Happy G-Free Holidays

I hope you’re having a cozy December! I’ve collected a list of NATURALLY gluten-free desserts—tried and true recipes that aren’t specialty cooking, but just happen to be marvelously, naturally gluten-free.

Remember, these foods are only GF if you use GF ingredients. And as always, check labels to avoid surprises. A surprising number of chocolates may contain traces of gluten, including Lindt, Ghiradelli, Godiva and many of the Trader Joe’s options. I’ve got lists of chocolates listed gluten-free here and here.

This list has a range of options, from allergy-friendly, grain-free, low sugar to completely decadent options. Your call! There are enough options to choose from that you can surely find something that works for your lifestyle/food restrictions that you and your family can enjoy together.

Low FODMAP? I’ve italicized recipes that are FODMAP friendly, and or easy to adapt and I have a longer list of low FODMAP holiday treats here. Remember, portions matter.

Italicized=low fodmap (watch portions) dairy free (DF), egg free (EF) and soy free (SF), NF (nut free) *=check labels

The Washington Post even has a  “Cookie Generator” with a gluten-free option. Of course, you need to make sure the ingredients are be mindful of cross contamination, etc. but this is an easy way to keep traditions without venturing into specialty flours and unfamiliar territory.

My personal favorites? My Bittersweet Chestnut Fudge and my Vegan Pralines.

And for my low FODMAP friends, more recipes here: a round-up of low FODMAP holiday desserts. Just watch the portion sizes.

Oh, right, and there’s holiday food, too. I’ve got a G-Free Turkey and Ham list.
And along those lines, I’ve got some of my  favorite tips for a balanced and delicious holiday season here.

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, 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 Thanksgiving 2020

The holidays will be different for most of us this year. Now, this is my 14th year posting on a gluten-free Thanksgiving,  I’m used to things looking different. But this is a different different. And I’m not quite sure how each of us are going to navigate the challenges of a smaller, socially distant or outdoor feast. It’s new for all of us, and I haven’t quite figured out how we plan to mini-size the meal.

There are some tips here in the Washington post (not all gluten-free, of course) and on Livestrong

rollsGF Jules has some info on how to shrink a typical feast and make it gluten-free. We made Jules’ pull apart rolls last year, and they were delicious!

And if you plan to order in, some gluten-free options are here….and Epicured just published a 25% off code EPICUREDBLKFRI for gluten-free and low FODMAP meals (nope, none of these are sponsored, just sharing what might be of interest)

My traditional Thanksgiving ideas are here, if you are looking for ideas and recipes to get you started.

So here’s to you and the ones around you having a safe, happy and healthy holiday, where ever it takes you or wherever it finds you. This current situation may be uncomfortable, but it is temporary—your health and the health of the ones you love is a longer-term proposition.

ps–have some extra time and want to watch a great conference on Celiac? Canadian Celiac Association’s conference was recorded just this weekend and is available here…all 6 hours with lots of experts.

pps–surely you’ve heard about the new GF oreos that will be arriving in January 2021? A handful of Ben and Jerry’s flavors are certified GF, too. Nope, neither are known for their major health benefits, but for many, they are a nostalgic favorites. Re: oreos, many details about ingredients and production are still TBD.

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, currently only virtually! Cheryl works with people to feel 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.

 

Autumn 2020 Newsletter

Infant feeding study, a low FODMAP vegetarian easy dinner recipe, news, Halloween & more

Mini-pumpkins


New study—breastfed infants were either fed gluten early (starting 4-6 months) or after 6 months. Then they compared the rates of Celiac at 3 years. Surprisingly, the early intro of “high dose” of gluten group had lower rates of Celiac at 3 years (0%, vs 1.4%)
The study suggests that higher amounts of gluten may be the key to prevention here. They specify that this study involved an age appropriate “normal” amount of gluten—3.2 grams by 9 months—but  the paper does not provide an example of what that means in “real life”.
Longer follow up is underway…
Also: Hot off the presses—Celiac is not linked to increased risk of COVID. Phew!
And big news for many: For a long time, SIBO tests looked at 2 gasses, hydrogen and methane, but this would miss some people, because there was starting to be evidence that hydrogen sulfide was also a factor. Now labs are available can also examine this, too, and make the clinical picture clearer.
Ooh, did you hear? A bunch of Ben & Jerry’s flavors are about to be certified GF. If you happen to like ice cream. ?
Halloween on the way…
My standard Halloween suggestions here….some things may require adaptations.
From Allergic living–

Egg Bake Slice

Easy cheesy egg bake
We’ve still got an abundance of basil to use up this time of year, and it’s a balancing act of finding quick and easy recipes. This one takes about 5 min prep time and it’s delicious. Bonus—it’s gluten-free, vegetarian, low FODMAP, SCD friendly and adaptable for dairy-free.

Easy Cheesy Egg Bake: Low Fodmap

We’ve got a lot of basil growing wild right now, and I’m having a Ehlers-Danlos aka joint hypermobility flare. The brief EDS PSA–almost everyone with EDS has GI disorders, and 15% have Celiac and some have Crohn’s so there’s a lot of crossover with the usual crowd on my website. When my ligaments get lax, my prep time in the kitchen needs to get shortened. So this recipe involves only about 5 min prep time, which may be helpful for a range of busy people. Know anyone who falls in that category? 😉

Egg bake photo

Easy Cheesy Egg Bake

(low FODMAP, vegetarian, dairy-free option, SCD option)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1- 12 oz can roasted red peppers, sliced or chopped
  • 1-2.25 can sliced black olives (or canned mushrooms)
  • ½ cup fresh basil, loosely packed
  • 1 TBSP scallion greens, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella or Jack cheese, dairy-free if needed
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8X8 glass pan. Open the can of peppers and black olives and drain in a strainer while prepping the other parts. Whisk the eggs for a minute, stir in the basil, scallions, cheese, drained veggies, spices. Pour into greased pan. Bake at 350 for 40 min or until done.

Low FODMAP note: Cento peppers roasted red peppers are easy to find–they are at Wegman’s or Whole Foods. Or, of course, you can always use fresh or frozen peppers.

SCD legal variation, choose an SCD legal cheese and check cans for starches.

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, 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.