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New Year, New You: Tips for How to Maintain a Healthy Gluten-Free Diet
At some point or another, we’ve all been guilty of the holiday splurge. When we’re surrounded by friends and family at a party, it’s easy to reach for the gluten-free cookie instead of the carrots on the veggie tray. With another holiday season behind us and a brand new year ahead of us, it’s the perfect time to resolve ourselves not to just stick to a gluten-free diet, but to enjoy a healthy one as well.
Sticking to any diet for the long haul can be tough, but with some discipline, education and practice, you can maintain a healthy gluten-free diet. Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips that helped me out after my diagnosis of celiac disease.
Eat Fresh Foods
The good news about the gluten-free diet? The most nutritious and healthy foods are naturally gluten-free! Incorporate as many fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats into your diet as you can. Not only will you be healthier for it, but you won’t have to worry about gluten hiding somewhere on the ingredient label. Many grains, like quinoa, millet and rice are all naturally gluten-free as well, so look at the gluten-free diet as a chance to get healthy and experiment with new grains.
Instead of reaching for packaged food, try to make your own. Even the novice cook can find gluten-free recipes they can feel confident making (check out the Recipe of the Week for some inspiration!). With a little practice, you’ll be whipping up delicious (and nutritious!) gluten-free meals everyone can enjoy.
Cook in Bulk
Between shuffling the kids to and from school, heading to work and taking care of the household, life can get very busy, very quickly. It’s during the hectic times that people often opt for fast food or takeout. When maintaining a gluten-free diet, however, this can be challenging and puts you at a higher risk for cross-contamination. That’s why I usually recommend cooking a larger meal than is necessary, so you can freeze it and easily reheat it later when you’re short on time. One of NFCA’s staff members opts to cook all of her meals for freezing and refrigerating for the entire week on Sundays, while others make larger batches than they normally would while they’re already cooking. No matter how you tackle cooking in bulk, it makes life easier to have delicious, healthy meals already made when you’re in a pinch.
Be Careful with Packaged Foods
Many processed foods are loaded with sugars and fats, so it’s a good idea to limit your intake with these. It’s unrealistic to think we’ll never need that emergency gluten-free snack bar or want that chocolate chip cookie, but we can work towards eating them sparingly and finding brands that fit better with our resolve for a healthier lifestyle. NFCA staff regularly updates the product review blog, Gluten-Free Hot Products with the latest brands and varieties to hit the market, so check there daily for some leads!
What other tips do you have for staying healthily gluten-free? Tell us in our online forum at Inspire.com!
To your GREAT health in the New Year,
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The holidays are over, the kids are back in school and it’s time to make healthier food to help keep those New Year Resolutions. After the holidays, we love homemade soups especially because (within reason) you can throw anything in and make a good soup. Now is a good time to freeze some of those holiday leftover ingredients, like extra celery stalks, to make some delicious, hearty and healthy soups.
WINTER VEGETABLE SOUP
I had loads of cooked vegetables leftover from our holiday dinner, so I decided to turn them into a winter comfort food with this creamy, tasty soup. Not only is this soup gluten-free, but it’s also lactose-free and dairy-free.
SHRIMP FAJITA NACHOS
A friend recommended a Mexican restaurant in our area that accommodates her family’s gluten-free needs. My husband and I gave it a try and loved the Shrimp Nacho Fajitas so much, that I replicated them at home.
CHOCOLATE CARAMEL DELIGHTS
I found the original recipe in a Christmas cookie cookbook years ago and recently started making gluten-free versions. This is something the kids will enjoy doing with you on a weekend. Just remember cooking times will vary depending on your oven and size of cookie.
About Chef Oonagh Williams
British-born award-winning chef Oonagh Williams has a culinary arts degree and was trained in London and Switzerland. Based in New Hampshire, Chef Oonagh began adapting meals to gluten-free versions after her son was diagnosed with gluten and lactose intolerance two years ago. To learn more, visit Chef Oonagh’s website at www.RoyalTemptations.com or ‘Like’ her at Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh on Facebook.
By NFCA Staff
Have you made a New Year’s resolution to adopt a healthier lifestyle? Whether you vowed to eat more vegetables or start hitting the gym, here are a few resources that can help you meet your health goals:
If you’re not already seeing a registered dietitian, now’s the time to do it. Dietitians can help you develop a healthy eating plan that meets your gluten-free needs. They can also address any nutritional deficiencies in your diet. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website, EatRight.org, is also a wonderful resource with a wealth of helpful tips. Just remember; not all recipes and food suggestions on the site are gluten-free, so double-check your ingredients.
Short on time? Webinars offer a quick way to get informed, and many are recorded so you can listen at your convenience. Here at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, we offer free monthly webinars featuring leaders in the celiac disease and gluten-free fields. Many health coaches like Diane Eblin of The WHOLE Gang and Jennifer Fugo of The Gluten Free School also run free webinars or teleseminars with gluten-free lifestyle tips.
The Gluten-Free Edge
NFCA Athlete for Awareness Peter Bronski teamed up with gluten-free blogger and nutrition therapist Melissa McLean Jory to publish this book last year. If you’re looking to get in shape or meet a specific fitness goal, you’ll find inspiration in the stories from fellow gluten-free athletes. The book also shares a gluten-free nutrition plan with recipes to keep you fueled throughout your workouts. Order The Gluten-Free Edge here.
Be Free for Me
BeFreeforMe.com invites you to sign up to receive free coupons and samples from gluten-free manufacturers, which can add up to big savings over time. But the real gem is the “Free Thought” email, which sends an uplifting quote to your inbox each morning – a daily dose of positivity to help you take on the day.
The new website from The Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center offers multiple in-depth articles on gluten-free nutrition, including key points and take home messages. The medical section will be added this year.
NFCA Scientific/Medical Advisory Council Member Rachel Begun, MS, RD, puts gluten-free nutrition tips and trends into simple terms. Read her blog if you’re looking to branch out and try new ingredients – including some you may never have heard of.
The fourth and final installment of NFCA’s popular Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity series is now available. Featuring expert insights from members of NFCA’s Scientific/Medical Advisory Council, this installment focuses on many unknowns about non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Questions in this section include:
Visit Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: Part 4
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has teamed up with Vitacost to help you kick start your healthy New Year’s resolutions – with a gluten-free giveaway!
Create a wish list on Vitacost.com between now and January 31, 2013. Tell NFCA about your list and you could be one of five lucky participants to win your list (up to $50 in value).
Best of all, you decide what goes on your list. Baking mixes, nut butters, snack bars, agave nectar, quinoa and more are all available. See how much you can get for $50 – and then get it for free! (For a glimpse of what $50 can buy, see our review of Vitacost.com here.)
For full contest details, visit NFCA’s "Wish List" Giveaway.
Did you know many companies reserve budget dollars for matching employee donation matching? It’s true! There are thousands of companies that will match their employees’ donations to non-profit organizations like the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). Donation matching helps to double or triple a single donation and makes a major impact on non-profits’ programs and services.
Check out the new page on CeliacCentral.org to learn more about Corporate Donation Matching and to see how you can double your gift to NFCA and your other favorite non-profits (at no extra cost to you!) in just 4 easy steps!
Learn more about Corporate Donation Matching.
Craving something hearty and healthy for dinner to stave off the chill of winter? Look no further than this Chicken Stew with Smoked Paprika from Allergic Living. The smoked paprika works to perfection here, adding subtly sensational taste.
See more gluten-free recipes from Allergic Living here.
Those newly diagnosed with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity almost immediately realize that traditional beer is no longer an option during happy hour. Perhaps the most popular alcoholic beverage, traditional beer is brewed using malted barley. So if barley-based beer is off limits, what other alcoholic beverages and liquors can a person living gluten-free enjoy? Join NFCA as Tricia Thompson, MS, RD, a gluten-free expert dietitian, reviews a hot topic - current gluten-free labeling policies of alcoholic beverages, as proposed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s Interim Policy established in May 2012.*
Sponsored by Bard's Beer, this webinar is free of charge!
*The TTB has stated that this Interim Policy was released pending a ruling from the FDA. Once the FDA releases a final rule on labeling of food as gluten-free, the TTB will decide whether any revisions are needed.
Attention athletes, adventure-seekers and active families! Colorado River & Trail Expeditions (CRATE), known for their amazing rafting trips through Desolation Canyon along the Green River in Utah, is hosting a special gluten-free trip from June 25-29, 2013.
The CRATE team was introduced to the gluten-free diet by National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) volunteers Cheryl Lynne Simpson and her son Jack. Having learned how to accommodate the Simpson family’s gluten-free needs, CRATE is excited to host the 5-day rafting trip, fully loaded with gluten-free food options.
Read more details about this gluten-free rafting trip.
It’s our mission at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) to educate everyone about gluten-related disorders, especially the chefs who are serving gluten-free food. Our Gluten-Free Resource Education and Awareness Training (GREAT) Kitchens program is designed to teach everyone in restaurants, from the wait staff to the chefs, on how to safely prepare and serve gluten-free meals.
Over the past few months, NFCA has been recruiting top chefs from across America to join our Chef’s Table, a group of ambassadors who are dedicated to spreading the word about GREAT Kitchens and the need for gluten-free training in the foodservice industry. Now, we want you to meet them!
Meet the Chef’s Table: Part 1
Garrett Berdan, RD: Registered dietitian Garrett Berdan has been honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for his work with school nutrition programs and Chefs Move to Schools. He’s even featured in First Lady Michelle Obama’s latest book, American Grown!
Timothy Grandinetti: Chef Grandinetti is Chef/Partner at Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar in Winston-Salem, NC. His cooking skills are so impressive, he was appointed by Governor Matt Blunt to represent Missouri in the Food Network’s Challenge series, “The Great American Seafood Cook Off.” He believes in GREAT Kitchens so much, he says the training of his entire staff is paramount to the restaurant’s success.
Stay tuned for Part 2 in February, including a chef who's competed on the Food Network's "Next Iron Chef."
What top chef do you think should join NFCA's Chef's Table? Tell us on NFCA’s Facebook page on Thursday, January 3rd starting at 12 p.m. EST. Jump in the conversation at any time!
GREAT Kitchens is a gluten-free training program run by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). The online, multimedia course teaches chefs, managers and other foodservice professionals how to properly store, prepare and serve gluten-free food. Find out more about GREAT Kitchens.
By Alicia Carango, NFCA Communications Assistant
Researchers Believe Pest Resistance Molecules in Wheat May Play Role in Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
Many components of celiac disease are well understood, but non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a lesser understood, more recently recognized condition. A recent study has lead researchers to believe that a-amylase/trypsin inhibitors (ATIs), two molecules naturally found in wheat that act as a natural pest control for the plant, may actually trigger the innate (non-specific) immune response in people with NCGS.
Read more from Celiac Central.
Celiac Experts Author NEJM Article on Gluten-Related Disorders
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Scientific/Medical Advisory Council Member Dr. Alessio Fasano and co-author Dr. Carlo Catassi, both of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland* published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine to update physicians on celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and why more physicians need to be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of both conditions.
*Note: The Center for Celiac Research (CFCR) is moving! As of January 7, 2013, CFCR will join Mass General Hospital (Mass General) in Boston. The CFCR will also work in partnership with the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston. Read more about the move.
Dunkin' Donuts Pilots Gluten-Free Baked Goods
Representatives from Dunkin' Donuts have confirmed that the breakfast and coffee giant is test marketing gluten-free donuts and muffins at select locations in Florida and Massachusetts. The new gluten-free baked goods are certified gluten-free and come individually wrapped.
The Next Generation of Gluten-Free Baking
As the gluten-free diet gains more attention from the mainstream media and celiac diagnoses increase, the demand for gluten-free baked goods is on the rise. New technologies are aimed at improving the shelf life of gluten-free baked goods, and bakers are experimenting with alternative grains, such as hemp, sorghum and teff instead of the more commonly used white rice flour.
Read more from Food Navigator.
Researchers: Pill for Celiac Disease Could be on the Horizon
A recent article highlighted potential new therapies that could assist with a gluten-free diet. One study hopes to achieve a “Lactaid-like pill” for celiac disease. Lactaid currently is taken by people who are lactose intolerant in order to comfortably digest dairy. Modeling from the idea of the Lactaid pill, other studies are working towards a pill that would protect against minor gluten ingestion (such as the exposure that can result from cross-contamination). Celiac disease experts caution that these therapies would not be intended as a replacement for the gluten-free diet, and that individuals with celiac disease would still need to avoid gluten.
Read more from WebMD.
Quinoa Gaining Popularity
Quinoa is an old favorite in the gluten-free community, but those who aren’t gluten-free are taking notice of the ancient grain as well. In this article, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Founder and President Alice Bast talks about quinoa’s nutritional value as well as its versatility in making delicious gluten-free meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Read more from NJ.com.
By Alicia Carango, NFCA Communications Assistant
Erewhon Corn Flakes
Cereal lovers, add a new brand to your shopping list. I tried out Erewhon’s Buckwheat and Hemp cereal for a previous newsletter and liked them a lot, so I knew I’d be a fan of their corn flakes, too. They’re super crunchy and super good. I had a friend over when I gave these a try, so I gave him a bowl and told him to let me know what he thought. Between slurps and crunching, I heard something that sounded like “They taste like corn flakes,” so I take that as a good sign, seeing as though the bowl was emptied in a matter of seconds. I bet these would make a great gluten-free alternative to bread crumbs too, maybe for some chicken cutlets. Check out their other varieties at www.AttuneFoods.com.
Farabella Perle with Spinach Gnocchi
I love gnocchi; growing up in an Italian family, it’s a Sunday dinner staple. The Farabella Spinach Gnocchi looked a little different than your typical gnocchi, which looks more like a tightly wrapped shell. These were perfectly round and slightly green because of the spinach. Not sure what to expect, I boiled them until they floated, added some sauce and spices and dug in. They were slightly chewy, but the flavor was fantastic. Traditional gnocchi is made from potato (but usually have wheat flour in them), so this gluten-free version wasn’t too far off from the original. I’d definitely give these a try again. They’re sold through Quattro Bimbi and have a lot of other gnocchi and pasta varieties, too: www.QuattroBimbi.com.
Chocolate Chip Cookies from Gluuteny
Late on a Friday afternoon, our Director of Development Kim Moyer stopped by my desk with the biggest chocolate chip cookie I have ever seen. After being told “you have to try this,” I took a chunk of the cookie and was so surprised by its soft, moist texture. Had I not seen the label on the packaging myself, I would have never believed it was gluten-free. This chocolate chip cookie is a keeper for sure. I can’t wait to try out the gluten-free bakery’s other baked goods! They even have some recipes on their site you can try out at home: www.Gluuteny.com
Blue Diamond Nut Chips
Fans of Blue Diamond Nut Thins are in for a treat with their Nut Chips. The chips are a bit thicker than the nut thins, so they’d be great for dipping or adding your favorite gluten-free topping. I tasted the Sea Salt flavor and found myself wishing for a bowl of salsa to pair with them. They come in a Sour Cream & Chive and Cheddar flavors as well. Check them out at www.BlueDiamond.com.
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