Hi there! My name is Olivia and I'm a lover of all things cooking, baking, and food! I started cooking for myself when I was in university and I've never stopped since. I'm passionate about cooking healthy and nourishing meals, and I love to bake indulgent treats too. I believe in living a deliciously balanced life and never skipping dessert.
I'm a mid-20's foodie with a civil engineering degree. Would you believe that?! I'd always loved math and business and have no regrets about my education. It was a (tough, but) wonderful experience.
Coming out of school at the start of the pandemic, I really leaned into cooking and baking as hobbies during the time. This was the same time that I learned about food photography and blogging as a career. I was fascinated by the concept. I started this blog in July of 2020 (formerly called livglutenfree.com) and in June of 2021, I took a huge leap to try it full time and have been since!
I live in downtown Toronto, ON with my taste-testing boyfriend. I love experimenting in my kitchen and trying all the new restaurants and bakeries in the city.
I'm obsessed with creating the most delicious recipes that your family will request on repeat. As you'll learn below, I come from a background of gluten-free cooking and baking for 5 years due to an intolerance. I prioritize creating easily modified recipes so that everyone can enjoy. I also love delivering recipes with beautiful food images that make your mouth water.
If you want to see delectable recipes with gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options, resources for living gluten-free, and restaurant reviews, then stick around!
Are you a brand or business that values enjoying delicious food while living a healthy balanced life? 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!
July 2020—May 2023: The Liv Gluten-Free Era
I started this blog in July 2020 under the name livglutenfree.com as a way to showcase my passion for proving that gluten-free doesn't have to be fun-free. While I still believe in this philosophy, I've since been able to expand my diet and my recipes to serve a wider audience. Let me tell you about those gluten-free beginnings...
My gluten-free journey began around March of 2018 when I was a full-time 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 and my stomach always felt large. I was constantly bloated.
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. I learned the effects of gluten and how going gluten-free is necessary for those with celiac disease and gluten intolerances.
I 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 also started to dabble in dairy-free substitutions for milk and cheese.
It certainly took me a while to commit to the diet—about a year on and off, I would say. Eventually I said enough is enough and vowed to stick to eating gluten-free!
During the summer of 2019, I was working a very boring student job. There was not much work for me, so as a distraction I started an Instagram page to post photos of the gluten-free food I was making. I used it pretty casually for a year, until the summer of 2020 when the pandemic hit.
In July of 2020 I started this blog as livglutenfree.com. I wanted a space to share my allergy-friendly recipes and build traffic to become a blogger as a career. This certainly takes a lot of work and patience, but I love how the blog has evolved and how many people I'm able to share these delicious gluten-free recipes with.
The Celiac Disease Test
Now, I did what you're not really supposed to do and went gluten-free cold turkey without medical advice. If you're thinking about it, please talk to your doctor. It is important to rule out Celiac Disease, and this is a test that must be done while you are still consuming gluten.
In January 2022, there was a pilot project to make Celiac Disease testing free under OHIP in Ontario. I decided to re-introduce gluten for 8 weeks so that I could get an accurate test. I was surprised that there was no initial pain per se, but as the weeks went on I started to get that large, sluggish feeling.
The results of the test were negative for Celiac Disease, as I had guessed for some time. I lumped myself into the "gluten intolerant" crowd, even though there is not much testing that can be done for that, that was how I was feeling. After the test, I went back to eating gluten-free.
January 2023: I tried gluten!
I stuck with the gluten-free diet again until January 2023. I decided that it would potentially be worth it for me to try out gluten again. I had two main reason for this:
1) I wanted to see if it would help my digestion, as it was super slow and sluggish, leaving me feeling large again.
2) I was about to go on a big trip to New Zealand and Australia with my friends. I wanted to see if it was possible for me to eat gluten so that I could ease some anxiety surrounding the travel and finding food with my friends who were not gluten-free.
I started slow but low and behold, I really had no pain from eating the gluten. I'm not sure how much it helped my digestion, but it sure helped ease my travel anxiety not having to be so careful if I really didn't have to be.
Writing this in May 2023, I have been eating gluten consistently since then, and feeling okay with it! Since I have not had much medical intervention on my journey, I assume that I either healed an intolerance, or maybe gluten was not the biggest culprit to begin with.
Through this journey I have learned so much about my body, and I know for sure that my body reacts poorly to oats, beans, legumes, and high fibre foods like flax too. Those really make me feel bloated, large, and not hungry for days on end.
May 2023—present: The Olivia's Kitchen Era
I chose to re-brand from livglutenfree.com to oliviaskitchen.com in order to serve a wider audience. All of my 100% gluten-free recipes are still here and are not going away. I love to prove through my recipes that allergy-free cooking/baking does not have to be fun-free!
Since learning that I can in fact now consume gluten, I feel inspired to create a wider variety of recipes to include regular breads, baked goods, and even sourdough! There is something for everyone in Olivia's Kitchen and I hope you enjoy it here.
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 food brings me so much creativity and joy. If you would like to work together on:
- Food Photography/Videography
- Recipe Development (with a particular skillset in gluten-free and dairy-free recipes)
- Freelance Work
- Brand Ambassadorship
then visit my Work With Me page to get in contact! I would love to work together and create delicious food content. You may also view my Portfolio of past work.
Stay a while!
If this all sounds like something you're interested in, then stick around for delicious recipes for all diets, resources for living gluten-free, and reviews of local restaurants in the Toronto Area.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of my favourite recipes from Olivia's Kitchen.
Visit all of my recipes here.
See you around,