June 26, 2013 - 2:18pmUpdated: July 2, 2013 - 10:35am
Leyda's in Riversdale is Saskatoon's first gluten-free and nut-free café opening Friday June 28, 2013. Karin Yeske/News Talk Radio
One of Saskatoon’s family doctors is trading syringes for spatulas.
Dr. Dee Dee Maltman is opening Leyda’s, the city’s first gluten and nut free café in Riversdale Friday.
With 28 years experience as a family physician in Saskatoon, Dr. Maltman went back to school a few years ago to become a specialist in integrative medicine—a concept that brings traditional doctors together with alternative and complementary practices.
The idea of a gluten and nut free restaurant started as a tongue-in-cheek joke until Dr. Maltman started to seriously consider it.
"I really started to think about how could I get the information that I was learning, which was so profound, out to the community?” said Dr. Maltman, a celiac with a nut allergy.
"It's so much more than eating less and moving more. It's so much more about the quality of the food we are eating," said Dr. Maltman, who teaches at the University of Saskatchewan and runs a practice in Saskatoon.
The team at Leyda’s has created a signature bread. The four-season menu will feature items like local trout, black cod, grass-fed beef and bison, free range organic chicken and eggs, organic milk and butter, Saskatchewan organic seabuckthorn berries, gluten-free pizza made in a woodstone oven.
"Who with celiac hasn't craved a good pizza?"
"I've seen a lot of bad gluten-free food out there. I also have watched the industry. It's all gluten-free everything, everywhere. A lot of people are just on the bandwagon for all the wrong reasons,” she said.
Gluten-free commercially-produced food tries to replicate the regular industry, which has a lot of artificial, manufactured and chemically-preserved ingredients.
“To eat gluten-free and to have certain dietery restrictions doesn't mean you have to give up eating delicious, incredible food. In fact, in our early soft opening tests, we've had people that have nothing to do with eating gluten-or-nut free (sayong), 'This is absolutely delicious,'" she said.
The restaurant has some unique features, including not owning a deep fryer. The kitchen doesn’t use nonstick chemical-lined pans, high fructose corn syrup, MSG or artificial sweeteners. All the water is run through Leyda’s reverse osmosis filtration system.
Leyda’s is the first restaurant in Saskatchewan to own a commercial urban cultivator. The double-sided fridge which was featured on CBC's Dragon's Den grows fresh herbs.
The restaurant has a heavy emphasis on education. Leyda’s will hold educational nutrition classes, cooking classes and Dr. Maltman hopes to work with local schools.
"There's really a lot going on in this restaurant, all based on what I've learned and what my passion is, and what I do in my own home for my own family."
An important area of health, said Dr. Maltman, is chronic disease, which makes up 77 per cent of our healthcare budget. Chronic inflammation is known to be a factor in chronic disease, so Leyda’s serves up anti-inflammatory food like veggies, fruits, whole and cracked grains, beans and legumes, al dente pasta and healthy fats, fish and soy foods.
The café will never turn away a customer with dietary restrictions, said Dr. Maltman.
"We will never say no to them. We will create something right now for them. We're really looking to have a place for people that have all those concerns but can sit down for a meal with family and friends and not feel singled out."
A lunch menu will be in place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., a dinner menu from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a "small things at all times" menu available all day. By next Friday, Leyda's will have a takeout menu.
"I wanted a place for peaceful dining, a place (where) people who have celiac or gluten intolerances or nut allergies, can come truly dine in peace."