G-Free Vegetarian – Happy Celiac Awareness Day

Quinoa with mint
Quinoa bowl with mint

A gluten-free diet takes a bit of juggling, but what if you are following a plant-based diet?  It’s well established that there are health benefits to reducing the amount of meat in the diets of most Americans, and the lifestyle has appeal for some people based on ethical and/or environmental reasons. And, in the age of Corona virus with people getting sick in meat processing plants…well, there may be additional reasons.  Fortunately, with extra planning, a well-rounded and delicious gluten-free vegetarian diet is possible.

The good news is that many vegetarian staples, like beans, lentils, tofu, dairy, nuts, seeds and eggs are already naturally gluten-free.  And some of the best sources of vegetarian and vegan protein are gluten-free pseudo-grains, such as quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth. Also, grains, such as millet, teff and sorghum are very nutritious.  In addition to protein and fiber, they all have other vital nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium, etc.

It’s vital for everyone with Celiac disease to get enough iron, calcium, Vitamin D, fiber and B vitamin (including B12), because these are often lacking due to damage from the disease process and eating patterns often seen in gluten-free diets.  Pair that with a vegetarian diet, which can be lower in protein, iron, calcium, B12, omega fats, and Vitamin D, and it’s easy to miss out on necessary nutrients.

So what’s a vegetarian to do?

  • Focus on typical vegetarian staples that are gluten-free, like beans, tofu, nuts and seeds, and, of course fruits and veggies and.  If your diet includes dairy, eggs, fish, etc. these are very nutrient rich as well.
  • Eat a good source of protein with each meal.
  • Try quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth etc.
  • Get your vitamin D, iron and B vitamin levels checked.
  • Consider a vegan or vegetarian omega 3 supplement from algae if you don’t eat fish.

Sneaky gluten….

Several vegetarian staples have gluten. Make sure to watch out for these:

  • Seitan: many meat analogs are 100% gluten.
  • Tempeh: It’s made of soybeans, but wheat and other grains may also be ingredients
  • Miso: while miso is often made of soy, barley may be an ingredient, and it may not be clearly marked. It may say “malt” or “malt flavoring”
  • Falafel: These Middle Eastern fried or chickpea balls generally use wheat flour as a binder. Carefully check ingredients
  • Veggie burgers & crumbles: many, though not all veggie burgers have wheat or barley as ingredients.
  • Wheat by any other name: What’s in a name? Spelt, Kamut, orzo, couscous, freekeh, farina, semolina, matzo, tabbouleh and many more are all names for wheat
  • Sprouted or sourdough bread: these are often touted as lower gluten alternatives, and some companies even go as far as to say they are suitable for people who are gluten sensitive. This isn’t a safe option.  The only exception would be breads made with non-gluten containing grains.
  • Anything made or prepared in a shared fryer or an environment where cross-contact, or cross-contamination is likely. This includes many shared bakeries.
  • “Wheat free” is not the same as gluten-free! many products labeled “wheat free” may still legally contain barley or rye.
  • Please note–there have been recent issues with gluten contamination of beans and lentils in processing. This remains an issue. Do check your lentils carefully, and purchase consciously.

Happy eating!


Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, currently only virtually! Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, IBS, IBD and a range of tummy troubles. 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 Summer Fun

Hope you’re having a healthy summertime.

Green Beans from garden
Garden Green Beans

A few quick updates:
Time to do the happy dance! The Gluten-Related Disorders Training for health professionals is officially out. This is an effort to train dietitians and other health professionals on Celiac, and other disorders related to gluten. It’s taken over 6 years—close to 7! But it’s done.
Module 1: Medical Aspects of Gluten-Related Disorders and Gluten-Free Dietary Treatment. Alessio Fasano, MD Tricia Thompson MS, RD
Module 2: Going Gluten-Free: Moving Clients from Diagnosis to Implementation. Mary K. Sharrett, MS, RD, Suzanne Simpson, MS RD
Module 3: Enhancing Quality of Life in Individuals on a Gluten-Free Diet. Amy Keller, MS, RD, Anne Lee, MS, RD
Module 4: Gluten-Free Diet and the Life Cycle. Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD
Module 5: Nonresponsive Celiac Disease and Developing Alternative Treatments. Melinda Dennis, MS, RD Daniel Leffler, MD

I have no vested financial interest—but I’m excited that this resource is finally available, and more RDs will be educated on Celiac.
RDs, there will likely be grants available to reimburse the cost of the trainings if you complete all the units, and I will post more info as it’s available.

Long-time Celiac supporter Dr. Aline Charabaty has started a fundraiser to help those affected by the tragedy in Lebanon. If you’re inspired to help, here’s more information.

Wishing you a safe end of summer!

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, currently only virtually! Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, IBS, IBD and a range of tummy troubles. 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 Summer

Strawberries

Just a few studies and thoughts for summertime.

OMG strawberries! And the birds haven’t gotten them yet. Yum!

Strawberries
Home garden strawberries

If you are tempted to get out and growing, it’s the perfect time to plant tomatoes, peppers, basil, cucumbers…

And SOME Farmers’ Markets are opening, or partially opened, so do look if you enjoy them.

A new study suggests that probiotics may lead to a breakthrough in treatment for a gluten-free diet. Specifically, people with Celiac have lower levels of bifidobacteria, which tends to be linked to good health. But before you head to the supplement aisle, this research is still really early yet, so stay tuned.

FDA allows food substitutions because of COVID. ….and there’s concern that there may be slip ups that may lead to gluten added to foods accidentally, because substitutions are allowed. Gluten-free Watchdog has comments here. This is also a concern for people with food allergies. It’s a good idea to stick with brands you know and trust, and know do a good job, and when in doubt, check with manufacturers.

Celiac… and cookware? Maybe. A new study indicates that chemical exposures in pesticides, nonstick cookware, etc. is linked to higher levels of Celiac. This is only a pilot, but it’s interesting data for understanding triggers and prevention.

The National Celiac 5K is virtual…so for all you runners who want to get out there, May 30th is the date!

Children’s National DC is holding their Expo virtually this year on June 14th. Details here: Gluten-Free Education day

A PSA for local businesses with g-free menus—if you’re ordering take out, try to order from the small, locally owned places. Most are really struggling! The large chains will likely make it through this, but if you want your favorite places to be around in a few years, make sure you make the effort to order in and buy gift cards if that’s in your budget.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy summer,

Cheryl

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, currently only virtually! Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, IBS, and a range of tummy troubles,  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.

April G-Free Newsletter

Low FODMAP, gluten-free bunny meringue cookies
Easter Bunny Meringues!

It’s a strange time right now. I know, the understatement of the century. A month ago, I/we were all out and about and didn’t know how much would have changed, and how fast, and yet here we are. So…

Want to attend a great Celiac conference? For free? (ok, a donation) From home? Of course you do! Canadian Celiac Association is having their annual meeting online.

Easter bunny meringues—Passover friendly, too! Hop on over.

sprouted garlic

Sprouting garlic: Whether you’re low FODMAP and avoiding garlic, or looking for a fun DIY experiment to entertain yourself, or looking for something to entertain your kids, hopefully you can get your hands on garlic and some dirt, because that’s all you’ll need for this little experiment. This is perfect weather for sprouting it outside in Virginia right now.

Stay home, stay safe and wishing everyone the best.

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, currently only virtually! Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, IBS, and a range of tummy troubles,  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.

 

Sprouting Garlic (low FODMAP)

garlic-4
Sprouted garlic

It’s a strange time right now. I know, the understatement of the century. A month ago, I/we were all out and about and didn’t know how much would have changed, and how fast, and yet here we are. So…

Whether you’re low FODMAP and avoiding garlic, or looking for a fun DIY experiment to entertain yourself, or looking for something to entertain your kids, hopefully you can get your hands on garlic and some dirt, because that’s all you’ll need for this little experiment. This is perfect weather for sprouting it outside in Virginia right now.

The good news is that you can sprout garlic pretty quickly and use the shoots the same way you might use scallion tops. Monash hasn’t tested garlic sprouts yet, but similar foods, like the green parts of scallions and leeks are usually well-tolerated, so it may be worth giving this a go if you miss your garlic! It’s easy to do now, even if you don’t have a lot of space or light.

Love garlic? You’re not alone. For many of my clients on a low FODMAP diet, missing garlic is the biggest complaint. Sure, there are scallions and chives, and garlic infused oil, but…there’s nothing like the real thing!

I sprouted these in a few weeks in a tiny pot on my shady patio, so if it works there…it’s likely to work in any pot during Autumn, Spring or Summer.

Preparing the plant will only take a few minutes.

Take a large clove of garlic with the peel still on it.

garlic-1

Put it in the soil with the pointy end up, and then cover with just ½ inch of soil

garlic-2

Water…and watch!

garlic-3

This is at 3 weeks.

garlic-4

Let me know how it goes for you. And if you actually want to grow garlic bulbs itself and not just the shoots, you want to plant it deeper, generally 1.5 inches.

And a special bonus–sprouted garlic seems to have even more antioxidants than regular garlic.

Stay home, stay safe and wishing everyone the best.

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, currently only virtually! Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, IBS, and a range of tummy troubles,  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.

G-free Things I Love

chocolate almond cup

Things I love…and things I don’t

Chocolate almond cup
Chocolate almond cup

Hope you’re having a cozy Wintertime.

Here are a few interesting studies, and a quick and yummy gluten-free AND low FODMAP dessert you can make in 5 minutes. Yep, 5 minutes!!! It’s a chocolate almond cup for two. And then what I don’t love, and how you can make your voice heard.

tuxedo strawberries
Tuxedo Strawberries

And if quick, easy and delicious isn’t your thing, here are other Valentine’s day recipes I love to make.

Fun—SELF magazine shared my favorite book on relationship with food. Any guesses? It’s a great list they’ve put together.

Research:

Where in the world is the most Celiac? Here’s the most current research. What’s new/interesting? Celiac is more common in women than men. Interestingly, this study showed it was least common in South America, followed by Africa, North America, Asia, Europe and Oceania (includes Australia). This indicates that Celiac seems to be more common in Asia than in years past.

Trace amounts of gluten are common, even among people who believe they are strictly gluten-free. This is a small study…but caught my eye, especially as there’s been a push for ways for people to be less vigilant. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Menal health is an issue “without a doubt” for people with IBD. It’s hard, physically and emotionally! This matches what I see.

And now for what I DON’T like

General Mills is considering a new “Gluten Friendly” claim:*Gluten friendly in this context means items manufactured without gluten-containing ingredients. General Mills does not claim these items meet FDA requirements for “gluten-free” because of the possibility for cross-contamination with gluten, including due to shared cooking and prep areas in kitchens.

My take: OMG no. Gluten and I are not friends. The FDA defined gluten-free for a reason. The GF is recognizable and understood to mean gluten-free. They are being deliberately misleading.

Worse, these products are designed for food service—think hospitals, long-term care facilities, etc. These are often captive audiences, who believe they are getting gluten-free foods. As mentioned in the research above, many people are getting more gluten than they can safely tolerate already.

I know you’ve heard this rant from me before, but it’s upsetting. While I have no problem with people eating gluten-free because they just feel better, I worry about people who need to be strictly gluten-free for medical reasons. The underlying problem here is that even if you choose not to eat General Mills foods, if a big company decides to do this, and gets away with it, it will pave the way for others to do the same.

Fortunately, Gluten-free Watchdog is collecting comments, because this line is still in the “proposed” phase. Please send your comments along. This is when you want to make your voice heard.

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.

Happy G-Free Holidays

Christmas Meringues!

Something for everyone!

More recipes from around the web:

Wishing you a peaceful & joyful 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.

 

Diet for IBD

“Dining with Inflammatory Bowel Disease” is such a great article by Dr. Gu and Dr. Feagins. It’s a review covering research about the dietary causes and treatment of IBD. If you can, read the whole thing. It was limited access before, which motivated me to write up this summary, but now it’s open access.

In terms of what *may* trigger, or increase the likelihood of IBD:

IBD is increasing…and associated with a Western lifestyle. Many suspect diet is a main component of that.

General beliefs

  • Nearly half of people with IBD believe diet contributes to the development of the disease
  • 69% of people say they get little to no info from providers.
  • Info found on online is often restrictive, conflicting and of poor quality.

What diet components might contribute?

  • Meat—especially red meat, may be a component. When meat is digested and broken down in the gut, it releases hydrogen sulfide, which might be a part of the development of UC. There are several potential mechanisms, including that the gut mucosa may be more permeable to pathogens. While studies are mixed in their findings of the relationship between meat and IBD, there is generally a trend toward finding that relationship, and a prospective study showed that people with UC who had a higher red meat consumption had a greater risk of relapse.
  • Fat—a Western diet tends to have inflammatory fats. There’s been a lot of interest, and suggestion that omega 3 fats might be protective. One large study showed that women consuming healthier fats had lower risks of UC, particularly.
  • Emulsifiers—Much of the research is on animals, showing that these may cause bacterial changes through less diversity in the microbiome, a general increase in inflammation, less butyrate (a helpful short chain fatty acid) and may cause increased intestinal permeability and changes in the mucosa (!!!) Not good! Few studies have looked at humans, the little study that has been done suggests that carrageenan may cause problems for IBD patients.
    • These are nearly ubiquitous in anything found on a shelf in the grocery store in a package. This means things like carrageenan, polysorbate 80, carboxymethylcellulose and the range of gums found in so many foods on the shelves.
  • Microparticles: these are small particles of aluminum, titanium dioxide and silicon—more study is needed to see where these fit and what impact they may have.

Beneficial effects

Finally! Research is starting to support the protective effect of fiber. Most studies are suggestive of a protective effect, although not all are statistically significant. Fiber may help with mucosal function because it supports the production of short chain fatty acids.

Preventing relapse

One study reports that ~68% of people make diet changes to prevent relapse, with 66% giving up favorite foods. But what are they choosing? And does it help?

  • Spicy, dairy, fatty foods and fibrous foods and possibly alcohol were what patients ID’d as a problem, but studies haven’t backed it up.
  • There is brief, but important mention that many test positive for lactose malabsorption, but a smaller portion have symptoms, mainly diarrhea—43% with CD, and 32% with UC. That’s a lot, but it isn’t all patients, either.

The diets…oh, the diets.

Exclusive Enteral Nutrition (EEN)

This means only 100% liquid feeding, either orally or by tube feeding. This is generally done for pediatrics, and it is unknown why it works, but it does for Crohn’s. Polymeric is as helpful as elemental. Studies are good for children, as good as steroids are; this isn’t the case for adults. (Cheryl’s note—my understanding is that EEN is often used in Japan with good rate for success—and many adults are unwilling to do it. I can’t blame them!) EEN does not seem to help UC.

CD-TREAT/ CDED (Crohn’s Disease Exclusion Diet) are two diets that try to mix EEN and “whole foods” to increase tolerability for children. This is very promising. (Cheryl’s note—details of the CDED have not been fully released because studies are still ongoing. While some info is available, it isn’t enough to fully design a diet. It’s frustrating as a clinician. Stay tuned.)

SCD—Specific Carbohydrate Diet

The SCD removes many foods that are believed to be poorly absorbed. It removed all grains, and focuses on fruits, vegetables, proteins, nuts. Etc. While studies are still limited, there is indication of improvement, including reduction in medications, and results have been promising, especially in pediatric patients.

(Cheryl’s note: I wrote a review of the research on the SCD for RDs a few years back which is mostly up to date.)

There are ongoing studies, including the DINE SCD and PRODUCE study, which looks at comparing a strict SCD diet with a modified SCD. These will be great additions to our overall knowledge.

Low FODMAP

Low FODMAP is generally used for IBS. It restricts rapidly fermentable carbs, and if patients benefit, reintroduces them in a systemic way to identify culprit foods.

There have been only a few studies, but those found that people on a low FODMAP diet did see decreases in symptoms for people with IBD. Changes were in symptoms like pain, bloating, etc.—fecal calprotectin did not change.

  • Low FODMAP is not intended as a long-term diet—it is an elimination diet. Following the elimination long term might lead to nutrient deficiencies. Don’t do it!

Cheryl’s note: The article notes that low FODMAP is notoriously hard to follow. May I suggest that with the support of an experienced professional, it really should be quite manageable. 🙂 Monash University has a list of RDs around the world who are extensively trained. I do have some resources for low FODMAP here.

Semi-vegetarian diet

A small, prospective study found benefits in Japan. This has not been duplicated in other places by other researchers. However, studies of reducing meat in other circumstances have not yielded benefits. This may be about different diet practices or adherence.

Curcumin may be a helpful adjunctive therapy. There is some data for mild to moderate UC. There is also now data for patients with CD showing endoscopic improvements as well. (Chery’s note—exciting!)

Moral of the story—more data is needed. And give lots of love to providers who you see who know and care about diet and IBD, because they are awesome!

Many thanks to Phillip Gu, MD and Linda A Feagins, MD.

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.

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 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.

Gravy

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.

Stuffing:

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

Dessert!

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. 

October G-Free Newsletter

Halloween toys as treats
Halloween toy treats

Halloween candy lists are out for 2019. As many of you know, sometimes candies that are normally GF are not gluten-free when they are in holiday shapes. But those of you who have been reading for a while know my feelings on Halloween candy—skip it, and go for toys! It’s more inclusive, and you’re less likely to eat the leftovers.

HuffPo has a GF bread roundup. Is your favorite there? Maybe your new favorite will be.

ghost-shaped meringues
Spooky Meringues

Looking for a fun recipe? Spooky meringues are a staple around here. Meringues are a regular here because they’re simple…. And I appreciate that they are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, low FODMAP, gastroparesis friendly, GERD friendly…and delicious! The recipe is here for the bunnies, just draw a squiggle instead of a bunny. ?

Interesting research

Why get relatives screened for Celiac? Because they’re more likely to have it, even without symptoms. 44.4% had Celiac, 28% with no symptoms.

Isn’t this fascinating–> different probiotics may be able to suppress or even reverse food allergies. Granted, studies are currently only in mice, but it’s still a neat and encouraging concept.

Ah, the new cross-contamination study…I have so many thoughts. First, food anxiety is real. It’s a problem. I see it in clients, and I experience it, too. It’s no fun to get sick when eating out, or with friends. And study after study has shown that people with Celiac often have incomplete healing from intestinal damage. And then there’s a new study showing that it’s safe to be less concerned with casual contact and cross contamination at home. It’s a very small study, and that’s been a major concern. It addresses components (toasters, pasta water, etc.) when the real question is, what would the implication be for a real person over a typical day? The study contradicts all of the major Celiac orgs and what I’ve seen with clients over the years. I’m really curious to see if/when it’s repeated, and I have very mixed feelings. And, of course, if people are getting all the “allowed” contamination at home, what happens when they inevitably go out?

Bottom line:

  1. This is a very small study
  2. The test methods seem to be inadequate (my background isn’t in this arena)
  3. People with Celiac can only tolerate trace amounts of gluten. It’s often easier to control contamination at home than out.
  4. I absolutely agree with study authors in articles saying this study means that people should feel safe traveling without bringing their own pots and pans and utensils with them as they travel. I have rarely encountered clients who do that, and if this study provides peace of mind on that front, great.
  5. As summed up by Dr. Fasano from the Center for Celiac research: interesting, but it’s not enough to change any of the current guidelines at this point.

I look forward to more research on this as it comes out…and will keep you all posted.

And re: food fears, there’s a great post here from Kate Scarlata on food fears.

A new study on the AIP diet shows that it helps IBD (Crohn’s & UC). This is great news! The AIP is a very restrictive diet that removes grains, sugars, nuts, seeds, eggs, nightshade veggies, beans, and more. But…the rates of improvement were about the same as studies that were less restrictive, which is disappointing. It’s possible it helped people who had more severe damage. But the study doesn’t try to separate the effect of unlimited RD support, a health coach and a community focused on stress reduction better sleep, etc. and attributes all the positive changes in quality of life to diet change, which isn’t reasonable.

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.