A G-Free Thanksgiving ’19

Thanksgiving tips & Recipes

Happy almost Thanksgiving! With the leaves falling now, it’s kinda of crept up on me. Here are some of my favorite tips, tricks and recipes.

AnchorThanksgiving tips:

It takes a little planning ahead to guarantee a great Thanksgiving. In many ways, it’s easier if you’re hosting, because you’ve already got the most familiarity with the diet. 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! I love these tips from Shirley of GFE , and from GF Jules.
My 3 favorite tips:

  • Plan ahead, and try to bring along safe options when possible.
  • Bring along or order ingredients online that might be a problem. This includes broth, gravy, butter without crumbs, soups, flour for thickening, etc.
  • Keep it as simple as possible.

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 or frozen turkeys. I know there are emails that go out every year about warnings of “hidden gluten” in the turkeys, but ironically, the turkey usually the easiest and safest part of the meal. For the past 8 years I’ve been looking, calling and asking around if any of the brands of un-stuffed turkeys have gluten, and I haven’t found a single one in all that time. If you’ve seen one, email me or leave me a comment below. So you do have to look out for stuffed turkeys, and you do want to look out for gravy packets and of course, the preparation of the turkey.

The only exception Tofurky, which has gluten, and some glazed hams DO contain gluten. As always, read carefully! I have a gluten-free turkey list, with has manufacturer contact info.

As always, there can still be risks in the ingredients used on or in the turkey, and cross-contamination always needs to be on your radar. You’ll need to talk to your host about:

  • Preparation method: Broth used for basting, or even the butter used for basting. This also includes the kind of flour used if a turkey is cooked in a bag.
  • Seasonings
  • Stuffing in the turkey
  • Cross contamination<–and this is the most common problem.


Many regular canned gravy and gravy packets are not gluten-free. Gluten-free gravy is available online, and Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Wegman’s, etc. sell  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).

Side dishes

There are lots of good options here. Green bean casserole works, just sub the french onion–Aldi’s even has GF version in stores now, or use Fritos, or almonds, and buy a GF cream soup–Pacific is in most stores. 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.


This is obviously requires a bit more planning. 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 GF bread crumbs, too. Aleia’s and Arrowhead mills are easy to find locally.

Make sure that “regular” stuffing is not used to stuff the turkey. Not only does that raise the risk of food poisoning, but the whole turkey would be cross-contaminated with gluten.

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


For many people (myself included!) dessert is the highlight of the Thanksgiving route. If you’d like to use your standard old-school recipes, you can easily make a crustless pumpkin or sweet potato pie or check out Whole Foods’ GF crusts. Or, you can easily make a crust from crushed up gluten-free cookies, shredded coconut or almond meal. Apple crisps are also simple, too. And, of course, now with the GF Wegman’s or Betty Crocker mixes, a cake or brownies are pretty simple, even if they’re not traditional.

or, are you low FODMAP? Dessert recipes here

T Day Recipes:
It’s dangerous when someone asks about food while I’m hungry. Here are a bunch of  wonderful things that would make for an absolutely amazing gluten-free feast some of my favorite GF bloggers and around the web.

And as a bonus, the Happy Tart has a bakery in Falls Church in addition to the Alexandria location, so it’s even easier to get a g-free pie without pulling out a rolling pin. Same goes for Rise in DC, Lilit Cafe, and the new Red Bandana

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

Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Wellcoach in Fairfax, VA.  She helps people with a range of dietary issues, including Celiac Disease, digestive issues, 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. 

September G-Free Roundup

The year is flying by. I’m not ready for the cold weather, and our hummingbirds are still here and I’ll miss them. But what can you do. I’ve updated my GF breakfast list here, and as a bonus, here are some Gluten-free and low FODMAP Peanut Butter Banana Muffins.

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

There have been a lot of new papers relating to Celiac and GI health out in the last month or so. Here’s a quick round up:

There are new European guidelines for the diagnosis and management of Celiac. Now, of course, diagnosis and managing shouldn’t be your job, but, well, sometimes it is. Often doctors prefer information aimed at doctors, so feel free to print it out and bring it along with you to appointments re: initial testing, nutritional testing and follow up needed. A nice summary of them from Beyond Celiac is here.

More gluten, more risk in kids? Looks like it. A new study shows that children under 5 who are at high risk of having Celiac had a higher risk when eating larger amounts of gluten. Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but it’s the largest study so far. Dr. Fasano & co have an editorial on this article, too.

Summary: more gluten, more than a slice of bread a day raises risk in children who are genetically susceptible. BUT (and this is significant) CCR suggests that other factors must be at play as well, because countries that eat more gluten don’t have more Celiac disease. So the desire to reduce Celiac needs to be balanced with the things that promote a healthy microbiome—among other things. And, of course, stay tuned!

Think beyond the tummy troubles: undiagnosed Celiac is linked to anxiety and other behavior problems in children

A new paper outlines the factors associated with the development of IBD (Crohn’s, or CD, and Ulcerative Colitis, or UC). Of course, association doesn’t mean that these things CAUSE IBD…but still, a lot to think about, especially for kids/siblings/prevention, because of the genetic link.


“We identified 9 factors that increase risk of IBD: smoking (CD), urban living (CD and IBD), appendectomy (CD), tonsillectomy (CD), antibiotic exposure (IBD), oral contraceptive use (IBD), consumption of soft drinks (UC), vitamin D deficiency (IBD), and non–Helicobacter pylori–like enterohepatic Helicobacter species (IBD). We identified 7 factors that reduce risk of IBD: physical activity (CD), breastfeeding (IBD), bed sharing (CD), tea consumption (UC), high levels of folate (IBD), high levels of vitamin D (CD), and H pylori infection (CD, UC, and IBD).”
The full article is here

And one more: Titanium Dioxide. There’s nothing about that that sounds particularly delicious, but it’s in a lot of foods as a whitening agent, and it’s in a ton of supplements, too. A new rodent study shows that it shifts the microbiome in ways that may increase the risk of IBD (Crohn’s, UC) and even colon cancer.

The Annual DC Gluten-free Expo has moved from the summer to October, and will be October 6th this year. It’s always a wonderful event for an even better cause—Children’s National Medical Celiac Center. It generally sells out, so if you’re interested, take a look.

July GFree News Roundup

snap peas
Snap peas from the Harris Whole Health garden

I hope you’re having a great and relaxing Summertime! I planned to skip the newsletter for June, and then a bunch of fun studies and news came out and so… here you go!

Well, this is disappointing: one promising medication, ImmunsanT seems like it’s no longer viable, after a trial showed that it was no better than placebo.

RNA changes in active Celiac disease: this may seem abstract… or sort of dry… but it’s fascinating, even if you’re not a science geek like me! Among the most interesting findings was that there are genetic differences in gene expression between people without Celiac, people with Celiac who are “treated” (on a GFD) or people with active Celiac (eating gluten). It notes “The researchers also found evidence to suggest that the risk of co-morbid autoimmune disorder may be high in active celiac disease, as pathways for type 1 diabetes, lupus and autoimmune thyroid disease also were upregulated.”

Now, that’s a big deal… and a really good reason to make sure no gluten is getting in your diet if you have Celiac.

More on g-free in restaurants… it looks like the FDA may be starting to take this seriously. This makes me so happy! I know, many years (decades?) overdue, but still.

New, and very neat research: fiber in the diet of pregnant mamas may prevent Celiac in children. But not just any fiber. Fiber from fruits and veggies, not cereals. The research also found that having moms follow a GF diet did not seem to offer protection to the babies (in moms without Celiac)

IBS and SIBO—a great podcast with the latest and greatest with Dr. Pimmentel, with updates from Digestive Disease Week 2019

IBS and a low FODMAP diet… it works. A nice overview from the Washington Post.

Why women get more autoimmune disease… it’s all about the placenta? Maybe. A new research team says so. It’s an interesting article, and we’ll see where this theory goes. If you like keeping up with research, I do try to post digestive research on my Facebook page on an ongoing basis.

Low FODMAP Bunnies & News

Happy IBS month–with gluten-free & Kosher for Passover Easter Bunny cookies!

First, the cookies, then the research and news below.

April is IBS awareness month. I know many of you are all too aware of IBS…or IBD…or other tummy troubles. It’s no fun. I know there are tons of videos on how to make meringues cookies, and I decided to do something totally different and do a video of how to shape the meringue cookies into bunnies! They’re gluten-free, of course, and low FODMAP…a good way to track down IBS triggers for many people!  They’re pretty IBD friendly, and work well for reflux, gastroparesis…so an all-around winner. And I’ve chosen this recipe because it’s Kosher for Passover…using sugar instead of powdered sugar, which typically contains corn starch. Here’s more on Passover and the whole gluten-free connection.

These are one of my husband’s favorites, and great make-ahead cookies. I hope you love them!

Makes 80-90 bunnies. Serving size: 2 bunnies

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (can use almond or hazelnut)
  • Pinch of salt

Sprinkles low FODMAP or Kosher for Passover (Lieber’s is the easiest to find—generally cheapest at  local stores)

Chocolate chips—I like Enjoy life minis best—super easy to get anywhere locally

Food coloring

Pastry bag with tips

Leave eggs out of the fridge for 30-45 minutes until they’re room temperature. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Gather chocolate chip eyes, whiskers, pastry bag and flat tip for piping and a bowl for pink ear ‘fluff’

Separate eggs and beat with stand mixer until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt. Whip until soft peaks form, adding in sugar a little at a time. Continue to whip until firm peaks form, 6-7 minutes total at medium-high speed. Add in vanilla right at the end.

Working quickly, add a few drops of red dye to some of the fluff for the ears. Set aside. Put ½ the rest in the pastry bag with a flat tip.

Pipe out bunnies (hop on over to the video).  Bunnies can snuggle up right next to each other but should not touch. Paint on ears, add whiskers, eyes, etc.

Bake @ 250 for 60 minutes. Turn off oven, leave in oven for 1-2 more hours (or more, if needed, until firm) undisturbed, or overnight.

Put cookies in a sealed container and enjoy!

News and research:

Hot off the presses: new proposed legislation would REQUIRE labeling medication for gluten. This would be a game changer.

We know Celiac and other diseases change gut permeability. But what if this could be prevented, or changed back? New research is underway.

Even more concerns about the Nima sensor. FWIW, I’m all for what Nima is supposed to do, the question is whether it does what it’s intended to.

New study shows a link between childhood antibiotics and development of Celiac. Of course, this doesn’t separate out the chicken vs egg (antibiotics vs infection)

New study suggests that Celiac disease may cause permanent changes to cells in the intestines and predispose to greater inflammation and risks

SIBO is much more common in IBD, according to a new meta analysis.The OR is higher in Crohn’s (10.9) than UC(~8) but still, it should be considered for all IBD patients, especially those with resections. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/apt.15133

Low FODMAP and miss garlic? You can plant garlic now and use the sprouts. They taste just like garlic and it’s as easy as sticking a piece in the ground (or a pot) and watering it. Step by step guide here.

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

Be My G-Free Valentine

I hope you’re having a good, and cozy Wintertime. Here are some g-free resources I wanted to share:

A Valentines’ Day Candy list from CDF

Check your shelves for Applegate Farms BBQ lunchmeat—there’s barley malt in some products labeled gluten-free. And, of course some people just assume that because a company is good with GF for some products that others will be…and this can be a problem when ingredient formulations change!

NY Times did a nice review on the gut microbiome and health. It does likely play a large role in Celiac, although that isn’t discussed in this article.

Sourdough bread—it’s not gluten-free. It just isn’t. unless you make it with non-gluten grains. No matter who shares this on the interwebs, it’s just not true, so don’t fall for it!

Here’s a nice list of DC metro restaurants that are dedicated GF.

Are you ready for winter snowstorms? Meaning, do you have 3-5 days of shelf-stable g-free foods if you need them in case of a storm? I’ve got a list here. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but it’s good to have on hand.

Be my (oatmeal)

I love oatmeal. Maybe a bit too much. Oatmeal doesn’t love me back, unfortunately. But most people with Celiac can eat purity protocol oats without a problem. There are a ton of recipes for overnight oats out there, and I often have clients ask for a recipe that is really easy. So here you go!

Overnight Oatmeal
  • ¾ cup old fashioned purity protocol oats
  • 1 cup milk (moo milk, lactose free, almond milk, whatever)
  • ¼ cup fruit—I usually use berries
  • Flavor—I use a splash of vanilla and a few sprinkles of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
  • Nuts/seeds—optional—walnuts, almonds, chia, flax, etc.

Directions—add oats to a heat proof container. Add liquid and whatever flavors and fruit on top. Allow to soak 6 hours or overnight. Eat at room temp or reheat.

I generally make 2-3 for my husband at a time and mix up the flavors through the week so he doesn’t get bored. I tend to use ball jars because they work well for this.

Fodmap friendly—use ½ cup oats, ¾ cup lactose free milk and allowed fruit for the elimination phase.

Autumn Healthy Eating

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

As some of you know, I love chocolate. I’m also a fan of balance, so more than a dozen years ago, I made the choice to stop giving out Halloween candy.  I didn’t want to stare at a bowl of candy the month prior and the month after Halloween, because I know myself well enough to know if I see it, I’m much more likely to eat it. Instead, we gave away rubber duckies, mini-slinkies, yo-yos, stamps and other small fun toys. My husband was initially not happy with my decision, and I was a little nervous, until my first trick-or-treater ran back to his dad and said, “Cool! A slinky!” One year, a group of girls even told my husband that she looked forward to the “rubber ducky house” every year.  Somehow, I resisted the opportunity to say I told you so.halloween treats

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

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

Extra bonus–if you decide to go the non-food-treat option, Food Allergy Resource & Education (FARE) now has an interactive map so that children with food restrictions can find safe houses to visit and you can add your house to the map so children and parents know that safe options are available..OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

You can also opt for healthier treats, like mini Larabars and mini Kind Bars, all fruit leathers, mini-packs of pistachio nuts, etc.

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

Fall recipes:

One of the things I love most about autumn is the beauty of the leaves. We’re not there yet, so the best is yet to come! The food is a close second! Here are some of my favorites:

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

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

Celiac Awareness Month

Happy Celiac disease Awareness Month! To celebrate, let’s talk about how to eat gluten-free and healthy. Skip down for info on the 2018 GF Expo.

Gluten-free and Healthy

Going gluten-free can be a big turning point to greater awareness and eating healthier.  All of a sudden, people need to start reading labels, and many begin to wonder why there are all of these ingredients they can’t pronounce and why high fructose corn syrup seems to be in everything.  Or maybe after years of eating anything and staying slim, the pounds have started creeping upward, or blood pressure, blood sugar or cholesterol numbers are moving in the wrong direction.

Are you getting the nutrients you need?

Nutrition is important for everyone, but particularly for people who have food restrictions.  While a gluten-free diet is absolutely necessary for everyone with Celiac Disease, there’s an abundance of highly processed, sugary foods out in the gluten-free aisle—often even more than conventional foods.

Years ago, the Food and Drug Administration realized that many people weren’t getting enough vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, folate and iron.  So they added a variety of nutrients to the foods supply in everyday foods like flour, bread, pasta, cereal, etc.  However, gluten-free breads and cereals are considered specialty products, and very few are enriched with these vitamins.  Not only that, but many gluten-free breads are filled with things like tapioca, potato and cornstarch to give a light texture, and these foods often are high in carbohydrates, but lower protein, vitamins and minerals.  So when people switch from eating regular packaged foods to eating gluten-free processed foods, they don’t realize that they’re actually eating a lot fewer vitamins, minerals and fiber and usually more calories, too.

This is not inevitable! The good news is that that many healthy foods are naturally gluten-free, like fruits, vegetables, beans, many whole grains, nuts, seeds, and plain fish and poultry.

Also, for many people, untreated Celiac disease leads to nutrient deficiencies.  Absorption of many nutrients happens through the villi in the small intestine.  When these villi are damaged and flattened, fewer nutrients are absorbed.  Because of this, people recently diagnosed with Celiac may even need more nutrients to make up for this.  Iron, B vitamins, Vitamin D, calcium and magnesium are particularly important.

It’s awesome that there are now gluten-free brownies, donuts and beer. But just because they are gluten-free does not automatically mean good for you!  Often in the beginning, people want to try anything that’s gluten-free, and are just focusing on getting through the day.  The focus is on finding replacements for old favorites and learning all of the new rules.  That is definitely a great short-term strategy but it’s only the first step!

Here are some suggestions to make your diet healthier:

  • Go for healthy fats. Increase the amount you eat of fatty fish, like salmon, trout, flounder, sole, rockfish and more.
  • Calcium is key! This can be from Greek yogurt, cheese, or milk, or if you avoid dairy, choose sardines, collards or turnip greens, beans, nuts, etc.
  • Switch to a GF baking blend using sorghum, garbanzo beans, almond or coconut, brown rice or other whole grains.
  • Have fruit or vegetable with every meal—5-9 servings a day.  That can be as easy as an orange with breakfast, a veggie soup and a salad with lunch, dried fruit for snack and 2 servings of veggies along with dinner.
  • Include legumes (i.e., dried beans and peas) with your meals regularly; increase your intake of these foods gradually to limit gas.
  • Drink your water!  8 glasses a day are important to stay hydrated, especially when you increase the amount of fiber you eat.
  • Include nuts and seeds several times a week, which also contain monounsaturated fats and can help control blood cholesterol levels.
  • Find a way to reduce stress: acupuncture, meditation, deep breathing, talking to a friend, dancing, walking the dog, or whatever works for you. This under the umbrella of nutrition, because most people don’t reach for Brussels sprouts when they get stressed.
  • Use healthy oils, like olive, avocado, etc. and eliminate trans fats.
  • Limit sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
  • Take care of yourself. This includes sleeping well, reducing stress, and doing things you enjoy.  You’re worth it.


And, it’s about that time of year! Don’t miss the 2018 Washington DC Gluten-Free Expo and Education day, which is on June 10th! Learn more and register today at www.dcglutenfreeexpo.com

The expo sells out every year and it’s to benefit a wonderful cause–the Children’s National Medical Celiac Disease Center.


Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Wellcoach in Fairfax VA.  She helps people with a range of dietary issues, including Celiac Disease, 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.

Healthy Bones

Healthy life, strong bones

Strong bones are a key ingredient for lifelong health, activity and independence.  In addition to supporting our movement, our bones provide structure and protection for our organs. Women are particularly vulnerable to osteoporosis and osteopenia, conditions where bones are fragile and there are increased risks of fractures. People with Celiac disease, hyperthyroidism, or who are on steroids to manage medical difficulties, such as people with Ulcerative Colits and Crohn’s disease are at increased risk.

Over half of the U.S. population over 50 has either osteoporosis or low bone mass, costing $19 billion annually. Eating a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle habits are a big part of promoting healthy bones for life.


Calcium is a necessary ingredient for stron g bones and teeth, and it’s vital for the rest of our bodies, too.  Nerves, muscles and even our heart depend on calcium to function. While it is easiest to build bone mass during teen years, our bodies constantly need calcium throughout our lives.  It is normal to lose some bone mass with age, and bone loss tends to be greatest after menopause.

It’s not just in milk…

Dairy is one of the primary sources of calcium in the American diet, but yogurt and cheese are good sources too.  There are plenty of non-dairy foods with calcium, such as tofu, salmon, kale, broccoli, most cereals, almonds, spinach, sesame seeds, etc.  There are also a variety of calcium-fortified foods available, such as orange juice, dairy alternatives, etc. Or, if none of those options are possible, supplementation with calcium may be useful.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, or the “sunshine vitamin” is vital for bone growth and strength and for overall health and well-being, too.  Vitamin D deficiency is common, so if you spend little time in the sun you may want to consider asking your doctor about getting your level checked. Foods also provide vitamin Milk, cereal and some juices are fortified with vitamin D, and some kinds of fish have vitamin D.  There are also vitamin D supplements available.

Weight bearing exercise:

These bones are made for walkin’!  Regular exercise can be a great way to keep your bones healthy and have fun, too.  Yoga, tai chi, walking, golf, strength training, dancing and more can do wonders for your bones.

Prebiotic foods:

A happy and healthy microbiome at work builds strong bones. Studies show prebiotic foods and supplements tend to lead toward stronger bones. These foods are often FODMAPs, though, so if you have digestive distress, this can take a little juggling.

Moral of the story: For healthy bones, make sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D, get regular weight bearing exercise, add in prebiotic foods and of course, choose your parents wisely.

Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Wellcoach in Fairfax VA.  She helps people with a range of dietary issues, including Celiac Disease, 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.

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G-Free Springtime

Gluten-Free Springtime…almost

Spring is here. Really. Sooner or later, even if it doesn’t seem like it this week! Although the snow can be a great reminder about emergency preparedness. Do you have 3-5 days of non-perishable gluten-free foods if you need it? Because you never know…

Passover isn’t here until March 30th but many of the products are already appearing in a wide range of grocery stores. Not all Passover foods are gluten-free, but many are, and there’s a much wider selection than usual at the grocery store. This can be a good time to stock up on GF cakes and mixes, cookies, macaroons, “bread” crumbs and supplies like potato starch. As an added bonus for people with multiple restrictions, most Kosher for Passover products contain no corn or soy products, either. More here

From a gluten-free perspective, possibly the best part of Passover is AFTER Passover, when all of the great gluten-free goodies are on sale! Passover ends April 7th, so mark your calendars, because the word has gotten out in gluten-free circles and the mad rush is on.

BTW, there’s always a mad rush to find the “matzo style crackers” that are GF. I saw them today at Whole Foods in Springfield…

Passover recipes are here, and thanks to Moment Magazine for sharing some of my thoughts on a gluten-free Passover, and some great recipes, too.

News & gut health roundup:

  • A new article came out this month, suggesting that accidental gluten contamination may be more common than many people with Celiac realize. The study analyzes stool and urine peptides from a little under 200 adults and children with Celiac to estimate gluten consumption. Basically, what the study found is that on average, people who reported eating a gluten-free diet were eating potentially unsafe levels of gluten. That doesn’t even include people who intentionally or knowingly go off the diet. The researchers conclude that this accidental gluten may be linked to symptoms and/or intestinal damage. Unfortunately, the article does not go into the likely sources of accidental gluten. If you’re curious to read more, the abstract is here.
  • The Canadian Celiac Association weighed in on the NIMA sensor. In a nutshell, their concern is that it might give people a false sense of security, and they recommend against it.
  • Know someone with nerve pain related to gluten sensitivity? A new study showed that people following a strict gluten-free diet were almost 90% less likely to have nerve pain. It’s fascinating because some people assume gluten only affects the gut.
  • Take a purple pill? Some studies show PPIs for reflux aren’t risk free. Everyone is going to need different treatment plans, but looking at diet and lifestyle is often a sensible starting spot.
  • A new study shows that Splenda may affect gut bacteria, and this might cause increase risk for people who have relatives with IBD, or increased genetic risk.
  • People taking VSL #3 for Ulcerative colitis, VSL has changed formulation in the past year, and the new strains aren’t physiologically the same as the ones that were studied for UC.
  • Low FODMAP? I’ve updated my products list lately.
  • Gluten-free & More Magazine covered a happy, healthy gluten-free pregnancy and shared some of my tips.
  • Traveling around the world? Gluten-Free Globetrotter shared a great list of apps.

I’m teaching a workshop on living gluten-free at City of Fairfax Regional Library on 4/22/18 from 1:30-2:30pm. It should be fun, and I hope to see some friendly faces!

Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Wellcoach in Fairfax, VA.  She helps people with a range of dietary issues, including Celiac Disease, 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 Feb News

Happy February! There’s been so much interesting news in the gluten-free world that this month’s newsletter is devoted to new research and developments of interest to the Celiac and gluten-free community.

Finally! The FDA has issued draft guidance on gluten in medications, and the comment period is open now. In short, currently there are no specific rules for labeling gluten in medications, and gluten (or wheat, more specifically) may be used as a filler or excipient without being clearly labeled. “We encourage drug manufacturers to have accurate information about their products’ gluten content available so they can respond to questions from consumers and health care professionals. Manufacturers should pay attention to possible sources of gluten in their products, consider specifications when appropriate, and consider the impact of changes in ingredient sources or formulations on gluten content.” Full statement here

Note: the FDA is proposing suggestions or recommendations for manufacturers, which means it’s not enforceable. But it is still a start! I’m glad to see it because this has been a long time coming—I presented to the FDA in 2011 and it was definitely not of interest then.

Want to comment on this draft guidance? https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FDA-2017-D-6352-0002

Speaking of comment periods, the FDA petition on enforcing current gluten labeling regulations is only open until Feb 19th. More here.

A new study suggests that cardiovascular diseases and complications are more common in people with Celiac, and recommends more aggressive screening.

The debate rages on the ideal time to introduce gluten to infants. A new study shows that later introduction may raise the risk of type 1 diabetes. In a nutshell, the TEDDY study follows children at high risk of type 1 diabetes. There’s a lot of overlap here with genes for Celiac. For these infants, introduction of gluten before 4 months led to less autoimmunity than intro 4-9 months, or after 9 months. The study was prospective, which is generally a plus, but they also didn’t look at the quantity of gluten introduced, which may be relevant. Previous studies have shown the opposite of this effect, and all current guidelines recommend introducing all foods after 4 months. Hopefully further research will give us a clearer direction.

…and a podcast on children from a few weeks ago, and factors that affect risk of developing Celiac

For those of you who are low FODMAP, or just craving a sweet and delicious treat, try these Maple Spiced Nuts. They’re a long-time favorite of mine.

And a few of my favorite gluten-free Valentine’s day treats.

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