Food and diet are two of the main struggles that come along with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Many people with IBD tend to follow a gluten-free diet and a list of dietary restrictions. Being gluten-free can be challenging; going out with friends and finding accommodating places can be difficult. Being gluten-free and having other restrictions due to health reasons is another challenge.
Most people with IBD avoid gluten from their diet, which can help alleviate symptoms along with other diet restrictions and medications. The gluten-free diet is usually used as a treatment for those with celiac disease. Still, the gluten-free diet can also benefit individuals with non-celiac gluten sensitivity who show symptoms when they eat gluten even though they are not diagnosed with celiac disease.
I became gluten-free after being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease almost a year ago. I also started a low-residue diet, eliminating most things I could eat. My diagnosis and diet change disrupted a lot of family get-togethers, hanging out with loved ones and just wanting to go out and grab something to eat on the way home from work. Options for gluten-free, adding in all my restrictions, are slim. There began to be more and more gluten-free options available in grocery stores and eating out at restaurants. However, there are still not enough options and what is known is very limited and disappointing. I teamed up with Destination St. John’s to research which restaurant partners offer gluten-free options and other widespread restrictions; after my findings, I dined at three restaurants to check out their options. Here was my experience!
I first stopped by Oliver’s Restaurant, this quaint Water Street restaurant is a hidden gem! I was surprised by how many gluten-free options were available at Oliver’s. All of their main dishes for the evening dinner menu are gluten-free or can be made gluten-free, all besides one. They also have multiple gluten-free starters, sharing plates, salads and soups. They also offer two different gluten-free options for after-dinner desserts. For their lunch daytime menu, they likewise have many gluten-free options. Oliver’s also provides a couple of vegan options. Oliver’s is a place I recommend trying if you are gluten-free; I will return to try their brunch and lunch menus.
For my appetizer, I had gluten-free almond baked goat cheese, served with flamed tomato salsa, aged balsamic reduction, and pesto, with gluten-free bread. For my main meal, I had gluten-free balsamic chicken fettuccine, served with sauteed mushrooms, onion, chicken breast, bacon, balsamic cream, goat cheese, and gluten-free bread. I asked for mine without the bacon and sauteed mushrooms.
(Gluten-free Almond Baked Goat Cheese)
I thoroughly enjoyed my meal, one of the best gluten-free pasta I’ve tried. It’s hard to find gluten-free options but even harder to find tasty gluten-free options, and Oliver’s did not disappoint. The service was exceptional, and the restaurant’s small, quaint atmosphere was comforting.
(Gluten-free Balsamic Chicken Fettucine)
Gahan House Harbourview
I decided to try a new restaurant in downtown St. John’s, Gahan House Harbourview. I was pleased to see that Gahan House has a good selection of gluten-free and vegan options, including appetizers, mains and desserts. There are six locations across Atlantic Canada; Charlottetown, PEI, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Saint John, New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Moncton, New Brunswick, and St. John’s, NL.
I tried the gluten-free fish cakes for my appetizer and was impressed; I decided to try the gluten-free chicken tacos for my main. The chicken tacos are grilled chicken with slaw, avocado, cheddar, salsa, roasted garlic & lime sour cream, and cilantro on gluten-free tortillas. The fish cakes are PEI potatoes and cod with horseradish-cucumber aioli.
(Gluten-free Fish Cakes)
(Gluten-free Chicken Tacos)
Gahan House Harbourview is a brewpub-style restaurant with live music and colourful art with modern furnishings. Upstairs has a unique nautical aesthetic with a fantastic view of the harbour. This location is perfect for a casual night to enjoy drinks and pub-style food.
My last stop was EVOO. EVOO has always offered gluten-free and vegan options. I’ve always enjoyed their gluten-free pizzas, my favourite being the Margherita. I was excited to learn that EVOO now has an all-new menu with new gluten-free pizzas and other gluten-free options.
I decided to try the gluten-free Mac & Cheese, which was delicious. I also ordered the gluten-free Margherita pizza. The Margherita pizza is served with Fior di Latte, tomato and basil. The Mac & Cheese is served with gruyère, emmental, parmigiano and béchamel.
(Gluten-free Mac & Cheese)
(Gluten-free Margherita Pizza)
I was delighted with my meal, and I can’t say enough good things about the gluten-free Mac & Cheese. EVOO is in the Murray Premises Courtyard and has a very cozy and homey atmosphere that is relaxing, a place where you can quietly enjoy your meal. The service was quick and of excellent quality. I would recommend trying their options for anyone who is a pizza and pasta lover; it will not disappoint.
Taylor Sinnott is a Crohn’s disease advocate, style blogger and Memorial University business student based in St. John’s, NL.
Taylor is studying a concentration in marketing, and digital/social media marketing has become a primary interest for Taylor. Spreading awareness about inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) became a passion when she was diagnosed with a severe case of Crohn’s Disease. She also creates content for her blog and works at her part-time job as a social media coordinator.
Taylor is the founder and president of the MUN Crohn’s & Colitis Club under the MUN Students Union. This club aims to raise awareness, support students living with IBD and fundraise for Crohn’s & Colitis Canada.
Volunteering is also a big part of Taylor’s life; over the past few years, she has had executive and project manager roles at Enactus Memorial and MUN’s Business Administration Undergraduate Students Society.