Hi there! My name is Olivia and I'm a lover of all things sweet, savoury, and gluten-free. I started this blog in July 2020 as a way to showcase my passion for proving that gluten-free doesn't have to be fun-free.
I'm a 20-something year old foodie with a civil engineering degree. Would you believe that?! I live just outside of Toronto, ON with my family and dog, Finn. I love experimenting in the kitchen and trying all the new gluten-free restaurants and bakeries around Ontario.
I'm obsessed with creating the most delicious recipes that will fool anyone you serve that this is gluten-free. I also love delivering recipes with beautiful food images that make your mouth water.
If you want to see delectable gluten-free recipes, resources for living gluten-free, and reviews on products and places catering to the gf community, then stick around!
Are you a brand or business that values allergy-safe food products? If so, I would love to work with you! Visit my Work With Me page to learn about the specialized services I can provide. View my Portfolio of past work as well. Let's create deliciousness together!
My Gluten-Free Journey
My gluten-free journey began around March of 2018 when I was a full-time university student in my third year of studying Civil Engineering. I noticed that I was constantly feeling lethargic in my classes and uncomfortable sitting for long periods of time in the library. My stomach always felt large. I was addicted to coffee and Tim Hortons' cheddar tea biscuits. Ugh, how I miss them.
I didn't know that how I was feeling wasn't normal. I was constantly bloated and didn't know otherwise. Once I recognized this feeling, I began to do some research on what could be causing my discomfort. I came across the gluten-free diet and read about it more in depth than I ever had seeing it as a one-off option in some restaurants. I learned the effects of gluten and how going gluten-free is necessary for those with celiac disease and gluten intolerances.
I then thought, "Why not try?" and went out to buy a box of gluten-free pasta. Without fully committing to a strict diet, I tried the pasta as my meal prep for the week. While I couldn't tell a difference of taste, I could tell that I felt a bit lighter and less bloated that week. I then started to gradually integrate gluten-free products into my diet. From then on, I continued to buy gf alternatives for items like bread, bagels, pasta, etc. I was feeling better!
I was pretty wishy-washy for the first year. Yes, when I was cooking at home I would use all of my free-from products, however if we were out for dinner and a (glutenful) brownie was on the menu... I couldn't say no. I would be very bloated for the rest of the night but to me the sweet taste of a warm, fudgey brownie topped with skor bits and caramel sauce was too good to pass up.
After about a year of that, I had had enough. The more I was staying strict at home for weeks then breaking and eating the occasional gluten, the more my reactions started to progress. It would be so painful that I wouldn't want to eat through to the next day - and I love to eat. I don't have an exact date but eventually I said enough is enough and vowed to stick to eating gluten-free!
The Celiac Disease Test
I wanted to note that I have never taken a celiac disease test. I know that I probably should, however by the time I did enough research on the test, I was eating fully gluten-free. I believe the test requires you to still be eating some gluten. I categorize myself (with no medical knowledge) within the "gluten intolerant" category of the spectrum. Although I don't know for sure, I still take all of the necessary precautions to avoid eating gluten, and I am a strong advocate for the celiac and gluten-free community.
The Surprise Lactose Intolerance
All was well until around May 2019. I was working at a summer co-op job, pumping myself up with coffee each morning. I would make it in my travel mug with milk to bring with me, and occasionally purchase a second throughout the day from the cafeteria in the building. It was the same feeling that I had just over a year earlier - constant bloating while sitting at my desk. It made it hard to concentrate. But it couldn't be gluten, I thought.
I experimented with black coffee, cream, almond milk, and lactose-free. Through trial and error, I concluded that it was the lactose that bothered me. I stuck strictly to lactose-free right away and the symptoms subsided. I actually prefer to be fully dairy-free now! Except for the occasional cheese, cause who doesn't like cheese.
Gluten-free, but not fun-free
Now here I am, fully committed to a gluten-free, lactose-free diet. The availability of products, restaurants, and information has skyrocketed in the past few years. I started my instagram page @livglutenfree in July of 2019 to share my passion for making and finding the best in gluten-free foods. I love proving to people that gluten-free doesn't mean fun-free!
Food Photography & Recipe Development
Since beginning my instagram page and now blog, I've taken quite an interest in the food photography side of the business. Creating visual art through delicious, gluten-free food brings me so much creativity and joy. If you would like to work together on:
- Food Photography
- (Gluten-Free) Recipe Development
- Freelance Work
- Brand Ambassadorship
Stay a while!
If this all sounds like something you're interested in, then stick around for my delicious gluten-free recipes (I love to bake!), resources for living gluten-free, and reviews of products & local restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area. Let's #livglutenfree together!
See you around,