Happy G-Free Holidays ’18

I hope you’re having a cozy December! For most of us, the holiday season is a time of a lot of food, and that can be pretty stressful on a gluten-free diet. I was sorry to see a column in the other day in the Washington Post on someone who was angered by the requests of a guest with Celiac. Of course, my first thought was that the guest was making her life and the host’s life much harder, too.  Some people are really motivated to help and others aren’t, but the simpler we can make requests, the safer it is for us, and the easier it is for the host to help out.

For most people, it’s a combination of asking ahead about food, seeing what things can be easily shifted without much difficulty, and bringing along dishes to fill in the gaps—and keeping a protein bar or nuts in your pocket just in case things go south and something doesn’t go as planned.

With all of that in mind, 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, 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.

A Happy, Healthy Holiday-2013 Newsletter

Hopefully you’re all staying warm and cozy this December. It’s always a busy time for everyone, so here’s some good stuff for surviving and thriving this holiday season.celeriac soup

Wintertime generally means cold, and to me that means soup. Whenever I can, I make my own–I adore chicken and turkey  soup, and I love my Red Lentil DalCreamy Veggie SoupSniffle Stew…the list is endless!

Canned soup is a also great fallback. Here’s a list of soups that avoid BPA. BPA is an additive in many can liners, and research has indicated there are potential links between BPA blood pressure, weight, PCOS and/or endocrine conditions.

Of course, December is famous for reasons other than soup. For most people, mindless munching is also a huge part of the season, so here are my top 5 holiday mindless eating tips:

  1. Survey your options: Research shows that people at a normal weight are more likely to survey all of their options, then hone in on what they most enjoy. Otherwise, we have much more of a tendency to keep going back. Standing further from the buffet, facing away from the food and engaging in something else fun (conversation, dancing, photography) also can be a help.
  2. Surround yourself with what you want to see. Remember all that talk about a see-food and eat it diet? Make sure you’re seeing the foods you want to be eating. Put seasonal fruits such as grapefruits, mangos and my personal favorites, pomegranates, on the counter or in your refrigerator where they are easy to grab. Bonus points for putting them at eye level!
  3. Choose the special foods: If you can’t live without mint fudge, then plan to have a piece or two! Skip on the “filler” foods you can have every day, like chips and dip or even booze.
  4. Limit alcohol. I know that’s not always the easiest sell, but sometimes it’s helpful to consider which you’d enjoy more, that truffle or that 2nd glass of wine. Not only is alcohol empty calories that slow your metabolism, but it can be harder to make good choices after you’ve had a few. It can help to set a target before you go. WaPo included some of my tips for reducing excess last year.
  5. Keep the evidence: Out of sight, out of mind, right? If you don’t keep the wrappers or plate, it’s easier to conveniently forget how many mini plates you’ve already munched through.

Wishing you a warm and wonderful holiday season, and a happy New Year!

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, family sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Cheryl works with people to feel and look their best with a range of specialties, including Celiac Disease, food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating. Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please click here, email or call 571-271-8742.

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