Healthy Kids Community Challenge

Eating Healthy is important for everyone, but it can be a challenge. As a Celiac I am a Gluten detective who is constantly scrutinizing labels to make sure that food is safe for myself to consume. In doing so I have noticed how junk food saturated the Gluten Free market is. That being said, extra effort is involved to maintain a healthy Gluten Free lifestyle for kids and adults. 

The Province of Ontario has launched an exciting new program intended to teach kids lifelong healthy habits. It's called The Healthy Kids Community Challenge. Local communities can submit applications to the province of Ontario for funding and other tools that would improve healthy food choices, increase activity levels and encourage appropriate amounts of sleep for children and youth. Building partnerships with schools, public, private and non profit sectors - to promote healthy weights for kids is a key part of the challenge.

Apply by March 14th 2014 to be part of the up to 30 communities that will be chosen to participate. If your community is selected, the province will offer resources to champion the programs success. Selected communities will be eligible for up to 1.5 million over four years in funding to develop and build on community based platforms promoting healthy living. 

Activities for the challenge can include  after school cooking clubs with dietitians, healthy breakfast clubs for children living in poverty, and walking school bus initiatives. Municipal partners can include schools, recreation centers, parents, private businesses, health care providers and community organizations servicing children and youth.  

To be a part of the challenge, communities must have a minimum population of 10,000 and Maximum population of 200,000 people. While no minimum population is required for aboriginal communities, they must have a maximum population of 200,000 people.

If you are interested in championing this challenge with your community, please contact your local Mayors' or CAO/City Manager's offices as part of the process to submit an application. 

For more information about the Healthy Kids Community Challenge, please visit the links below. 


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! 


Gluten Free Expo Toronto

Come out to the Gluten Free Expo in Toronto Septemeber 30th! There will be vendors, coupons, samples and more!

Here are the event details :
Gluten Free Expo - TORONTO
September 30, 2012
10am - 5pm
655 Dixon Rd, Toronto, ON (DoubleTree by Hilton)
Tickets are $12 at the door or save money by purchasing online for $9 each.


Gluten Free at the Ball Game

Photo Credit: Geoff Baker; The Seattle Times

Sometimes going to a sporting event is like choosing entertainment over hunger. There is always the option to pack some small snacks, but this often turns into an " I wish I could eat something here" moment. If you are a Seattle Mariners fan, this IS your moment - Friday August 26th. There will be a select seating area, close to a Gluten Free Concession! 

The Gluten Intolerance Group (advocates in the GF  community) will be on hand during the festivities. This should help ensure it will be a Gluten Free Success!

For more detailed information please view this article Mariners Offer Benefit for Gluten-Free Fans

To find out more about ordering Gluten Free tickets please visit Gluten-Free Awareness Night

I really hope to see the Toronto Blue Jays offer this special event in the future. Perhap's an e-mail to them is in order ;)

Canadian Celiac Association National Conference May 13-15, 2011

Ottawa  is hosting this years Canadian Celiac Association's National Conference. It will be held Friday May 13th - Sunday May 15th. If you happen to be in the area or live near by, why not head over and check it out. I'm sure there will be an abundance of useful information. This is the associations 30th annual conference. There are many different events slated including workshops, the latest research, gf food sampling and expert speakers.

You do need to register for the event.

Take a look at the Conference Agenda.

Although I will not be in attendance, I do wish I lived closer to the conference. It's a great opportunity to meet other Celiac's and learn about the issues that affect us. If you are thinking about attending but the price is holding you back don't lose hope. For a $5.00 entrance fee you can attend the Gluten Free Food Exhibition on Saturday May 14th. There will be a variety of vendors offering new and exciting gluten free food! The food exhibition runs from 1:30-5:00pm.

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