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What a month. We’ve gone from a sauna to monsoon season. At least my green beans love the water!

Here’s a quick g-free update:

Do you have food supplies for a natural disaster? The good news is it sounds like DC Metro won’t be hit very hard, but it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re stocked up…just in case. If/when there is need, food banks likely won’t be prepared to take care of the gluten-free community, so it’s a great idea to be as prepared as possible. This list gives a bunch of shelf stable options.

I’ve also updated my “grab and go” list that has healthier g-free bars, snacks, etc.

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Got g-free kids? Children’s Celiac Disease Program has new classes in VA, MD and DC that sound like great fun, and they’ve asked me to share with you all (and please share widely with others you know with children with Celiac)

“The Celiac Disease Program is proud to continue working with parents and children through our Peer Mentorship and Community Education Programs. They are meant to give you in-person support and access to our Education Team as well as opportunities to meet and socialize with other gluten-free families. Our Community Education classes will expose you to a range of topics about living a gluten-free lifestyle and will meet three times a month. Please check the listing to find the class that is most convenient for you.”

Stay safe & dry!

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 Springtime

Gluten-Free Springtime…almost

Spring is here. Really. Sooner or later, even if it doesn’t seem like it this week! Although the snow can be a great reminder about emergency preparedness. Do you have 3-5 days of non-perishable gluten-free foods if you need it? Because you never know…

Passover:
Passover isn’t here until March 30th but many of the products are already appearing in a wide range of grocery stores. Not all Passover foods are gluten-free, but many are, and there’s a much wider selection than usual at the grocery store. This can be a good time to stock up on GF cakes and mixes, cookies, macaroons, “bread” crumbs and supplies like potato starch. As an added bonus for people with multiple restrictions, most Kosher for Passover products contain no corn or soy products, either. More here

From a gluten-free perspective, possibly the best part of Passover is AFTER Passover, when all of the great gluten-free goodies are on sale! Passover ends April 7th, so mark your calendars, because the word has gotten out in gluten-free circles and the mad rush is on.

BTW, there’s always a mad rush to find the “matzo style crackers” that are GF. I saw them today at Whole Foods in Springfield…

Passover recipes are here, and thanks to Moment Magazine for sharing some of my thoughts on a gluten-free Passover, and some great recipes, too.

News & gut health roundup:

  • A new article came out this month, suggesting that accidental gluten contamination may be more common than many people with Celiac realize. The study analyzes stool and urine peptides from a little under 200 adults and children with Celiac to estimate gluten consumption. Basically, what the study found is that on average, people who reported eating a gluten-free diet were eating potentially unsafe levels of gluten. That doesn’t even include people who intentionally or knowingly go off the diet. The researchers conclude that this accidental gluten may be linked to symptoms and/or intestinal damage. Unfortunately, the article does not go into the likely sources of accidental gluten. If you’re curious to read more, the abstract is here.
  • The Canadian Celiac Association weighed in on the NIMA sensor. In a nutshell, their concern is that it might give people a false sense of security, and they recommend against it.
  • Know someone with nerve pain related to gluten sensitivity? A new study showed that people following a strict gluten-free diet were almost 90% less likely to have nerve pain. It’s fascinating because some people assume gluten only affects the gut.
  • Take a purple pill? Some studies show PPIs for reflux aren’t risk free. Everyone is going to need different treatment plans, but looking at diet and lifestyle is often a sensible starting spot.
  • A new study shows that Splenda may affect gut bacteria, and this might cause increase risk for people who have relatives with IBD, or increased genetic risk.
  • People taking VSL #3 for Ulcerative colitis, VSL has changed formulation in the past year, and the new strains aren’t physiologically the same as the ones that were studied for UC.
  • Low FODMAP? I’ve updated my products list lately.
  • Gluten-free & More Magazine covered a happy, healthy gluten-free pregnancy and shared some of my tips.
  • Traveling around the world? Gluten-Free Globetrotter shared a great list of apps.

Classes:
I’m teaching a workshop on living gluten-free at City of Fairfax Regional Library on 4/22/18 from 1:30-2:30pm. It should be fun, and I hope to see some friendly faces!

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 Winter Tips

I recognize it’s been a mild winter, and boy am I grateful, especially when I think back to last year! I realized I haven’t done a newsletter on winter weather/emergency preparedness in 5 years, so it’s about time.

It’s always a good idea to make sure you have week’s supply of gluten-free food for emergencies. The time to get ready isn’t the few days before when everyone and their mother is at the grocery store and the stores are a zoo. And, of course, in the case of a natural disaster or weather issue, it will likely be difficult to find gluten-free options at shelters or from food banks, like we saw with Hurricane Sandy years back.

Do you have a 3-5 day day food supply as FEMA recommends? And what if you had to make it 2 weeks? I’d have enough food for 5 days because I have latent squirrel genes, but 2 weeks would be pushing it.

So here are some ideas. Some require hot water or a manual can opener.

Ready to go meals: (all are available online and locally, too)

These require heating:

Gluten-free meal-ish replacements:

  • Canned beans Eden Foods Beans
    Eden is tested for gluten and BPA free, too)
  • Canned chicken
  • Canned salmon (bonus for ones with a pull top lid! Trader Joe’s has easy open ones, too)
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned soups and stews (a few brands that label as gluten-free are options from Progresso labeled g-free, Amy’s Soup labeled g-free, Pacific foods, Dinty Moore Beef Stew or select Dinty Moore microwavable cups)<–these are all pretty easy to find at local grocery stores.
  • Dr. Mc Dougall’s has some “just add water” gf soups
  • Canned veggies: canned tomatoes, corn, green beans.
  • Jarred veggies: roasted red peppers, pickled veggies including pickles
  • Condiments, ideally in little packages of mustard, mayo, etc.
  • Jerky bars like Epic (complete disclosure–I really enjoy the turkey bars, but some of the other flavors…not so much)
  • UHT (shelf stable) milk
    or milk alternatives
  • Nut Butters or squeeze packs

Starches:

  • Cold cereal—So many to choose from!
  • Just hot add water G-free oatmeal packs
  • Ready to eat rice, wild rice and quinoa packets, such as Trader Joe’s, etc. Caution on Uncle Ben’s—some contain wheat.

Snacks: I’ve got a gluten-free snack list with bars here, with other “snacky stuff”

Sanity savers:

DOUBLE CHECK THAT EVERYTHING IS GLUTEN-FREE!

It’s also worthwhile to think about

  • water
  • medications
  • food for your furry, feathered or finned friends
  • other necessities.

A camp stove, matches, a sterno, generator, etc. will come in handy, too. For other, more general preparedness resources please see the FEMA website.

I also keep an “emergency pack” of Larabars, Epic bars and nut butters in the trunk of my car for when I’ve forgotten or dropped my lunch. It’s rarely needed, but comes in handy for sure!

News & Recipes:

Did I miss one of your favorites? Email me. I love how many more options we’ve got now.

Wishing you a safe and warm Wintertime!

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.

Gluten-free in a Natural Disaster

Sandy has been a big wake up call to me, in part because it was supposed to do much more damage here, too. It’s 2 weeks out and the area where I grew up is still without power, and much of NY and NJ are in the same boat.

Now, obviously many people have suffered a lot of loss and inconvenience. But what about g-free folks? Most of the food at shelters or evacuations sites is probably not gluten-free. It’s a great time to plan ahead & investing in your future comfort and health NOW. After all, it seems like we’ve been having once a century storms about once a year, so the odds are it will come in handy.

Do you have a 3-day food supply as FEMA recommends? And what if you had to make it 2 weeks? I’d have enough food for 5 days because I have latent squirrel genes, but 2 weeks would be pushing it.

Here are some ideas. Some require hot water or a manual can opener.

Ready to go meals:

These require heating:

Starches:

  • Cold cereal—So many to choose from!
  • Just hot add water G-free oatmeal packs
  • Ready to eat rice, wild rice and quinoa packets, such as Seeds of Change (no gluten-ingredients used), Trader Joe’s, etc. Caution on Uncle Ben’s—some contain wheat.

Snacks:

Sanity savers:

  • Gluten-free chocolate
  • Cookies—consider stashing a 2 pack of a gluten-free brand, like Pamela’s, Enjoy Life, etc.
  • Hot cocoa
  • Tea

DOUBLE CHECK THAT EVERYTHING IS GLUTEN-FREE!

It’s also worthwhile to think about

  • water
  • medications
  • food for your furry, feathered or finned friends
  • other necessities. 

A camp stove, matches, a sterno, generator, etc. will come in handy, too. For other, more general preparedness resources please see the FEMA website.

And, of course, my sympathy for everyone directly involved in this disaster.

PS—The NY region still needs help. Please consider donating if you are so inclined!

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