Thursday

Review: Red Apple Lipstick

I received free product for review purposes. Opinions are entirely my own.


As someone who eats gluten-free due to Celiac disease, it's important that my cosmetics are free from gluten as well. Let's be honest, if it's on your face then it's easily ingested. It can be overwhelming to read cosmetic labels all the while trying to decipher hidden gluten sources. Often the ingredients are listed in the worlds smallest fonts, making reading those scientific terms all the more difficult.

Are there any Gluten-Free Makeup Brands?

Enter Red Apple Lipstick. They take serious pride in using only the finest, highest quality ingredients to create their products. On top of being certified Gluten-Free, Red Apple ingredients are Vegan, Soy Free, Paraben-Free, Lead-Free and Vitamin E Enriched. All products are created in small batches to ensure freshness.



Gluten Free Makeup
Exfoliate Stick and Magic Momint Lipgloss

I tried out a lipgloss and an exfoliate stick.

This was my first experience with an Exfoliate Stick so I wasn't really sure what to expect. It comes in an elegant lipstick tube and has coarse-grained bits all throughout the product. The coarse grainy bits are what scrub the dry patches from your lips. Using it is quite simple and not messy at all. Just apply like you would lipstick and then wipe off with a small cloth or some water. The creamy texture is really enjoyable and I adore the cooling mint flavor - so refreshing! As someone who regularly endures chapped lips, the Exfoliate Stick has earned a fan in me! 


Cost: $17.00

Cosmetics
Next up, I tried the Mint 2 Be lipgloss - Magic Momint

I tend not to wear lipgloss often as I find it to generally be a thick goopy mess that ends up drying out my lips. So no fun there. On a happy note, Red Apple Lipstick has exceeded my expectations with their lipgloss formulation. Magic Momint feels airy and light when applied. It has a very satiny feel and a luscious spearmint aroma that is a pure winner. The pigment is so darn gorgeous! It goes on slightly sheer and allows for easy to control intensity by applying a lot or just a little. A big highlight is that the colour lasts for a long time and feels silky and conditioning on the lips.

Cost: $18.50


Gluten Free Lipgloss


For more information on Red Apple Lipstick, check out the following social media links:






Wednesday

Celiac Resources: What To Look For & Red Flags To Run From

When I think of the sea of information surrounding Celiac disease, I'm reminded of how I learned the ins and outs of managing it. Lucky for me, I was diagnosed long before gluten-free had become romanticised by celebrities and diet junkies. It made things easier I think because the information circulating about gluten-free was pure and foreign to most people. Gluten-free was just that; no gray area and no jokes.

With all of the information out there today, it can be difficult to weed out fact from fiction. The internet is a continuously growing source of unmoderated information and strong opinion. While different points of view can be a good thing, they aren't when it comes to managing Celiac. Scientific facts from medical professionals trump personal opinions on the internet ( looking at you Facebook Groups, Twitter, and Instagram ) one hundred percent! 


So Who Do We Trust?!

Celiac Resources

What to look for


Bloggers who actively campaign for Celiac awareness without policing the nutritional choices of others. Celiac aside, we all have different dietary needs, requirements, and lifestyles. It's important to find bloggers you can relate to. For example, if you are gluten-free AND dairy free, you would naturally gravitate toward someone who shares that lifestyle.


Look for support groups which are low on animosity and focus on the positives. While we all need to vent once in a while, it can be emotionally draining to be constantly surrounded by negativity. It's not hard to find a silver lining when everyone you connect with is searching for it too. Support networks big or small, are important to successfully manage Celiac.


Advocacy groups which are funded by member and or Government donations. When there is no sponsorship, there is zero potential for conflict of interest. They are also more likely to involve members in every aspect of the organization, making it 100% accountable. Advocacy is a vital lifeline to everyone with Celiac. This is why we need to make sure we're supporting groups which are serious about making a difference.


Facts based on valid scientific researchCeliac is not governed by personal opinion. Period. To avoid clickbait and plain old wrong information, ask yourself:
Is this a trustworthy information source?
Can the facts be verified?
Is there an ulterior motive?
What makes this source reliable?
Where did the information originate?
Is it up to date?

We live in an era where information travels at lightspeed and just because it's out there, doesn't mean it's accurate.


Red flags


Anyone who promotes Cheerios as a suitable option for those with Celiac. 
See more on why that is a no-no here. This is a hot topic still and I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around why. The main problem here is cross-contamination and lack of transparency about the gluten-removal process from General Mills.

Stay far away from anyone promoting gluten-removed beer as a Celiac safe.
It's not. Heres why: current technology is not reliable as it can't accurately measure the amount gluten in beer. It doesn't matter if it has been treated with enzymes or your Aunt Betty said she drinks it and is fine. Bartenders are not medical professionals and should not be relied upon for accurate information on the gluten-freeness of a drink. Beer made with malt a.k.a gluten-removed beer is not safe for any Celiac, nor is Corona for that matter.

Watch out for anyone who neglects to disclose sponsored material. 
This has been an ongoing problem on the interwebs for some time. It's sketchy, in poor taste and lacks authenticity.

Stay away from people who want to sell you essential oils, tonics and cleanses.
None of this will "heal" you and most of them tend to be MLM situations. Don't get caught up in it and you won't be sorry.


Avoid anyone who tells you that they know a "cure". 
Although therapies are actively being trialed and researched, there is nothing to date which will allow you to safely consume gluten. There is zero proof that anything currently on store shelves will help with cross contamination or accidental glutening. ZERO. Side note - those pills in health stores that "aid in the digestion of gluten" are not regulated by the FDA and not even meant for people with Celiac.


Advocacy groups and Expos that are sponsored by companies that are not Celiac safe. This is a major conflict of interest. How can we be sure that money hasn't bought a favorable opinion here? Safety first!

Be wary of anyone who relies strictly on the Nima Sensor. 
The Canadian Celiac Association recently released a statement cautioning anyone with Celiac or gluten sensitivity against using the device. While Nima could potentially be a helpful tool, it's not flawless and the opportunity for error is simply too risky.



Research and Support You Can Count On




The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center

Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University



Gluten-Free Certification 




Tuesday

Product Review: GoGo Quinoa Supergrains Pasta


One of my go-to meal solutions is pasta. It's hearty, healthy and versatile. Another plus is how quick and easy it is to make. When GoGo Quinoa asked me if I'd like to give their new Super Grains Fusilli Pasta a try, I had to say yes! Let's talk about what has this pasta standing apart from the crowd - the ingredients.


Ingredients:

Organic sorghum flour, organic white quinoa flour, organic amaranth flour, organic chia flour.

Nutritional Values:

The pasta is a good source of fibre and Iron with 25%  of iron and 24% of fibre per portion (1 cup). 



What IS Sorghum Flour?

GoGo Quinoa’s sorghum is grown in Bolivia. This small grain is an edible hull which is rich in antioxidants. Sorghum is very nutritious, packed with carbohydrates, fibre, iron, protein, calcium, and phosphorus. Eating it can help maintain a healthy balanced diet.


What Did I think?!

I had never tried Quinoa pasta before so I  was quite curious to see what it was like. Although I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, I went into the experience with an open mind. Taste and texture is a big deal - no one likes mushy pasta or an aftertaste. The Super Grains Fusilli Pasta came through, big time! It holds up really well and does not fall apart after cooking. Plus, no aftertaste! I always make enough to ensure there are leftovers and reheating them has been a success. That's a big plus in my book. The pasta has a nice hearty bite to it and there is zero aftertaste with it.


GoGo Quinoa Pasta




With school back in session and Fall weather upon us, I decided to cook up a little comfort dish with the GoGo Quinoa Super Grains Fusilli. 


Butternut Squash Autumn Supergrains Pasta

You will need:

GoGo Quinoa Supergrains Fusilli Pasta


1 Butternut Squash
5 strips of Bacon 
3 stocks of Celery 
a handful of Chives

1/4 Cup Milk
Handful Grated Parmesan
3 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste

Pasta Cooking Instructions: Bring 3-4 litres of water to a boil. Add salt if desired. When the water is boiling well, add the pasta and cook for 9 minutes for an Al Dente texture while stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse promptly with cold water. Serve immediately with your favourite sauce and condiments. 

While the pasta is boiling: puree a butternut squash and add it to a saucepan.
Then add 1/4 cup of milk, 3 Tablespoons Butter, 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, 2 Tablespoons Paprika,1 Teaspoon Nutmeg and Salt & Pepper to taste. After giving everything a good stir,  add some diced celery (3 stocks) and some finely chopped bacon (5 strips). Give everything another stir and add in the pasta.Then add a handful of grated parmesan cheese and gently incorporate the pasta into the sauce. Once plated, top with some fresh chives.




GoGo Quinoa Pasta



You can find GoGo Quinoa Supergrains Pasta in Costco stores across Canada. 






Thursday

D-LUXE Burger: Review




Disney Springs

Owned and operated by Disney, you can find D-LUXE Burger in Disney Springs. Though you may want to grab a map to help locate it. The complex is large and can easily require a full day to tour. Side tip - Go early in the morning and avoid the evenings if your not one for crowds.

Formerly known as Downtown Disney, the entertainment destination has transformed into a not to be missed dining and shopping mecca. 


Disney Springs
Order Area




D-LUXE Burger is a Quick Service restaurant and currently participates in the Disney Dining Plan program. Keep in mind, that participating restaurants are updated and sometimes changed out yearly. The vibe inside the restaurant is pretty chill and laid back. It's actually bigger than it looks on the outside as well.


Gluten-Free Options 




Disney Springs



As we were on the dining plan, I was able to get the regular fries as a snack credit. If you are paying out of pocket, the regular fries will set you back about $4.99 and the large,  about $7.49.

The fries are gluten-free, hand cut and fried in a dedicated fryer. I would say they are similar in texture to the ones you would find at 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. 


I could not get enough of them. Seriously, the fries alone are worth the trip to Disney Springs! Even though they were a "snack" portion, the size was enough to fill me up. 

The fries come with your choice of SIX complimentary dipping sauces...and they're all gluten-free! I tried all of them and WOW are they ever good!

  • chipotle mayo
  • curry ketchup
  • 3 mustard honey
  • garlic ranch
  • buffalo blue cheese
  • horseradish sauce

Although I haven't tried it, you can also order a gluten-free burger with either a gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap. This is definitely on my list for next time though!



Disney Springs


Things can get a little messy so, you will no doubt appreciate the paper towel rolls located on each table. I also loved that no rush atmosphere. We really took our time, enjoyed the food and just soaked up the vibe.



Have you visited D-LUXE Burger? Share your thoughts below!



Wednesday

Le Marché Émilie: Review


While vacationing in Quebec, I found what I consider to be a hidden gem - Le Marché Émilie and it will pleasantly surprise you. The store itself is a beautiful old post office building which has been converted into a colorful and vibrant gluten-free cafe and grocery shop. It is located in Pointe-Claire and within walking distance of the breathtaking St. Lawerence river.


Gluten-Free Grocery Store
Le Marché Émilie

What's So Special?


The entire store is 100% gluten-free! That's right - grocery staples, desserts and hot food, ALL gluten-free. It's not often a Celiac finds a "safe" place to eat, let alone one that is completely dedicated to gluten-free. They serve freshly made pizza and have a pretty magical ice cream bar. On top of that, the store also sells both frozen and shelf stable gluten-free groceries.


Gluten-Free Shop
Eating area


Right away I was in awe of the shops colour palette. It gives off a really fun vibe. Although not large in size, the layout makes for a spacious and enjoyable atmosphere. Everything about Le Marché Émilie is absolutely darling. Including the people who work there. I was greeted the moment I walked in, with a friendly "Bonjour!" If you're not versed in French, don't worry - Pointe-Claire is a pretty bilingual area and the staff at Le Marché Émilie speak fluent English. Most of the signage is also in both English and French.


Pointe Claire Quebec
Groceries


We looked around the shop and discovered lots of product which is not available in Ontario. So much so that I will dedicate a future post to it. Since we visited Le Marché Émilie on our way back to Ontario, I decided to do a little souvenir grocery shopping in the freezer section. My husband was able to purchase a bag of ice at the convenience store across the road so I took a chance and bought about a hundred dollars worth of frozen food. I'm happy to say that all of the frozen food held up during our 6-hour drive home!


Just look at that pizza


Gluten-Free Pizza
Pizza


I ordered the personal size marinara pizza with 3 toppings. It cost me around eight dollars or so. The pizza base is focaccia, which was light, pillowy and filling. Portion size was generous in and in my opinion very worth it. Something else to make note of is that the pizza is dairy free on top of being gluten-free. Normally I can spot dairy free cheese a mile-a-way, but not the case here. The cheese was soft and velvety.


We need to talk about the Sundaes


Gluten-Free Ice Cream Shop
Ice Cream Menu



There are several varieties to choose from and they range from basic to extreme. I ordered the "Kid In A Candy Shop" sundae. It's vanilla ice cream which is coated in milk chocolate, m&m's, sprinkles, strawberry sauce and topped off with cotton candy. All for $5.95 plus tax. There is so much going on in this dessert and it all works perfectly together! I had no idea ice cream and cotton candy could make such an enticing combination. Much like the pizza, serving size is ample and you won't be disappointed.


Gluten-Free Sundae
Kid In A Candy Shop Sundae


Final Thoughts



I absolutely adored Le Marché Émilie and plan to stop by during future Quebec trips. It's the type of place I could see myself visiting on the regular had I lived closer. Cost wise, I was happy. They charge a fair price and don't gouge the way some places do.

If you will be visiting Quebec, please stop by and give them some well-deserved love! The Celiac community needs more dedicated gluten-free shops like Le Marché Émilie.

You can follow them on social media below:






On Instagram

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