Wednesday

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

H A P P Y   H A L L O W E E N !



Recently my family had the most wonderful Disney vacation. During that time, we attended Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party. This event requires a separate ticket as the park closes to non event ticket holders at 7pm.

We arrived at the park around 5:30pm ( I believe they start allowing party guests in at 4pm) and I proceeded to City Hall to get my much anticipated Gluten Free candy bag. Alas they had none left. The gal taking care of us radioed around to see if someone could bring up some GF treats to her. She then told me to come back by 7pm when the party officially starts to see if there was any candy left. She took my name and said she would hold a bag for me. We headed back just before 7 and thankfully there was small bag of Celiac safe treats set aside!


I should tell you that cast members are not shy about handing out candy. We each got handfuls at every candy location around Magic Kingdom. Candy hunting aside, this was a spectacular event! Disney caps the attendance so lines never get out of hand. The only time we ever encountered huge line was for character meet and greets.                                     

We were at the party for about 5 hours when we decided that it was time to call it a night. Aside from a couple of things, I think we pretty much conquered everything we set out to do this night. There were no meltdowns and Lincoln actually fell asleep before we got back to the hotel. although he didn't spend a lot of time in the stroller, it was handy to have! 

Official gluten-free candy stash





My candy stash is obviously much smaller than that of everyone else's  In all honesty it really doesn't bother me. The event in itself was worth the price. I cannot begin to tell you how much fun we had. Do take note that mixed into the "regular" candy collected throughout the night, were a few that stated "gluten free" under the ingredient list. There were also some that although did not state GF, a quick check with the manufacturer proved they were safe.So keep those eyes peeled.


Regular Candy Pile (3 bags!)


If you can make it out to this event which runs on select nights In September and October, I highly recommend it! Even if you do not like candy, there is so so much fun to be had throughout the evening! 

Monday

Presidents Choice Launches Gluten Free Product Line

Display in bakery department at RCSS


Notice that Spelt Cookies are at far right of display on both shelves.  

 Stuff like this really concerns me. Hubby and I have different views on the matter. He feels that everyone should notice that the cookies are Spelt and that they are technically at the end of the display with no GF label near the price tag.

 Although constant vigilance is a must, I find displays like this can confuse people. I read and re -read every label. Thats just my nature. For someone gathering groceries on a busy day, they may see the Gluten Free sign and grab something without first verifying that it is indeed Gluten Free. When I read the label for the Spelt cookies I noticed something a little scary. Something that will probably confuse many who are new to the GF diet or poorly educated in regards to it. The label stated that the cookies contain a Gluten similar to Wheat Gluten. Some people may think that this is actually safe for them to eat when in fact it is quite harmful.


Another thing that will likely confuse people into purchasing this non GF product is that the displays seem to vary by location. Some locations have only Gluten Free food in the display, while locations like mine have it slightly mixed with Gluten containing products to both the right and left. 




End cap in "Natural Selection" aisle

Hopefully this is just a learning curve and Real Canadian Superstore will change it up. I sampled the Presidents Choice Gluten Free Bread today and will have a review up soon.


Dominos Canada And The Not So Gluten Free Crust







So it begins....Dominos Canada now offers a Gluten Free Crust with a small side of disclaimer.

Clearly they did not get the message about offering a Gluten Free product that does not remain that way. See  my post-Dearest Domino's regarding their American introduction of this not so Gluten Free pizza.

Why oh whyyyy?

Why not just call it carb friendly or health wise? Something of that nature would be a lot more acceptable as it is not misleading in any way.

I don't understand the effort to target a specific group of people if you cannot and will  not properly accommodate them? I'm not saying that Celiac Disease owns Gluten Free, but to us those words represent safety. Gluten Free means we should not have to look for fine print or legal disclaimers.



Do we see sorta Kosher food or almost nut free items? No, we sure don't! So why is it that Celiac Disease does not get understanding and respect?

Canada is usually pretty on the ball with the safety of Gluten Free products. This whole Dominos debacle bothered me so much that I contacted the Canadian Celiac Association. They take matters like this very seriously and are now looking into it.


I want to thank Sue Newell of the Canadian Celiac Association for responding to my concern. and I am happy to say that they have posted a notice to their members in regards to this issue. 


When Sue contacted  Dominos Canada, she received a  very well worded and sneaky response

"I spoke to the legal representative for Dominos Canada today and he told me that they are selling a gluten-free crust, but not a gluten-free pizza. To me, that is trying to skirt a very fine line."


According to Sue, she also contacted the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ,and the issue at hand has been referred to the Retail Food Program for discussion.

Clearly, Celiac Awareness is needed. Scary.
The Canadian Celiac Association is looking to work with Dominos to develop a standard that would allow them to sell a 100% GF pizza, not just a crust. While I commend this effort, I do see it as a lost cause. Dominos is a very small store storefront and cannot provide a safe handling area. If they want to serve Gluten Free pizza the right way. They should serve pre made Gluten Free pizza that is sealed in a heatproof container until the customer opens it. This prevents any and all risk of cross contamination as it would be sealed before leaving the production factory and remain that way throughout the serving process.

I don't see this being a difficult option as Domino's already goes the length to ensure that the crust is Gluten Free. They just can't/won't/don't provide an area to have this crust remain Gluten Free.

All in all, the effort to serve a GF crust if there is zero intent on having it remain that way continues to baffle me.





Saturday

Gluten Free Expo Toronto 2012


Awesome swag bag 
Last Sunday, September 30th I attended the Gluten Free Expo in Toronto with my husband and our three year old son. I was super excited for this event and I hope to see another one next year. While it was a great experience, there were definitely a few hiccups.  I don't want to focus too much on the negative as I'm sure that this was a monstrous event to put together and the packed to the walls turn out can only mean good things.


Lets start with the positives

  • Amazing turn out  - I was seriously surprised by how many people turned up for the event. Hopefully this kind of enthusiasm will lead to more awareness and more variety on the store shelves.

  • Awesome variety of vendors - There were the known favourites such as Kinnikinnick, Udis, and Pamelas. And there were so many companies that I had never heard of until I tried a sample or spoke to them at their booths. The vendors ranged from food companies and catering to restaurants and magazines. There was also a vendor representing the Chicago Centre for Celiac Disease! Awesome possum.
  • great items available for purchase - Wow. Just wow. I probably could have purchased several weeks worth of groceries here. Some vendors had  pretty great deals as well. 
  • Everyone was in good spirits - This says it all I think
  • My little guy managed the 2 hours we were there without a melt down! Woohoo! He also enjoyed all of the yummy Gluten Free samples that he tried.
  • Loads of yummy samples. Seriously yummy  And nothing beats a sample of something to encourage a purchase
    Gluten Free Samples and Coupons
  • Easy to gain entrance with pre-purchased tickets - That itself was a great option! Hope to see this again.


    Jax and Myself
  • Had the opportunity to meet Jax! Had to save the best for last on my list of positives. She is truly a Gluten Free inspiration and I recommend having a regular peak at her website Gluten Free Ontario




Alright, on to the not so fun stuff


  • We arrived at 9:50 am and waited a good ten minutes to turn into the parking lot. We entered the venue at about 10:10am and it was packed. By 11:30 it was so crowded that vendors were hard to gain access to. Just walking through the crowd was tough. It seemed like there was not enough space for people to line up at the vendors without causing a blockage to the people who just wanted to pass by. 

  • Paid $9.00 for parking. I had no idea until we got there that parking would not be free. My fault for not looking into it but I figured $18 on 2 tickets would qualify for free parking or at least some sort of a discount for attending the expo.

  • When we left it was very chaotic as there is only one exit from the parking lot. We sat in a lineup of cars for 35 minutes before a second ticket booth was opened and someone came out to direct the flow of vehicles. My dad works by the Toronto Airport and apparently this is a common logistics issue at this  particular venue. All in all, I'm happy nobody freaked out and eventually (35 minutes later) traffic got flowing at a somewhat fair pace. 
  • No time to really get to know vendors or learn about the products. We ended up leaving when things got to the point of not being able to get to the booths and see what products were there. Although we strolled by most tables, there were some like the Chicago Center for Celiac Disease where I could only squeeze in enough to snag a pamphlet. Really wish I could have been able to have a chat with them. Everything just felt so rushed.

  • I  heard that a few vendors were eating non GF foods at their booths. Thats a big no no. Also, I feel as though any vendor that had GF oats in a product should have had a disclaimer saying so as many Celiacs, including myself get ill from even Gluten Free oats. 




Would I attend a future event?

Hubby & little man in parking lot
Yes, but I would attend with a different frame of mind. Perhaps taking turns navigating the Expo with hubby. This way one of us can keep the little man happy and out of the crowds. It was too difficult to navigate a stroller through the tight space and much too hard for my little guy to walk without getting tripped over.

Next time I will be expecting some big crowds. I will also buy products as I visit the booths instead of attempting to go back at the end of our rounds.


NEW products that caught my eye at the Gluten Free Expo

 At $4.00 they come already made and you just pop em in the oven. Talk about convenient  I have made my own version of these cheese buns for several years and Forno Mina is so authentic. Nothing compares to the airiness and texture  they are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Boring Porridge
I was skeptical at first but HOLY MOLY was it great. Add this to Vanilla yogurt and bam, you have a healthy and easy to make snack. I am such a fan now will have to order this online for sure. Shipping across Canada is only $2.00! 











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