Nourishing Your Body for Better Health

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

Happy Celiac Awareness Month!

In honor of Celiac disease awareness month, I’m highlighting a few of my favorite things—including info on jicama and info (and a coupon!) for the 2015 Washington D.C. Gluten-Free Expo, which is coming up in June.jicama

Jicama is one of my favorite raw veggies, and it often flies under the radar. It’s common in Texas and Central America, and always seems to make an appearance around Cinco de Mayo, although you can often find them year-round in Central American or Asian Markets. It’s a tuber and kinda funny looking, but don’t be fooled…inside is a crunchy, juicy veggie, which is perfect for scooping up dip. You can also slice it thinly with a mandolin and it makes a naturally gluten-free wrap. I love it for tpeeling jicamahe taste, but also appreciate that it’s a great source of fiber, which most people are lacking on a gluten-free diet.

So…get a jicama without blemishes or soft spots. Refrigerate it after buying if you’re not going to use right away. Cut off the top and bottom, so it sits flat, and then peel it like you would an apple…

And slice!

Jicama is great with lime, salsa, or guac.jic and guac

You’re welcome.

And while we’re on the topic of Cinco de Mayo and great things to dip with jicama, I’d recommend on of my very favorite recipes–Salsa-mole–a cross between salsa and guacamole, of course.

2015 Washington D.C. Gluten-Free Expo:

June 7th, 2015 is the annual DC Gluten-free Expo at the Doubletree Bethesda Hotel. The Expo benefits the Children’s National Medical Center Celiac Disease Program in DC. Personally, I think it’s a great program and a wonderful cause, and I really appreciate how much CNMC has done to provide comprehensive, integrative care for children, teens and their families with Celiac disease in the DC Metro Area. Or, of course, you could go to the Expo because you get a ton of yummy food and free samples. Your call!

Join Children’s National Health System’s Celiac Disease Program for the 2015 Washington D.C. Gluten-Free Expo on June 7, 2015 at the

The Expo will feature an exhibit hall with more than 70 gluten-free vendors from across the globe! Each vendor will provide samples and/or sell their products. In some cases, the vendors will offer large discounts to purchase products at the event.

To buy tickets go to: http://www.dcglutenfreeexpo.com/tickets.html

Enter the code GFREEGOODNESS25OFF to receive 25% off your tickets!

To learn more about the Celiac Disease Program, go to: http://www.childrenscookingclasses.org/celiac-disease-program

Cheryl’s note: this is not a sponsored post from CNMC and I have no vested interest, financial or otherwise. I’m just a fan of the Celiac programs at CNMC.

Quick odds and ends:tj's bread

Trader Joe’s now carries fresh(!!!) gluten-free breads. This pic is from the Fairfax store, and it’s cheaper than most GF breads.

NY Times just had an article on new drug therapies for Celiac and non-Celiac gluten sensitivity.

NFCA has a new campaign about talking to family members about Celiac disease.

Care2 just featured some of my suggestions for G-free family meals

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

March G-Free Roundup

Happy almost Springtime! Since March is flying by at, this is a short OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand sweet rundown of news & research:

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

Gluten-Free Sunshine: February Newsletter

  • Spread a little sunshine
  • Chocolate love
  • News

Spread a little sunshine this winter…All about Vitamin DOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the winter months, most of us aren’t getting much sunlight. It’s still dark when we leave our houses and often dark by the time we get home. When we go outside, we’re usually bundled up from head to toe. Not only does this tend to affect mood, but we also depend on sunlight as a source of Vitamin D. Even if someone were to go out dancing in the snow in a bathing suit in the winter months, in many areas it’s still impossible to get all of the vitamin D needed for good health. Skin pigmentation, age, sunscreen, and geographic location all play a role in determining how much vitamin D the body produces from sunlight.

When people think of vitamin D deficiency, they tend to think of rickets, or the bowed legs seen in children. Actually, the problem is much more widespread and affects most systems in the body. Researchers are increasingly learning that most people have Vitamin D levels are below the ideal, and this seems even more common in people avoiding gluten for various reasons. Recent studies are reinforcing the importance of vitamin D, showing that deficiency can cause joint pain and bone weakness, and lower vitamin D levels are linked to higher rates of cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, increased fall rates, lowered immune function, depression and more.

Vitamin D is especially important to people with Celiac disease, gluten intolerance and people following a gluten free/casein free (GFCF diet). Celiac disease often causes great damage to the small intestine, and the small intestine is where our bodies absorb vitamin D. Osteoporosis and osteopenia are frequently seen in Celiac patients, and Vitamin D is an essential component to both calcium absorption and the formation of healthy bones. Additionally, untreated Celiac disease also may lead to fat malabsorbtion, and vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin.

Fortified milk and milk products are one of the few commonly eaten food sources of vitamin D. However, usually eating those foods alone isn’t enough to do the trick, and many gluten free folks are lactose intolerant, or avoid dairy products due to following a gluten free, casein free (GFCF) diet. The NIH just released a statement about a study showing that autistic boys tend to have thinner bones.So regardless of why you are GF, it is important to speak to your doctor and have your vitamin D levels tested.

There are several ways to get vitamin D in the winter months:

  • Eat vitamin D rich foods: fortified dairy, cod liver oil or other fatty fish, are good sources. For vegetarians or vegans, there are small amounts found in eggs, or some in mushrooms exposed to UV light.
  • Take vitamin D3 supplements: Many doctors recommend high doses of vitamin D initially to normalize vitamin levels in people who are deficient, but since Vitamin D is fat soluble and stored in the body, at some point it is possible to get an excess. Most people have vitamin D levels in the 20-30 range, and you don’t hit a risk of toxicity until the 100+ range, so that’s usually not an issue.
  • Take a vacation to somewhere warm and sunny: totally self explanatory, and my personal favorite way of getting vitamin D. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to sunbathe all day. Experts say that 15-20 minutes of sun in most warm areas 3-4 times a week is usually all that is needed. However, this does differ by season and latitude.choc 2

Chocolate love:

I love chocolate. So, for the sake of research, I tried a range of gluten-dairy-soy free chocolate bars and rated them. Yes, I had help, and I’ve been working my way through them since last May.

Here are a few of my favorite gluten and dairy free chocolate recipes:solo egg cream small

Chocolate Egg Cream: This old fashioned drink is really easy to make and it’s delicious. Although it’s called an egg cream, it’s actually vegan.

Amazing Chocolates or Hazelnut Buttercups. These MYO chocolates are delicious, and pretty easy to make, too.

haz buttercups

 

 

 

 

 

tuxedo strawberriers

Tuxedoed Strawberries Fruit in tasty formal ware. What’s not to love?

 

chocoraspslice

Chocolate Raspberry Pie Yes, there’s a secret ingredient, but don’t let that scare you. Bloggers at the Washingtonian tried it and gave it a thumbs up!

News:

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

Happy Healthy GF New Year 2015

Happy New Year!

Often January is a great time to take inventory of habits and see what fits…and see what to recycle. Here are some of my favorite suggestions for living well on a gluten-free diet.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • Unleash your inner rabbit: find ways to get at least one vegetable or fruit with every meal—5-9 servings a day.  That can be as easy veggies in your morning omelet, a veggie soup and a salad with lunch, yogurt and berries for snack and 2 servings of veggies along with dinner.
  • Choose whole (fresh, frozen or dried) vegetables and fruits over juices, which have most of the fiber removed.
  • If tolerated, include legumes (i.e., dried beans and peas) with your meals regularly; increase your intake of these foods gradually to limit gas. Not only are meatless meals better for the environment, but beans feed good bacteria in our gut.
  • Drink up!  8-10 glasses a day are important to stay hydrated, especially when you increase the amount of fiber you eat. Tea and broth can be great alternatives to water.
  • Include nuts and seeds daily or at least several times a week, which also contain monounsaturated fats and can help control blood cholesterol levels.
  • Go for healthy fats. Increase the amount you eat of fatty fish, like salmon, trout, flounder, sole, sardines, etc.mint quin
  • Make your grains whole grains, and experiment. Wild rice, quinoa, and buckwheat are easy to find, and sorghum, millet, teff and amaranth can be a fun new adventure.
  • Move it. Exercise helps our cardiovascular health and lowers sugar, and benefits our mood, concentration and joints as well.
  • Use healthy oils in cooking and baking. Eliminate trans fats at all cost.
  • Limit all sweeteners–I’ve never had to tell a client they need to eat more sugar for good health.
  • Take care of yourself. This includes sleeping well, reducing stress, and doing things you enjoy. You’re worth it!

Need more inspiration? Here are a handful of my favorite gluten-free cookbooks from the last year or two that are both delicious and promote good health:51jgCwjOlBL._SL500_AA300_

News:

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.

Healthy, Happy Holiday Season 2014

Hopefully you’re all staying warm and cozy this December. It’s always a busy time for everyone, so here’s some good stuff for surviving and thriving this holiday season.celeriac soup

Wintertime generally means cold, and to me that means soup. Whenever I can, I make my own–I adore chicken and turkey  soup, and I love my Red Lentil DalCreamy Veggie SoupSniffle Stew…the list is endless!

Canned soup is a also great fallback. Here’s a list of soups that avoid BPA. BPA is an additive in many can liners, and research has indicated there are potential links between BPA blood pressure, weight, PCOS and/or endocrine conditions.

Of course, December is famous for reasons other than soup. For most people, mindless munching is also a huge part of the season, so here are my top 5 holiday mindless eating tips:

  1. Survey your options: Research shows that people at a normal weight are more likely to survey all of their options, then hone in on what they most enjoy. Otherwise, we have much more of a tendency to keep going back. Standing further from the buffet, facing away from the food and engaging in something else fun (conversation, dancing, photography) also can be a help.
  2. Surround yourself with what you want to see. Remember all that talk about a see-food and eat it diet? Make sure you’re seeing the foods you want to be eating. Put seasonal fruits such as grapefruits, mangos and my personal favorites, pomegranates, on the counter or in your refrigerator where they are easy to grab. Bonus points for putting them at eye level!
  3. Choose the special foods: If you can’t live without mint fudge, then plan to have a piece or two! Skip on the “filler” foods you can have every day, like chips and dip or even booze.
  4. Limit alcohol. I know that’s not always the easiest sell, but sometimes it’s helpful to consider which you’d enjoy more, that truffle or that 2nd glass of wine. Not only is alcohol empty calories that slow your metabolism, but it can be harder to make good choices after you’ve had a few. It can help to set a target before you go. WaPo included some of my tips for reducing excess last year.
  5. Keep the evidence: Out of sight, out of mind, right? If you don’t keep the wrappers or plate, it’s easier to conveniently forget how many mini plates you’ve already munched through.

And…why not plan ahead for a healthier January? One of my colleagues is running a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction series in Annandale and Vienna. MBSR has a lot of research for helping improve mood and a variety of medical conditions, such as depression, stress, anxiety, IBS, IBD and more. IT’s a 8-week educational group that teaches mindfulness meditation as a health intervention. Created by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD., in 1979, MBSR offers participants the possibility to develop a different relationship to stress resulting from chronic stress, illness and psychological illnesses. Research outcomes have demonstrated positive improvements in physical and psychological symptoms, as well as changes in health attitudes and behaviors.

MBSR uses mindful movement, meditation, group discussion, and inquiry to teach students how to use mindfulness to relate differently to stress. The course teaches practical ways to integrate mindfulness into daily life and build and sustain a personal mindfulness practice.

Interested? Contact Mary VanDevanter, at mvandevanter@verizon.net or call 703-370-6525, ext. 3.

Wishing you a warm and wonderful holiday season, and a happy New Year!

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 & Joyful Holiday Season

Wow, 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. I’ve highlighted some of my favorite tips for staying SANE and gluten-free here from Simply Gluten-Free Magazine. 

Of course, this time of year is pretty much  about desserts, yes? 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.

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 for 2014.

More recipes from around the web:

Giveaway

‘Tis the season of giving, right? I’ve always gotten a kick out of the sample boxes because it’s always fun to see what’s new and tasty in the gluten-free world. So when Taste Guru offered to give away a box to newsletter readers, I happily agreed. Taste Guru has monthly gluten-free boxes with a variety of samples. Mine had coupons and a magazine. The products change every month, and you can *ahem* give them as gifts as well if you’re still looking.

When I got my box, I was drawn to the Justin’s samples and my husband was intrigued by the bacon jam. Yes…I indeed said bacon jam. Houdini cat, on the other hand, decided to play in the box while I was trying to take pictures, proving that everything on the internet is better when you add a cat.

If you’d like to enter to win a free monthly box from Taste Guru

Contest ends Dec 24th, 2014, 12pm EST and a winner of the free box will be chosen at random. Your box will likely be different than the one I receive. While I did receive a free box (correction: I got the goodies, Hou commandeered the box) I was not compensated for this review/giveaway.

Local Events & News:

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.

 

Holiday Balance

October through December is probably the hardest time of year for balance around food. Some days, it seems 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 goodies out of sight:  One of the biggest challenges of the season is a see-food diet, otherwise known as “if I see it, I eat it”. Studies show that 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 eat well on other days.  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 a diet, 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.

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 2014

Thanksgiving tipssweet potatoes 2014

Recipes

FREE Thanksgiving ebook

Local Events

Thanksgiving and the cooler weather has really crept up on us. Here are some tips and recipes to insure a happy and healthy celebration!

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 know what you can and can’t have. 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.

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, turkeys. So you do have to look out for stuffed turkeys or self-basting turkeys, and gravy packets, but plain turkeys are naturally gluten-free. Obviously this is fantastic news. Again, that’s ALL plain unstuffed gluten-free turkeys. The only exception Tofurky, which has gluten. Also, some glazed hams DO contain gluten. As always, read carefully! I have a gluten-free turkey list, with has manufacturer contact info.

If you’re not hosting Thanksgiving at your house, talk to your host as soon as you can. You’ll need to talk about:
* Broth 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 Trader Joe’s sells 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 (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 recipes, you can easily make a crustless pumpkin or sweet potato pie or check out Whole Foods’ crusts. Even Pillsbury has a GF pie crust! Or, you can easily make a crust from crushed up cookies, shredded coconut or almond meal. Apple crisps are also simple, too. And, of course, now with the new GF 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

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. When I was asked for Thanksgiving favorites, of course I started thinking (and drooling) about all the wonderful things that would make for an absolutely amazing gluten-free feast! Here are a bunch from some of my favorite GF bloggers.

FREE Gluten-Free Thanksgiving ebookjules logo

Friend and fellow blogger, Jules Sheperd has been a tireless gluten-free advocate for years. To put it into context, I think the first GF cookbook I ever owned was Jules’ Nearly Normal Cooking, which I bought over 10 years ago. Some of you may remember 1in133, which Jules spearheaded. If you’re newer in the GF world, that was the huge gluten-free cake that finally led to action and the GF regulations that came out in August in 2014. We all owe Jules a huge thank you!

As some of you may know, Jules went through a recent messy “breakup” with her old company, and now has a new company with the same great products at http://gfjules.com so if you want her products, that’s where to get them now. She’s got everything from GF all purpose flours, to cookie mixes to a gingerbread house kit.

She’s got a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving E-book which is normally $12.95 but *free* for you–my delicious newsletter readers. The code is gfjules54601c422d031, which you can put into the coupon box. Expires Nov 13th, 2014

I haven’t been compensated in any way to promote Jules or her company–I’m just a fan.

Local Events

The DCMCO Next Quarterly Support Meeting will be held on Saturday,  December 6, 2014 from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm at the Tenley – Friendship Heights Library.

The topic will be “Navigating Through the Holiday Season Gluten-Free.”

2nd annual Gluten Free Cookie Exchange. Click HERE  to find out the details about the cookie exchange and how to participate! 

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

I’m submitting this to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.GFW is co-hosted by Shirley of gluten free easily, Linda of Gluten-free Homemaker,  and Lynn of Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.

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.