Nourishing Your Body for Better Health

Topic: Newsletters

A G-Free Valentine

tux 2016

 

First things first–Valentine’s day candy list here from CDF. tuxedo strawberriers

Valentine’s day was one of my favorite holidays growing up, and not much has changed. An annual tradition is Tuxedoed Strawberries, and there’s still time to make these for your favorite someone (this includes yourself of course!)

Another annual favorite: Hazelnut Buttercups

Gluten-Free Hazelnut Buttercups Gluten Free Goodness

A bunch of my other favorite recipes are here, and there are great V-day GF roundups from

Looking for somewhere to go with your Valentine? Wildfire in Tyson’s is doing a special GF Valentine’s dinner

Interesting news:

Also, I’ll be teaching “Gluten-Free and Healthy”, a 2 hour CE course for Nutritionists & Registered Dietitians on March 10th 2-4 EST. We’ll be covering all the nutritional deficiencies and excesses typically seen, preparation of gluten-free grains,  touching on arsenic, using a GFD for sports performance and much more. To register, see Dietitian Central.

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.

G-Free Good Habits, Unsafe Products & More

bowl of basil

It’s that time of year where when resolutions start falling off. We want to start exercising, eating right, drinking more water and using more recycled bags to the store. I’m sure many of you have set resolutions or even goals, and unless there’s a very strong motivation, it’s difficult to keep those changes. As a nutritionist and coach, here are a few things I’d encourage you to consider:

  1. Why is this super-wonderful new habit really important to you now?

Knowing your motivation is a powerful thing, and can help you build in structure to stay focused on what you value most. When I see clients, one my first questions is what they’re hoping to accomplish. When the answer is “Because Dr. So and so says so” or “I know I really should” or “It would make XXX happy” it’s a big red flag and we have to dig deeper and develop personally meaningful goals.

2.    What is your baseline?

Often we don’t have a good sense of our current habits. Many people report eating veggies every day or only occasionally going on a Starbucks run, but when they record their food for a few weeks, it becomes clear that the reality is quite a bit different. I definitely recommend keeping track of food, exercise or other habits the old fashioned way with pen and paper, on a website like www.sparkpeople.com,  or www.nutritiondata.com or on an app like My Fitness Pal or Lose it. In fact, tracking your food is one of the top recommendations from the National Weight Control registry.

3.     How much are you eating?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Take a look at those two pictures. Which has more food? Actually, it’s the very same food, photographed on a 11 inch plate on the left and a 9 inch plate on the right. Research shows we eat about 30% on the bigger plate. Amazing how much of a difference small choices in our environment can make! We live in a super-sized culture, and almost all of us fall prey to the ginormous sizes we see all around us. Studies show that everything from portion sizes to plates to colors or even names of food dramatically change our intake, and often small tweaks can significantly change our behaviors. If you haven’t read Brian Wansink’s Mindless Eating, it’s a fantastic read with a nice mix of research and easy tools to incorporate in your daily routine.

4.   How mindful are you?

Most of us live pretty distracted lives–and places like buffets and restaurants make it worse. Seinfeld actually had a funny monologue on it last week!

If we’re not paying attention to our life, we’re missing out on the fun! It’s easy to eat while checking email, watching TV, or even driving, and that cuts down on our awareness of portion and on our enjoyment of food. When we’re eating mindfully, we’re much more aware of hunger and fullness, and it’s much easier to stop eating because we’re full than because we’re only allowed a certain amount. Additionally, mindfulness has a huge range of health benefits, from improving depression, to blood pressure, to immunity to diabetes and much more. I’ve got a lot of the research on the benefits of mindful eating here.

5.   Do you have support?

Generally, healthy habits take a village. It’s easier to get up on those cold, dark mornings when you’re meeting a friend or you’ve got a four-legged friend who wants to go for a run. Likewise, it’s easier to eat well with support than constantly seeing tempting foods that are off-limits. It’s critical to build in support in person or online for a sense of accountability.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

6. How are you managing work/life balance and stress?

The Washington Post did featured some of my eating tips in an article on reducing stress for the holidays. The tips do apply for any and every season, though, and most of us need some fine-tuning with the juggling.

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Warning: Aldi’s not very”gluten-free” bars

Aldi’s has some gluten-free bars available, which should, in theory, be a good thing. I mean, having more availability of gluten-free products is certainly a plus. The problem is, they contain malt (barley malt) and so the bars are not actually gluten-free and are incorrectly labeled.

More details are here from Gluten-Free Watchdog, and many thanks to GFW for investigating this.

It is sad how often this happens…and even sadder that this product actually had one of the gluten-free seals through GFCP on it, and it STILL isn’t a safe product. Given how poorly GFCP is vetting manufacturers and is doing so little to address this, I’d encourage people to look for products certified through GIG and CSA instead.

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New Live Webinar on Jan 21st, 2016 2pm-4pm EST

Join me for a 2 hour webinar on “Celiac Disease: What Every RD Should Know” through Dietitian Central.

Upon successful completion of this 2 hour course, the participant should be able to:

  • Understand the biology behind Celiac disease
  • Recognize our changing understanding of the symptoms of Celiac, prevalence, etc.
  • Describe which testing methods are scientifically valid
  • Understand what gluten is and where it is found
  • Find gluten on labels in live examples with labels
  • Discuss the regulations that changed in 2014 and how they affect gluten-free client
  • Describe current 2016 controversies around fermented foods, oats, alcohol and more
  • List foods at high risk of cross-contamination
  • Identify the best resources for RDs and clients

This course is designed for nutritionists, but will apply to any health professionals…and I’ve had clients get a lot out of previous versions, too. To register, see Dietitian Central’s site.

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 Holiday Fun

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWow, December has really flown by, and it’s so easy to get swept away sometimes in the holiday swirl.

For many people, the holiday season is one of the most challenging times to be gluten-free. Food is everywhere, and there’s lots of temptation. And, of course, it’s necessary to reinvent lots of old family traditions.I’ve highlighted some of my favorite tips for staying SANE and gluten-free here from Simply Gluten-Free Magazine. 

So…onto the food, right? Some of us aren’t all about mixing 5 different gluten-free flours and whipping out the xantham gum. I’ve collected a list of NATURALLY gluten-free desserts over the years—tried and true recipes that aren’t specialty cooking, but just happen to be marvelously gluten-free.

Remember, these foods are only GF if you use GF ingredients. And as always, check labels to avoid surprises. A surprising number of chocolates contain traces of gluten, including Lindt, Ghiradelli, Godiva and many of the Trader Joe’s options. I’ve got lists of chocolates listed gluten-free here and here.

There’s a range of allergy-friendly, grain-free, low sugar and completely decadent options, but there are enough options to choose from that you can surely find something that works for your lifestyle/food restrictions that you and your family can enjoy together.

dairy free (DF), egg free (EF) and soy free (SF), NF (nut free) *=check labels

Not that these are healthy by any stretch of the imagination, BUT Martha Stewart has a slideshow and recipes of 40 holiday candies, all of which (at a quick glance) are GF. Of course, you need tocheryl's pralines make sure the chocolate is GF, be mindful of cross contamination, etc. but this is an easy way to keep traditions without venturing into specialty flours and unfamiliar territory.

My personal favorites? My Bittersweet Chestnut Fudge and my Vegan Pralines.

Oh, right, and there’s holiday food, too. I’ve got a G-Free Turkey and Ham list.

More recipes from around the web:

Wishing you a peaceful season!

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.

Thanksgiving Tips

November through December is probably the hardest time of year for balance around food. The Halloween candy is still lurking around, Thanksgiving is *right* around the corner, and the Christmas candy is all over the store. It’s easy to feellike our main form of exercise is usually moving the fork from the plate to our mouths. Here are some ways to enjoy the spirit of the season and favorite holiday foods, while staying healthy, too.

Enjoy seasonal healthy foods.  Clementines, pomegranates, pineapples, mangoes, oranges, localfoodsgrapefruits and apples are wonderful this time of year.  Keep them on the counter or in the front of the fridge where you can see them! Some Farmer’s Markets are still open, and apples are amazing this time of year. And, if you’re an apple fiend like I am, one of my favorite local farms has bi-weekly apple deliveries in the NoVA/DC area.

Move the special occasion treats out of view:  One of the biggest challenges of the season is a see-food diet, otherwise known as “if I see it, I eat it”.  So “de-convenience” the foods you’d rather not be eating on a daily basis. Studies show that we eat what we see, and when people keep food out of sight, they eat smaller amounts. Put the candy out of reach and move the cookies where you won’t have constant temptation.

Balance: if you are going to a holiday party in the evening, make an extra effort to get in the essentials at other meals.  Add in more vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, etc. and move more, too!  A piece of chocolate cake one day or one big holiday meal won’t make or break you, but daily treats do add up.

Choose what you’ll most enjoy: It’s a given that you’re going to have some special foods this holiday season. Can’t live without Aunt Sarah’s apple pie? Then plan to have some. Scope out your options before you dig in, and target things you enjoy most. Skip on the foods you can get any day.

Savor your favorites:  When you eat, really eat!   When we are really tasting our food (rather than inhaling something while talking and multitasking) food tastes much better, we’re more satisfied and full quicker.baked bananas

Fill your table with fruit and veggie dishes: Have your holiday meals feature seasonal vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, collards, green beans, or even sauteed celery in chestnut sauce! How about Fresh Cranberry relish vs the stuff in the can? Add in bean or veggie soups.  Make roasted chestnuts as a snack. Have a fruit inspired dessert, like baked apples, poached pears, sautéed or baked bananas, etc.

Skip the alcohol, or limit it to a drink or two.   Not only does it have a lot of calories, but once you’ve had a few, it’s easier to indulge on other foods.

It’s not all about the food… Honest! How else can you treat yourself? A massage? A hot bath? 15 minutes of quiet time with a good book? Having tea with an old friend? Plan in a variety of ways to relax

Get moving! Exercise is a great way to improve mood, reduce stress levels, and burn calories, too.  Head out at lunchtime for a short walk, check out the holiday lights in the evening, start a new family tradition and do something active at family events, dance at party functions, or make a habit of hitting the gym.  You don’t have to wait until January for healthy resolutions.

Wishing you and yours a delicious holiday season,

Cheryl

…and if you’re gluten-free, I’ve got more suggestions here for making the holidays work with ease.

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.

G-Free Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving tipssweet potatoes 2014

Recipes

Happy almost Thanksgiving! I’m sure this is already on your radar if you’re gluten-free.

Thanksgiving tips:

It takes a little planning ahead to guarantee a great Thanksgiving. In many ways, it’s easier if you’re hosting, because you’ve already got familiarity with the diet. Most people hate to impose on their hosts, but it’s easier on you AND your host to ask beforehand than sit through a four-hour meal and watch others eat. Remember, nothing is more important that staying safe!clip-art-thanksgiving-turkey-free1 I love these tips from Shirley of GFE and from GF Jules.

Turkey:
Though it’s always good to check, the good news is that all plain, fresh turkey is naturally gluten-free. Again, that’s ALL plain, fresh or frozen turkeys. I know there are emails that go out every year about warnings of “hidden gluten” in the turkeys, but ironically, the turkey usually the easiest and safest part of the meal. For the past 4 years I’ve been looking, calling and asking around if any of the brands of un-stuffed turkeys have gluten, and I haven’t found a single one in all that time. If you’ve seen one, email me or leave me a comment below. So you do have to look out for stuffed turkeys, and you do want to look out for gravy packets and of course, the preparation of the turkey.

The only exception Tofurky, which has gluten, and some glazed hams DO contain gluten. As always, read carefully! I have a gluten-free turkey list, with has manufacturer contact info.

As always, there can still be risks in the ingredients used on or in the turkey, and cross-contamination always needs to be on your radar. You’ll need to talk to your host about:
* Broth used for basting, or even the butter used for basting
* Seasonings
* Stuffing in the turkey
* Cross contamination

Gravy

Many regular canned gravy and gravy packets are not gluten-free. Gluten-free gravy is available online, and Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, etc. sell  some now. Even Mc Cormick’s has a gluten-free gravy packet that’s certified GF! Also, it’s pretty easy to make a simple gravy with gluten-free broth and cornstarch instead of wheat (and if corn is a problem for you, arrowroot can be substituted 1:1 instead).

Herb Gravy From Elana’s Pantry

Gravy using Cornstarch from Simply Recipes or see this link for recipes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Side dishes

There are lots of good options here. Green bean casserole (BTW, Aldi has gluten-free French fried onions) or get creative–we do roasted green beans, baked yams, cranberry relish, gelatin salads, butternut squash soup, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, applesauce…all of these things are easy to adapt to food restrictions, and they’re healthy and delicious to boot.

Here are some ideas to get you going:

Sides:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My Cranberry Fresh Fruit Relish

Crockpot Applesauce by Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

Green Bean Casserole from Ginger Lemon Girl

Simply Tasty Asparagus from Celiac Family

Stuffing:

This is obviously more of a challenge. You can go the nontraditional route and do a wild rice, buckwheat or quinoa stuffing. You could use a gluten-free cornbread or pre-made bread crumbs.

Cornbread stuffing with roasted acorn squash from the Gluten-Free Goddess

The NY Times Blog had a G-Free Stuffing section with a few recipes

Dessert!

For many people (myself included!) dessert is the highlight of the Thanksgiving route. If you’d like to use your standard old-school recipes, you can easily make a crustless pumpkin or sweet potato pie or check out Whole Foods’ GF crusts. Even Pillsbury has a GF pie crust! Or, you can easily make a crust from crushed up gluten-free cookies, shredded coconut or almond meal. Apple crisps are also simple, too. And, of course, now with the GF Wegman’s or Betty Crocker mixes, a cake or brownies are pretty simple, even if they’re not traditional.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Best Pecan Pie (one of my very favorites)

Sweet Potato Pie (vegan), pictured right here—>

Easy, Crustless Apple Pie from Gluten Free Easily

Super-cute baked apples from GF Jules

Ginger Lemon Girl’s Pecan Pumpkin Pie bars

Apple Crisp: simple, delish!

T Day Recipes:
It’s dangerous when someone asks about food while I’m hungry. Here are a bunch of  wonderful things that would make for an absolutely amazing gluten-free feast some of my favorite GF bloggers and around the web.

And as a bonus, the Happy Tart now has a bakery in Falls Church in addition to the Alexandria location, so it’s even easier to get a g-free pie without pulling out a rolling pin.

I’m submitting this to the Gluten Free Recipe Fix: Thanksgiving edition hosted by Shirley of Gluten Free Easily & All Gluten-Free Desserts Lynn and Linda of Gluten-Free Homemaker.

 

 

As always, wishing you and yours a joyful, peaceful and yummy holiday season.

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.

A fun and healthier Halloween, Fall recipes

c n pumpkinThink outside the candy dish…

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. We grow pumpkins every year, like the one I’m holding in the picture, and the cute little pumpkins below.

…but I’m also a fan of balance, so about a dozen years ago, I made the choice to stop giving out Halloween candy. A big part of it was that I really didn’t need or want to be staring at a bowl of candy the month prior and the month after Halloween. Instead, we did rubber duckies, mini-slinkies, yo-yos, and other small fun toys. My husband was definitely not happy with my decision, and I was a little nervous, until my first trick-or-treater ran back to his dad and said, “Cool! A slinky!” One year, a group of girls even told my husband that she looked forward to the “rubber ducky house” every year.  Somehow, I resisted the opportunity to say I told you so.

There are plenty of good options for stickers, toys, rubber duckies, mini games or even temporary tattoos for children you know well. Amazon has a ton of fun toy assortments (glow in the dark fangs, anyone?) Oriental Trading Company has a wide selection. Another easily available non-food option is mini cans of Play-Doh, (g-free peeps, remember that Play Doh has gluten, so if you play, wash your hands very, very, very thoroughly!) Some are more expensive than candy, but it depends on how you halloween treatslook at it. When you average in the bag of candy you bought on sale in September (and ate), the one in mid-October (trust me, that one will disappear as well) and the one you have to run out at the last minute and buy, it evens out in the end.

One of my clients, Stephanie, got really creative and put together goodie bags of her own (above). She found the DIY approach was cheaper than ones she could buy. I predict they’ll be a hit!

Extra bonus–if you decide to go the non-food-treat option, Food Allergy Resource & Education (FARE) now has an interactive map so that children with food restrictions can find safe houses to visit and you can add your house to the map. The “Teal Pumpkin Project”, a new initiative for people with non-food treats to paint a pumpkin teal and put it on the doorstep, so children and parents know that safe options are available..OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This isn’t a rant against candy, because of course I have great memories eating excessive quantities of candy on Halloween as a little kid. I fully trust there will still be more than enough candy to go around, even without my help. However, I’m a fan of treats when I really want them and will enjoy them, not eating treats because they’re sitting right in front of me and then *poof* where’d they go? You can also opt for healthier treats, like mini Larabars and mini Kind Bars, all fruit leathers, mini-packs of pistachio nuts, etc.

Fall recipes:

One of the things I love most about autumn is the beauty of the leaves. The food is a close second! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Butternut Squash Bisque: The tastiest way to get vitamin A! A wonderful soup for the fall or winter. Allergen friendly with a dairy free option.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Hot Mulled Apple Drink: a favorite at our annual pumpkin carving party. It’s the perfect drink for a crisp autumn day.
  • Pumpkin Seeds: several variations on this classic snack.
  • Roasted Green Beans: So easy to get green beans this time of year. Yum yum 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.

Cheerios Recalled for Wheat, Halloween & more

Cheerios Recall

As many of you know, Cheerios started a big gluten-free launch, and there were concerns stemming from reports of several people getting sick. Cheerios announced a recall earlier today of 1.8 million boxes of cereal for undeclared wheat, and the affected lot numbers are in this press release so please do check your shelves. Or, of course, there are tons of other g-free breakfast options.

Think outside the candy dish…

Halloween is just around the corner! Although it’s one of my very favorite baby pumpkinholidays because I love to see all the kids dressed up, about 10 years ago, I made the choice to stop giving out Halloween candy. Candy isn’t the only fun kind of treat, and I really didn’t need or want to be staring at a bowl of candy the month prior and the month after Halloween. My husband was definitely not happy with my decision, and I was a little nervous, until my first trick-or-treater ran back to his dad and said, “Cool! A slinky!” One year, a group of girls even told my husband that she looked forward to the “rubber ducky house” every year.  Somehow, I resisted the opportunity to say I told you so.

There are plenty of good options for stickers, toys, rubber duckies, mini games or even temporary tattoos for children you know well. Amazon has a ton of fun toy assortments (glow in the dark fangs, anyone?) Oriental Trading Company has a wide selection. G-free peeps, do remember that Play Doh has gluten. Some are more expensive than candy, but it depends on how you halloween treatslook at it. When you average in the bag of candy you bought on sale in September (and ate), the one in mid-October (trust me, that one will disappear as well) and the one you have to run out at the last minute and buy, it evens out in the end.

One of my clients, Stephanie, got really creative and put together goodie bags of her own (above). She found the DIY approach was cheaper than ones she could buy. I predict they’ll be a hit!

Extra bonus–if you decide to go the non-food-treat option, Food Allergy Resource & Education (FARE) now has an interactive map so that children with food restrictions can find safe houses to visit and you can add your house to the map. The “Teal Pumpkin Project”, a new initiative for people with non-food treats to paint a pumpkin teal and put it on the doorstep, so children and parents know that safe options are available.

This isn’t a rant against candy. Like everyone, I have great memories eating excessive quantities of candy on Halloween as a little kid, and I trust there will still be more than enough to go around without my help. There’s nothing wrong with that on occasion. I’m a fan of eating treats when I really, really want them and will enjoy them, not eating treats because they’re sitting right in front of me and then *poof* where’d they go? You can also opt for healthier treats, like mini Larabars and mini Kind Bars, all fruit leathers, mini-packs of pistachio nuts, etc.

Tips for Enjoying Halloween with Food Restrictions

  • Talk to teachers and friends about focusing parties around activities (like pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, costume contest) rather than just trick or treating.
  • Pre-stock your Halloween bag with foods that are ‘legal’ for your child (and/or you) so that you can safely snack along the way. Some treats that are normally gluten-free or allergen free have different ingredients in the special holiday versions, so always double check.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Here’s the 2015 list from CSA.
  • Stash safe bags of candy/treats at friend’s houses for your child.
  • Have a trade in. Your child can trade the “problem” candies and treats for “safe” treats, or games, prizes, special outings, etc. You can either stash the “problem” candy somewhere out of reach, or donate it to the foodbank.
  • Kids with Food Allergies has a great resource for safe Halloween activities, games, tips, etc.  Although it’s not directed at people avoiding gluten, a lot of the strategies are the same.

Fall recipes:

One of the things I love most about autumn is the beauty of the leaves. The food is a close second! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Butternut Squash Bisque: The tastiest way to get vitamin A! A wonderful soup for the fall or winter. Allergen friendly with a dairy free option.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Hot Mulled Apple Drink: a favorite at our annual pumpkin carving party. It’s the perfect drink for a crisp autumn day.
  • Pumpkin Seeds: several variations on this classic snack.
  • Roasted Green Beans: So easy to get green beans this time of year. Yum yum 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.

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. There’s also a petition to General Mills here.

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 Summertime Fun

Summertime fun, Cheerios chat & Alexandria office relocation

For many people, summertime is filled with picnics, outdoor adventures and travel. With a little planning, you can make sure to have fun and take care of your health, too.

Picnics and cookouts tend to work well for a gluten-free diet. Most grilled foods, like 100% beef or turkey burgers, hot dogs, chicken breasts, etc. are gluten-free in the regular grocery store, so you can coOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAordinate with your host and ask about any marinades, or just bring your own food to grill. For vegetarians, grilled Portabella mushrooms, red peppers (my favorite) and veggie skewers work well. If your host is grilling buns, marinated meat, or anything else ‘glutenous’ in the same area, bring along aluminum foil to wrap your food and keep it safe from cross contamination. Just bring along your own bun, or in a pinch, use a lettuce leaf as a wrapper. It helps to carry a few little packets of condiments, in case there aren’t squeeze bottles of mayo or mustard. Green salads, fruit salads and watermelon are usually on the menu, and don’t forget grilled corn on the cob as a yummy treat!  Quinoa salads are wonderful in this weather, and are getting more popular. Ice cream, popsicles and frozen fruit bars are usually gluten-free, though it’s important to check the label because there are exceptions. Since these events are often potlucks, it’s easy to bring along a safe dish that you’ll enjoy.

Or, if you’re at home or entertaining, experiment with grilled fruit, like grilled mango, peaches or pineapple for a gourmet and simply elegant gluten-free treat!

News:

Cheerios has announced their cereals are now gluten-free…but before you get too excited, dig a little deeper. For the past few years, certified gluten-free oats have been available though a variety of companies. They are grown on special fields and batch tested. But Cheerios have opted NOT to use certified g-free oats, instead using a patented sorting process to separate out the *ahem* wheat from the chaff.

But but but…Gluten-Free Watchdog went to the facility and observed the processes and the testing. Some of the batches are well below the 20ppm limit to label as gluten-free, but a few were above, and one was way above. Also, the sampling is done on pooled samples (a large group) vs individual boxes, which makes it more likely to miss small patches of gluten contamination.

Of course, there are also a small group of people with Celiac that can’t eat oats, even certified gluten-free oats.

Long story short, at this point in time, I don’t feel comfortable recommending Cheerios to anyone with Celiac until they improve their testing system. A big company can and should be doing a better job.

Feeding new mamas:

Alexandria office relocation:Kingstowne office map

Time flies, and I’ve been seeing clients in Alexandria since 2007. Because of recent changes at that office and an upcoming remodel, I’ve moved my office space a few miles away to 5680 King Centre Drive, which is right off S Van Dorn in the Kingstowne area. I’m still also seeing clients in Fairfax, too.

Wishing you a beautiful and restful summer!

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…Seriously?

Happy Summertime!

There has been a lot in the press about a new study showing that many probiotic supplements contain gluten, even probiotics marked gluten-free on the label. Some contain more than the 20ppm, which is illegal. Obviously there’s a lot of concern, and Columbia University’s Celiac disease program has declined to share a list of the problematic probiotics. I personally think that’s highly regretful, especially given the FDA’s inability to regularly monitor supplements unless there is a specific, reported cause for concern. If this is something important to you, I’d encourage you to support Gluten-Free Watchdog. As many of you know, GFWD tests products for gluten, and they are currently raising funds to test probiotics for gluten, too.

It got me thinking about the sources of gluten that are less obvious. Most gluten-free veterans know all about the usual suspects, like soy sauce, vegetarian “burgers”, communion wafers, etc. If you or a family member need a review of label reading and a roundup of the rules, check out this new article in Simply Gluten-Free Magazine. Here are some products that people sometimes overlook:

Chocolate:lindt

Yes, chocolate.  It says on the Lindt chocolate bag that it contains barley malt, but when the truffles are individually wrapped and at the cash register, there’s no label to read. It’s easy to grab one without thinking.

And then there are companies like Godiva, which says directly on their website: “Does your chocolate contain gluten? ALL of our products including solid chocolate pieces may contain gluten. Any person with a gluten allergy should NOT consume ANY of our products.”

Well, fine then. There are a ton of gluten-free chocolate  fish in the sea….

Fudgesicles:fudgesicle

It’s summertime! Who doesn’t remember enjoying a fudgesicle on a hot day? Unfortunately many have malt powder. Since it says “malt powder” and doesn’t say “barley malt”, sometimes people miss it. Gotta say I love these from So Delicious, and I haven’t made the recipe from Elana’s Pantry yet, but plan to soon!

Tea: stomach ease

Because clearly the remedy for tummy troubles is a cup ‘o gluten. Believe it or not, a tea called “stomach ease” has barley malt. Often we assume that tea is just tea. Remember to double check!

Vitamins: These are New Chapter Brand multivitamins, and they’re marked vitamin minigluten-free. But…it says “Contains: Fermented soy and fermented wheat”. Huh? According to the FDA, “FDA is aware that sandwich ELISA methods do not adequately detect gluten in fermented and hydrolyzed foods. Because scientifically valid methods currently are lacking that can do so, we intend to issue a proposed rule on this issue.” To be clear, I don’t know if this product does or does not contain residual gluten. Until equipment can actually determine if there’s gluten in fermented foods, a product containing fermented wheat is a risk, and I recommend against it.

OTC medicationsadvil

Do you read labels when you’ve got a migraine? Most people are lucky if they can see straight, much less read labels. Advil Migraine contains gluten per their website, and it’s a good reminder to read labels for your OTC medications BEFORE you actually need them…Glutenfreedrugs.com is a fantastic resource.

Oats:bear nakednew

According to the research, pure, gluten-free oats are usually tolerated. If the package doesn’t say “gluten-free”, it’s a no-go. Lots more on the oat situation here.

Look alikes…

And then there are all of those lookalike products that have gluten-free and gluten-full products, like Rudi’s, Mi-del, Amy’s, Dr. Praeger, Evol, etc. It’s really easy to grab the wrong one.

This is just a short list, these are absolutely not the only products that trip people up from time to time. What products have you found that are surprising sources of gluten?

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, 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