January 21, 2019

Gluten-Free Dessert Ideas by Gretchen Scalpi, R.D.

Gluten-Free Dessert Ideas

Sticking to a gluten-free diet is a challenge under the best of circumstances but when it comes to creating desserts things get even more difficult.  So many delicious desserts like pies, cookies, cakes and pastries are made with flour containing gluten.

Creating delicious gluten-free desserts becomes easier when you keep the right ingredients on hand. Some common items to keep in your pantry include:

Almond meal flour
Arrowroot powder
Baking powder
Bittersweet chocolate
Canola oil
Cashew butter
Cocoa powder
Coconut flakes
Coconut milk
Cornstarch
Dried fruit
Espresso powder
Evaporated milk
Gluten-free flour mixes
Gluten-free spices
Granulated, powered and brown sugar
Lemon extract
Maple syrup
Nuts
Peanut butter
Rice
Seeds
Shortening
Sorghum flour
Tapico starch/flour
Vanilla extract

Be sure to check the ingredients on these products before you purchase them.  You will want to avoid wheat, barley, brown rice syrup, caramel coloring, rye, brewer’s yeast, wheat starch, hydrolyzed wheat protein, malt, malt extract, malt syrup, dextrins and malt flavoring.

Remember that baking gluten-free is different than regular baking.  If you don’t use a baking mix you will need to combine gluten-free flours to get the right results.  You can use psyllium husks, ground chia seeds or flaxseed rather than xanthan gum if it gives you stomach distress.  Baking at a lower temperature is recommended for some recipes to keep your dessert from getting too brown.  If you screw up a recipe consider turning it into crumbs for toppings or to be added to other recipes.

Many gluten-free flours don’t contain preservatives so you may find that desserts made with them dry out quickly or become rancid.  Store these items in a zip-top bag (with air removed), freezer wrap or in an air tight container in the refrigerator or freezer separated from other food.  Mark all containers used for gluten-free food to keep them separate from other containers.  Bring the stored food to room temperature before consuming.

Our favorite gluten-free dessert recipe courtesy of http://bakedbree.com.

Gluten Free Blueberry Crisp

Ingredients:

4 cups blueberries (any fruit will work)

Crisp:

1 cup gluten free old-fashioned, gluten free oats (we used Bob’s Red Mill GF oats)
1/2 cup chopped raw pecans
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Wash and pick over the blueberries. Add to an 8×8 pan. Add oats, pecans, almond meal, olive oil, maple syrup, and salt to a small bowl. Mix to combine.
2. Spread the mixture over the blueberries.
3. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, longer if the berries are frozen.

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Wellcoach®. She is the author of “The EVERYTHING Guide to Managing and Reversing Pre-Diabetes 2nd Ed.”, “The EVERYTHING Diabetes Cookbook 2nd Ed.”, “Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance At Health”, “The Quick Start Guide to Healthy Eating”, “The Quick Start Guide To Pre-Diabetes” and “Quick Start Recipes For Healthy Meals”.  To learn more about living and cooking gluten free watch her free webinar “Five Things You Should Know Before You Go Gluten Free!”

How to Eat Clean While Eating Gluten-Free by Gretchen Scalpi, R.D.

How To Eat Clean While Eating Gluten-Free

Clean eating is a lifestyle from the 1960′s that revolves around eating whole foods that are minimally processed or refined.  It sounds easy doesn’t it?  Sadly so much of our food now is overly processed or handled that adopting this lifestyle can take some work.  However, if you must eat gluten-free clean eating can be a natural progression.

Clearly you must avoid processed foods along with preservatives, artificial ingredients, trans fats and chemicals.  Add more dishes that include raw and fresh fruit and vegetables.  Base your diet around vegetables, fruits and gluten-free grains, beans, legumes, lean or vegetarian proteins and fats.  Add unprocessed nuts to salads and use them as snacks.

With clean eating you don’t try to eat less… you strive to eat more.  Eat three full meals and at least two snacks a day.  The goal is to keep yourself full of healthy, clean and gluten-free food so that you keep your energy level throughout the day.

Choose organic food as much as you can find and afford.  Go to farmer’s markets on the weekend and look for fruit and vegetables that is grown without pesticides.  Be brave and add new fruits and vegetables to your diet as often as possible.

Ditch refined sugar by eliminating soda, candy, baked goods and ice cream.  Use honey or maple syrup in recipes where sugar is included.  If you must use artificial sweeteners choose a product with stevia in it.

Drink water all day long while avoiding fruit juices, soda, sweetened coffee drinks.  You can also drink tea, coffee and milk but minimize how much coffee drink.  Reduce or eliminate alcohol.

Consider taking your own food to gatherings or eat before you leave. Avoid fast food and fried food. If you must eat on the go without packing a meal then go for a salad and ask for no croutons and use an oil and vinegar dressing.

Try keeping snacks on hand that fit both your gluten-free and clean eating lifestyle and are easy to eat.  Some of our favorites are bananas, nuts, hard boiled or deviled eggs, bell pepper slices, carrots, apples and celery with nut butter, popcorn, pumpkin seeds, Edamame, roasted chick peas and tuna packed in sunflower oil or water.

To optimize your gluten-free clean diet start exercising every day.  If you are out of shape start by adding walking to your day and move up to more vigorous exercise when you are ready.  As always consult your physician before making any dietary or exercise related changes in your life.

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, author and Certified Wellcoach® who has celiac disease and know the challenges of eating right with this condition. Gretchen is pleased to announce her new online program “Gluten-free Bootcamp”, designed to help those who need to follow the gluten-free diet. If you are new to the gluten-free lifestyle for medical or health reasons, you’ll want to attend Gretchen’s new free webinar “Five Things You Should Know Before Going Gluten-free

How to Travel Gluten-Free by Gretchen Scalpi, R.D.

How To Travel Gluten-Free

If you are gluten sensitive or have Celiac Disease then you know how difficult it is to manage your condition under normal circumstances.  Add to that a schedule that includes travel and things can get out of hand.  No matter how you travel or where you go follow these tips to eat gluten-free on the road.

* Use a travel agent to plan your gluten-free trip.  There are many options including guided travel with guides who share your condition.  Research all of your destinations in advance to find gluten-free restaurants.

* Ask your doctor to give you a letter explaining your diagnosis and dietary needs.  If flying mark all your food as gluten-free by adding labels or writing on bags.

* Start by notifying your hotel, airline, cruise line or train company about your dietary needs.  In addition to asking about gluten-free  options ask how food is prepared so you can avoid cross-contamination.

* Pack your own non-perishable food.  Make sure you have enough snacks like gluten-free trail mix, packages of tuna fish, dried fruit, cookies, chips and fresh fruit.  Make sure you have enough of your own food to eat when you can’t eat gluten-free.

* Many airlines offer gluten-free options for meals that you can purchase.  The standard airline code “GFML” is used to designate gluten-free meals. You must order these meals in advance and make sure that is what you receive while in the air.

* Take your gluten-free supplements and medication with you.  Don’t pack them in your suitcase in case it takes a side trip without you!  Keep them in your purse, briefcase or carry-on bag.

* Take a list of gluten-free food with you or download one of the many apps available for your cell phone or tablet.  If you are traveling to a foreign country buy the list in the language of your destination.

* Research restaurants at your destination online first and then call to verify the information you found.  Ask to speak to a manager when call.  Double check everything with the staff when you arrive.

* If you must stay in a hotel or as a guest in someone’s home be sure keep in mind that you will not be able to use certain kitchen appliances like a toaster or toaster oven to avoid cross-contamination.  If you do not have a mini fridge ask for one.

* Consider taking your own cooking utensils, knives, bowls and cutting board with you when you travel.  If you fly the utensils and knives must be stowed away in your checked baggage.

* If you need more help getting ready to make your gluten-free travel work for you make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian who has experience working with this challenging diet.

With a few precautions and advance planning traveling around the world can still be fun, educational and safe for your entire family.

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, author and Certified Wellcoach® who has celiac disease and know the challenges of eating right with this condition. Gretchen is pleased to announce her new online program “Gluten-free Bootcamp”, designed to help those who need to follow the gluten-free diet. If you are new to the gluten-free lifestyle for medical or health reasons, you’ll want to attend Gretchen’s new free webinar “Five Things You Should Know Before Going Gluten-free

5 Hidden Sources of Gluten by Gretchen Scalpi, R.D.

For people who must follow a gluten free regime for life because of a medical condition, gluten avoidance goes beyond merely choosing foods known to be gluten free.  One needs to be extra vigilant about avoiding all sources of gluten.  Unfortunately, gluten may be lurking in places that one would never imagine. Even meticulous attention to the finer details of gluten avoidance may not prevent incidental exposure to gluten from other places.

Here’s my list of hidden gluten sources which can cross contaminate safe and otherwise gluten free foods:

1. The toaster:  If your toaster was previously used for toasting wheat products, this is a source of gluten contamination.  It is impossible to clean out the inside of a toaster adequately.  Purchase a separate toaster that is used solely for the purpose of toasting gluten free breads or muffins.  Alternatively, if you have a toaster oven with a removable tray that can be thoroughly cleaned, you may use that to toast the gluten free bread.

2. Flour sifters:  The mesh screen found in flour sifters or mesh strainers are difficult to clean.  For the gluten free kitchen, these items should be replaced.

3. Wooden cutting boards, spoons, spatulas:  Wood is porous and if used with wheat products previously, small particles of gluten remain in the wood, despite cleaning.

4. Colanders are often used to drain pasta. The small holes in colanders are difficult to clean and get completely free of gluten.

5. Peanut butter, jam, or mayonnaise are just a few examples of foods that are spread on bread.  Knives that come in contact with bread and then go back into a jar will contaminate the spread.  Purchase separate jars of each, then label “gluten free” for the person who needs to avoid
gluten.

If you have been maintaining the gluten free diet for a while, yet still experience symptoms, dig a little deeper to see whether you are exposed to gluten from a “hidden” source.  In addition to the suggestions I’ve listed here, don’t forget to check your medicine cabinet, vitamin, and mineral supplements as well!

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Wellcoach. She is the author of “The EVERYTHING Guide to Managing and Reversing Pre-Diabetes 2nd Ed.”, “The EVERYTHING Diabetes Cookbook 2nd Ed.”, “Virtual Grocery Store Tour: Getting The Most Nutrition Out Of Your Food Shopping”, “Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance At Health”, “The Quick Start Guide to Healthy Eating”, “The Quick Start Guide To Pre-Diabetes” and “Quick Start Recipes For Healthy Meals”.  Read her articles, recipes and blog at
http://www.nutritionxpert.com and learn more about her books at http://www.gretchenscalpi.com.

Going Guten Free by Gretchen Scalpi

Going Gluten Free…

In the past few years, there has been a huge increase in the variety and availability of gluten free food choices. Most grocery store chains now devote an entire aisle to “health foods” and consumers will find many gluten free choices there.

Lately, I’ve had clients without celiac disease or gluten intolerance ask whether they should go on a gluten free diet to improve their health. The emergence of many food products, along with some help from celebrities and TV talk shows have made the gluten free diet popular indeed.

So should you go gluten free?  The short answer to this question is “it depends on your why you are doing it.” For those diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, the gluten free diet is the only treatment for getting well.  For everyone else, it’s NOT likely to be the magic bullet to weight loss or better health.

For years I have helped clients with celiac disease or gluten intolerance learn how to navigate in food markets and restaurants so that their food choices are gluten free.  The learning curve for going gluten free is pretty steep. It can take weeks or months to learn how to get gluten completely out of your diet. Just learning what foods are gluten free and how to read ingredient lists on labels is a daunting task itself.

This past week I got to experience that learning curve first hand, when I received my own diagnosis of celiac disease.  To say I was stunned is an understatement. Having none of the classic signs of celiac disease, it took me several days just to process this reality.  The proof, of course, was in the blood work and a small intestinal biopsy.  Had I not seen those results for myself, I would not be convinced.  So here I am in the same shoes as my clients who have to think about every food they choose to eat.  Fortunately for me, I already know what to look for and how to prepare gluten free foods.  It’s just that I’ve never had to do this before.

Yesterday I spent the better part of the day planning for the items I will need for my meals.  I’m weeding out those items I will no longer use.  It’s unlikely that I will purchase many of the packaged gluten free products, as many are high in calories and low on fiber and nutrition.  I’ll stick to the whole foods and try my hand at baking some gluten free items from scratch, using gluten free whole grains.  I know I will miss eating many favorite foods (pizza and pasta for starters), but fortunately I am fond of many naturally gluten free foods that I already eat on a regular basis.

In the weeks to come, as I adjust my style of eating I’ll add some recipes and observations about living the gluten free lifestyle to my blog.  I’m sure that even with my training and knowledge of the subject, there’s still lots to learn.

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen is the author of the books “The Quick Start Guide To Healthy Eating”, “The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Pre-Diabetes”, “The Everything Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd ed.”, “Pre-Diabetes Your Second Chance At Health” and the “Virtual Grocery Store Tour”.  Visit her website at http://www.nutritionxpert.com.