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Chia Seed: A Gluten Free Superstar">Chia Seed: A Gluten Free Superstar

By Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD

www.harriswholehealth.com

Chia is the new nutrition powerhouse on the block! It’s 100% gluten free, and high in omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants, too.It’s a great addition to any diet for the health benefits, but particularly helpful in gluten free and vegan baking as a both binder and as an egg substitute.

So what IS Chia, anyhow?

Chia seeds are from a plant called Salvia Hispanica, which is a member of the mint family.Chia has been grown for years in Mexico and Central America and was revered as a superfood in Aztec societies. In the US, experts have recognized the benefits of Chia as well, and it is gaining interest and popularity.

Salba® is a brand name for a patented form of white Chia seeds grown specifically for health benefits, and has been studied more extensively.[2]Salba® seeds look a lot like white poppy seeds.They are sold whole or ground.

Benefits and nutrition

They may be tiny, but these seeds pack quite a punch!Like most seeds, Chia is high in fiber, but it’s also a great source of magnesium, folate, iron, and calcium, and is very good source of antioxidants, too.[3]Many of these nutrients are ones lacking in the standard American diet, but this is particularly important for people on a gluten free diet.Studies have shown that people with Celiac Disease eat less calcium, iron, and fiber than recommended. [4] Since many gluten free foods are not fortified, intake of folate among Celiacs may be low, too. Chia seeds are also high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are important for cardiovascular, joint health, and the prevention of many chronic diseases.

Studies:

Although most of the studies on Chia are on animals, there are human studies on the health impact of Salba®. A small study on Type 2 Diabetics showed lowered blood pressure in people eating Salba®, and also improvements in other measures of inflammation[5].Although more studies are needed, this is very encouraging.

A small study also suggests that Chia may be helpful to women in breast cancer treatment by lowering resistance to chemotherapy drugs. Granted–this is an early study, but that is pretty amazing to even think about.

How is it used?

Chia can be used in a variety of recipes or just enjoyed simply.It can be sprinkled onto a salad or yogurt, added to a smoothie, or just eaten plain.It can also substitute for flax seeds, but unlike flax seeds, Chia seeds do not need to be pre-ground for health benefits….but once they’re ground, refrigerate them or they’ll go rancid. See Baking with Chia for more information.

Brands I like

Healthy products containing chia:


 

[1] http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA365093 Accessed July 15, 2008

[2] http://www.salba.com/ Accessed August 5th, 2008

[5] Vuksan V, Whitham D, Sievenpiper JL, Jenkins AL, Rogovik AL, Bazinet RP, Vidgen E, Hanna A

Supplementation of conventional therapy with the novel grain Salba (Salvia hispanica L.) improves major and emerging cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: results of a randomized controlled trial.

Diabetes Care. 2007 Nov ;30:2804-10.

Chia">Baking with Chia

Ch ch ch chia! While many of us remember the commercials, few of us suspected that we’d ever eat chia, or how nutritious and tasty it can be.

Some recipes use chia as the primary flour, others use it as a binder or an egg replacer. Chia seeds are generally sold two ways: whole and ground. Whole seed are easy to grind into a meal in a coffee grinder, blender or with a mortar and pestle. For a recipe with texture, like cookies, muffins or breads with nuts, seeds, etc., whole seeds will work. Ground chia works better for cakes, brownies, and less textured baked goods. Chia seeds ground finely to a powder can be used as a thickener for puddings and other silky smooth recipes.

Chia is wonderful for gluten free baking, because it is an excellent binder and thickener. It can be used in many recipes that call for ground flax seed, but it’s a good idea to use 2/3 as much because it is a more powerful binder. The amount needed may depend on the recipe, and might take a little trial and error. A small amount of chia can also replace xantham or guar gum. For most recipes, ¼ to ½ teaspoon of ground chia can serve as a binder.

Chia is also a great addition to egg free or vegan baking. Rather than using the standard flax “goop” of ground flax seeds and water, replace it with ½ of the amount of ground chia seeds.

So for a flax egg, an “egg”=1 TBSP ground with 3 TBSP water

For a chia egg, an “egg”=2 tsp ground chia with 3 TBSP water

The seeds should be added to the liquid ingredients, like water, milk, juice, etc. and allowed to sit until it forms a gel, which takes about 20 minutes. Extra chia gel can be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for a week or more.

Chia seeds can also be used to bind burgers, meatloaf, meatballs, etc. instead of egg and breadcrumbs. To replace an egg, use ¼ cup of water with 1 teaspoon ground chia, or 1.5 teaspoons whole chia seeds.

Quick and easy ways of using chia seeds include adding them to a salad, yogurt or hot cereal, adding them to a smoothie or sprinkling whole seeds onto a loaf of bread or crackers before baking,

Several websites have recipes to get you started:

http://nuchiafoods.com/recipes/ has recipes using chia flour as the primary ingredient

http://www.gfgoodness.com my cooking blog, uses chia as a binder and egg replacer

Here are sites with chia recipes (not all are gluten free):

http://dietdessertndogs.wordpress.com/

http://www.salba.com/

http://www.chiaseedandoil.com/recipes/recipes.html

Cheryl Harris is a Registered Dietitian and nutritionist in Alexandria, VA providing nutrition session and classes on Celiac disease and other food intolerances.  She considers herself incredibly lucky, because she loves her work and the chance to help others enjoy healthy and safe foods, even with food restrictions. For more information on Cheryl and many gluten free resources, see www.harriswholehealth.com.

Breakfast basics

Breakfasts:

For many, this was the first week of back-to-school, and getting back into a new groove. For the rest of us, it’s adjusting to different traffic patterns, and maybe different jobs and roles. As we all know, a nourishing breakfast is a good way of getting the day off right. I’ve got a variety of options below, from classic cereals to other options, too. Gluten-free? No worries, I have a list of gluten-free breakfasts here.

What do I consider a healthy breakfast? Mostly whole foods, less processed, little sugar, and a good source of protein, fiber and health fats. Most of these are pretty easy to find at local stores. Did I miss one of your favorites? Let me know.

Hot cereals/cooked grains:oatmeal

Cold cereals:

Making cereals healthier:

  • Add in some fresh or frozen fruit!
  • Add in ground flax or chia seed to increase fiber content.

Other classic breakfast options:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • Greek yogurt with fruit and chia
  • Eggs-Add some spinach, mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc.
  • Vitatop muffins--in the freezer section.
  • Garden Lites muffins <–these are pretty easy to find at many grocery stores.
  • Chia pods®--perfect with a dairy allergy/intolerance or for vegans, and you can make them at home, too.
  • Evol breakfasts
  • Omelet
  • Kefir and fruit. Good news for dairy-free peeps–it’s getting easier to find more options at Mom’s and Whole Foods.
  • Yogurt (or coconut or almond yogurt) and chia seeds and/or fruit
  • Breakfast smoothie: handful berries, some kind of protein (yogurt, protein powder) and a handful spinach or kale.

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, promoting great health and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please click here, email or call 571-271-8742.

G-Free Breakfasts & Back to School

When I look through my archive of gluten-free breakfast posts, I’m always surprised at how short this list was years ago. Now there’s a range of packaged options in addition to the naturally gluten-free options.

oatmealWhether or not you’re back in school, it’s a nice time to re-evaluate breakfast options. We’ve all heard it—breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and gets us off to a good start.  We need energy to study, work, and play.  Many studies have shown improvements in concentration and learning for children who eat breakfast, and starting the day with a healthy breakfast helps adults, too.  As a nutritionist, I look for breakfasts that are a good source of fiber and protein, and little or no added sugar.

And as a gentle reminder, there are no rules of breakfasts. If you like having leftovers or soup for breakfast, so be it. You have my official approval. BTW, curious what people eat around the world for breakfast? I loved this video from WaPo.

Cereals:

Highest in fiber and protein:

Especially when it gets a little cooler, hot cereals can be a wonderful breakfast. You can cook up a big pot and have it all week, and they freeze well, too.

Cooked grains choices:

Making cereals healthier:

  • Add in some fresh or frozen fruit!
  • Add in ground flax or chia seed to increase fiber content.

Other naturally gluten-free healthier options:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • Greek yogurt with fruit and chia
  • Eggs-Add some spinach, mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc.
  • Leaner, free-range sausage or turkey bacon
  • Garden Lites muffins <–these are pretty easy to find at many grocery stores.
  • Chia pods®
  • Evol has scramble cups  Some are certified GF, but check ingredients/products carefully–some products do have gluten, so make sure you’re grabbing the right box.
  • Omelet
  • Kefir and fruit. Good news for dairy-free peeps–it’s getting easier to find more options at Mom’s and Whole Foods.
  • Yogurt (or coconut or almond yogurt) and chia seeds and/or fruit
  • Breakfast smoothie: handful berries, some kind of protein (yogurt, protein powder) and a handful spinach or kale.

Love granola with your cereal? Kind has a whole grain granola. My grain-free friends–Paleo Krunch is delicious and great to sprinkle on yogurt, but it’s pricey. I have a MYO version here.

Two Mom’s in the Raw also have a certified GF granola option, and so does Go Raw. I’ve heard good things from clients but haven’t tried them out myself yet.

More and more, there are a wider range of cereal options, such as grits (marked GF), Chex, puffed rice, etc. There are also donut and muffin options in the freezer section as well. Obviously these aren’t as nutritionally dense.

Did I miss any of your favorites?

I don’t have Cheerios on the list intentionally, and as many of you know, there have been issues with Cheerios since they first launched, and the problems haven’t yet resolved.  General Mill’s has declared that Cheerios is a gluten-free cereal; however, they are not following the “purity protocol” for growing gluten-free oats. Instead, they’re sorting oats at the end. While some batches seem to test below 20ppm, some have been higher. They also are testing “lots” versus individual boxes, which makes it easier to miss patches of contamination.

The Canadian Celiac Association has a good explanation of why they recommend that people with Celiac avoid Cheerios until manufacturing practices improve.

And as always–do check labels every time. Ingredients and manufacturing practices change.

Back to school?

Sad news:

Last but not least, as many of you know, Dr. John Snyder, who was the head of the Celiac Center at Children’s National Medical Center in DC died unexpectedly this summer after a biking accident in France. I had the pleasure to work with him years ago on Celiac videos in 2008 (they’re a bit dated now). He was a truly lovely person, and a huge advocate for the Celiac community.

He was a great doctor with a big heart. His shoes will be very hard to fill.

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, promoting great health and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please click here, email or call 571-271-8742.

Gluten-Free Grab & Go

Happy Celiac Disease Awareness Month!

I’m a huge fan of naturally gluten-free food. It’s usually healthier, usually cheaper, and IMHO, often tastier, too. That’s especially this this time of year, when we can start to get locally grown veggies and fruit. I’ve got a list of local NoVA/DC/MD Farmers’ markets here.

And yet…there are so many reasons packaged foods do absolutely come in handy from time to time, whether it’s because of job demands, travel, or you just need to have something shelf-stable and portable in the car in case of emergency.

I’ve put together a updated list of some of my favorite healthier options among packaged products, with an eye out towards ones that are lower in sugar, higher in fiber and protein, and on the less processed end of the spectrum. I’ve noted which are GF certified, Kosher certified or vegan, according to the manufacturer’s claims, and I always encourage you to double-check, because ingredients and processing protocols change.

Last updated August 2018.

Bars:

What do I consider a healthier gluten-free bar? In a nutshell, mostly ingredients your grandmother would recognize, enough protein and fiber to keep you fueled, and of course, gluten-free. These bars also avoid artificial sweeteners and soy protein isolate.

Snacks:nut butters

Quick meal options

Soups & !

Frozen: In the NoVA area, you can generally find these at MOM’s, Wegman’s, Whole Foods and Earth Fare

  • Amy’s Organic® Kosher has frozen entrees, with vegan and vegetarian options
  • Beetnick frozen foods–certified GF, lots of options
  • Dr. Praeger-veggie burgers, veggie patties, fish sticks & more.
  • Garden lites® Kosher soufflés and muffins, vegan and vegetarian options.
  • Glutenfreeda® has a wide variety of options. Nutritionally speaking, the burritos are healthier than the ice cream sandwiches, of course

Shelf-stable options:

  • Quinoa cups–World Gourmet has some fun flavors that are vegan
  • CookSimple® has a variety of boxed meals (some gluten-free, some not)oatmeal
  • GoPicnic® has pre-packed meals that are shelf-stable. (some vegan options)
  • St. Dafour® has tinned meals (some gluten-free, some not)

Cereals: (other great breakfast options here)

Breads:

Ah, the task of finding a g-free bread with enough fiber. Try these:wonderbread

Did I leave out one of your favorites? Leave me a note in the comments.
Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Wellcoach in Fairfax VA.  She helps people with a range of dietary issues, including Celiac Disease, GI issues, food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals and feeling great!  Email or call 571-271-8742.

G-Free Breakfasts

oatmealIt seems totally unreal that it’s September, doesn’t it? I’m not quite ready for colder weather yet, but here we are.

So it’s a perfect time to think about breakfasts.  We’ve all heard it—breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and gets us off to a good start.  We need energy to study, work, and play!  Many studies have shown improvements in concentration and learning for children who eat breakfast, and starting the day with a healthy breakfast helps adults, too.  As a dietitian, I look for breakfasts that are a good source of fiber and protein, and little or no added sugar.  There are great options from both the regular grocery store and more and more specialty products.

Cereals:

Highest in fiber and protein:

Especially when it gets a little cooler, hot cereals can be a wonderful breakfast. You can cook up a big pot and have it all week, and they freeze well, too.

Cooked grains choices:

  • Buckwheat (kasha)
  • Millet
  • Amaranth
  • Teff
  • Quinoa flakes
  • Oatmeal (certified gluten free, of course)
  • Bob’s Red Mill®: Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal and Creamy Buckwheat

Making cereals healthier:

  • Add in some fresh or frozen fruit!
  • Add in ground flax or chia seed to increase fiber content.

Other options:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • Greek yogurt with fruit and chia
  • Eggs-Add some spinach, mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc.
  • Leaner, free-range sausage or turkey bacon
  • Garden Lites muffin
  • Artisan Bistro has several options
  • Chia pods®
  • Omelet
  • Yogurt (or coconut or soy yogurt) and flax and/or fruit
  • Leftovers!
  • Breakfast smoothie: handful berries, some kind of protein (yogurt, protein powder) and a handful spinach

More and more, there are a wider range of cereal options. These are g-free, but they’re lower in protein and fiber than the ones above, so they won’t keep you as full:

  • Grits, marked gluten-free
  • Cream of rice marked gluten-free
  • Puffed rice, corn, millet, etc. marked gluten-free
  • Most Chex® Cereals (not Wheat Chex®)
  • Kashi Indigo Morning
  • Gorilla Munch®
  • Buckwheat Flakes
  • Rice Twice®

Did I miss any of your favorites?

I don’t have Cheerios on the list.  General Mill’s has declared that Cheerios is a gluten-free cereal; however, they are not following the “purity protocol” for growing gluten-free oats. Instead, they’re sorting oats at the end. While some batches seem to test below 20ppm, some have been higher. They also are testing “lots” versus individual boxes, which makes it easier to miss patches of contamination.

IMHO, it’s a dangerous precedent when a large company decides to make up their own rules for what they are calling gluten-free, and using a method that isn’t independently and rigorously verified to yield a gluten-free product.

Back to school? I’ve got tips for g-free kids here.

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, promoting great health and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please click here, email or call 571-271-8742.

G-Free Breakfasts & Canyon Bakehouse Giveaway!

G-Free Breakfasts, a Canyon Bakehouse bread giveaway and G-free News

I love the warm weather, so it’s always a little sad to see September roll around. What a gorgeous summer it’s been! As we head back to school or work, it’s a great time to think about re-vamping your gluten-free breakfast.  We’ve all heard it—breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and gets us off to a good start.  We need energy to study, work, and play!  Many studies have shown improvements in concentration and learning for children who eat breakfast, and starting the day with a healthy breakfast helps adults, too.  There are great options from both the regular grocery store and specialty products.

Some of the best choices:

  • Greek yogurt is a great source of protein. Add in some berries and sprinkle in a spoon or two of ground flax seed or chia (Salba) to get in a little extra fiber.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Get creative with eggs: scrambled eggs, omelets, huevos rancheros, an egg bake, a  crustless quiche(great tutorial here by GFE), or even these cute little egg nests. A hard-boiled works in a pinch for an inexpensive, high protein on-the-go breakfast. Add in veggies with the eggs for a more filling breakfast with more antioxidants and fiber. Research is clear that an egg a day won’t negatively affect the risk of heart disease. Of course, egg whites are always an option, too.
  • Smoothies are also a great way to get in some additional fruit in your diet, and most kids enjoy them, too.  Just make sure to get some protein, from Greek yogurt, protein powder or even tofu. Bonus points for throwing in a handful of spinach!

Looking ahead to chilly mornings, hot cereals are a great way to start the day with fiber and whole grains.  Most gluten-free grains cook up nicely as hot cereals. In terms of taste, my personal favorite is millet, but kasha (buckwheat), quinoa flakes, amaranth, teff, etc. work well, too.  It’s easy to make a big pot and have them all week long.  Don’t forget about certified gluten-free oatmeal, which can be found at specialty stores or online.

You can also think beyond usual breakfast foods for a change of pace.  Soups or any kind of leftovers work well, and you’re only limited by your imagination!

Giveaway

Speaking of breakfast, how about some toast?  For many years, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Canyon Bakehouse Breads. When I say they’ve got fans, I mean, they’ve got some SERIOUS fans. Canyon sent me a box of breads, and offered to do a giveaway of Canyon bread products for my lovely newsletter readers. BTW–I get a bunch of offers for giveaways, and I generally decline, unless it’s a product that I personally enjoy or that I get a ton of good feedback about.

One of the unique things is that Canyon Bakehouse breads are fresh when shipped, not frozen. So, I opened the box, and I was blown away by the aroma of freshly baked bread.canyon bread

I received 3 full loves and muffins:

  • Cinnamon Raisin
  • Mountain White
  •  7-Grain
  •  Cranberry Canyon Crunch Muffin

Since I’m allergic to eggs, I had my favorite guinea pig, Cathy, give me her views because she’s a great critic, and she’s tasted most of the gluten-free breads out there in her travels.

Cathy’s take: All of the bread was really scrumptious. The cinnamon raisin was her favorite by far, both fresh and frozen, and as French toast, too! The taste, texture and density were what you’d expect of “real” bread. She liked the muffins, but that was her least favorite of the group because they were a bit tougher in texture. She was clear that she would enthusiastically recommend all of the Canyon breads, and loved getting to have fresh bread that didn’t need to be toasted. Overall verdict: more, please!

Want to try them for yourself?

  • 1 entry: Leave me a comment on my website and let me know what you’d make or try first if you won the box of Canyon Bakehouse breads!
  • 1 entry: Post about this giveaway on FB or Twitter, and leave a note on my website letting me know that you did.
  • Please make sure you include your email address so that I can contact the winner.

Many thanks to Canyon for providing these products for the giveaway.

A winner will be chosen randomly on Sept 20th, 10pm EST.

UPDATE: THE WINNER IS JENNY, WHO SAID:

I’d probably try the cinnamon raisin with some peanut butter. I have a coworker who heard up cinnamon raisin bread in the office each morning, and the smell taunts me.

Congrats, Jenny!

You can find Canyon Bakehouse products on Amazon, they’re now at Target and MOM’s, and even some NoVA area Safeway stores.

News

  • I just posted an updated snacking guide of healthier GF ready-to-eat items.
  • Tricia Thompson of Gluten-Free Watchdog was kind enough to give a heads’ up on baked products at Roots’ Markets in Maryland, and will be publishing results on the gluten levels in their products shortly. I’m disappointed in Roots on how this has gone thus far. If there is a risk of wheat contamination, marking products “wheat-free” instead of gluten-free because of the new ruling is grossly misleading to people with wheat allergies.
  • Here’s my article from Today’s dietitian on Growing up gluten-free with tips for children and school time.
  • There’s new interesting research on autoimmune disease just out this month, which may hold promise for treatments.

Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Wellcoach in Fairfax & Alexandria, VA.  She helps people with a range of dietary issues , including Celiac Disease, GI issues,  food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals and feeling great!  Email or call 571-271-8742.

G-Free Grab & Go Nutritionist Approved List

UPDATED 2016 list here

I’m a huge fan of naturally gluten-free food. It’s usually healthier, usually cheaper, and IMHO, usually tastier, too. That’s especially this time of year when there are a lot of yummy options almost in season!

And yet…there are so many reasons packaged foods do absolutely come in handy from time to time, whether it’s because of job demands, travel, outdoor activities that prevent easy access or you just need to have something shelf-stable and portable in the car in case of emergency.

I’ve put together a updated list of some of my favorite healthier options among packaged products, with an eye out towards ones that are lower in sugar, higher in fiber and protein, and less processed. Obviously, you don’t want to forget naturally gluten-free options, too!

Bars:

What do I consider a gluten-free healthy bar? In a nutshell, mostly ingredients your grandmother would recognize, some protein and fiber for fullness and of course, gluten-free. These also avoid artificial sweeteners and soy protein isolate.

Snacks:

Quick meal options

Soups!

Frozen:

  • Amy’s Organic® has frozen entrees, with vegan and vegetarian options
  • Beetnick frozen foods–certified GF, lots of options
  • Dr. Praeger-veggie burgers, veggie patties, fish sticks & more.
  • Garden lites® soufflés and muffins, vegan and vegetarian options.
  • Glutenfreeda® has a wide variety of options. Nutritionally speaking, the burritos are healthier than the ice cream sandwiches, of course

Veggie Burgers:

Shelf-stable options:

  • CookSimple® has a variety of boxed meals (some gluten-free, some not)
  • GoPicnic® has pre-packed meals that are shelf-stable. (some vegan options)
  • St. Dafour® has tinned meals (some gluten-free, some not)

Cereals: (other great breakfast options here)oatmeal

Breads:

Ah, the task of finding a g-free bread with enough fiber. Try these:wonderbread

Dr. Schar Ciabatta Rolls®

Julian Bakery (variety of lower carb, higher fiber options)

Sandwich Petals®

Udi’s Flax and Fiber ®

 All products are gluten-free per the manufacturer’s claim. Always double check labels, because products do change. Some do contain other allergens.
Did I leave out one of your favorites? Leave me a note in the comments.

NEWS:

Recalls:
Frito Lay has a voluntary recall for BBQ chips that are labeled gluten-free, but they contain wheat.
Bart and Judy’s Gluten-Free cookies have tested with high levels of gluten, so buyer beware!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
AND, on a much lighter and nicer note, I have a review of a bunch of gluten, dairy and soy-free chocolates.
I’m submitting this to Gluten-Free Wednesdays, a weekly roundup of all sorts of interesting gluten-free recipes and posts. It’s co-hosted by Linda of Gluten-free Homemaker, Shirley of gluten free easily and Lynn of Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures. Hop on over for some more yum!

Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Wellcoach in Fairfax & Alexandria, VA.  She helps people with a range of dietary issues , including Celiac Disease, GI issues,  food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals and feeling great!  Email or call 571-271-8742.

Go fish–New 2014 Advice

I’m a big advocate of fish, as many of you know. Not only does the  American Heart pestoed fishAssociation recommend 2 or more servings of fish a week, but the American Psychological Association  has a similar recommendation for depression and mood disorders. There are so many reasons why fish can be beneficial–omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and may help with conditions from high triglycerides, rheumatoid arthritis, macular eye degeneration, high blood pressure and the list just goes on. The omega 3s can also be an IQ booster for babies, too.

So I was fascinated to see a new report out from the Environmental Working Group in January 2014 on mercury risk that *ahem!* rocks the boat, because that’s a critical piece of the puzzle and a major stumbling block to eating more fish for many people. The EWG report reviews the literature that goes into the latest data on mercury in fish, and states that following the current EPA guidance isn’t enough to keep people safe from mercury issues, and takes issue with the current “safe dose” methodology. Basically, the big fishies have eaten a bunch of little fishies, and so they bio-accumulate mercury. Not good.

The EWG list goes much further than the EPA guidance, and adds more fish to the “no” column, especially for pregnant women and children:fishie listSource: Environmental Working Group, 2014 http://www.ewg.org/research/us-gives-seafood-eaters-flawed-advice-on-mercury-contamination-healthy-omega-3s

The EPA guidance is from 2004, and gives some basics on fish to avoid, such as:

  • Shark
  • King Mackerel
  • Tilefish
  • Swordfish

My view is that I’d rather have clients be safe than sorry. So the message here shouldn’t be to ditch fish. Instead, choose more wisely. There are still many good options that are both high in omega 3s and low in mercury, such as salmon, sardines, trout, mussles, herring, and even anchovies.

  • For those of you who want to eat more fish, but aren’t quite sure how to prep it, I like the book For Cod and Country which does a good job with simple, tasty AND sustainable. How to Cook Everything  by Mark Bittman is also one of my favorite basic cookbooks, but doesn’t have the health/sustainability emphasis.
  • Wait, wait. Does this mean never ever eating a tuna fish sandwich? Oy. Well, that depends. For children and smaller women, even light tuna once a week is too much. It doesn’t mean never, but for most people, it’s not a good daily or weekly choice.
  • What about sustainability and the environment, the politics and health of wild/vs. farmed, etc.?  That’s a whole different discussion!  The short answer is to check out a seafood guide, such as the one from the Environmental Defense Fund Seafood guide and  Monterey Bay Aquarium. They’ve got a nifty (free!) app, too.
  • Thinking outside of the fishbowl? How about the flaxseed you’re adding to your yogurt faithfully every day?  That has omega 3s, too, as does walnuts, canola oil, soy, chia seed and more.  This form of omega 3s, called ALA, does have health benefits. However, it does not seem to have all of the same benefits as the omegas in fish.
  • But what about if you’re vegan or allergic to fish? There are DHA supplements available that are derived from algae. Again, our bodies don’t utilize them as well.

Speaking of supplements, generally, a low dose (around 1 gram) is generally considered satuxedo strawberriersfe, but definitely don’t go for high dose supplements (over 3 grams) without having a chat with your doctor.

Recipes: Looking for something fun and delicious to make someone you love (possibly yourself?)
My favorites:

Tuxedoed Strawberrieschocoraspslice

Chocolate Raspberry Pie 

Hubby’s favorites:

Chocolate Covered Candied Orange Peels   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Fun stuff:

I’ll be presenting a webinar for the Tidewater Food Allergy Support Group on Feb 11th, 2014 on “Mission possible: a balanced diet with food allergies.”

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, family sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please click here, email or call 571-271-8742.

To subscribe or unsubscribe, see www.harriswholehealth.com

G-Free Breakfasts: Sept 2013

How did the summer fly by so quickly As we head back to school or work, it’s a great time to think about re-vamping your gluten-free breakfast.  We’ve all heard it—breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and gets us off to a good start.  We need energy to study, work, and play!  Many studies have shown improvements in concentration and learning for children who eat breakfast, and starting the day with a healthy breakfast helps adults, too.  There are great options from both the regular grocery store and specialty products.

Some of the best choices:

  • Greek yogurt is a great source of protein. Add in some berries and sprinkle in a spoon or two of ground flax seed or chia (Salba) to get in a little extra fiber.
  • Get creative with eggs: scrambled eggs, omelets, huevos rancheros, an egg bake, a  crustless quiche, or even hard-boiled for an inexpensive, high protein on-the-go breakfast. Add in veggies with the eggs for a more filling breakfast with more antioxidants and fiber. Research isOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA clear that an egg a day won’t negatively affect our risk of heart disease. Of course, egg whites are always an option, too.
  • Smoothies are also a great way to get in some additional fruit in your diet, and most kids enjoy them, too.  Just make sure to get some protein, from Greek yogurt, protein powder or even tofu. Bonus points for throwing in a handful of spinach!
  • Don’t forget old standbys, like cottage cheese or ricotta cheese and fruit, gluten-free free range sausages, grits, etc.
  •  As far as cold cereals go, nutritionally, Crunchy Flax, Whole O’s and Mesa Sunrise are among the best options because all are great sources of whole grains and fiber. Van’s has a new gluten-free cereal line as well.
  • KIND now has Whole Grain Clusters that are tasty and some protein and fiber, too.

Looking ahead to chilly mornings, hot cereals are a great way to start the day with fiber and whole grains.  Most gluten-free grains cook up nicely as hot cereals. In terms of taste, my personal favorite is bowl-of-cooked-oatmeal-with-fruitmillet, but kasha (buckwheat), quinoa flakes, amaranth, teff, etc. work well, too.  It’s easy to make a big pot and have them all week long.  Bob’s Red Mill has a few nice options, like Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal. Don’t forget about certified gluten-free oatmeal, which can be found at specialty stores or online.

You can also think beyond usual breakfast foods for a change of pace.  Soups or any kind of leftovers work well, and you’re only limited by your imagination!

News:

Recipe:

Since we’re on the topic of breakfasts, Cinnamon Apple Millet is a long-time favorite. Millet is a tasty whole grain which has a beneficial impact on triglycerides and inflammation. BUT, if you do have thyroid problems, millet ideally isn’t an every day food because it has the potential to affect thyroid function.

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, family sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please click here, email or call 571-271-8742.

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