Nourishing Your Body for Better Health

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.

Halloween Fun with Food Restrictions

c n pumpkinThink outside the candy dish…

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

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

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

Extra bonus–if you decide to go the non-food-treat option, there’s a new registry so that children with food restrictions can find safe houses to visit. FARE also just announced the “Teal Pumpkin Project”, a new initiative for people with non-food treats to paint a pumpkin teal and put it on the doorstep, so children and parents know that safe options are available.

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

Tips for Enjoying Halloween with Food Restrictions

  • Talk to teachers and friends about focusing parties around activities (like pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, costume contest) rather than just trick or treating.
  • Pre-stock your Halloween bag with foods that are ‘legal’ for your child (and/or you) so that you can safely snack along the way. Some treats that are normally gluten-free or allergen free have different ingredients in the special holiday versions, so always double check.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Here’s the 2014 list from CDF.
  • Stash safe bags of candy/treats at friend’s houses for your child.
  • Have a trade in. Your child can trade the “problem” candies and treats for “safe” treats, or games, prizes, special outings, etc. You can either stash the “problem” candy somewhere out of reach, or donate it to the foodbank.
  • Kids with Food Allergies has a great resource for safe Halloween activities, games, tips, etc.  Although it’s not directed at people avoiding gluten, a lot of the strategies are the same.

Fall recipes:

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

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

News

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 Healthy Halloween, Recipes & More

A fun and healthier Halloween, Fall recipes & Newsc n pumpkin

Think outside the candy dish…

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

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

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

Extra bonus–if you decide to go the non-food-treat option, there’s a new registry so that children with food restrictions can find safe houses to visit.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This isn’t a rant against candy, because of course I have great memories eating excessive quantities of candy on Halloween as a little kid. I fully trust there will still be more than enough candy to go around. However, I’m a fan of treats when I really want them and will enjoy them, not eating treats because they’re sitting right in front of me and then *poof* where’d they go? You can also opt for healthier treOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAats, like mini Larabars and mini Kind Bars, all fruit leathers, mini-packs of pistachio nuts, etc.

Fall recipes:

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

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

News

Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Wellcoach in Fairfax & Alexandria, VA.  She helps people with a range of dietary issues , including Celiac Disease, GI issues,  food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals and feeling great!  Email or call 571-271-8742.

G-Free Breakfasts & Canyon Bakehouse Giveaway!

G-Free Breakfasts, a Canyon Bakehouse bread giveaway and G-free News

I love the warm weather, so it’s always a little sad to see September roll around. What a gorgeous summer it’s been! As we head back to school or work, it’s a great time to think about re-vamping your gluten-free breakfast.  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.  There are great options from both the regular grocery store and specialty products.

Some of the best choices:

  • Greek yogurt is a great source of protein. Add in some berries and sprinkle in a spoon or two of ground flax seed or chia (Salba) to get in a little extra fiber.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Get creative with eggs: scrambled eggs, omelets, huevos rancheros, an egg bake, a  crustless quiche(great tutorial here by GFE), or even these cute little egg nests. A hard-boiled works in a pinch for an inexpensive, high protein on-the-go breakfast. Add in veggies with the eggs for a more filling breakfast with more antioxidants and fiber. Research is clear that an egg a day won’t negatively affect the risk of heart disease. Of course, egg whites are always an option, too.
  • Smoothies are also a great way to get in some additional fruit in your diet, and most kids enjoy them, too.  Just make sure to get some protein, from Greek yogurt, protein powder or even tofu. Bonus points for throwing in a handful of spinach!
  • Don’t forget old standbys, like cottage cheese or ricotta cheese and fruit, gluten-free free range sausage, grits, etc.
  •  As far as cold cereals go, nutritionally, Crunchy Flax, Whole O’s and Mesa Sunrise are among the best options because all are great sources of whole grains and fiber. Van’s has a new gluten-free cereal line as well, with options like Honey Nut Crunch.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • KIND now has Whole Grain Clusters that are tasty and have some protein and fiber, too.

Some mainstream breakfast options are naturally gluten-free, like most kinds of Chex (not wheat Chex, of course) Sprinkle in a spoon or two of ground flax seed to get in a little extra fiber. Of course, there are more and more gluten-free versions of the typical standards. EnviroKidz has some for children of all ages, like Gorilla Munch and Koala Kids, and there are new Gluten-free Rice Krispies (watch out, regular ones have gluten) and these are in most local supermarkets.  Many stores sell gluten-free bagels, muffins, scones, waffles or other sweet breakfast treats…and see below for a raisin bread review!

Looking ahead to chilly mornings, hot cereals are a great way to start the day with fiber and whole grains.  Most gluten-free grains cook up nicely as hot cereals. In terms of taste, my personal favorite is millet, but kasha (buckwheat), quinoa flakes, amaranth, teff, etc. work well, too.  It’s easy to make a big pot and have them all week long.  Bob’s Red Mill has a few nice options, like Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal. Don’t forget about certified gluten-free oatmeal, which can be found at specialty stores or online.

You can also think beyond usual breakfast foods for a change of pace.  Soups or any kind of leftovers work well, and you’re only limited by your imagination!

Giveaway

Speaking of breakfast, how about some toast?  For many years, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Canyon Bakehouse Breads. When I say they’ve got fans, I mean, they’ve got some SERIOUS fans. Canyon sent me a box of breads, and offered to do a giveaway of Canyon bread products for my lovely newsletter readers. BTW–I get a bunch of offers for giveaways, and I generally decline, unless it’s a product that I personally enjoy or that I get a ton of good feedback about.

One of the unique things is that Canyon Bakehouse breads are fresh when shipped, not frozen. So, I opened the box, and I was blown away by the aroma of freshly baked bread.canyon bread

I received 3 full loves and muffins:

Since I’m allergic to eggs, I had my favorite guinea pig, Cathy, give me her views because she’s a great critic, and she’s tasted most of the gluten-free breads out there in her travels.

Cathy’s take: All of the bread was really scrumptious. The cinnamon raisin was her favorite by far, both fresh and frozen, and as French toast, too! The taste, texture and density were what you’d expect of “real” bread. She liked the muffins, but that was her least favorite of the group because they were a bit tougher in texture. She was clear that she would enthusiastically recommend all of the Canyon breads, and loved getting to have fresh bread that didn’t need to be toasted. Overall verdict: more, please!

Want to try them for yourself?

  • 1 entry: Leave me a comment on my website and let me know what you’d make or try first if you won the box of Canyon Bakehouse breads!
  • 1 entry: Post about this giveaway on FB or Twitter, and leave a note on my website letting me know that you did.
  • Please make sure you include your email address so that I can contact the winner.

Many thanks to Canyon for providing these products for the giveaway.

A winner will be chosen randomly on Sept 20th, 10pm EST.

UPDATE: THE WINNER IS JENNY, WHO SAID:

I’d probably try the cinnamon raisin with some peanut butter. I have a coworker who heard up cinnamon raisin bread in the office each morning, and the smell taunts me.

Congrats, Jenny!

You can find Canyon Bakehouse products on Amazon, they’re now at Target and MOM’s, and even some NoVA area Safeway stores.

News

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 FODMAPs & more!

A low FODMAP diet (news & events below)

Often I mention a low FODMAP diet to someone, there’s a pause and a curious expression. You mean, a low FAT diet? Can you say that word again? Although a low FODMAP diet hasn’t become a household word the way gluten-free has, there’s an impressive 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). Obviously, this is pretty relevant to many people who are gluten sensitive or have Celiac disease and still have stomach distress.

So let’s break down the basics. FODMAPs is an abbreviation for Fermentable garlic-XOligosaccarides, 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. They cover a wide range of foods, like 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 who have digestive issues. It’s a diet designed for GI symptom management, rather than something that’s globally healthier.

The good news is that reducing these FODMAPs help about 75% of people with IBS problems. 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. We’ll definitely be hearing more about that in the next few years.

The quick and dirty explanation of how a low FODMAP diet works: we do an OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAelimination 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 after only a few weeks, and 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. And yes, potatoes are allowed, and these guys are from my garden! Aren’t they cute?

I have a more through review on a low FODMAP diet here from Simply Gluten-Free Magazine However, I’d strongly encourage you to NOT go this one on your own–between the foods allowed/disallowed, the quantity and spacing and the many incomplete lists on the Internet, it’s just not worth it. There are nutrition professionals, including myself, of course, around the world that are specially trained on teaching a low FODMAP diet at www.ibsfree.net so you can find a nutrition professional locally. If there isn’t someone near you, many nutritionists, including myself, consult over the phone or Skype.

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

Also, for Kate Scarlata and Patsy Catsos are training nutrition professionals, and there’s one coming up Oct 17th in Atlanta before FCNE. I think they do a terrific job making the information interesting and accessible!

News:mintquinoa

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 Grab & Go Nutritionist Approved 2014 List

I’m a huge fan of naturally gluten-free food. It’s usually healthier, usually cheaper, and IMHO, usually tastier, too. That’s especially this time of year when there are a lot of yummy options almost in season!

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, outdoor activities that prevent easy access or you just need to have something shelf-stable and portable in the car in case of emergency.

I’ve put together a 2014 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 less processed. Obviously, you don’t want to forget naturally gluten-free options, too!

Bars:

What do I consider a gluten-free healthy bar? In a nutshell, mostly ingredients your grandmother would recognize, some protein and fiber for fullness and of course, gluten-free.

Snacks:

Quick meal options

Soups!

Frozen:

  • Amy’s Organic® has frozen entrees, with vegan and vegetarian 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 Burgers:

Shelf-stable options:

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

    Image courtesy of phasinphoto/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Image courtesy of phasinphoto/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • 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

Dr. Schar Ciabatta Rolls®

Sandwich Petals®

Udi’s Flax and Fiber ®

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.

NEWS:

Recalls:
Frito Lay has a voluntary recall for BBQ chips that are labeled gluten-free, but they contain wheat.
Bart and Judy’s Gluten-Free cookies have tested with high levels of gluten, so buyer beware!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
AND, on a much lighter and nicer note, I have a review of a bunch of gluten, dairy and soy-free chocolates.
I’m submitting this to Gluten-Free Wednesdays, a weekly roundup of all sorts of interesting gluten-free recipes and posts. It’s co-hosted by Linda of Gluten-free Homemaker, Shirley of gluten free easily and Lynn of Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures. Hop on over for some more yum!

Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Wellcoach in Fairfax & Alexandria, VA.  She helps people with a range of dietary issues , including Celiac Disease, GI issues,  food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals and feeling great!  Email or call 571-271-8742.

Why move?

littlecWe all know that we “should” exercise, and that regular movement lowers the rate of heart disease, lowers the risk of high blood pressure, moderates cholesterol levels, lowers inflammation, helps with weight maintenance and all that jazz. But exercise has benefits that extend to pretty much every area of health.

Stress and mood: regular movement reduces depression and anxiety, and helps improve mood and a sense of well-being. The evidence on depression is so strong that it’s a formal recommendation for treatment. Aerobic exercise seems most useful for combating depression.

Tummy troubles: It’s been well-established that any kind of physical activity helps with constipation, because it makes food move more quickly through the GI tract. Exercise also helps reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, even though it’s not clear exactly why.

Cancer: People who are physically active are less likely to get breast and colon cancer, and possibly lung, prostate and endometrial cancer, too. Regular exercise is one of the key recommendations for cancer survivors to lower the risk of re-occurrence.

Bones & joints: exercise strengthens bones, particularly weight bearing exercise, like walking, running, weights, dancing, tai chi, etc. This lowers the rate of hip fracture, and helps increase bone mass, too.

Builds the brain: most of the studies to date were done on furry little animals, but the studies are clear that regular movement plays a key role in brain growth and development.

Make it fun…

If you’re having fun, you’re more likely to do it, right? So choose something you think you’ll enjoy. And yes, I’m the little hula-hooper in the picture above, and I was having a great time moving!

Alexander Technique: One of the practitioners I work with at my Alexander office, Ed Bilanchone, who is a long-time Alexander technique and Tai Chi teacher. I’ve seen it help people reduce pain and improve ease of movement, and so here’s a description from Ed:

The Alexander Technique is a unique process for change that gives students an opportunity to explore the sources of maladaptive habits of movement, balance, and coordination.  Developed by F.M. Alexander in the late 19th century, the technique helps students discover with time and practice layers of previously unconscious thoughts and behaviors using the conscious mind.

The student is never forced to change. Instead F.M. Alexander’s technique is the opportunity to choose a new and often unexpected response to stimulus. Sometimes the new choice improves performance; sometimes it eliminates conditions causing pain; sometimes it does both.

Curious to learn more? Contact Ed at (703) 402-3897.

Recipe: Banana ‘Screamnana 'scream

As the weather warms up, this is a great twist on the classic banana “soft serve”

1 banana, frozen, chopped into 5-6 chunks
1 TBSP liquor (chocolate liquor, Frangelico, whatever)
OR 1 TBSP “milk”, juice or water
1 pinch vanilla beans, cacao nibs, cinnamon, chocolate shavings or whatever other topping suits your fancy.

Blend banana and fluid of choice until smooth in the food processor. Add topping if desired and enjoy!

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, family sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Whether you are dealing with a specific health concern, or if you just improve your eating habits, Cheryl can help you achieve your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please click here or call 571-271-8742.

A Gluten-Free Vegetarian

Happy Celiac Disease Awareness Month! It’s rather stunning to think of how the gluten-free world has changed in the past decade, and how much easier some things have gotten. We’ve got mainstream cereals, brownies, cookbooks, bakeries… There’s a lot to celebrate. While there are many people who are gluten-free without really quite knowing why or what that means, but there’s also  a huge amount of scientific advances and community awareness.

Taking a look back, here are my 3 favorite articles that I’ve written on Celiac and a gluten-free lifestyle:

A gluten-free vegetarian:

The health benefits from reducing the amount of meat in the diets of most Americans are, by now, well established. Over 14 million Americans are vegetarian, and the lifestyle has appeal based on ethical, monetary, religious and/or environmental reasons too. Fortunately, with extra planning, a well-rounded and delicious gluten-free vegetarian diet is totally doable.

Studies have shown that the overwhelming majority of people newly diagnosed with Celiac have vitamin deficiencies—it’s a whopping 87% in a 2013 study. It also seems like the majority of g-free peeps eat fewer nutrients and don’t get enough iron, calcium, vitamin D, fiber and B vitamins (including B12). Pair that with a vegetarian or vegan diet — which can be lacking in calcium, B12, omega fats, zinc and vitamin D, and sometimes iron and protein — and it’s easy to miss out on necessary nutrients.

Quite frankly, it’s also more challenging to juggle the constraints of eating strictly gluten-free and vegetarian or vegan. I’ve had the pleasure to know many inventive cooks who cook up grand concoctions, but it certainly requires great care, especially when out to eat.

Sneaky traps for gluten-free vegetarians:

Okay, so you already look out for the breaded tofu and the veggies marinated with soy sauce. Here are others that can be tricky, especially for vegetarians:

  • Seitan—they call it “wheat meat” for a reason
  • Falafel!—yes, it’s made of chickpeas, but wheat flour is often added to thicken and make it stick togebeansngreensther.
  • Tofurkey—yep, this soybean beast harbors some sneaky gluten
  • Tempeh—it’s fermented from soybeans, but can contain wheat, too.
  • Miso—did you know this can contain barley? Barley may not be labeled clearly, either.
  • Most of the meatless burgers (Boca, etc.) are made of wheat protein.
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP) can be wheat-based. Check the label.
  • Any “wheat meat!”

Also, check out an article I authored for Today’s Dietitian “A Gluten Free Vegetarian” that covers  the basics of combining both diets.

G-Free Vegetarian Webinar for Nutrition pros:

I’m doing a 1.5 CEU webinar on a Gluten-Free Vegetarian Diet on May 21st at 3pm EST. Love to “see” you there!

Yogurt eaters, beware:

I just saw this post from Gluten-Free Watchdog regarding a few of the Stonyfield farm brand yogurts. They use oats that are not certified gluten-free, although the final product is tested. IMHO, that’s an unnecessarily risky choice.

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, family sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Whether you are dealing with a specific health concern, or if you just want to feel and look better, Cheryl can help you achieve your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please click here or call 571-271-8742.

Something yummy in season

huge plantsIn some ways, it was a rude awakening, moving from sunny California for grad school to Northern Virginia twelve years ago.  I started gardening when I was at Berkeley, and haven’t stopped. I’ve actually even been playing with starting seeds indoors this year with an Aerogarden, which has been my fun toy at my Fairfax office.

Since we’ve moved to a more wooded area a few years ago, my garden has largely been a buffet for the deer and groundhogs, but this year it’s been quiet so far. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

Fortunately, there are a bunch of Farmers’ Markets and locally grown resources to give more options, and the number of markets has only grown for the last decade. We’ve got a bunch of markets nearby, and they’re about to open or just opened.

Why go to a Farmer’s Market?

  • They’re terrific for encouraging people to branch out and try new foods. There are generally a lot of samples, and everything looks so good. Works well for kids, too!
  • Fresh produce and meat. Most fruits and vegetables are picked that day. Seasonal food is generally going to be more nutrient dense.
  • Support for local farmers.
  • Few or fewer pesticides on fruits and vegetables. A plum shipped from Chile need a lot of pesticides to keep it lovely even after traveling thousands of miles.
  • Greater variety. While Whole Foods or Wegmans may have 5 kinds of apples, it’s common to have a choice of 10+ varieties and discover new flavors that you enjoy.
  • Better taste! There’s nothing that compares to the taste of a freshly picked tomato, peach, or apple.
  • The “manufacturer” is usually right in front of you, so if you have questions about how something is made or grown, just ask!

The Washingtonian did a great rundown of VA/DC/MD markets

I did a segment on WUSA 9 on why I love Farmers’ Markets, too.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Also, another great option are CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture)

Here are some resources:

Locally grown food resources

Farmer’s Markets

Farms:

Summary of local CSAs for 2014 from the Washington Post

Organic Grocery Delivery Services/Farm Clubs

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

Washington’s Green Grocer

http://www.washingtonsgreengrocer.com/ 301-333-3697

Delivers organic fruits, veggies and herbs to DC, VA and MD

Farms, CSAs, etc.

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.

Missed the window for a CSA?  Don’t despair!  There are plenty of resources below!gardensept09

Mount Vernon Farms

http://www.mountvernonfarm.net/

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

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

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/

Co-ops:

Glut Co-op Bethesda, MD

Tel: 240-247-2667

http://www.glutfood.org

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Takoma Park Co-op

Tel: 301-891-2667/ Tel: 240-247-2667

http://www.tpss.coop

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Am I missing one of your favorites?  Leave me a comment!

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, family sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Whether you are dealing with a specific health concern, or if you just want to feel and look better, Cheryl can help you achieve your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please click here or call 571-271-8742.