Enjoy food, enjoy travel and enjoy life. You're listening to travel gluten free by Elikqitie.
Hello my friend and welcome to the travel gluten free podcast where you can listen in on how to lead a gluten free lifestyle with more fun and ease. This is a Elikqitie, and I founded travel gluten free for you. I would love to be your resource contributor and support to you on your gluten free journey.
All right, my friends, so I'm a little under the weather today so you'll have to excuse my hoarse voice. I was super stoked about my guest today, so I'm going to give you a little bit of background again and see if you can figure out who it is before I introduce her. My incredible guest today was diagnosed with Celiac's disease almost 10 years ago, about two years before heading off to university. In university, she ended up being assigned to live on campus with another person who was also Celiacs. Her college roommate was diagnosed before turning two, so she taught her a lot about what she knows about Celiac disease today. And, I wanted to read you a little blurb that I found on her website. So, this is a writeup about her from another magazine about an award she got and it says, this is the year of, and I'm not going to tell you her name yet, but, not only does her account my Celiac life have the largest following for Celiac account on Instagram.
She is continually being recognized for her hard work. She is this year's recipient, and this was December of 2018, of the notable food influencer of the year award, which is amazing. A Toronto blogger darling, she is making a huge difference in the lives of those with Celiacs disease, providing gluten free resources within the community. Dine, which is the magazine that gave her this award, sat down with Tarryn and to talk about things in Toronto and her top gluten free recommendations. So, without further ado, so without further ado, I'd love to introduce my feature guest today, Tarryn Skuy of my Celiac life. Tarryn, welcome to the travel gluten free podcast.
Hi there. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be here today.
I'm so excited we got together so quickly. There's so many things I want to talk to you about. The first thing I wanted to talk to you about is your story, because I love to get everybody's story to find out how they got from being diagnosed with Celiacs to where you're at today. So, when you were in college, you probably, your first thing you didn't think of when you were in college was, I'm going to be the biggest Celiac blogger and really well known. So, what was your initial thoughts when you were first diagnosed with Celiac and how did you get from your initial diagnosis to where you're at today?
I was diagnosed almost two years, like you had said, before going to university or college. it was a little bit challenging because the way I had seen my life was so different to than what reality would be, paying more attention to the foods I eat, the things I do, having to be careful when I go out and just making sure that everything was always prepared and ready for me. I had to be a little bit more adventurous, but then also hesitant at the same time. So, that was a little bit challenging and at an age, I was sixteen, and at sixteen, a little bit difficult because in my opinion, that's kind of the age where you finally given a little bit more freedom. You're able to go out with friends, you might dine for the first few times at restaurants with friends. It's also a challenging age, especially for female because there's eating disorders out there too, and there's no real issue other than Celiacs disease, it's not anything more extreme than that.
So, it's kind of a challenging age and it's just one of those things. Then going to university, just going, I knew it was going to be a challenge just because I had to navigate my way around new friends, them understanding my situation, my eating issues and then being open and understanding of all of those things. That was a little bit of a challenge. But, over time I got more and more used to it. Like you said, my roommate was also Celiacs, so it was really interesting for me to also learn from her. And I'm sure I taught her things as well and we feed off each other, when we find good places to eat and things like that. But, now today there's just so many more options, there are so many more products as being much more open to traveling in general. And I've just learned so much more about myself and idea and concept behind, you could get sick when you go out and eat, but you also want to have those experiences of those travel times.
So kind of been a balance of those kinds of things. And that's really where I am today, I'm more open to trying places. I'm also concerned about helping other people when I was finishing up university was when I realized there is a real requirement for people who can help those and an influencer kind of a business with something that I felt when I was first diagnosed. It helped me a lot so I thought that while I was in school and I was in school for marketing, this was the perfect opportunity for me to showcase my skills and also help other people in the process that are similar to me.
What made you decide to take that on the Internet and go public with it? Is it just you wanted to broaden your spectrum of people that you could reach and reach more people?
I brought it straight on the Internet. I mean I brought it first on for Instagram. I brought it on Instagram when I was studying marketing, just to let it could be more of a way for me to help other people that I felt would help me way back when I was diagnosed and then I brought it onto a website a couple of years later when I realized, this is actually really beneficial and this is the way that I do my research when it comes to traveling, when it comes to eating out at other places, learning more about the disease. The only way it's my head is to keep talking about it and create more awareness and a place for people to engage. So, I felt that it was a great opportunity, right then.
You're really passionate about helping people because when you sent me your bio, you sent like nothing about your word or anything and I was like, this is a really amazing word. So, where does your passion come from for helping people? Do you get it from one of your parents? Is it just a self inspired passion? Where does it come from?
I'm not really sure where it comes from. I felt it comes from my parents and a little bit of my upbringing, but just the understanding of how challenging it was when I was first diagnosed and the real desire to help other people. I think that that's really what it comes down to.
You talk about helping other people a lot. When someone comes up to you and they're basically like, oh, I'm Celiac and my life is over because I can't eat wheat. We all know that kind of initial shock and sort of food depression you get, what is something you commonly tell people when you talk to them that are newly diagnosed?
Well firstly, I always say it's really not the worst thing. And in my head now, it's really not that bad [Inaudible] diseases or challenges. I Just try to be as positive as possible. Show them that there are options out there and that life shouldn't just stop. Or, you shouldn't have experiences that are negative, that over is actually probably a blessing in disguise that you were diagnosed when you were. Because, you can still fix your insides, feel better and to live as close to normal of a life as possible. Sure it's not so easy to just go to any coffee shop and feel comfortable getting a donut or whatever. But, it's just something that everyone, you know, everyone has challenges in their life that they have to deal with and I try to see it in a positive way rather than the negative way. So, I would definitely just keep telling people to try to find the positive in that rather than think of it as a negative experience or situation.
Based off of that your answer, what is an activity that you were doing back when you were in university or when you were first diagnosed or even today, that besides eating out, cause we all know eating out was challenging, but what's another activity that you find challenging and challenging to do with Celiac's disease?
Definitely also traveling, I was always a big traveler before I was diagnosed, but still I'm quite a big traveler now, but it's something that you really have to look into, the language barrier, different options, bringing food everywhere you go, especially on trips. Plus, you have to be more open to those kinds of things just because we'll never know how long will it take to find something that you can eat, or you know, just to feel comfortable in general.
When you travel, what do you think is one of your most challenging aspects of travel? You said bringing the food and things like that, but what type of travel do you feel is most challenging being Celiacs?
Well, mostly the language barrier can be a challenge, because for me, I only speak English, I don't know other Languages. It's a little bit more challenging just because, there's that language barrier and some people understand what you're talking about. Even if you hand them a piece of paper, some people don't and then it's really the idea of do they actually know the severity of this, or do they just think, oh this is the sad googly desire that people are going through and choosing to do by choice. People don't always understand the severity and so, when traveling I think that that's more challenging just because sometimes I don't know if they understand properly what it is and I either go with my gut or you know, go home and make myself a sandwich when I get home.
How do you overcome the language barrier? Because I talked to Alexander Brown who's also Celiac and has traveled the world in a couple episodes ago. And how do you get over that language barrier? Do you just bring a gluten free dining card with you? Do you make up your own dining card?
I bring my own, I usually download one from the internet. But, often times on trips if I have communicated with the resort for something in advance about me coming and having Celiacs disease, they'll often create one of their own as well. So, then usually I will just provide both to individuals who are cooking the meals. Just because, maybe the one they're working is the one they're seeing. And then the other one I'm comfortable because I found online and then the two together and hopefully they get something.
So, Tarryn, going back to your Instagram account, you said that's where you started. I was scrolling through your Instagram account and I saw this beautiful wedding cake and when I clicked on the picture, the description, next to your wedding cake says, who says weddings can't accommodate everyone. I made sure that everyone at our wedding was able to eat and enjoy the wedding cake. It was entirely gluten free, dairy free, peanut nut, free and kosher. The possibilities are endless when it comes to accommodations. It just takes a little bit of extra research. So, a couple of questions I have for you is one, where did you get that cake? Because, it is absolutely gorgeous. And if you don't, and for my listener, my friend who's listening, it's under my Celiac life on Instagram. Who is the baker who made it? And my second question is, how delicious was that cake and when did you get married?
Yeah, so I got married in October of 2018
Thank you so much. Having a cake that everyone could eat, was something that was really, really important to me. Just because, there was so many food restrictions for so many people, and I really just wanted to accommodate as many people as possible. I know what it feels like to go to a wedding and not eat the wedding cake. I don't think I've ever eaten anyone's wedding cake except mine. So, I just wanted to make sure that as many people as I could or everyone could feel comfortable at least eating it. It's from a bakery in Toronto called Lollicakes and yeah, they were able to do everything. They have two separate kitchens, one that's specific to gluten free. In general, they're already dairy free, nut free, kosher and all of that. But then, they also have a kitchen that's gluten free separate from everything else as well. So, they were able to do everything together in the gluten free kitchen that was in Kosher, nut free, diary free, everything. That was for something that was really really important to me and I wanted it to go with my theme and the look of our wedding.
And can you spell the name of the bakery so that people who are in Canada listening can find out more about it?
In terms of the spelling for this bakery, it's called Lollicakes, it's spelled, L o. l. l, i. c.a.k.e.s. all one word. Lollicakes in Toronto.
Awesome. And I will put a link in the show notes for my friend who's listening. And another thing that I wanted to ask you about Tarryn is, on your blog I was reading about when Dine did your interview. You said one of your favorite things to eat, his chocolate. I would totally have to second that. And on your Instagram account, that is definitely, I can see a lot of my things that I love to eat, which is reflected on your Instagram account. You have a Betty Crocker, gluten free chocolate chip cookies. You have one of my favorites, ashar chocolate honey grahams, and you made the s'mores with it which I have also done as well. It's a really great combination. Yeah. And then you have, the gluten free scones, I can't remember the name of the bakery, but I know that box because I have also eaten those scones, which are excellent. And actually, they're not chocolate, but you could put chocolate on them.
Yup. If you don't already know my weaknesses, chocolate. And even more specifically, I'm obsessed with chocolate raisins. So you found this Cadbury chocolate raisins. Tell me more about that.
When I traveled to Australia and I get so excited when I travel anywhere just to try any gluten free products that I can't try at home while his chocolate raisins, the grocery store, and I actually, if you're looking at the one that has a picture of the full, a big jar, I actually bought about 12 of those. Unfortunately they're all finished now. They finished pretty quickly. But yeah, I love chocolate raisins and I absolutely love trying different types of chocolate when I travel that are gluten free.
And so one of the things I do and I travel and it sounds like you do the same thing too, is I leave space in my luggage to bring food home that I can't get here.
Absolutely. Well bringing hold 12 of those jars yet.
That sounds awesome. And so what are some kind of out of the way places in Toronto, so if someone has been there a couple times, what are some maybe local hangouts or local neighborhoods that you think are great to visit?
The Toronto islands are really cool too to see just another cool area. It's a little bit, I have to take a ferry to get there from downtown Toronto. So, I would say that that's a really cool area. And then, anything kind of just outside of Toronto too. I enjoy going to, it's a little bit more quiet, a little bit secluded and then you get a different feel for, what its like there.
Another question I wanted to ask you kind of outside Toronto, so you obviously have seen a lot of Toronto because you live there, but what are some, and I've been to Victoria, so I know I can recommend Victoria as a great gluten free friendly town. What are some other gluten free friendly towns outside of Toronto or Victoria that you'd recommend for travelers to Canada?
Well, that's a good question. Yeah, you're right. Toronto in general is really great about gluten free living and good for gluten free options, as well as entirely safe Celiac facilities, some have different kitchens. When I went to school in London, Ontario, that was also pretty great for gluten free eating. That was awesome as well. At the time, they had a gluten free bakery that was entirely gluten free that you could sit down for a meal or a dessert. So, I liked it for both options. It's not there anymore unfortunately. But London Ontario has also been pretty good for me, experience wise. London Ontario is really great as well. I think everywhere that I've been across Canada over the years has been pretty awesome for gluten free. I'm traveling to Montreal this summer, so I know that there's a lot of gluten free places there. There's actually a place I'm really excited about because I haven't had a croissant and a long time that's a french baked good. It's, it's kind of like a very light breaded, It's like a really nice light food and they have a chocolate croissant in Montreal that I'm really excited to taste.
Oh, croissants had been on my hit list for forever. I would probably go to Montreal just for that croissant.
Yep. That's the plan.
That sounds like an awesome plan. I would totally have that on my plan for sure.
Stay tuned for pictures and more coming soon.
Sweet. I will definitely be watching your Instagram for that for sure. And I find that Canada in general is a really great Celiac friendly country. Because in Canada, You have the Canadian Celiac Association and they do a really great job of monitoring products that are safe for Celiacs. I think they do a better job than America because I know one of the things that I was listening to the Canadian Celiac podcast and she was talking about oats and how cheerio's are not allowed to be labeled gluten free in Canada, but they are in the US. And so, can you give us just a really quick little rundown of the Canadian Celiac Association and the experience you've had with them?
The Canadian Celiac Association in Canada, they monitor a lot of different restaurants and places, even their Facebook page in general, if anybody needs any kinds of resources, they're really, really helpful. Lots of people ask a lot of questions and although other consumers or people who are part of the Canadian Celiac Association Facebook page will respond. The Canadian Celiac Association also provides their input when needed. So, that's also really, really helpful. Yeah, you're right in general, they're just really great at monitoring and everything in terms of guidelines and restrictions for Canadian individuals.
And I find that because Canada has one association, the Canadian Celiac Association, which I'm actually a member of, even though I don't live in Canada, but I think they do such a great job that I support the CCA. And that we here in America had eight. So, even though the eight, they all do kind of something a little different, I feel like it's just more efficient to have one. And that way, everybody reports to one association and it's just a little more efficient that way.
For sure. And it's nice to have just the one, but then there's also like chapters of, so there's like a Toronto one a Ottawa one as well, but they all get kind of direction from Canadian Celiac Association. So, that's also really great.
Yeah, that sounds really good, and I love the CCA. I use them for resources along with Ellen Beans from the Celiac scene and I will put Canadian travel resource links in the show notes for my friends who are listening as well. And so, let's jump back into Toronto and gluten free dishes and so on your, on your interview they asked you about your three favorite gluten free dishes in Toronto and you said, any bagel at the almond butterfly. So can you, can you tell us more about that? That sounds amazingly delicious.
Yes. So Almond butterfly is, like a really nice cafe. They're actually expanding in Toronto. So, they're about to open up their second a bakery now. They have coffee, teas but then desserts wise, they have like cinnamon buns, cookies, cupcakes. And my favorite is bagels, no matter what, the day of the week is. I'm always excited when I find a gluten free bagel that tastes unbelievable. Especially, I've actually gone there with a lot of non Celiac friends and they always ask people's opinions on a gluten free foods just so that I can feel better about like, okay, does this taste like the real thing, because I don't really remember anymore and I love when they even prefer sometimes the gluten free foods over regular foods. That makes me really excited. Almond butterfly has amazing gluten free bagels. I often go and people will be like, Oh, if you want, like they'll make like a breakfast special with the Bagel and a cooked egg inside and tomatoes and sweet peppers and whatever. Usually my go to is like either cream cheese or butter. I just want to enjoy the bagel in as close to the form of a bagel that I remember like just all natural. So yeah, that's awesome.
So, I have to know this, so Almond butterfly, is it a completely gluten free place?
It's entirely gluten free, yeah.
Okay. So have you ever brought friends in there and didn't tell them it was a completely gluten free place and just let them order?
I don't think so, but I should do that, I really should, that's a good idea. But, I don't I've done that.
Because, I like doing that to people because there's this huge stigma about gluten free is not good. But like honestly wheat is one of maybe 15 or 18 different grains and flours you can get. So, it's actually, if you look at the whole spectrum of food is really small. And so, I love making gluten free desserts and my friends eat them, and they're like, wow, this is really great. And I'm like, yes, because gluten free food is good. But yeah, definitely try that some time. And if you do that post it on your Instagram, I totally want to see their reaction.
That's a good idea. I will do that for sure.
And then another gluten free restaurant you like to eat at is Riz on Yonge if I pronounced that correctly?
So yeah, it's pronounced correctly. It's Riz on yonge. So, that Yonge street is the major street in Toronto and actually all over Canada, there's two different locations to the Riz company or Riz restaurant. It's typically the one on young street is the one that has actually two separate kitchens.
And you also mentioned too that they're certified gluten free. So, is that certified through the CCA?
Yup, it's certified through CCA.
Wow. That is great because you know you can order anything and it's going to be completely safe to eat.
Yup. They have two different menus, a regular and a gluten free. If you order the gluten free menu, Honestly, I think that there's more options on the gluten free menu than the regular one, which is amazing.
Oh Wow. So they're certified gluten free, but they also make dishes with gluten in the same restaurant?
Yes. They have two separate kitchens, one kitchen is entirely gluten free. And you actually get a different plate that says that you have a gluten free item on the plate. Like it says gluten free on the actual plates and then a separate kitchen that has a non gluten free food. There's no chance of cross contamination just because of the order process and the way that they work.
That's amazing. I have never heard of a restaurant doing that before.
Yeah, I love it. it's awesome.
And another restaurant you mentioned that you love is called, Off the hook and you say it has amazing gluten free fish chips. I've actually experienced some amazing gluten free fishing chips in Victoria too. But, tell me what you love about their gluten free fish and chips?
It's the first gluten free fish and chips I've ever had since being diagnosed. I think I probably went like seven or eight years without having a fish and chips dish. I love being able to just order whatever I want. They're not entirely gluten free either, they have two separate fryers, but they said they've told me at least the last time I went there, they said, 95% of their clientele are Celiac or gluten free. So, it's pretty good they've been thinking about taking out the regular fryer in general and there's even more consistency and maybe they can get their certification as well.
And then one last place, you mentioned his Pizza Libretto on King Street. You said they have a gluten free pizza crust which can be made in their separate gluten free pizza oven. And so, what is your favorite kind of pizza at Pizza Libretto?
Probably either a plain Margarita, or they have this one and I can't think of what the name of it is. But, it’s like a white sauce, like a blank or something like that. A White sauce with mushrooms. It's really good as well.
Oh, that sounds amazing. I'd been on a mushroom kick lately too.
Oh yeah. It's the best. Often times my husband and I will order, gluten free of course. But one plain and one with the white mushrooms sauce and with the staples and it's the best.
Oh Yum. Okay. I definitely know where I'm going to eat the next time I visit Toronto for sure. That sounds amazing. So my last travel question I have for you, Tarryn, is what are some good overall kind of like travel tips that you use when you go out on traveling, outside of Toronto?
Yeah. Traveling outside of Toronto, or Canada even in general, I've done quite a bit of travel to Europe and recently got back from Australia as well. But I would always say, travel with bars and protein powder. Just in case, I mean like in Australia, English speaking places like that, they're usually pretty good grocery store. find gluten free bread, your own food, things you eat. But I find that it;'s always important to bring something for you. Because, you just never know how long you can go without making stop and feeling confident and safe eating certain foods. So, really whenever I travel, I do always bring like at least one, maybe two protein bars with me every single day. During the day, usually I can find like a piece of fruit at some point in the day, a banana an apple and you wash it and feel ok to eat it. But, always bringing food with is something that I do no matter what.
Yeah. And another thing I do and I traveled to is I always know, usually there's produce stands somewhere, especially if it's a city and I can stop and get like an apple or something that I know is obviously gluten free, which is nice. But yeah, I do the same thing with the protein bars and I have like my favorite ones I'd like to bring with me as well. So, that is great advice. And so, I have not been to Australia. So, just kind of overall generally, do you feel like Australia is a gluten free friendly place to visit?
Absolutely. I think that they're really knowledgeable about gluten free. I mean I went to a lot of restaurants that were entirely Celiac. Everything that they served there was gluten free. So, I was very, very knowledgeable and really good about allergies. They always made me feel comfortable and made sure of that no matter what I did do my research in advance, but also being able to like explore the cities and see different things and then feel comfortable at new places that maybe I didn't see when I did my research was really awesome.
That sounds great. All right Tarryn. So, at the end of each interview I always have three guilty gluten questions. And my first one I would ask you is, when was the last time you cheated eating gluten? What was the food and why did you cheat?
Okay. I can't tell you when I cheated, because, I would never try to cheat. I honestly, the feeling is just too terrible. The last time I got Celiacs was probably over a salad which is tough because I would much rather it be over something that actually taste good. Not like salads aren't good, but I'd rather it be over something that's bad like bread.
Yeah. Or like a three layer chocolate dessert cake or something like that.
Yeah. Like something that I'm like at least I got to taste that, you know, just like still dream about it. It often ends up being you get sick over something that is cross contamination or a salad dressing that wasn't properly gluten free. I've gotten sick from tea before, so my assumption is someone at a coffee shop touched bread or something before doing my teabag or doing something and that made me sick. It's crazy to think that someone with Celiac can actually get sick from touch or a crumb or something of that nature. A lot of people who often ask, Oh, when you cheat, what would you cheat on? For me, I just can't, the feeling is not worth it no matter what.
Yeah. And I feel the same way too because if I cheat, I never cheat as well, which I'm glad that you don't. But, I've talked to people at different, at gluten free expos and some people say that they cheat because they don't get a lot of outside symptoms, like getting sick immediately. But yeah, if I actually eat something with gluten, I get really sick as well. So I'm glad that don't cheat because it's a bad idea to cheat if you are Celiacs. So, my second question is, is that what is the food you miss most and why?
Well, very good question. Because I have a really sweet tooth. I'm going to say two different things, it's because, it would be, it depends on the day. Based on sweetness, what I miss the most is like a donut. Like being able to have something that's kind of fried in some kind of way, but heavy and filling and is a treat for me like a dessert or a piece of cake, like something that's really great. No specific dessert cause I was saying if I could, and then on the other side it would be like being able to have a pasta dish of whatever I like whenever I want.
Someone else I interviewed and I can't remember who it was, told me that they miss donuts too. Do you have Katz Donuts in Canada? It's K A. T. Z.
Yes we do.
Oh, okay. Have you tried their donuts? ,
Yeah, they're so good.
Okay, because I'm going to say, these are probably the closest that I found to regular like kind of wheat donuts. I really enjoy those.
Yeah, I mean, I would eat anything that's gluten that tastes great, especially sweet.
Yeah. I've missed baked goods the most. So, my third question is, is that what is the best gluten free food you've recently eaten or if you have an overall favorite that you like?
I don't know if I have an overall favorite, I really love all different types of gluten free food. I have really grown close to enjoying all different types of gluten free food. I recently found, I don't know what the brand of cookie was, but it was a chocolate chip cookie but, it tasted like shortbread. So, it was like two in one for me just because, I love shortbread and I also love cookies. So, it was just perfect. I like anything sweet and then, as a kid, I was always more of like a junk food eater. Like macaroni and cheese, fries, pizza, pasta. So, I would say any of those kinds of dishes like that's just what I meant.
Okay. And then right now I have three wrap up questions for you. So, my first wrap up question is, is what are your future plans?
That's a really great question. I'm not really sure in terms of like travel wise, what I'm going to do. But, I currently work in Mississauga, just outside of Toronto, at a different food place [inaudible] but it's just something that I really enjoy helping other people and I'm really finding new places that I can enjoy, that other people can enjoy. Continuing with that for sure, I'm not sure about travel this summer we did do a huge trip in December to Australia. So, kind of waiting to see what ends up happening, but not planning anything specific at this point. But stay tuned definitely visiting Montreal [inaudible] summer.
And then my second question is this, what is your ask of the audience? Where would you like them to interact with you?
Definitely visit my Instagram, which is Findingmyceliaclife or my website. www.myceliaclife.ca
Awesome. And so Tarryn, I had such a great time interviewing you today. This has been so fun to learn about, a little more about Canada and the gluten free scene, especially in Toronto. So, thank you for coming on and making the time today on the travel gluten free podcast.
Awesome, thank you so much for having me.
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