Post image for Leap.


by Lauren | Celiac Teen on January 25, 2012

A week from now, I’ll be settling into my apartment. My apartment in France. Oh goodness, those words sounds like such a far-off dream. The truth is that they are. I’ve spent so much of my teenagehood battling illness, where travel and living abroad was the sort of thing that lit up my dreams. When presented with months in-between school, I researched and looked. I found a school. I found somewhere to learn French. I convinced my parents and worked up the money. Rather than just the high-school level that I completed two years ago, this will be full immersion. While I don’t expect fluency, I can’t wait to dive in.

Long before it began, I dedicated 2012 as a year of chasing dreams. A year filled with growth, the unexpected and joy. I’m so thrilled to have that be coming true, even slightly. Soon, I set off for four months in France. Living in the Alps, surrounded by French. Rather than resolutions, I have my word for this year. Leap.

Leap into the unknown. Leap into my dreams. Leap in, giving all that I have. Leap. Such a simple word, but with so much charge behind it. I think I’m ready, but I know that leaping will be tough at times. It will be scary and uncomfortable, but I will come through it stronger. It will also be invigorating and joy-filled. So, with that, I leap.

I don’t believe I’ll have much internet access while over there, but I’m sure I’ll send tweets and instagrams (I’m @laurenmcmillan on IG) here and there. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to find an internet cafe every so often to share some of my life over there with you, in this space. Let me apologize in advance for my lack of email replies surely to happen from now through June.

Before I say à bientôt, here are some snippets of my life lately. In between all of the random compiling, the room-cleaning, the studying (with final exams being 3 and 4 days before I fly- eep!), and the constant realizing that I leave for four months in France in just a few days, I haven’t had much time to create in the kitchen. Instead, I’ve been packing and soaking up the world around me. This is some of what I’ve seen, of what I’ll miss about home.

(Yes, I’m a little bit in love with instagram right now.)

Skiing on New Year’s Eve, with friends. The mountains always make my heart full of wonder. I’m so thrilled I’ll get to explore another set soon.

I adore writing letters and cards.

And sending them, of course. (Both the sending and writing are not things I plan on giving up. If anything, much the opposite.)

It had been ages since I went to a hockey game. This one had us on the edge of our seats until the last second. No question, it’s the best sort to attend. (And the home team won! Which made for that much more excitement.)

Flags, all set to sew on my things. (Note to self: after exams, get on that!)

Happy things. Favourites, all around.

Brunch with best friends. Birthday Celebrations. Love. Joy. Laughter. All the best things.

The sunrise. Such a beautiful thing to see, no matter where you are. This one was en-route to see a darling friend. I’m not loving having to say goodbye to friends, but I’m grateful to see some of them before I go!

One thing I won’t miss is the massive studying, which I must get back to.

The chocolate though, I’m not letting go of that. Why would I do that? Chocolate is good for the soul.

So, that’s what’s up with me. I keep doing a double-take at the date, constantly in awe that this is all happening. If you’ve got any suggestions for being gluten-free in France, traveling, or with anything else, I’d love to hear. Thank you for being here.


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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle January 25, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I am so proud of you, Lauren. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures. A bientot, mon amie. Je t’aime!


Jenn January 26, 2012 at 12:46 am

Oh my gosh, it’s coming up so fast!! I know you’ll have an awesome time, and I can’t wait to hear all about your tales and experiences :)

Marcela January 26, 2012 at 12:50 am

Oh la la! Good for you!
I love France and French is my favourite language, so if you need something while in Europe, feel free to drop me a line.I don’t know where you will be, but I have many French friends and I know Paris rather well. You will have a GREAT time, I’m sure about that.
Profite bien de ton séjour en France!

Jeannie January 26, 2012 at 2:37 am

You’re going to France! YAY! I am so excited for you, and I wish you all the best. Can’t wait to see all the beautiful photos of your adventures on IG (:

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 26, 2012 at 3:38 am

Lauren I am SOOOOOOO excited for you. I cannot wait to read snippets of your adventure here and there. I am sure you will take notes and write eventually about your experience. And we’ll be here when you are ready to write. Enjoy. Profites-en bien!!

Kathryn January 26, 2012 at 3:56 am

I hope you have a wonderful experience in France, I can’t wait to hear about it when you return.

Barbara @ Barbara Bakes January 26, 2012 at 7:13 am

Good lucky on your adventure. Such a brave, exciting choice you’ve made. I know you’ll do well.

Asha@FSK January 26, 2012 at 7:16 am

Lauren, this is FANTASTIC!!!!! I am so glad you are planning to fly!! Have a great time in France!!! :-)))

Marnely Rodriguez January 26, 2012 at 7:30 am

Good luck my dear! Following your dreams is the one and only thing that will make you happy and I am SO excited for you! Wish you the best and remember to say yes to every opportunity presented. You’ll never know where they take you!

SMITH BITES January 26, 2012 at 7:33 am

oh the place you’ll go Lauren, the places you’ll go . . . (((hugs)))

Jun Belen January 26, 2012 at 7:44 am

Best of luck to you, Lauren. Enjoy your big leap!!

Julie January 26, 2012 at 7:48 am

SO proud of and excited for you! Four months in France! Wow. What a fabulous experience. You so deserve it! xo

flo makanai January 26, 2012 at 8:12 am

Bienvenue en France, dans quelques jours! BRAVO de suivre tes rêves!
I wish you the better of the best, en français and in english :)

Erin Smith January 26, 2012 at 8:30 am

Lauren, this sounds amazing. The one thing I regret not doing in college was traveling abroad. Kudos to you for taking this step. I can’t wait to read about your journety.

You should connect with Nadia of With Love Allergen Free while in France. She is doing some amazing gluten-free things over there!

Alessa January 26, 2012 at 8:56 am

Oh, how fun! The year after school is wonderful for making experiences like that! Have a great time in France, and I hope you get the chance to maybe hop over a couple of borders and visit some other European places. Tuscany is wonderful and my current home of Berlin is also a great city!

Rochelle (@AcquiredLife) January 26, 2012 at 10:24 am

How awesome is that! I’m so happy for you and your new adventure. France I’m sure will be a great place to spend the next four months. Make sure to photograph everything and tell us all about it every chance you get.

Aline January 26, 2012 at 11:02 am

Hi Lauren, I’m living in Switzerland, just next to the French border. Where will you stay in France ? You say in the Alps… is it near Grenoble ? I’m also gluten-free and I often shop in France, so ask if you need help !
Bonne chance !

a spoonful of yumm January 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm

good luck lauren !! sounds fabulous :-)

One Hungry Mama January 26, 2012 at 1:01 pm

YES! Congrats Lauren. So, so happy and exccccitttteeed for you! Can’t wait to hear about whichever parts you choose to share with us. xo

tea_austen January 26, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I am so delighted and excited for you, Lauren! It will be an amazing experience (as you said, sometimes hard, but always enriching) and because of who you are, I know you will make the most of every moment. Here’s to brave leaps and the wonder they bring!


Jaime {sophistimom} January 26, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Gluten-free in France??

Macarons. Lots and lots of macarons!!

Félicitations! I’m so happy for you and your chance to be in France, Lauren!!

kickpleat January 26, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Congratulations, Lauren!! What an exciting opportunity and I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time. Scary things can be the best things, and this looks like there’s lots of bests to come!! Hooray!

Gail January 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Lauren, I’m thrilled for you! Leap, sweetie, leap. And don’t worry about a safety net below because if you weren’t really sure, you wouldn’t be taking that leap


Cheryl Arkison January 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm

It’s probably too much to see you before you go, but know that the girls and I will always think of you. They will be excited to see you when you come home, and show off a certain family member. Live well, Lauren.

Joan Abdallah January 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Lauren – What a wonderful and exciting venture you are about to embark on. I wish all the best and look forward to hearing of your adventures and then we will have to converse in French! Enjoy every moment as it will go by quickly. Love ya!!! Aunt Joan

Isabelle January 26, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Oh my gosh, I’m so excited for you Lauren! I love France, though I have mostly only been to Paris. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time. Not sure how big of a town/city you’ll be in, but I found at grocery stores and health food stores in Paris it was fairly easy to find gluten-free breads, rice cakes etc. Hopefully you will be near a health food store. As I’m sure you already know from traveling gluten-free, before you are fluent it’s a good idea to print out a little card explaining your illness to people in stores and restaurants. For shopping purposes, it’s also helpful to have a little translation list of any ingredient you’re trying to avoid on packaging. If you make it to Paris there is an entirely GF restaurant there that I blogged about:
Good luck and have an amazing time!

Kimberly January 27, 2012 at 5:25 am

I am excited and a little nervous for you. I always think of France as such a bread-centered culture, so I will be interested to hear how you fare there, what sorts of gluten free things are available. Have a wonderful time :)

Brian @ A Thought For Food January 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm

This is fabulous. Go chase them!

Shirley @ gfe January 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm

“Leap and the net will appear!” You are living the law of attraction, my dear!

Enjoy your amazing new life, Lauren. xoxo,

Jade Sheldon January 27, 2012 at 11:57 pm

I know all too well how illness can get in the way of accomplishing dreams. I was diagnosed a few years ago with Ulcerative Colitis and it is only now that I’m starting to feel human again and accomplishing things I had to put on hold all those years ago.

Congratulations! Wishing you an inspiring and lovely time! Can’t wait to read all about it.

Sondi January 28, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Wow, what an amazing adventure! Congratulations and best of luck. You are so brave – and I’m sure taking your leap will bring you an immense amount of personal growth and excitement.

Lauren @ Healthy Delicious January 28, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Good luck and have fun! Living abroad is such an amazing experience. Make sure you soak it all in. :) Can’t wait to hear all about it, and hope that I see you around twitter often in the meantime.

Kaitlin January 28, 2012 at 11:32 pm

How exciting!!! I can’t wait to hear all about it. I’m completely envious. Good luck!!

Phillip January 29, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Have fun. We will miss in gluten free YYC and look forward to hearing of your adventures!!

Chez Us January 29, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Congrats – this is really exciting. You will love France – it one of my favorite countries. Enjoy!

Suz January 29, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I’m glad that you are leaping! More people need to learn to do that. Have the time of your life and savor every second! Bon Voyage :)

kyleen January 29, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Je suis JEALOUS. Going to France to learn French/eat French pastries after high school is one of my dreams… You will have so much fun! I can’t wait to hear all about it.

Serena February 2, 2012 at 9:17 am

Enjoy! It’s a great place to live!

Naturalia and La Vie Claire are chains with an excellent selection of GF products (Schar is just amazing, too bad it’s not in Canada). Some pharmacies (in towns outside Paris usually) carry some Schar products.

Steak and fries is common in most bistros and usually the fries are simply cut potatoes fried in a dedicated fryer. You’ll know this, but skip the sauces. They are quite knowledgable about gluten, so you should be ok. I know it would be great to try, but skip the macarons. They are sold in bakeries and the workshops are just not clean enough for those with Celiac disease. Pierre Herme sells only macarons (they’re the best, but incredibly expensive), so they might be safe.

Other than that, enjoy it!

J.B. February 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Wow. Congratulations on taking those leaps.

I’ve never posted a comment here before, but have thoroughly enjoyed your recipes and your writing and wanted to wish you well in your adventures.

Malina February 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm

This post was so inspiring! I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now and never thought to comment, but I just wanted to express my admiration. Have tons of fun, and, as a Française myself, don’t take them all too seriously all the time. And have a blast!

As far as GF goes, I haven’t been back since I was diagnosed, but the fact that a larger portion of the population is interested in food in general will mean they’ll probably know more about the ingredients there at least…

Best of luck!

Sarah February 14, 2012 at 10:22 am

Sad that I come across your blog when you leave! However I wish you luck and hope that you will be able to post some updates. I am extremely jealous of FRANCE!

Judy February 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Hello Lauren; I look forward to hearing about some exciting French gluten free meals that we can cook here in Calgary! Thanks, Judy

Liz Stokes February 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Dear Lauren,

David Lebovitz’s Web site has a gluten-free section with Paris recommendations here:
If you type in gluten-free in his search bar, other blog entries will come up, including one for a new gluten-free bakery. He also writes about places to visit in Paris and other parts of France. He is a former pastry chef who writes cookbooks.

Clotilde from is also based in Paris. She has many blog entries on where to buy food. I’m sure many places have gluten-free options. I like her recipes, too.

Liz S.

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