Nourishing Your Body for Better Health

Grilling & Hydration

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Two of my favorite summertime themes are grilling and hydration. Here are some tips to keep you healthy:

Grilling:
Start off right and cover half of the grill with veggies. Peppers, onions, asparagus, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms…we even grill avocado and peaches from time to time!
Grilling and cooking on high heat causes the production of heterocyclic amine (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which can be carcinogenic.  Veggies and fruit don’t form these harmful compounds, only animal products do. The black char on foods may look and taste delicious, but it’s a not a great sign for health. Marinating can reduce HCAs over 95%, which is a sweet deal for something that tastes great.
Marinades can range from super simple to extremely elaborate. Generally, marinades are a combo of
·         some kind of fat
·         something acidic, like lemon or lime, vinegar, etc.
·         something savory or sweet, like soy sauce, OJ, etc.
·         something aromatic: parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, (sing it with me!) basil, oregano, garlic, onions, hot pepper, etc.
Not only do marinades reduce HCAs, but most of the herbs do have a good range of antioxidants that offer other health benefits in addition to taste. Marinades also generally shorten the cooking time, so keep an eye out so nothing burns.
Notice that I didn’t mention grilling hot dogs. That actually isn’t an oversight. Studies found that there was no safe threshold for consumption of processed meats like hot dogs.

Hydration:
It’s so hot today I get dehydrated just looking out the window! Normally, the general rule is if you take your weight and divide that number in half, that’s approximately the number of ounces of fluid you need daily. On a scorcher like today, you’ll need more, and same goes for if you’re doing intense physical activity.
If you’re anything like me, drinking water can be a struggle, and getting in enough is an uphill battle. The good news is that a wide range of fluids count—from sparkling waters to tea to broth to coconut water. Even coffee helps some, but don’t overdo it!

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Many veggies and fruit can be a great source of hydration, including

  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Zucchini
  • Radishes
  • Celery
  • Tomato
  • Cabbage
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe

and my personal favorite for today, peaches!
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Wishing you a delicious and healthy summer

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 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.

Celiac & Depression, DC GF Expo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s been a busy month for me, between an intensive mindfulness practicum, teaching Mindful eating & Nourishment to grad students at Maryland University of Integrative Health,  and ongoing work on a training program through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to educate nutritional professions across the US on Celiac disease & gluten-related disorders. I’m excited to have the honor to teach, and it will hopefully roll out in late 2016 or early 2017.

So this newsletter is short, but on a topic near and dear to my heart—Celiac disease and depression. At Digestive Disorders Week 2016 held at the end of May 2016, researchers presented new evidence that the majority teens with Celiac met criteria for major depressive disorder. Again, not just that some teens with Celiac have depression, but MOST. And major depressive disorder isn’t just your garden-variety of typical teen moodiness. Generally, it’s defined by symptoms that have a big impact on quality of life.

This certainly isn’t the first study that links mood issues with Celiac, but the first to show that they’re extremely common. That’s shocking, and should be a real call to action on screening for depression…especially for teens with Celiac.

Although this research is specific to Celiac and not gluten sensitivity more broadly, both Celiac and gluten sensitivity have been linked to both depression and range of other mood disorders in other studies, and this is a good overview.

DC Gluten-Free Expochildren's logo

Coincidentally, it’s also that time of year for the annual DC Gluten-Free expo, which is June 12th, 2016. There are tons of gluten-free vendors, food, and a range of activities, Best of all, the funds support the Children’s National Celiac Center in DC. It usually sells out, so if you’re thinking of going, you might want to hop over and look for tickets ASAP. One of the unique aspects of the Celiac Disease Center at Children’s is their emphasis on the psychological needs of children and teens with Celiac, and they do have trained professionals on staff to provide this support. My understanding is that they are the first program in the country to have a pediatric Celiac center with a specific focus on mental and emotional health, which is pretty awesome.

I have no involvement in the programs at Children’s, but I’m a huge fan of their mission, and I believe we’re lucky to have a Celiac center in the DC metro area.

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 Grab & Go 2016

Happy Celiac Disease Awareness Month!

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

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

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

Bars:

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

Snacks:nut butters

Quick meal options

Soups!

Frozen:

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

Veggie (vegetarian/vegan) Burgers:

Shelf-stable options:

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

Cereals: (other great breakfast options here)

Breads:

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

Companies that offer sample boxes

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

Something Local in Season

brockale2016

Locally grown resources, Farmers’ Markets, Farms & CSAs and note to BCBS clients

I’m a huge fan of growing some of my own veggies and herbs when possible, because it’s so much fun to see them grow. We’ve lived in several different spots in Virginia, and my gardens have ranged from small gardens in containers to much larger spaces.  Of course, the deer have sometimes used the garden as a buffet, and space can be an issue in this area, too. I’m lucky enough to have a garden bed this year, but also have a few things in Earth boxes, which are wonderful in places with more limited space. The picture above is kale and broccoli starts I planted a few weeks ago, and they’re huge already. There are also local community garden plots, and this link has listings in the DC Metro area.

Gardens are a great way to get sunshine, exercise, and some yummy food, if you’re lucky. It’s also great for kids to get them interested in fresh foods.grilled aspar

If growing simply isn’t possible, or if you’re looking to supplement your garden, May is when most of the Farmers’ Markets start to open. While most of the fruits and veggies won’t be around until June or July, we got to enjoy the 1st asparagus of the season.

Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ Markets and Local Produce

Farms:

Farms, CSAs, etc.

Cox farms:

Nearby in Centreville. Some fresh fruits and veggies from the farm and nearby farms in the summer and fall, and furry animals!

http://www.coxfarms.com/

Mount Vernon Farms

http://www.mountvernonfarm.net/

Through buyers clubs or go out to the farm!.  In Sperryville, VA.  Pastured beef, lamb and chicken.gardensept09

Nall’s Produce:

http://www.nallsproduce.com/

Local produce, with location in Alexandria

Polyface Farms

http://www.polyfacefarms.com/

Farm in the Shenandoah Valley with pastured meats and eggs that are delivered locally or bought in bulk

South Mountain Veggies

Delivered, locally grown produce from Frederick County, MD

http://www.southmountainveggies.com

CSAs

www.localharvest.org Community Supported Agriculture (or CSAs) allow people to buy a ‘share’ in a farm and pick up a bag of fresh fruits, vegetables and other foods weekly.  Pick up points are located throughout D.C. and suburbs.  Foods vary week to week and usually come with recipes.

Organic Grocery Delivery Services

Both offer boxes of local, seasonal veggies and fruit

  • Relay Foods– Delivers a range of farm-fresh foods, including organic fruits and veggies and free-range meat and poultry to DC, VA and MD Here’s a code for $30 off relayfoods.com/friend/x6kym5

Did I miss any of your favorites? Leave me a comment!

Note to BCBS clients:
As of June 2016, I’m formally ending my contract for BCBS. While I’ll still be seeing clients, including BCBS clients, I’ll be  an out-of-network provider. It’s been a difficult decision for me. In brief, after many months and many requests, BCBS claims from December and January (6 months ago) are still unpaid. I love my job; I also expect to be compensated for work without ongoing battles. Longer version here, and if you have questions, do feel free to contact me directly.

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 News: April 2016

There has been so much research and new articles related to living gluten-free lately. Here’s an overview of some of the highlights!

Gut bugs & Celiac/autoimmune disease
Dr. Fasano and Dr. Leonard have a fascinating article on the potential for using the microbiome (our gut bacteria) to possibly prevent Celiac disease. No shockers here—as of yet, there are no answers, but a lot of great questions.
A bit more user friendly: There’s also a podcast with Dr. Fasano that covers using nutrition to shape the gut microbiome and how that (possibly) impacts autoimmunity
bread
Sourdough bread—still a “no”
There’s been a recent burst of interest in using sourdough bread on a gluten-free diet because of widely-circulated comments from author Michael Pollan. Unfortunately, it’s not based in science. I did a review of the studies a few years back, and the same conclusions hold. There’s promise in theory, but in practice, it’s not safe. Testing from Gluten Free Watchdog on “Sourdough for Celiacs” shows that one kind of “safe” bread tested at 104,000 ppm of gluten. (gluten-free is under 20ppm, so it’s not even in the ballpark)
Moral of the story—if you need or love your sourdough, make it or buy it with gluten-free grains and you’re good to go.

Gluten-free oats
Those of you who have been gluten-free for a long time remember that way back in the day, oats were not allowed on a gluten-free diet. Then ~7-8 years ago, special gluten-free oats came on the scene. They were grown on special fields, with special equipment, they were specially tested…you get the idea. In the last year or so, however, more and more oats are grown on regular fields, and then a new technique called optical sorting is used to remove the gluten. That’s the process used for Cheerios, and as I’ve mentioned before, the concern is that “your mileage may vary” as to the accuracy.
Earlier this year, a purity protocol farmer announced that they were delaying their planting. There’s a real logic there. If the market for purity protocol, certified GF oats disappears, and there’s additional cost involved, why should they bother? So if you value having gluten-free oats that you can be sure are 100% gluten-free, buy from companies that are taking extra steps to ensure safety.
GFE has a nice summary of the oats situation.

Passovercharoset
And as some of you know, Passover is just around the corner, starting on April 22nd. Obviously there are some people who celebrate the holiday, while others celebrate the larger range of gluten-free foods available. I’ve got details on Passover here.

Paleo benefits?
Many in the gluten-free community follow a Paleo diet. There’s much speculation, lots of strong feelings on the topic, but few studies available. However,  new data was just presented showing that after 2 years, people on a Paleo diet lost the same amount of weight as people on a low fat diet, but insulin (blood sugar) levels were better for the Paleo group. Interesting, for sure, and to be continued…

Note to BCBS clients:
As of June 2016, I’ll be an out-of-network provider for BCBS. In brief, after many months and many requests, BCBS claims from months ago are still unpaid. It’s been a difficult decision for me. I love my job, but I cannot afford the time, energy and money for an ongoing battle with BCBS. Longer version here.

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.

Low FODMAP for IBS, News & More

Over the past few years, the low FODMAP diet is getting some good press. There’s a growing amount of research supporting it for people with tummy troubles of all sorts, especially IBS or IBD (Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis) and SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). Reducing these FODMAPs help about 75% of people with IBS problems. Obviously, this is a major help for many people who experience ongoing gastrointestinal distress.garlic-X

But what’s a FODMAP, anyhow? FODMAP is acronym abbreviation for Fermentable Oligosaccarides, Disaccarides, Monosaccarides and Polyols. Unless you’re a food scientist, that likely means very little. In a nutshell, FODMAPs are carbs that certain people have trouble digesting, so they ferment in the gut and can cause all sorts of obnoxious symptoms, like gas, bloating, diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain and even constipation. Many different kinds of foods are high in FODMAPs, such as wheat, beans, garlic and onions, and many kinds of fruits and veggies.

Wait, wait, what? So now fruit, garlic and beans are bad for you? Thankfully, no. Foods with FODMAPs are not “bad” or unhealthy foods, just foods that can provoke symptoms in some people. For people without digestive distress, FODMAPs may feed good bacteria and support overall health. A low FODMAP diet is an elimination diet designed for GI symptom management, rather than something that’s globally healthier for everyone. Once people start feeling better, it’s all about adding foods back and making the diet as wide and varied as possible.

When I first started teaching the low FODMAP diet years ago, I was dubious, because it is a lot of work. The good news is I’ve been amazed and delighted at how much a low FODMAP diet helps reduce symptoms in clients I’ve worked with. Interestingly, studies have suggested that some people with stomach issues that have learned over time that they are gluten sensitive actually respond more fully to a low FODMAP diet than just a gluten-free diet. There’s speculation that for some, the key problematic component in wheat isn’t really gluten, but a fermentable carb called fructans. And of course, the research is still underway.

How it works: we do an elimination diet where the main sources of FODMAPs are eliminated, and that means eating “allowed” foods in allowed amounts for a few weeks. Most people notice significant improvement, even in the first week or two. Then we begin a structured reintroduction to see which classes or kinds of FODMAPs are actually triggering a reaction. The goal at the end of the day, of course, is to minimize symptoms while keeping as many foods on the table as possible.

One word of caution–between the complexity foods allowed and disallowed, the quantity and spacing and the many incomplete lists on the Internet, I often find people have spent a lot of time and energy trying to follow the diet and either miss something important or overly restrict. I’d definitely recommend getting support from someone who works extensively with the low FODMAP diet.

There are a couple of great books & resources to get you started:

News:

Nutrition professionals: I’ll be teaching Gluten-Free and Healthy on March 10th, 2016 from 2-4pm EST. It’s always a fun and interactive class.

We’ll be hitting key topics, like nutrients often missing on a GFD, and also touching on the latest research and controversies on a gluten-free diet, such as arsenic, how a GFD affects athletes, the impact on weight, cardiovascular health, and much more! For more info and to sign up, see Dietitian Central.

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.

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.