Give up bagels!
That advice was one of many basics for a gluten-free diet that I experienced during my recent visit to Spa Eastman, Canada’s pioneer destination for health and longevity.
Located near Montreal, Quebec’s charm capital, Spa Eastman has pioneered healthy living for more than 38 years. Founded and still run by Jocelyna Dubuc, it is one of the best and most affordable spas in North America.
But the gluten revolution at Spa Eastman resulted from research into eating habits only a few years ago. Jocelyna and her team of naturopaths and chefs created a new menu, called Cuisine Tonique. The menu, changed daily, is gluten-free and dairy-free. Instead of cows’ milk they will choose almond, rice, coconut, or soy milk. They will choose quinoa, millet, buckwheat, or rice instead of wheat, barley, or rye. Meat is cooked at low temperature, enhanced with herbs from the garden.
Three years ago, Spa Eastman had a special guest familiar with painful effects of gluten: Jacqueline Lagace, PhD, authored “The End of Pain – How Nutrition and Diet Can Fight Chronic Inlamatory Disease” after years of crippling pain. Published in English in 2014 by Greystone Books, it is available on Amazon for $22.95 plus shipping. Based on her personal experience, the book describes science behind a gluten-free diet that helped restore Ms. Lagace to an active life.
Lagace totaly fell in love with the tasteful and healthy Cuisine Tonique developed by Spa Eastman. An immunologist by profession, she had worked at the University of Montreal for 17 years prior to the onset of pain and loss of mobility. Research led her to French food scientist Dr. Seignalet on gluten in diets. Lagace’s hypotoxic diet introduces foods that help regulate homoestasis – the functional balance of the body. Arthritis/arthrosis, Type 2 diabetes, and inflammation of the small intestines are commonly caused by eating food made with gluten. Dairy products also are implicated.
Following the hypotoxic diet is not easy, comments Lagace, because we have been taught to enjoy milk and pasta. Not any more.
The bountiful buffet at Spa Eastman offers a rich selection of food that can be enjoyed, whether you are gluten-sensitive or simply want to loose weight. On the menu are fish, chicken, lamb, and rabbit. And most of all, a wide selection of vegetables, eaten raw. Six different olive oils, plus organic honey and seeds like chia, are on display.
Organic gardens surround the spa’s main buildings, adding to their natural beauty. Every morning I watched chef Jean-Marc Enderlin, a Belgian nutritherapist, at work in the garden, selecting vegetables and berries for today’s menu. In the kitchen, chef du cuisine Kevin Belile creates masterpieces with the fresh produce and edible flowers.
Local famers deliver organic eggs for breakfast. Gluten-free bread is baked daily, and soups are based on a puree of seasonal produce, Kefir (a yogurt substitute) is made in house, free from addidtives and dairy products. Still, you can have organic wine or coffee, even espresso. Notably absent: milk (one exception is 20% milk for coffee).
Spring water from wells on the 360-are property is used for drinking and cooking.
Healthful dining at Spa Eastman reminded me of how much we need to learn about the food that we eat. Hopefully, I can change my shopping habits at Whole Foods.
Contact: Spa Eastman is in the Eastern Townships, about an hour by car from Montreal
Customs clearance at Montreal Trudeau airport. Air Canada has flights from Washington, Baltimore, and Northeastern cities: Porter Airline offers connecting service from Dulles. I