Cheryl is the “go-to” nutrition expert on Celiac disease and a gluten-free diet for the DC Metro area. She has worked with thousands of gluten-free clients to help them make life easier and healthier. She teaches locally, statewide and nationally, and her articles have been published in nationally in Today’s Dietitian, Simply Gluten-Free, Gluten-free Living and the Gluten Intolerance Group magazine, on Let’s Talk Live DC and more. She has been quoted by on gluten-free living in the Washington Post, the Washingtonian, MSNBC, Living Without, Delight Magazine etc. She has enjoyed serving as the Nutrition Advisor for DC Celiacs since 2007. She also has the honor and pleasure to serve as one of the teachers for the 2020 official AND Certificate of Training course in gluten-related disorders for Registered dietitians.
Whether you’ve been gluten-free for 3 weeks or 3 decades, it’s normal to have questions. The first priority, of course, is to make sure diets are completely gluten free. But when the dust settles, it’s important to make sure it’s a healthy, varied and enjoyable gluten-free diet! Fiber, B vitamins, calcium, iron, and more are particularly important for people on a gluten-free diet. Many people also have questions about how to have a balanced diet, about label reading, identifying hidden sources of gluten, how to avoid gluten when dining out, how to navigate holidays, travel, and how to make it EASY so that it fits in your schedule and budget.
And, of course, there are all the “normal” nutrition questions: how to combine a gluten-free diet with eating for high cholesterol, blood pressure, cancer, etc.
Many of my favorite gluten-free resources are here. and here: Videos on Celiac Disease and a gluten-free diet Feel free to also sign up for my gluten-free newsletter on the sidebar for research updates.
Nutrition support can often help manage most digestive disorders, and Cheryl has had over a dozen of years of experience with managing a wide range of GI conditions, including IBS, IBD (Crohn’s and Colitis), gastroparesis, reflux (GERD), eosinophilic esophagitis, microscopic colitis, and more. She has written and edited educational courses on digestive health for Today’s Dietitian and Nurses.com. There’s an alphabet soup of diets, from FODMAPS to SCD to GAPs in addition to low fiber, low fat and beyond. We’ll figure out what strategy will best manage your symptoms, and customize it to the way you live.
Low FODMAP: There are a variety of dietary treatments that can help get stomach pain under control, and Cheryl has had many years of experience specializing helping clients manage digestive distress through diet. She has also done several intensive trainings on a low FODMAP diet, including the Monash University training, as well as trainings with Patsy Catsons and Kate Scarlata. Low FODMAP helps reduce tummy troubles in over 70% of people with IBS and IBD. Did you get a one page handout on the low FODMAP diet? There’s much more detail that most people need to be successful, and to implement the reintroduction phase.
Different clients need and want different things, depending on lifestyle needs. That being said, usually we cover:
- Foods allowed and avoided, including quantities
- 45+ simple recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks–these are available for a range of lifestyle needs, including
- Texture modifications, such as for IBD (Crohn’s and UC)
- …and more
- Brands for stores nearby, or brands that are accessible online
- Meal delivery services, with special discount codes
- Dining out, apps, cookbooks, websites, travel, etc. as needed.
For some with IBD (Crohn’s and Colitis), the Specific Carbohydrate Diet can be a great complement to your medical care. More about the research behind the SCD here.
Many people have a good general idea of what to eat, but the knowledge alone often is not enough to find balance with food. Taking a good look at HOW and WHY we eat are often even more important to help re-shape our food choices. Mindful eating helps us slow down and develop a healthier, more balanced relationship with food. Not only are there many documented benefits of mindfulness for stress, depression, sleep, IBS, diabetes and binge eating, but it often can lead to long-term weight management, too. Especially if you’re a lifelong dieter and it never sticks long term, it’s time to try something new. Cheryl has trained in mindfulness, meditation and mindful eating through University of San Diego’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Teacher Training, Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in DC, Insight Meditation Center of Washington, Michelle May’s Am I Hungry? and more.
Curious about the research behind mindful eating? Cheryl recently wrote a featured article in the March 2013 issue of Today’s Dietitian on Mindful Eating and on Treating Binge Eating Disorder Utilizing Mindful Techniques in the Summer 2014 issue of Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN). She has webinars for professionals on Mindful Eating and Mindless Eating through Dietitian Central, and gave a talk in Nov 2013 to the Maryland Association of Diabetes Educators on using Mindful Eating for Diabetes Management. She also created and teaches a grad school MS nutrition class, Mindful Eating and Nourishment for Maryland University of Integrative Health.
Often when people are diagnosed with food allergies, they need assistance figuring out what foods are safe to eat on their new diet. Removing foods from the diet may also lead to deficiencies of nutrients over time, and it’s important to find other foods that supply those nutrients or identify supplements that will fill those needs. People with food allergies often have questions about eating out, traveling, navigating the school system and more. Cheryl can help you find safe foods, create a healthy, balanced diet, and direct you toward great books, websites, blogs, support groups, stores and other helpful resources.
Cheryl works with a range of food limitations, from common ones in the “top 8”, sesame, alpha gal meat allergies, etc.
Since Cheryl has had an egg allergy for many years and then developed Celiac disease and other food intolerances, she has learned a tremendous amount about juggling allergies and living well from both her personal and professional experiences.
Cheryl presented at the FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) annual conference in 2013 on eating well with food allergies.
Binge eating disorder, or BED is the most common eating disorder, and fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to help address it. Often restructuring timing and kinds of foods can be very helpful. Cheryl also uses techniques around mindful eating, reducing mindless eating and self-compassion to address BED.Research shows that many people have significant improvements with this technique, and Cheryl shared her expertise with her nutritionist colleagues on how to use mindful techniques to address BED in the Summer 2014 issue of SCAN Pulse.
Whether you need to gain or lose weight, it’s helpful to have a supportive guide.
Most people have a general idea of what they need to do to lose weight: eat less and do more. But often it’s not that simple, and it’s important to sort through a lot of the diet “hype” that we hear in the media every day. Many people need support to develop a healthy, balanced plan to support overall health and well-being. Clients keep a food record, which helps Cheryl identify eating pattern and helps YOU be more aware of your every day choices.
Research has shown time and time again that diets don’t work. Not only that, many people gain MORE weight after dieting. So Cheryl’s focus is on goal setting with clients, and choosing measurable, steps towards where you want and need to go, rather than assigning a diet plan. Often this involves components of mindful eating and/or reducing mindless eating.
There has been a huge increase in autoimmune diseases in the past few decades. There is an increasing body of research linking nutrition and lifestyle to the care of these conditions, such as Hashimoto’s, Graves’, Multiple Sclerosis, Sjogrens’, RA, Psoriasis, and more. In most cases, nutritional changes can help mitigate symptoms and improve energy as well. Cheryl has authored courses for nutrition professionals on autoimmune thyroid disease, presented on nutrition at the DC area MS chapter and has worked with clients with autoimmune illnesses for nearly a decade.
All people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue are different, and there is no one diet that works for everyone. However, many people with FM, CFS and other autoimmune conditions report great improvements in pain and fatigue levels when they remove gluten from their diet. Other foods that often cause problems are sugar, artificial sweeteners and nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers). Most people also do well when eating less processed foods and a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Cheryl works with clients with FM/CFS to help create a diet that will help them feel better and have more energy. A common topic is food preparation when dealing with fatigue, and creating strategies to make healthy eating possible and keeping meal preparation simple, inexpensive and doable.
Babies bring a lot of joy, and there’s also a time of more awareness and attention to eating well for the 2 (or more!) of you. Cheryl had the honor of presenting to the Institute of Medicine panel of pregnancy and weight gain, which helped create our current national guidelines, and worked with the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program in DC for 5 years supporting new families and training other nutritionists to do the same.
Cheryl can help you make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need for a happy, healthy mom AND baby during pregnancy and afterwards. Cheryl was a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) from 2003-2019.
Whole foods eating involves eating foods in an unprocessed state. Generally, the more “whole” a food, the healthier it is for us. For example, eating an apple is healthier than apple sauce or apple juice, because it has more fiber and other healthy nutrients. Cheryl can help you find ways to incorporate more whole foods and limit processed foods in your diet.
Vegetarian diets and vegan diets can be very healthy if they are planned to make sure you are getting enough nutrients. Often, vegetarians and vegans find they are not getting enough calories, protein, iron, calcium, B12 and or other vitamins. Cheryl can help make sure you are getting a balanced diet and find ways to add more nutrients, if needed, while honoring your decision to avoid animal products.
PCOS is a common reproductive disorder that often causes weight gain and problems with blood sugar, too. Diet, exercise and stress management are a huge part of avoiding or managing complications of PCOS. Fortunately, over the last few years there has been increasing research on the best food strategies.
In 2003 I was diagnosed with PCOS and met all of the diagnostic criteria. It was a major call to action for me. After a dietary overhaul and lifestyle changes, I’ve gone years without any symptoms and no longer meet any testing criteria for PCOS. Many factors can contribute to hormone imbalance, yet I’m a huge believer that our daily choices can absolutely make a big impact on symptoms and quality of life.
Cancer & survivorship:
Nutrition is so critical during cancer treatment and also afterwards to prevent re-occurrence. I’ve been working with people during cancer treatment and afterwards for nearly a decade, and have taught on nutrition at Smith Farm for Healing Art in DC, at Life with Cancer in Fairfax, at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring and at the Wellness Community in Bethesda. I’ve also been a member of the Oncology Nutrition Dietetics Practice group for years.