Nourishing Your Body for Better Health

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G-Free Holiday ’17

Now that we’ve had snow, it finally feels like December. I can’t believe how quickly the year is flying by.

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. I’ve shared some of my favorite tips for a balanced and delicious holiday season.

For most of us, it’s important to keep the spirit of the season and enjoy our favorites…just with a new twist.

By now, there are recipes for just about every holiday staple imaginable. But…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, naturally 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 may 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.

This list has a range of options, from allergy-friendly, grain-free, low FODMAP, low sugar to completely decadent options. Your call! 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.

Low FODMAP? I’ve italicized recipes that are FODMAP friendly, or easy to adapt. Remember, portions matter.

Italicized=low fodmap or easy to adapt, dairy free (DF), egg free (EF) and soy free (SF), NF (nut free) *=check labels

The Washington Post even has a 2017 “Cookie Generator” with a gluten-free option. Of course, you need tocheryl's pralines make sure the ingredients are 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.

And for my low FODMAP friends, here’s a round-up of low FODMAP holiday desserts. Just watch the portion sizes.

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 & joyful season!

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, digestive issues, food allergies, 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. 

Healthy Holiday Tips

‘Tis the season of excess. Here are my favorite tips for keeping it balanced:

We’ve just made it through T-day recipes and Christmas candy is all over at work and play. It’s easy to feel like 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 (low FODMAP version here) 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? This might be a massage, a hot bath, meditation time,  15 minutes of quiet time with a good book, or even taking time to reconnect with an old friend. There are so many ways to take good care of yourself.

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.

“No” is actually a complete sentence. For reals. If you love something, sure, that’s one thing. But what about when someone wants you to eat something and you either don’t want it or don’t like it? Prevention shared some of my favorite tips for politely dealing with food pushers.

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.

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, digestive issues, food allergies, 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. 

Autumn Healthy Eating

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. We grow pumpkins every year, and this is the first year in 15 that I only got to harvest one pumpkin. One! We do, however, have a very well-fed groundhog, who apparently enjoys eating pumpkin.

As some of you know, I love chocolate. I’m also a fan of balance, so more than a dozen years ago, I made the choice to stop giving out Halloween candy.  I didn’t want to stare at a bowl of candy the month prior and the month after Halloween, because I know myself well enough to know if I see it, I’m much more likely to eat it. Instead, we gave away rubber duckies, mini-slinkies, yo-yos, stamps and other small fun toys. My husband was initially 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.halloween treats

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 look 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 so children and parents know that safe options are available..OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This isn’t a rant against candy, or fun traditions. I fully trust there will still be more than enough candy to go around, even without my help. I’m all for treats when I will enjoy them. A lot of times with Halloween candy, it gets eaten because it’s right in front of us 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.

Also, if you do have children who are going trick-or-treating, it also may be worthwhile to have a plan for the excess candy. One method can be allowing children to sort their pile and choose a certain amount of candy they really want, and then bring the rest to a local foodbank, like the Capital Area Food Bank, or Food For Others.  to a group collecting candy to send to the troops, etc.

Fall recipes:

One of the things I love most about autumn is the beauty of the leaves. We’re not there yet, so the best is yet to come! 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!

Classes:

  • I’ll be teaching a class on Mindful Eating for nutritionists and other health professionals Oct 24th. More info at Dietitian Central. It’s always a lot of fun.
  • I’ll be teaching a class on Digestive Health at the JCC in Annandale on Oct 18th at 11:45am. To register, see their website.

Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Wellcoach in Fairfax.  She helps people with a range of dietary issues , including Celiac Disease, GI issues,  food allergies, vegetarian and plant based 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 FDA petition & Breakfasts

As some of you remember really well, it was a huge undertaking to get gluten-free labeling regulations passed by the FDA. Although they were due out in 2008, they didn’t see the light of day until public pressure and a big cake happened in 2014.

There are more than a few problems with the regulations, but a big one is that they’re simply not adequately enforced. So, Tricia Thompson of Gluten-free Watchdog and local g-free superstar, Kaki Schmidt put together a formal petition to the FDA to have the existing rules enforced.

WRITE TO THE FDA AND LET THEM KNOW THIS IS AN ISSUE YOU CARE ABOUT! The bigger the response, the more likely that the gluten-free community will get the changes we’re asking for.

The link to comment is here. Although the comment period is open until 2018, the sooner people write in, the better the chance of a result.

Please keep your comments focused on the request of the petition, which is facial misbranding of gluten-free products. Facial misbranding is when an item is marked gluten-free, but contains an ingredient not permitted under FDA’s gluten-free ruling, such as barley malt or barley malt extract, or wheat that isn’t specifically marked as specially treated wheat starch, etc.

Our request is that the FDA provide a mechanism for easy, online reporting of these problems, and warning letters to the manufacturer within 30 days.

Please don’t comment more broadly on larger issues that affect the gluten-free community, like labeling of oats, restaurants, etc. because those aren’t the subject of the petition, and ideally we tackle one problem at a time.

Quick takes:

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 Beer & more

Gluten-free beer
Mindful eating class
New low FODMAP products at Wegmans!

Happy sort-of-Springtime! In honor of St. Paddy’s day, let’s chat about gluten-free beers.

There have been gluten-free beers on the market for quite a few years, and they’re made from non-gluten containing grains like sorghum or rice. But there was a huge fuss and a lot of excitement when manufacturers announced that they had figured out how to make a beer with barley, and then go through a special process to remove the gluten fragments in order to make it safe for people with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. They even tested these special “gluten-removed” beers with state-of-the art testing equipment, and they came up clean.

Sounds spiffy, but here’s where it gets fuzzy, even if you haven’t had a few. The normal tests for gluten are generally not designed for fermented foods like beer. During fermentation, some of the strands of protein are broken down into their parts, also known as amino acids. The ultimate goal here is to figure out if the amino acid sequences that are toxic to people with Celiac are still present in the beer. The essence of the debate is not if the tests give the answer of zero, but whether the tests are actually looking at something meaningful, and can accurately assess the presence of these harmful fragments.

A new small 2017 study done by the Gluten Intolerance Group showed that 1/3 of the blood samples of people with Celiac disease may still bind inappropriately to the protein fragments to the barley fragments.

The powers that be in the U.S. and Canada still have doubts on the safety of these gluten-removed beers. The U.S. head honchos in charge of booze, also known as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, have required disclaimers such as: “Product fermented from grains containing gluten and [processed or treated or crafted] to remove gluten. The gluten content of this product cannot be verified, and this product may contain gluten;” or “This product was distilled from grains containing gluten, which removed some or all of the gluten. The gluten content of this product cannot be verified, and this product may contain gluten.” They released a statement in that specifically states the beers can’t currently be labeled gluten-free without the disclaimers, because it’s confusing and misleading to consumers.

So … I know many people see these beers and assume they’re safe. Until or unless we find out otherwise, I do encourage my gluten-free clients to steer clear of the “gluten-removed” beers, and instead choose other alcohol or beer from non-gluten containing grains. There are a bunch of truly, 100 percent gluten-free beers on the market, including Redbridge, Bard, New Grist, Green’s, New Planet and more. Locally, Total Wine seems to be the best spot to get a good selection.

And stay tuned! Studies are ongoing.

Mindful eating class:
Want to see how eating mindfully can help your health? Join me March 25th @11am for an hour-long workshop in Fairfax, an learn some simple strategies to get started. Register here.

Calling all nutrition pros: I’m teaching on Food Allergies & the new 2017 guidelines for food introduction on March 14th from 3:30-5pm. More info here, and to sign up see Dietitian Central.

Are you on a low FODMAP diet? As some of you know entirely too well, FODMAPs may cause digestive upset in people with IBS and IBD. Good news! FODY foods just launched a line at some DMV Wegman’s stores. This is garlic and onion-free salsas, BBQ sauces, bars, and more. However, my store list includes Alexandria, Woodbridge, Leesburg, and others in MD, PA and NY, but no Fairfax.

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 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 etc.)
  • 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.

Happy, Healthy New Year ’17

It’s that time of year where we resolve 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. But it’s also the time of year where we start to realize making changes is easier than finding a way to make those changes stick. As a nutritionist and coach, I’ve seen such a range of experiences in my clients, and 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” 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, either on 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?

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. Are you paying attention when you eat?

I know it may sound silly, but most of us live pretty distracted lives. 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. How’s your stress level?

It’s rare I find that people start craving cauliflower under stress. Yes, some people lose weight when they’re stressed, both most people gain. More importantly most of us have a harder time keeping healthy habits together when stressed. Maybe that’s not getting enough sleep, eating too much sugar, too much alcohol, working too hard…the list goes on. Make sure to plan in enough movement, adequate sleep, hydration, stress management, connection, sunshine (even if that’s just through a light box) , sources of fun and joy into your life. Fortunately, I have a furry friend who reminds me when I’m working too hard.

6. 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. It’s critical to build support for yourself, either in person or online for a sense of accountability.

Wishing you a happy and healthy new year,

Cheryl

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 Holiday Favorites

Wow, December is flying by at warp speed. 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.

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.

G-Free Summertime Fun, Giveaway & More

For many people, summertime is filled with cook outs, 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,skewers of shrimp (watch the marinade!) 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, like Fudgesicles, that contain barley malt. Since these events are often potlucks, it’s easy to bring along a safe dish that you’ll enjoy.

As for other summer gatherings, the general rules are to bring a dish you can safely eat and enjoy, bring clean utensils just for your dish, serve yourself first, scout out naturally gluten-free options (corn on the cob, watermelon, salad) but be on the look out for sources of cross-contamination. If all else fails, having a back up option like a gluten-free bar is a good idea.

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!

Book Review:
Carol of Simply…Gluten-Free put out a cookbook, Simply Gluten Free 5 Ingredient Cookbook: Fast, Fresh & Simple! 15-Minute Recipes. I’ve been having fun with it. First of all, the pictures are amazing, and there are pictures for every single recipe. Part of what I like is that all the recipes are pretty simple dishes that happen to be gluten-free and most are the kinds of things I like to make. Many are dairy/soy/grain/sugar free, and there aren’t a ton of gluten-free flours used.  I’ve worked on the Simply Gluten-Free Magazine, Carol’s mag for years, so I know Carol’s work, and I was excited even before I got the cookbook! I have a review of three of the recipes and cookbook giveaway here. 

Interesting articles:

  • Medscape did a neat review on Celiac and gluten sensitivity and neurological dysfunction. You may need to set up a free account to read it.
  • A new study showed changes in bacteria are common in people with Chronic Fatigue.Syndrome. The hope is that this may be a path to an eventual treatment, including food as a way to alter symptoms.
  • Gluten-Free Watchdog has done testing on the gluten levels in probiotics. I can’t legally post the data here because there’s an effort to publish the data, but some common probiotics are higher than ideal and one was really high. If you’re interested to find out where yours fits, consider joining GFW.

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.