margerine as well (gluten and lactose free)

Both of these set aside ... then depending on the vegetables available in your stash I cut up a cup to a cup and a half of each (this makes a huge batch so plan accordingly - though this dish heats up well the next day and also is tasty cold) - I used snap pea, yellow pepper, carrot (used mini carrots and julienned), broccoli, zucchini, and kale.  We have a large non stick pan with high sides that is good for stir frying, a wok would also be a good choice.  Heat some olive oil on just a bit higher than medium heat for a couple minutes, be very careful not to overheat your oil as this will cause a lot of spitting of hot oil and for your vegetables to char quickly rather than carmelize. 

I put in my broccoli stalks (cut to smaller pieces) in first and give them a few minutes (they have a tougher outer layer and take a bit more time to soften.  Then I added the snap peas, carrots, and peppers to the pan - stir frying until just starting to soften (approximately 5 mins) and then added the broccoli heads - stirfrying for another 5 minutes or so before adding the kale.

As the kale starts to wilt - I add some soy sauce (used a VH Soy Sauce) and some Becel Vegan margerine to the pan - just to give a bit of a smooth asian glaze.  Give a good toss, then start to add the quinoa and rice to the dish about a cup at a time to be able to mix well (this is where the large pan or wok works well) until the mixture is all mixed together.  And then ready to serve.  :)

Just to note that before we bought the big non stick pan (it is a 12" pan with 3 1/2 inch sides) I made sure all my components - the quinoa (rice if I added) and veggies were all hot and then mixed them in a large bowl or pot - it also worked.  :)

So that is my write up of the Quinoa and Rice Veggie Dish I made last night for our awesome Potluck with friends ... I think it was a perfect compliment to the delicious Chicken Schwarma made as the main dish ...

Good Friends,  Good Food and Good Conversation ... a delightful evening all around.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Overwhelmed ...

Gluten Dude had an excellent post a bit ago entitled "Stop Eating Gluten Free Foods" - and it has cause a bit of a stir among us Celiacs - in the comments.  Has me thinking - which I suppose is the best reaction someone who does a blog post can hope for - discussion and thought.  It has also shown me (as I am subscribed to the comments) how poles apart we can be about this disease ~ has me feeling a touch overwhelmed.  I decided today to post my reply to some of the comments ... with my "two second" view on the differing passions and feelings about Celiac Disease.

"I think this Disease sucks … honestly to everyone that has written in on this subject … and to everyone that is reading the comments – I am at a point where yep … I wish I could survive and be content EATING NOTHING …

BUT I am a overweight, struggling Celiac who has to function in a busy life and I can’t do anything in extreme.

The more I read though the more I become depressed … I fight to be an advocate for a Disease that no one really seems to understand, a Disease that is so individual (it seems) as every person who has the Disease, that there is an overwhelming group of passionate people out there that really NEED to be heard, and yet only part of the message really gets through … and between the media and the mis informed advocates out there, it has all become a right cluster … bleep bleep … excuse the language. ;)
I feel for those newly diagnosed with this disease, I feel for those of us who have had it for a few years now and still not getting things right, I feel for those that have been diagnosed for many years that see how the world is twisting and poking at a Disease that NO ONE seems to really know all about it.

How do we figure it out ourselves? How do we help others to understand? … when we just don’t know … we just don’t know. Even Celiacs can not give other Celiacs advice … we can only give “experience” at how we have handled this or that, because honestly what works or does not work for us – doesn’t seem to be the answer for the Celiac sitting beside us.

So what are we to do? I think my advice to anyone with this disease is to go slowly … slowly try to absorb all the information and “experiences” out there and then if we CAN – try this or that to see if it works for us – as an individual.

AND if it does then as Gluten Dude has done here … let people know about “YOUR experience” and the benefits and the failings of what you may have tried and then leave it at that.

MY CELIAC IS NOT YOUR CELIAC … and from all that I have read and researched … though it honestly makes me sob somewhere deep inside … THAT is not going to change. Not now and not in the future.

Celiac Disease sucks … it is confusing, it is difficult, it is every changing – even as we heal the damage we may have caused our bodies, and we all heal at different paces.
We need to let each other know what has worked for them – LIKE Gluten Dude – and then we need to make our own decisions and see what works for us.

I feel for us all … at whatever stage we happen to be in … it is more difficult than anyone realizes and it makes us passionate and emotional to be heard.

WE all hear each other … and we understand.
Bless you all … and may we continue to work on our own health day by day and bring some “healing” to our lives.
Take care

Friday, October 26, 2012

Notes of a Celiac ... today ...

Know what I did yesterday ~ I stayed home from work after letting the exhaustion of dealing with a upset stomach keep me up most of the night, and after a couple messages sent out here and there, I laid down and I slept all day and into the evening ... I only forced myself up a couple hours to spend some time with my guy ... and then back to bed, and sitting here right now at work I could put my head down and fall asleep.  I am so exhausted and depressed and I know it is because I know I have
stuff to figure out and get it going, and I simply am tired of it all.

I am tired of having Celiac Disease.

I am tired knowing that there is so much more to it than simply staying Gluten Free (that THAT is only a small part of the whole picture).  Reading, researching, and becoming more overwhelmed at steps really I need to take ~ or stages I need to get through - this is a great article on stages we may be at ... while I wish I was a number 3 I think I totter between the 2nd and 3rd stage, and I feel crappy, I know I need to move on.

I am tired of knowing I don't really have any concrete answers or plans to feel good in the works yet.

AND I am so so tired of not feeling good anymore.  Just tired.

I am frustrated that I have so much I want to do, so much I want to write about, so much I want to get going, be a part of ~ and I have been struggling even to type this simple post.

I am angry about things happening in our Celiac Community - like what is happening to Jennifer Esposito - great posts and details on it written by Gluten Dude  and CeliacinChilliwack

It gets really tiring when the only people who truly understand Celiac Disease is the people who HAVE CELIAC DISEASE!  And then reading comments of those that do that also put THAT theory to the test.  I find myself reading and reading and reading and mostly shaking my head ... and feeling close to tears (this not feeling well has the great side effects of being over emotional, anxiety ridden, and depressed - just lovely) at the ass-backwards way people look at those who need to eat GLUTEN-FREE.  I know a lot of this damage has been caused by those claiming to go gluten free for health benefits, weight loss, jumping in on a "fad" wagon.  It's frustrating ~ because it makes it harder for those of us trying to live and survive with Celiac Disease to get the help and support we need.

As Gluten Dude points out we are not VICTIMS ... as the poorly written Article on Page 6 of the New York Post wrote ~ which I won't even link to because it was so badly written full of untruth and inconsistency.  Shame on the New York Post for letting this Article out to print.  We are "sufferers" or "survivors" and we need the support that goes with this, I don't need someone to hold my hand or pat my back and say "there now" ~ I need people in my life that support my goal of becoming a better me - WITH having Celiac Disease, having some understanding of what I am facing daily and taking me to task if I don't have the same interest in their lives.

There is so much I want and need to accomplish - from minutes sitting waiting for me to put them together (from the recent AGM of our Chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association), blog posts I have drafted to write up about restaurants - like Jasper's Evil Dave's Grill to Edmonton's very Own Brits Fish and Chips - great experiences I had there, and others ... simple recipes I have whipped up at home for simple suppers - like Shepherd's Pie, stews and chili's ... and I want to write more about food - all foods and what they do or do not do for us, because if you are a Celiac or someone that has a gluten intolerance or sensitivity - your life and health revolves around food.  I want to write posts about our recent adventure taking a DISNEY Cruise and what advice I followed from sites like the Allergy Free Mouse and others, and tidbits I learned on my own.  So much I want to do ... so little time and energy ...  

Today I could just sleep ... being at work ~ where I can write a blog post but not take a nap ... probably is a good thing ha ha, at least I got a bit of what is in my head noted down.

I am tired today ... tired of being a person with Celiac Disease ... but then again tomorrow is around the corner and we shall see what it brings. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

RioVida Bakery - OPEN

17515-100 Avenue - just off Stony Plain Road - inbound (100 avenue) - behind the New Asian Village ... Open just over a week in her new store front, so her signage is not up yet but her store front is right on the corner of the little strip mall behind the New Asian Village - Kevin and I had the pleasure to go in and talk with Najah - from RioVida Bakery and also to sample some of her wonderful products.

RioVia Bakery - Najah Shtay - who had opened a gluten free bakery and catering side by side with Ed's Gluten Free - has an established and Gluten Free Certified business, with Ed's closing she decided to re-open in her own store front and has done so on the West End of Edmonton.

We enjoyed meeting Najah and speaking to her about her story and the bakery.  She was a co-owner and a chef at the Valentino's Restaurant for many years, she was diagnosed with gluten intolerance and sensitivity and changed her path to wanting to supply delicious gluten free, allergy sensitive products ~ and so RioVida was developed.  I was so moved by her honest, sincere passion and love for what she does.  We were fortunate to try some of her amazing products ~ she will have baking on-site for walk in customers but she would also love to promote the option of customers being able to pre-order their customized order - because she adapts to dairy free (lactose), egg free and diabetic alternatives, and pick up fresh baked products they can freeze.   

All her baked goods are prepared from scratch, no preservatives and specializes in allergy request baking.   She has dried mixes so you can take home and bake up your own version of goodness.
If you need flour in bulk, she offers for sale.  There were so many wonderful products on the go when we went in, she is working on a Pita Bread - and we were able to sample this - the taste was wonderful, the density perfect.  She plans to add nutritional components more and more to her baking.

There will be a small brunch bar in the store ~ where she in planning to offer lunch alternatives, soups and sandwiches.  And she is also working on a website ... part of the future plans.

Coconut raisin cookie
Specializes in dry mix baking, pizzas and entrees - but she has a growing product list.  We tried her coconut and chocolate cookies, and a chocolate muffin - so yummy and moist.  She stressed how she uses all fresh and quality ingredients ~ and that she enjoys the challenge of different allergy request and how to adapt her recipes to fill them.  We were fortunate that she just was taking a batch of Onion bread cakes out of the oven - we had that along with our supper later and it was so delicious - I honestly don't think I have had a bread product that was so pleasing, the taste and texture were amazing.  She makes pizzas to order, different sizes including mini's for lunch and snack ~ again you can order these dairy (lactose) free as well.
Green Onion Cake

Go in and take a peek - let her tell you about her vision and feel the passion and love she has for what she does, it certainly shows in her baking ~ or you can email her ( for her product list - which are all prepared with their own dry mixes from scratch ~ or contact her at (780) 902-7593.

Congratulations Najah and Rio Vida Bakery for your new store front ~ I am positive your existing customers will be overjoyed and for sure count US as part of the growing list of new customers you are sure to have!

Go and check out the new store front ~
Rio Vida Bakery 
17515-100 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
contact Najah - (780) 902-7593
email -  


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Italian Centre Shop ... NEW one ...

Yeah ... There is going to be a new addition to the West End of the City ... Italian Centre Shop will be opening a location in May of 2013!! 

Awesome News  ...  Edmonton Journal reports 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sigh ... it's time ...

It is time to do something about how I am feeling ~ as I know going gluten free is just not enough.  I have gained so much weight, and I am feeling quite ill and uncomfortable most of the time, energy is low, patience is thin and how I am feeling is starting to affect my self worth and happiness.

It's time to seriously look at making some changes ... AGAIN ... today I can openly say I feel like "Celiac Disease Sucks" ... I can understand the feeling of being overwhelmed most of the time after diagnosis ... because even after you get the "NO gluten for the rest of your life" spiel from your gastroenterologist where does that leave you ... it's a steep learning curve that has people sometimes feeling a bit alone and lost.  Sure we have tonnes of information out on the internet these days ... so provided you have the time, patience and energy to read read read and research research research you can find some answers that can give you a guideline ect.   In this - the wide world web - we are certainly more equipped in this day and age to find some answers, thank god for the web - 4 years ago when my celiac disease was caught by a young female doctor who was determined to give me a proper complete physical - all the blood work included - I had never even heard about "gluten" or about "Celiac Disease" and there was less to find ... I can't believe how far the whole issue has come,
in some ways it's been good - in other ways not so much (a lot of misinformation floating around out there as well) ...

One of the awesome pluses of the explosion of social media and communication on the internet is the "birth" so to speak of the wide field of bloggers ... some I need to check in on a regular basis - amazing "real" bloggers like for one example "Gluten Dude"  - who in this link is openly and honestly telling us how he is doing on his "Whole 30 Day" program - which in his words he explains as:

"For those of you not in the know, the Whole30 Program consists of 30 days of eating nothing but whole foods.
No grains, no dairy, no added sugars, no alcohol. A whole lotta nothing."

I enjoy reading articles that delve deeper into what is truly needed to heal properly from Celiac Disease:  Such as this article written by: SCD LifeStyle: Titled:  "The Toxic Truth about Gluten Free Food and Celiac Disease"   - Bringing to light the serious "others" that are affecting our health and why as Celiacs who are eating gluten free we may still be feeling ... well just freakin' yucky ... to put it simply.

Having Celiac Disease is so so so much more than a diagnosis - there is a steep learning curve at times - if you don't feel that you are actually having continued improving health on just a gluten free diet - to figure out what the next step will be.

So yes ... for me ... it's time to make some changes - I am a bit grumpy and down today about having to study and make more changes to my diet ... seems your whole world revolves around food - and in reality that gets so tiring at times.  I do know I want to feel better, I want to feel healthy, I want more energy, lightness and also I want to lose weight.  So it is time for a few changes ... I will be totally honest that I am a bit scared and nervous at the prospect of sitting down and well doing something like the "Whole 30 day Program" or eliminating other "toxins" that I have become accustomed to ... and we are heading off on a week Disney Cruise soon so how it is going to fit into that?!  ha ha questions questions excuses excuses ... but it's time ...

Think I need to put that on my fridge ... ;) 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tiny Buddha Article

A Tiny Buddha article caught my eye today ... titled "40 Ways to Feel More Alive" written by Lori Deschene ~
(so much so that I have posted this blog entry on both my blogs because I feel is suits life ... my life ... right now)

She starts off her article with a quote from Joseph Campbell:
 “I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” 

The experience of being alive ~ so true ... this is what I have been missing of late ... Both my blogs have in their title "High on Life" ... which to me means the essence of "being elevated in the experience of being alive" ... so I have to live up to my "motto".  Over the years it has become a struggle at points ~ from losing people - family and friends, both physically and emotionally ~ to feeling lost in that search of "joy - being alive - simply being happy".  

I loved this simple article because of that - it gave 40 simple ways to increase the feeling of being alive ... the author stresses that yes this is quite the list but not one to make us feel daunted but merely a good list ... the point is to "do something".

I like that ... I can pick one of these points ... and do ... be proactive ... and who knows maybe it will start a trend.  A positive trend in "doing" things to feel more alive ... sounds like an upbeat idea to me.   

What would be one point you would add to your list?  What is something you could do ... something simple ... to start or add to your foundation of feeling ALIVE?!  I would love to read what others may add to their lists. :)   

Being alive ... breathe deep ... feels good.  :) 

20. Make a list of things you think you’d enjoy, and then pick one you’ve never done to try this weekend.

Kind of along the line of this number #20 on the list in the article I know one thing I could add to the list:  

1. Find an activity you have always wanted to do more or do more of and search out how to get involved.

I am part of our city's meetup groups and I recently joined the "TheatreGoers Club" ~ Kevin and I do enjoy live theatre in many forms and thought this would be a good fit.  So far we have gone to a comedy Improv show at Varscona Theatre, and attended the "Cirque du Soleil - Quidam" show this last weekend - made some new friends and are planning to go to a few upcoming "Fringe Shows" with the same group.   This has been one good step in feeling ALIVE.  

We also attend a coffee group night with a meetup group ~ again the simple act of sitting and chatting with different people and sharing experiences ... ALIVE.

What could you add on your list? 
 Cheers :)  

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Celiac Bracelet ...

My sister is a jewelry designer and I asked her to make me a bracelet ... I had seen one on-line on a site a while back and I knew she could knock out something I would love to wear.

This is my new celiac bracelet:


Thanks Sis ...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Second Cup ... A GF Find :)

I wanted to report a good experience at the Second Cup - 8902 149 Street Northwest location - The owner AJ was giving out samples of cakes they are carrying ~ of course being celiac and gluten intolerant ~ my guy and I had to decline. 
He came back to our table with a packaged biscotti he wanted me to try - he just started carrying - plans on bringing in another flavor as well ~ it was so awesome! When I hesitated because the packaging was clear so I could not read it ~ he went and got the box so I could see that it had gluten free on the side of the box ~ I didn't take pictures but will be going back again for coffee soon and I can have a biscotti with my coffee!!! 
It's a start ... just want to advertise and hopefully others will go to this Second Cup location and others because of this and maybe they will start carrying even more gluten free goodies for us to have with our coffee and teas!  :) 
Certainly made this Celiac Girl Smile :)  Thank you AJ from Second Cup :) 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Time is just whipping by ...

Summer is just flying by ... on one hand that makes me terribly sad because we have so few months of really nice growing weather (for flowers and lovely yards) and lake and vacation weather that you hate to see it go ... on the other hand since we have bought our new house ... this summer is a huge one of work outside so maybe the break of winter (because Fall time will be busy as well) won't seem so bad this year ... maybe I can catch up on other interests. 

I have to say that though I finally was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2008 so have had four years of learning to live with Celiac Disease ... I am still struggling with all aspects and "side effects" of learning to live my life without gluten ~ still coping with the fatigue, weight gain, stomach upsets ~ ect. and even the overwhelming disappointment and sometimes anger yes sometimes it all seems to be pretty upsetting ~ of living with this disease and not only learning to cope yourself but helping others also.  Reading what others with Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance or sensitivity have to go though and the issues they face and knowing we are all "working" it on it does help ... don't you think? 

I haven't been blogging or actually doing too much with social media at all for a while ... and it is not for lack of inspiration or the desire to do so ... just the lack of time and energy.  I am just "pooped" ha ha - yep used that word, but it is the plain honest truth ... and I know I need to stop being so hard on myself for not being "Super-Woman" and being able to do it all, for taking a moment in life when I am not weeding the yard (because right now that is the focus of all the yardwork ha ha - what you get for buying a house with a large yard that needs work ;) to get out and enjoy life. 

The time will seem short to enjoy the summer months and so I will continue to do what I can ... and as the days get shorter but chillier and darker and we are once again spending more time in the house than out of it ... then I will have time to get back to my writing and sharing.  I look forward to that time for this reason ... I truly miss writing and blogging ... and also doing other creative tasks to round out life, too much work can dull the senses I say haha ... I find the creative outlets of blogging, painting, cooking, scrapbooking, reading ect to be essential to handling the stresses of everyday.

For now ... it's back to battling the weeds ha ha ... and helping my flowers grow!  :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

NFCA Celiac Central - Article Tag ...

I have decided I need to do more "tagging" in my blog ... meaning I need to highlight more of the information I find and read and share it ~ not only as a great reference resource for myself but also to capture some of the amazing plethora of information out on the internet today ... and highlight the positive and more helpful articles.  Running a blog ~ any blog that the author may want to be successful, helpful and informative - is a huge time commitment.  I admire and respect the authors of blogs that are kept up to date and have a constant flow of information, recipes, guidance, experiences, news events, ect. the list goes on and on and on  ... and I want others to have as much access to this valuable information and awesome insights as well, among my own tidbits that I write ... my own reviews, experiences, product information, ect as well ~ of course. ;)  

On Facebook this morning I came across an article written on the "Celiac Central - Bits and Bites" Blog  - which is the staff blog of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.   The article entitled:
5 Resources to Tackle Gluten-Free Roadblocks is full of some great information. 

I direct you to read the article - as it is has the great links to further search each resource - but for reference their 5 Resources listed:

1.  When you have a Question about Nutrition - Get an answer from a Dietician - the link is provided to the NFCA's question and answer site.

2.  When you are Struggling in the Kitchen -  Takes you to a tutorial recipe site called "Alternative Appetites".

3.  When your Grocery List is Getting dull -  Brings you to their "Gluten Free Hot Products".

4.  When you are Heading to College - Read "Great U".

5.  When your Non-Gluten-Free Friend wants to Cook you a Meal ...  Download "Entertaining Gluten Free Guests.  Which I found to be very helpful it links you to a PDF article ~ that I have now printed and downloaded for my own reference and to print and hand out to well-meaning friends and family that want to cook for us and still have us stay healthy ;)  A huge plus ...

Read the article ~ look at the links that you may find useful - knowledge is well ... good health ... and as that is something we as Celiacs ~ once diagnosed and on the Celiac path ;)  strive for every DAY of our lives ... Food becomes a huge part of your life when you find out it is FOOD and how our bodies react to it that runs everything in our lives ... from our moods - thoughts - actions -

Thank you Celiac Central for writing a great resource article ... and putting some of the great resources the NFCA has into one easy read ... :)   In our busy lives GOTTA LOVE THAT!!!  :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

CCA Edmonton Chapter - NEW Website Launched

Awesome!  Amazing!  Fabulous!  Current!  Upbeat! Full of information!  News!  Events!  Guidance!

All this and more at the newly UPDATED and REFURBISHED site of the Canadian Celiac Association Edmonton Chapter ~


check it out ~ leave a comment ~ Let them know that they are on the right track and/or if you would like to see more of something or even need to add ...

Hooray for all the hard work that went into getting this NEW LOOK launched:

FROM the Site: 

"A Big Thank You to the Alberta Culture and Community Spirit Program and Andrea Dunne.
We want to acknowledge the Alberta Culture and Community Spirit Program and Andrea Dunne, a NAIT student for assisting us in getting the word out about celiac disease!

Thanks to the Alberta Culture and Community Spirit Program and their generous help through the Community Spirit Award we have been able to increase the effectiveness of getting our message out to the community through new equipment and a great new website.  We are honoured to be delivering information and relief to those with celiac disease and are so glad the Alberta Culture and Community Spirit Program has partnered with us again this year.

The Government of Alberta Community Spirit Program provides provincial grants for eligible nonprofit organizations. The grant is based on the total annual cash donations from individual Albertans received by an eligible organization over a 12-month fiscal period. The grant can be used to support an organization’s operations, programs, and/or capital projects.

The generous volunteer work by Andrea Dunne, a NAIT student has also made this all possible by helping with the development work of our website along with the leadership and Project Lead of Abisaac Saraga, Board Member of our Edmonton Chapter and Blogger at Gluten Free Edmonton"

 Yes Thank you so much Abisaac ~ it is certainly appreciated ~ the site looks amazing! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lit Italian Wine Bar ... with friends

A few weeks back we were once again venturing out to dine with a small group of fellow celiacs (and partners) and tonight's restaurant of choice was the "Lit Italian Wine Bar" on 104th street.  Kevin and I had never been there - but I had tried a sampling of their food at the "Taste of Edmonton" in the summer and was looking forward to the evening.

We went on a Thursday evening and the Wine Bar was full but did not feel too crowded - it is a small-ish intimate dining establishment - two floors (I did not venture up to the second floor - so will definitely have to go again and check that out ;).  We were seated just inside the front entrance - a long drapery from the second floor ceiling down to the floor backed the diners at our table from the entrance side.  As our group made reservations a head of time our waiter was aware of our gluten free requirements, and was pretty accommodating ~ we were brought complimentary bowls of popcorn to our table ~ which went quickly and was quite tasty, kind of a nice light alternative to the usual bread at the table.     
We all ordered a different plates ~ one plate in common with a few of us was the calamari -I loved the way it was prepared - not the usual plate of small individual rings but in slices of squid that were dusted with cornstarch, slightly spiced and lightly deep fried to a golden crispy texture ~ came in a fair sized portion, perfect for sharing as an appetizer for two, or in the case of one of our diners she had for her main course.
The calamari came with two sauces ~ one creamy in texture and taste and the other with a tomato base, both complimented the calamari. 

For our mains Kevin and I chose two of the salads on the menu - on and eye catching bed of mixed greens - I will have to go back and get the proper names and descriptions for these delicious salads ~ unfortunately the Lit Italian Wine Bar site is down so I can not pull up a menu to give you a proper description of these tasty dishes.

Lightly seared tuna on a bed of mixed greens with a slightly sweet sauce.
Perfectly cooked sliced beef tenderloin on a bed of mixed greens 
 I think that the Lit Italian Wine Bar would be a lovely place to go for light meal, a great glass of wine and conversation.  I did find that the live entertainment that evening was a bit loud once it started, it was a lovely woman singing and playing her guitar - but as it was right across from our table it made it difficult to talk or hear among our group. I am sure I would have enjoyed sitting and listening to her more had I just been out with my honey for a drink and light fare ~ rather then getting to know new friends.  May have made a difference as well if we had been sitting a bit away from the entertainment, as it was it did make it difficult to talk among each other once she started to play.

I will definitely go back with a few friends or just with my Kevin for a relaxing evening of sipping wine, more of that delicious calamari :) and to listen to the live entertainment, makes for an enjoyable evening ~ or a perfect way to end a movie date night. :)  
Lit Italian Wine Bar  -   (780) 757-6688
10132 104th Street Map.df61265
Edmonton, AB T5X 1J7
A few more dishes others enjoyed at our table: 
bocconcini cheese wrapped in proscuitto - with GF bread

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pearl River Restaurant

Pearl River Restaurant - 4728 - 99 Street  ~~ Phone: 780-435-2015

I had read about Pearl River Restaurant on sites of other bloggers such as Gluten Free Edmonton and Gluten Free Chickie and wanted to give it a try.  One of the things I did miss about eating gluten is to have really awesome Chinese food - Wok Bok was so fast food and often seemed to make me feel a bit ill, and then I heard about Pearl River.  I no longer miss out on eating amazing Cantonese - Chinese food.

We were given the opportunity to go with a group of gluten free dining friends - of which Gluten Free Edmonton wrote an awesome blog post about, and we had such a delicious and positive dining experience ~ Kevin and I have been back time and time again since then.  Pearl River is our "comfort eat out yummy place" ha ha - the food is always delicious and I never get tired of eating that amazing "Shrimp in Paradise Sauce" ... seriously folks it is so awesome and so cool that it is an item that is "breaded" (with potato flour) and "deep fried" and so yummy and still safe for us celiacs!  Heaven I call it - ha ha but seriously yes I call it Heaven.  ;) 

It is also a great experience dining in or taking out ~ the owner of Pearl River - usually the gentleman you speak to at the front of house, seats you, takes your phone orders, and so on - is so accommodating ~ never once did I feel out of place eating there or feel like any of the servers did not understand what I meant when I said "I am a celiac and have to eat gluten free" ~ a lot of their dishes are made gluten free on a regular basis, so they have a number of menu items to choose from.  

We have eaten there often since our first time way back in February ha ha - and have even started introducing others to Pearl River - Kevin's mom (not gluten free eater) came with us last month for an awesome meal - we could order the whole yummy meal gluten free and all share, and be so satisfied with everything.  I do have my favorites however - the amazing "Shrimp in Paradise Sauce" the shrimp are large and tender and sauce which is an interesting mix including mayonnaise and a touch of curry is just a creamy delight.   I also have grown very fond of the beef and broccoli and the chicken and black bean sauce - both full of tender meats and full of perfectly cooked vegetables.

It's always a good eats whether we dine there or get take out ... the service is great ... and quick and pleasant and the food is delicious.

I love Pearl River - if you like Cantonese - Chinese food - you will too!  :)
Big thumbs up for this restaurant - 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

mmmmm ... cupcakes :)

Had a craving this evening for something different than the usual evening snacks ... wanted sweeter, wanted something with cake yet not that large ... so I decided to do cupcakes ~

Now I sit and read people's lovely blogs, and websites and facebook pages full of lovely recipes but you know what I am not a natural baker ... I don't have the pantry I crave or the time to make one so I went to the next best thing ... a great mix and then add some touches of my own ;)  Why fight with getting something exactly right with a bunch of ingredients I don't carry in my house (because they would likely go bad - as some things have done - before I would use them) when there are people who have done that sometimes tricky measuring and I have a lovely start.  :)

So I grabbed a carob cake & muffin mix to start :)

In a medium sized bowl I put one slightly ripening banana - mashed it very well with a fork - then I added the 3 eggs - and with the fork I lightly whipped and beat together the eggs and banana - then I added 3/4 of a teaspoon of ginger powder, and about two teaspoons of allspice - then added the 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and 3/4 cup of coconut milk and beat it all together until smooth. 

So I took a simple carob mix and added banana, ginger and allspice ...  baked in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes and ta da  ...

 Banana Carob Ginger cupcakes ... all within a half an hour :)

THAT I just have to love ... gluten free dairy free and scrumptious ... :) 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kinnikinnick's Blog Post ... a must read ...

This blog post by Kinnikinnick's "The Gluten Free Insider" titled ~ Please stop dismissing the Gluten Free Diet is a well written article that breaks down by themes some of the common misconceptions and media "wording" when the "gluten free diet" is written about in today's media.

As a celiac, as it was pointed out, we raise our glasses to more awareness about Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity - unfortunately as this article so clearly points out there is a tonne of misconception and negativity towards people going gluten free ~ so it is refreshing to have a company and manufacturer like Kinnikinnick's stepping up and standing on the side of the benefits of being gluten free ~ whether it is a requirement (as with Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity) or a choice.

I enjoyed reading how they pointed out that any "diet" can be healthy or unhealthy - it is all in the execution.  There as so many healthy choices out there to eat - gluten free or not ~ that in reality it comes to being educated, informed, and making those choices.

There are many more strong points in the article - like making sure if you do have a problem with gluten you get diagnosed - for undiagnosed celiac disease can be life threatening, that the gluten free lifestyle is not a choice it is a "life long requirement". 

It is a great article and I wanted to make sure I blogged about it and gave it my two thumbs up support ~ I echo the comment of "Gluten Free Edmonton"  that it is "Glad to have you on our side helping to dispel any myths about the diet".

Here Here!

I certainly agree ...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Quick and Easy Saturday Brunch ...

 I had a craving today for French Toast ~ simple and quick - nothing fancy - so out came the yummy Udi's Millet and Chia Bread, the eggs and salt and pepper ~ and pulled out some Irving Farms Sausage - and cooked those up as well ~ and yum ~ a quick and simple brunch is served. 

Hope everyone has an awesome Saturday ~
Cheers  :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pasta Dinner Evenings ...

For more information contact the Edmonton Office at 780-485-2949 or email for more information and to register. 

Doctors and Workshops - necessary for Good Health? ...

  So I get more involved, I work on getting healthier, I work on finding that balance ... juggling all the aspects of living life and still trying to "smell the flowers" ... and well something has to give and it has been my writing of late.  The list of places, experiences, products, foods, restaurants, cooking and recipes and so on, continues to grow ... I honestly admire those like Gluten Free Edmonton who blog on such a regular basis, we are out here and we are reading - thank you.

I took the plunge and found a dedicated family doctor - I have to say she still came as a recommendation from a friend, and I just lucked out that this doctor is in my area and she was accepting new patients.  I have been going to a Medi-centre since I moved to Edmonton - almost 12-13 years ago - the same one true, but not seeing the same doctor, and if I had issues always having to follow up with different doctors at the centre, and never getting a true picture when I do ~ as they read your file, results, history all in a matter of 5 minutes while they are standing there, not knocking these doctors - their days must be so long, and really it is in the hands of the individual what kind of care you need, and for many years before I was diagnosed - seeing a doctor one or twice a year if I needed a prescription or some antibiotics for something did fine.  Medi centres are not set up to service someone who has Celiac Disease - but I am grateful they are the ones that caught it and therefore took the steps to refer me to a gastroenterologist and get my life as being a Celiac under way.  So all the transferring of files, getting the new doctor familiar with me, my body and my health ~ took some time and effort, tests to go for and such, but in the end I am in a pretty good state - physically health wise, need to work on the stress issues (the "stop and smell the flowers and take some time for me" stuff) and I am on the right track.  It was really interesting to read through some of the reports over the last years as well, who knew that at any time I could have requested a copy of my own medical file (provided I wanted to pay for it) and actually read about things like test results, and letters from the gastro to the Medi Centre ~ who knew that it wasn't a strange thing to get a copy of blood work results?!  And even better to have a doctor now that goes over it with me, so I know what I am reading and where I should be in terms of levels.  Just saying I think even this small step has helped the "stress" levels of life ... yes ... we can not control that we have Celiac Disease, but we do have the power and control to understanding, treating, and healing what damage there may be.  Who ever thought I would have been happy to hear that my villi have healed and if I keep to my gluten free way of life my insides will be healthier?  Or that I would even know what "villi" even were haha.  Celiacs are more effective in being healthier with information.

My guy and I recently signed up for a two evening workshop called "Happy Tummy Digestion Workshop" with Dr. Melanie Robinson - held at Amaranth Whole Foods Market - we have completed the first evening of the two evening workshop and I am looking forward to the completion.  The first evening Dr. Robinson, who is a practicing Dr. of Naturopathic Medicine at the Optimum Wellness Clinic ~ explained more about the Naturopathic Medicine, gave some history about herself ~ and then a short presentation on the digestion system in it's entirety ~ it was long enough to be full of information, and give you a desire to find out more and short enough that it did not drag on a work night evening week.  We spent a few minutes shopping in the Amaranth Whole Food Market afterwards, they have a great selection of gluten free items - which are mostly marked with a defining colored sticker so things are easy to find.  :) Next weeks workshop is on the "Leaky Gut Syndrome" ~ a topic I have been meaning to do more research on, so it will be a good workshop.

Doctors and Workshops ... Information ... good.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Doing what you can ...

Well I have to admit - I have fallen in love with the "Pinterest" world - over a very short period of time ~ and have not been doing much writing, I have done more dreaming and planning, and more dreaming and planning.  I have found because my entire system feels a bit off ~ I am feeling fatigued and uninspired ~ so working on ways to reignite my motivation.  It is often hard to balance all the things we want to do in life - to balance what our bodies, soul and spirit all need to keep vibrant and moving forward...

I have had a drive to write about being gluten free and share a bit more with the world ~ I have become a newbie to Twitter as well as Facebook pages, I am looking for ways to become more involved and volunteer for our Celiac Chapter in our city, learning to blog with pizzaz ;) ~ putting together simple recipes, slowly learning how to write out ideas, recipes, inspiration ... AND in the last 6 months we have made some major moves in our life ... making a full commitment and settling into a new relationship, bought a house, moved two households into one, adopted a puppy ... and are working on a blended family.  A lot I have thrown on to my plate ... and then there is feeding my soul and spirit ... I am a crafter (many different crafts over the years) in the last 7-8 years it has been primarily scrapbooking, I love to garden and plant, dabble in painting, I love to take pictures ... I really appreciate the small and simple beauty we can find in our world, if we want to look.  It is this creative spirit that Pinterest appeals to ... I am enjoying the glimpse into what people (all sorts of people) find inspiring, thought provoking, goal making, motivating  .... interests, dreams, hobbies, plans ... amazing and visually stimulating ... It fires up my dormant spirit to be creative ~ now to just figure out the balance of the outlet so that all the wonderful new things (to me) like blogging, tweeting, Facebook, writing don't take a back seat to the my other loves. 

I loved this simple quote ~ and done in such a creative way (mixed media look is becoming my new love):

Do what you can
with what you have
Where you are ...

Very good then ... We shall  :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Kinnikinnick's New Products :)

I was thrilled at the beginning of this week to be picked as one of the fortunate people to receive a sample pack of Kinnikinnick's 4 new soft bread items - in their "Toss Your Toaster" campaign ~ even more excited to come home last night to have the box waiting for me ~ oh what to try first??!!! 

We decided on the Kinnikinnick's new soft white hotdog buns :

I have to start with the awesome aroma when I opened the bag ~ I ran into the livingroom and put the bag right under the nose of my guy and said "sniff!" ... mmmmmmmmmmm that delicious fresh bread smell ~ it was delightful.  And I noticed the softness of the products right away, and the sizes!  In both the bread and the buns they were considerably larger than the regular loaf of bread we usually buy ~ Kinnikinnick's has found the way to make a more regular sized loaf with incredible softness,
and amazing texture. 

So I decided to make smokie dogs and put these new buns to the taste test ~ grabbed some other ingredients - Fresh Express Coleslaw, Onion (which I sauteed in a pan with a little olive oil), threw a few Grimm's Fine Foods Bavarian Smokies in the microwave, as a side dish I made some Farabella Gnocci - (that I tossed with a touch of margerine and some dill.)  And wala ~ a simple supper - smokie dogs and gnocci - with a side of cabbage and sauteed onions.  mmmmmm

Biting into the smokie dog was amazing - the new Kinnikinnick buns are awesome!  My honest comment would be that I seriously do not think anyone who is a "gluten eater" (ha ha ;) evil gluten eaters) would be able to tell the difference between this amazing product and one that was made with wheat.  It was seriously heaven ~ soft on the inside yet had a lovely brown and slightly chewy crust ~ really good ... no amazing!  I have to say it is not only splendid that Kinnikinnick's has managed to not only make a better product that is out there now but one that is also a better value for our hard earned money!  Hooray for Kinnikinnick's!!!  And even better that this is a locally owned and operated company - they have done Edmonton proud with the tremendous growth and incredible results ... and seem to be getting better and bigger all the time. 

Big big two thumbs up for Kinnikinnick's Foods Inc. ~ Amazing New Soft Hot dog Buns ~ can't wait to try the rest of the new products! 


***** oh and to note:  It was awesome to throw together lunch today ~ made a quick tuna salad "bunwich" - small can of dill and lemon Cloveleaf tuna, some Daiya Vegan chedder cheese, a handful of the Fresh express coleslaw, Hellman's mayo and a touch of French's mustard, mixed together and spread generously on a Kinnikinnick's new Soft Bun ~ DELICIOUS!!! 

Thank you Kinnikinnick's!!!  You have made one celiac (and by the look of your twitter feed) many others a very very happy woman!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Gluten free at Soda Jerks Restaurant

So Friday night after my guy and I met up after work - ran a few errands ~ we looked at each other and said now what? as in "what shall we have for supper?" ha ha ~ and since we were fairly close to their west side location I said "Let's go to Soda Jerks" and try out their gluten free burgers.  :)  In truth it is because of great and awesome "heads up" of others like this one on Gluten Free Edmonton we decided to give this restaurant a go ~ at times I do love to be the "first" one to write up a gluten free review of a restaurant (have to admit that) but it is very nice to days have a "safe" pointer about an eating establishment in Edmonton, already looked up and you can roll in with some confidence (in saying this we always have to make sure we do our own due diligence and never just expect that because you just say oh I need to eat gluten free doesn't mean you have to check and make sure others check to keep your meal safe.  :) But I do want to say Thank you to Gluten Free Edmonton for all you do for us Celiacs in Edmonton ~ very much appreciated.

On to our experience at Soda Jerks Restaurant ~ We had a great experience right from walking in, it still gives me a little shiver of happiness when I walk into a restaurant for the first time and when I mention being a celiac or having to eat gluten free ~ all the staff are accommodating and knowledgeable right from the hostess to the waiters and waitresses ~ it makes for an enjoyable dining experience right from the front door.  This was the kind of experience we had at Soda Jerks ~ our hostess didn't hesitate or miss a beat when we inquired about how we go about eating gluten free at Soda Jerks ~ she confidently said that our waitress would be able to explain and assist us in making sure our meals were safe.  Our waitress when advised that we needed to eat gluten free and that celiac - therefore cross contamination is an issue ~ again was confident that the kitchen was knowledgeable and that all items chosen would be double checked to make sure they were safe, and if not then we could make alternative choices.
Even in getting our sodas ~ she checked before bringing them to the table and then brought them to the table to let us double check them before she opened and poured them into a glass for us.  Her consideration and simple concern was admirable.  It was notable that I never felt "different" or "strange" for needing gluten free requirements, and find it uplifting that restaurants in the Edmonton area - that there are more dining establishments all the time that are understanding or acknowledging what eating gluten free means and the importance of areas like cross contamination, and we are not made to feel like a nuisance, but as a patrons that simply wants to dine, spend our hard earned money with them and not be ill afterwards.  :)

So our burgers - we decided to go with the "Build your own" burger idea ~ which is a superb selection I think most people would be hard pressed not to be able to build a burger or sandwich of their liking, the large and varied selection actually makes it a challenge of what you can put together.

Kevin's creation
Kevin's creation: (beef patty on a gluten free bun, with caramelized onions, pickles, sauteed mushrooms and a tomato salsa)

And for myself I created ;)  (beef patty on a gluten free bun with caramelized onions, iceberg lettuce, roasted red peppers, sauteed mushrooms with both the roasted garlic mayo and the Dijon mustard sauces) - honestly the picture did not do it justice it was awesome ~ the bun was pretty good, a Kinnikinnick Tapioca Rice Hamburger Bun (I read that they also may soon be offering the new soft buns and I think that would be an awesome addition) - the patty cooked well - all the topping made for a delicious combination ~ and and the side order of french fries were great, Thank you Soda Jerks for the dedicated fryer so that this is an option on your menu, much appreciated.  :)
My Delicious Creation :)

So a two thumbs up for Soda Jerks Restaurant - West End - for an enjoyable experience from the service, drinks and delicious food ~ a definite add to somewhere not only that we will recommend but that we shall be visiting for the nights when we just have to have "an awesome burger".  :)