Gluten-Free Garage, the Sequel

Toronto’s hottest pop-up market returns

A commitment to eating healthy has become a lifestyle. With an estimated 1 in 133 Canadians living with celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder for which the only treatment is a strict gluten-free diet) and growing numbers of those with gluten intolerance and sensitivity, the demand for gluten-free has never been greater. And, in the wake of the Wheat Belly phenomenon, more and more people are exploring the possibility of changing their diets to exclude gluten. Enter the Gluten-Free Garage, a pop-up marketplace showcasing the city’s tastiest gluten-free fare. At the inaugural event last November, 1,500 hungry patrons flocked to the Artscape Wychwood Barns, where they had the opportunity to sample and purchase gluten-free food and lifestyle products.

On Sunday, April 28th, the Gluten-Free Garage returns! Toronto’s hottest gluten-free marketplace will once again bring the community together under one roof for a taste of what’s going on gluten-free in Toronto. This is the place to shop, sample and discover what’s new and exciting in the gluten-free world and to connect with the gluten-free community.

With over 50 vendors—selling everything from sweets to savoury to skincare—food trucks and a handful of terrific guest speakers, the Gluten-Free Garage is a 21st century take on the farmers’ market with a gluten-free twist.

In preparation for the event GFG founder RonniLyn Pustil caught up with the following five gluten-free trailblazers to ask them a few questions about living la vida gluten-free. After all, they are all experts when it comes to gluten-free as they should be – as they all have celiac diease or deal with gluten intolerance. What else do they have in common? You will be able to meet them all at the spring 2013 Gluten Freen Garage!


Q: You Grew up with celiac disease. What advice do you for parents of celiac children?


Children with celiac disease today are growing up in a world that’s completely different from the one I grew up in—back then there was only one gluten-free bakery in Toronto and the Internet didn’t exist! I believe the best thing parents can do for their celiac children is to educate them and those who play a role in their life, teach them how to advocate for themselves, and help them understand how their unique needs make them special. We want our children and everyone in their lives to learn as much as possible about the disease and the diet. We want to have our children’s needs met even in our absence. And we want our children to build self-esteem so they’ll have the confidence and courage to be their own advocates.



Q: You're on the road a lot, speaking at conferences and events all over North America. What are your top 3 tips for traveling gluten-free?

KATHY SMART /                      LIVE THE SMART WAY   

(1) Always be Prepared. When I’m on a plane or on the road I always have almonds, fruit or one of my favourite nut bars handy. I also pack cans of flavoured tuna and quinoa crackers with a low-sodium V8. That way I can be sure I’m getting my protein, complex carbs and veggies—even on the go!
(2) When going to a restaurant, always look up the menu online ahead of time or call. Restaurants are much more gluten-free aware now than they’ve ever been and are typically happy to accommodate!
(3) Whenever I stay at a hotel, I request a small fridge. I then go to the closest grocery store or health food store and stock up on my gluten-free favourites, like Greek yogurt, fresh berries, almonds, hummus and a platter of veggies.



Q: You run an online guide to celiac-friendly restaurants. What are your top 3 tips for safe gluten-free dining?


(1) Do Your Research: Before heading to a new restaurant, check the website to see if they have a gluten-free menu. If you don’t see any gluten-free options, call the restaurant and ask if they can offer you a safe meal. It’s best to be prepared before you arrive.
(2) Ask Questions and be Assertive: Gluten-free has become trendy so it’s important that your server and chef understand that you require a gluten-free meal for medical reasons. Ask about ingredients (including seasonings and dressings) and the method of preparation to ensure that your meal remains 100% gluten-free.
(3) Keep it Simple and Natural: Meats, fish, vegetables, rice, eggs and fruit are all naturally gluten-free. Try to base your meal around these ingredients. Stay clear of menu items described as breaded or fried unless you can confirm that gluten-free flours and dedicated fryers are used.



Q:What is your favourite go-to dish for a quick, simple, and delicious gluten-free breakfast?



It’s all about proteins and good fats. Living with gluten intolerance has led me to the healthiest change I could have ever made. A typical go-to breakfast consists of eggs any style. I like medium-boiled eggs drizzled with coconut and olive oil with a squeeze of lemon and sea salt, accompanied with high-quality bacon and avocado. I like to cut up an orange and eat it minus the pulp. Essentially, just sucking the juice as the pulp ferments when it’s ingested. I also boil hot water and add organic Ayurvedic cinnamon and raw honey and ginger.




Q:You just turned 7, so you’ve had celiac for four years. What advice do you have for other kids with celiac? And what are your favourite gluten-free foods?



If you have celiac and somebody is giving out food at school and you’re not sure about it and all the kids are eating it, you might feel really sad or left out. But that’s how life goes sometimes. If you know your class is having a party, your mom can send a snack for you to have. Also, you’ve got to learn how to read ingredients. And know that having celiac makes you special. I love sushi, but there is wheat in soy sauce so you need to buy a gluten-free kind. My favourite gluten-free dessert is brownies, especially when we bake them at home.





Jamie Bussin doesn’t live with Celiac, but will be at the Gluten- Free Garage, because it’s a great event. For more information go to

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