Nourishing Your Body for Better Health

Archive: March, 2014

G-Free Passover Finds

  • G-free Passover rules & finds

  • Recipes

  • News & fun stuff

Gluten-free Passover foods:

Passover isn’t here until April 14th but many of the products are already appearing in 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.

In a nutshell, the basic rule of foods for Passover is no leavened foods, which eliminates normal breads, cakes etc. Matzo is the main exception. Matzo is an unleavened bread usually made from wheat and is eaten regularly, and some products contain products Matzo and matzo meal, which also potentially listed as cake meal or farfel. However, many products don’t contain gluten. Or, if you find products labeled “non-gebrok or gebroktz or grebrochts” (or another spelling variation) they’re non-grain containing and therefore have no gluten-containing ingredients. Often Koshecharosetr for Passover products and cakes are made of potato flour or nut meals rather than wheat or glutinous grains.

As always in the gluten-free world, read labels carefully. “Kosher” and “Kosher for Passover” are two different things entirely. Kosher for Passover foods will be labeled “May be used for Passover” or have a symbol that says OUP. I have often seen “regular” Kosher foods in the Passover section at grocery stores, so please do check the labels very carefully.

Keep in mind that many Passover foods are imported from other countries. Technically, imports must follow the FDA allergen labeling laws, but I can say I’ve seen many that aren’t labeled quite in the same way as the FALCPA U.S. labeling laws dictate.  The flip side is that a claim of “gluten free” is more meaningful in Europe or Israel, because the g-free labeling here doesn’t go into effect until August 2014. So the label on an import may say matzo, but may not say “wheat” explicitly or have the disclaimer stating that it contains wheat.

Most Kosher for Passover products will have to adhere to strict standards for cross contamination from a religious perspective. Voluntary allergen labeling statements (AKA “Made in a factory” claims) are still not regulated.

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 22nd, so mark your calendars, because the word has gotten out in gluten-free circles and the mad rush is on.

Back when you really couldn’t get GF prepared foods in the regular grocery store, this was a much bigger deal. But it’s still nicer to have an expanded selection, and nicest of all is AFTER Passover, when all of the products are on sale!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For people who DO celebrate the actual holiday of Passover, not just the gluten-free food, here are some great recipes and information:

Other favorite gluten-free recipe sites for Passover? Let me know in the comments section on my website.

Lately, Whole Foods has stocked a gluten-free Matzah, and the brand is Yehuda, so keep your eyes peeled! You can also get it on Amazon. It’s not technically matza because it’s not made of oats, but it’s “Matzo style squares”. There are also many more Kosher markets, such as Kosher Mart in Rockville. Some local grocery stores also have a great selection.
You can also buy gluten-free oat matzoh made from certified gluten-free oats. The only downside is that it is insanely expensive!

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Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist and Certified Wellcoach in Fairfax & Alexandria, VA. I work with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, 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.  Email me or call 571-271-8742. 

5 Quick Healthy Eating Tips

March is National Nutrition Month, and to celebrate, I’m sharing my top 5 healthy habits that work best for my family. I’d also love for you to let me know some of your favorite ideas and have a small giveaway (see below)

  1. Stock up on what you want to be eating: Research says that the nutrition gatekeeper (ie. the primary shopper) controls approximately 72% of what families eat. That make sense on a lot of levels. Generally, it’s easier to say “no” once in the grocery store than to say “no” each and every day when the pOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAotato chips call your name. Besides, most of us aren’t motivated enough to get up, get dressed, get in the car and drive to the store for a minor chocolate craving, but if it’s a few steps away…
  2. Pack lunch the night before. Even if I’ve gotten a good night sleep, I’m not terribly lucid first thing in the morning. Leaving lunch decisions to the morning greatly raises the chances that I forget, run out of time, or end up with the quickest thing I can possibly grab, which is generally not nutritionally balanced. It’s much easier to plan ahead and get everything set after dinner the night before.
  3. Frozen veggies: we’ve always got a few bags on hand in case I run out of time or we need to make a last minute change of plans.. Unlike canned veggies, which are often heat treated and loaded with salt, frozen vegetables are often healthier than fresh in winter months because the nutrients aren’t lost as the veggies travel from, say, Peru or Chile.
  4. Make multiple servings: it’s extremely rare that I’ll cook just enough for one meal, or even two. If I make a chicken, it’ll be with veggies that night, and it’ll re-appear on a salad for lunch the next day, possibly as a stir fry for the following dinner, etc. If it’s a too much for us to finish without it going bad or getting reaaaly boring, it’ll be portioned out and become a frozen dinner for another day.
  5. Plan ahead for the week: For some people, that means writing out menus and/or a shopping list each week. For others, it’s always having ingredients for quick meals on hand. I confess that I’m not a list person, but I do always make sure we’ve got a variety of easy options. Especially when we’re out of town on the weekend or have a packed week, I make sure that I’ve got the basics on hand. I like Relay Foods (affiliate link for $30 off a $50 order), which has delivery of local and sustainable produce and meats. It even has a pick up option at the Eisenhower Metro, which is just up the road falmond containerrom my Alexandria office. Washington’s Green Grocer has a similar system and I’ve used it for years, but I personally tend to prefer Relay because I like knowing which farm I’m buying from. Also, getting non-perishables on Amazon can be a huge time and energy saver—we tend to stock up on things like beans, soups, snacks and paper goods that we know we’ll use and it saves me from having to run to 4 different stores to get what I want.

Giveaway: What are your favorite tips for staying healthy? Leave me a comment, and if it’s one of my favorites, I’ll send you a cute little .5 oz almonds tin from the Almond board (US only). It’s great for snacks…and shhh, don’t tell, it’s the perfect size for any kind of nuts or seeds you like to snack on.

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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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