Gluten Free Shampoo & Conditioner

gluten free shampoo & conditionerThe decision to use gluten free shampoo and conditioner is entirely individual. Some people recommend using them, others do not. Now, please mind you that I’m simply sharing my OPINION on this sensitive subject. For myself, I try to use a gluten free shampoo and I do recommend it for my patients (please note that I’m a pediatrician so my patients are kids).  Gluten is not absorbed through the skin and I know that we generally do not go around eating our shampoo.  HOWEVER, kids do. They are constantly putting things in their mouth and I do not want to trust that they will keep their mouths completely closed while bathing. So yes, I do recommend gluten free shampoo and conditioners for kids.

As for myself, I have the annoying habbit of playing with my hair and yes, I can admit it, I sometimes use my mouth to hold sections while curling my hair. Don’t judge, you know you do it too.  This doesn’t mean I won’t use a shampoo that isn’t gluten free. Of course I will, I’m just much more careful when I’m using it. I don’t question it at the salon because I do not have the risk of getting it in my mouth when rinsing it out.  There are a few gluten free brands that are easy to find and very reasonably priced- you may be using them already and not even know it!  Lots of people with celiac do not use GF shampoo and conditioner and do very well. Others feel that it does cause a reaction and choose to use GF products.  If you opt to use them, here is a short list to get you started!

California Baby Skin Protectant Shampoo & Body Wash California baby is great- their website lists if there is gluten in their products or not. I highly recommend them if you’re just getting started because their website is very user friendly!

Dove Damage Therapy– Dove is great with their labels, if it contains gluten, it’s usually written on the ingredients list.

Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Hair Care Smells great and works amazing but pricey!

Kirkland Signature Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner This is one of my favorites! It’s from Costco and very reasonably priced! It works great!

Savonerrie -great source of GF products

xoxo

Lithuanian Kugelis

Gluten free kugelisIn my family, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without one of our favorite dishes- homemade kugelis. Kugelis is a traditional Lithuanian dish made of grated potatoes, eggs, and bacon. It’s probably one of my favorite things to eat and once you look over the recipe you will see why- there’s nothing healthy about it! It’s truly Lithuanian comfort food!  It can be a bit tedious to make but it is definitely worth the effort.

Just to note- the potatoes need to be grated. Most food processors just don’t cut it! The texture turns out pretty weird if it is not grated properly. When I was growing up we would use a hand grater and sit for hours grating potatoes for my grandmother. If you’re using a hand grater make sure that you use some vitamin C to keep the potatoes from turning brown. No one wants brown kugelis. Now I’m spoiled and, since I love making this dish, I invested in an electric potato grater. I can pretty well grate 5 pounds of potatoes in under 2 minutes. Gram would be jealous. Also, lots of versions of this recipe call for regular milk, but I grew up using carnation milk in our family recipe. Neither are wrong, but you can play with it and see which you prefer. I’ve heard that you can substitute 1 cup almond milk for the cows milk and it eliminates the dairy component, but I haven’t tried it myself. As for the egg component for you vegans- I tried using the substitutes and I just didn’t care for it as much. Sorry. I tried.

Kugelis is traditionally served with sour cream and/or applesauce so make sure you have some on hand. Some recipes you find will have you adding flour to the mixture but you can easily substitute potato or rice flour to make it gluten free. In this recipe I took one extra step and was able to skip the added flour all together. One of the pain in the butt steps of kugelis is straining the grated potatoes (please go get some cheesecloth and make your life easier). Once you have the excess liquid, aka potato juice, allow it to sit for a few minutes and drain off the liquid. There should be a nice thick white layer at the bottom of your dish- hello starch! Who needs extra flour? Not here! Just add that back into the recipe and tah-dah! Gluten free!

  •  5 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds bacon, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 6 eggs
  • 5 oz carnation milk
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Peel potatoes and place into cold water to keep from turning brown
  2. Chop bacon into small pieces and cook until brown throughout. Do not remove bacon from grease
  3. In a large bowl, beat 6 eggs
  4. Add 5 oz of carnation milk and mix well
  5. Grate onions and incorporate into egg and milk mixture
  6. Line a second large bowl with cheesecloth. Don’t do just one layer, I usually use double/triple layers to keep it all together.
  7. Using a hand grater, begin to grate potatoes. You may need to add crushed vitamin C to potatoes to keep from browning. If you’re using an electric grater, you can skip the vitamin C
  8. Squeeze potato mixture with the cheesecloth to drain liquid
  9. Add potatoes to egg mixture and and stir until well incorporated
  10. Allow liquid to rest (just a few minutes) and strain off the liquid, add the remaining starch back into the egg and potato mixture.
  11. Add bacon and ALL of the grease into the large pan and mix well. Yes. All. Of. The. Grease. I told you it wasn’t healthy
  12. Add salt and pepper to taste
  13. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray
  14. Pour mixture into dish
  15. Bake for 1 hour and 15minutes

Enjoy! (and please spend an extra few minutes in the gym after this one!)

xoxo

Gluten Free Parmesan Risotto

20131205-080543.jpgRisotto is a delicious Italian rice dish. Typically made with arborio rice, it is cooked to a cream consistency and served as a side dish, or alone!  Making risotto is takes some effort because you need to follow the steps carefully and be a slave to the process. It’s MUCH easier if you have everything with you by the stove so you don’t have to run around your kitchen. When I’m cooking risotto I usually premeasure everything and just grab and toss when needed (like on those cooking shows except I’m not nearly pretty when I’m cookingand there’s no camera crew in my house). I usually make double of this recipe and we have enough for a few days. Leftover risotto is just as good as a fresh batch! Yum!

  • 1 small onion,  chopped (that should yield about 4 oz of chopped onion)
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups boiling water
  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter and add onion, cooking until tender.
  2. Add rice, stirring to coat with butter
  3. Add white wine and simmer until liquid evaporates (1-2 minutes)
  4. Add boiling water, 1 cup at a time until nearly absorbed (depending on how high you have your stove set you may need to add more water. Ideally you shouldn’t have to, but if you’re out of water and its still crunchy toss in another cup and cover your pan)
  5. Cook until rice is tender but firm (your mixture should be creamy at this point)
  6. Remove from heat and add parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper
  7. Allow to cool slightly and serve immediately!

Enjoy!

xoxo

Celiac basics for patients & those that love us

So what IS celiac disease?

This is a question I answer all too frequently. Usually someone will interject that it is a food allergy. No, it isn’t. I’m not allergic in the same way that someone is allergic to bees or peanuts.  Celiac disease is considered to be an autoimmune disorder. Our small intestine normally has villi, small fingerlike projections that stick inward helping our body absorb what we eat. In celiac disease, our body begins to attack these villi, destroying them. Without these projections, we cannot absorb nutrients well. Untreated, celiac disease can lead to osteoporosis, infertility, and even cancer.  The tricky thing with celiac disease is that not everyone’s symptoms are the same. Yes, of course, there are the most common symptoms of abdominal cramping and diarrhea, but that does not mean every celiac patient has those symptoms!

Now you may have heard of gluten insensitivity and wheat allergies. They are not the same. However, celiac disease(CD), non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and wheat allergies all fall under the same umbrella term of “gluten intolerance.” The end result is the same- avoid gluten because it is doing some form of damage, however, the mechanism of damage is different for each. You may wonder “what difference does it make?” Well, ultimately it doesn’t when you are considering treatment- the gluten free diet is ideal for all three. However, the genetics of celiac disease and the associated illnesses apply to CELIAC DISEASE. This makes a huge difference when we are looking at long term prognosis and symptoms as well as what it means for our families due to genetics.

If you’re reading this blog, you either 1) have celiac disease, 2) love someone with celiac disease, 3) love the gluten free diet, or 4) are learning about celiac disease for other random purposes.  This post is directed to those who love us. If you have celiac disease- you get it. You know what happens. If you don’t have celiac disease, you have to work really hard to understand and learn “the rules.”  Trust me, my fiancé took a while to figure out what it would be like to date someone with celiac disease and 3 years later, he’s still learning. It can be daunting, but it’s doable! I’m going to try to keep this pretty straightforward so consider it your celiac disease 101. Eventually you’ll move up to the next course!

What happens if you eat gluten?

Well, like I said, everyone is different. It can range from abdominal bloating and pain, chronic diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, constipation, fatigue, etc. (here’s a list!)  Most commonly, your loved one will end up with abdominal cramps and diarrhea. It’s not pleasant. It can last a few hours, or a few days. Plus, its embarassing. I don’t want to tell anyone that I have diarrhea constantly- and they don’t want to hear about it either. Some people end up with rashes including dermatitis herpetiformis, psoriasis, eczema, and even with oral ulcers. This makes for very unhappy people!

What is the hardest part of the gluten free diet?

Oddly enough, at this point, I don’t think the diet is too hard. For ME, when I’m in control. See? There’s the catch.  I feel safe in my bubble, but we can’t all live in a bubble now can we? Now for me to give that control over to someone at a restaurant or, even more worse- at their own house, is pretty daunting. I’m usually confident that if the chef/waitress understand “gluten free” that they will be able to figure out what I can/cannot eat, especially if they are able to come up with substitutions without hesitating. My friends? Well, they are well meaning, but more often than not, unreliable. My close friends and family will usually run over the list of ingredients with me, but I feel bad sometimes asking people to securitize their labels.  This is usually when I’m just getting to know someone or I’m a guest of someone I’ve never really met.  That being said, I usually get over it pretty quickly though because I’m not willing to suffer for their benefit. (Okay unless it was my niece that tried really hard to share her birthday cake with me by removing all of the cake and giving me just frosting- full of cake crumbs. Yeah, I ate a bite. But she’s beyond adorable and how could I tell a 6 year old she didn’t do it right?)

Cross contamination is a real concern. I love my friends and family but sometimes they don’t get it either so don’t feel too bad. Gluten can hide in lots of places, you can’t just wipe off a pan used for gluten containing food and cook something gluten free. Same with the barbeque grill. In my house, we line everything with foil or parchment paper. This saves a ton of time worrying and aggravation when I realize something isn’t right just a little too late. I used to have a completely gluten free household, but since my fiancé moved in, cross contamination has become an issue.

Other than food, what else contains gluten?

Makeup, lotion, lipstick, shampoo, soaps, you name it. The list is long, and it’s hidden in a lot of different things. You don’t have to master it all. I usually recommend picking a few different things in each category.  Here’s a list of a few gluten free lotions. Are there more? Absolutely! But please don’t overwhelm yourself. I recommend my patient’s and families find a few go to items in each category. Once you’re comfortable, feel free to add to your own list, but remember to check ingredients with the companies because they can change without warning. Going gluten free isn’t just about sticking to a diet. It’s a lifestyle.

What can other’s do to keep celiacs safe?

It’s simple. Avoid cross contamination. Don’t eat off my plate with your fork if you’re eating gluten containing pasta. Can we share? Sure! Get a second set of silverware just for that when you’re out to eat! Don’t mess up my refrigerator. Seriously.  My fiancé would occasionally leave uncovered fried chicken on the top shelf and crumbs would tumble down onto other things. So ours is labeled carefully and he has specific places he can place food in there. Also, everything is labeled.  We buy condiments in 2’s. One is his, one is gluten free.  For example, we have two identical butter containers, one is his and one is mine. Mine is labeled and on a separate shelf. Anyone that is gluten free can use mine, otherwise, they have to use his.  I don’t want to worry about crumbs!

If you’re still worried or have questions- just ask! Trust me, I would rather have someone ask too many questions about what I can/cannot have than just assume something and put me at risk.  If you’re trying to learn about celiac disease because someone you love has it, there are plenty of resources out there! If you’re having trouble finding answers- shoot me a message and, hopefully, I can point you in the right direction!

Hope this helps get you started!

xoxo

Homemade Bolognese Sauce

Gluten free gnocchi with homemade bolognese saucePasta has always been one of my favorite things to eat. In college, it was my go-to meal for late nights and even now it is a quick meal to prepare. I love heavier sauces and given the time of year, bolognese is one of my favorites! It’s easy to prepare but not something I want to do after working a long shift so I tend to make a pretty large batch. It freezes well so you can easily double to recipe (or triple!) and end up with a stash on hand in your freezer! I use this recipe a lot, especially with my arancini di riso (Italian rice balls- yum!) To make it easier on myself, I use my favorite gluten free sausage instead of regular ground pork. It’s already seasoned. Just make sure if you are using sausage that it is gluten free because some of the casings/fillings have gluten!

  • 1 large onion
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 6 tbsp tomato paste
  • 8oz tomato sauce
  • ½ tbsp sugar
  • ½ cup water
  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat
  2. Sauté onions and garlic until soft
  3. Add pork and ground beef and heat until brown throughout
  4. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, and sugar
  5. Add ½ cup water
  6. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes

Enjoy!

xoxo

Gluten Free Gnocchi

Gluten free gnocchi with homemade bolognese sauceGnocchi is a pretty great substitute for pasta when you’re looking for something a little heavier. Gnocchi are usually potato based, but flour is added to help bind so you need to make sure that you gnocchi is gluten free if you are going to pick up some at your local grocery store. They are pretty fun to make and you can easily have your kids help you out as well!  When I make a batch I usually freeze some for later. For a sauce we usually try some extra virgin olive oil and minced garlic, but my favorite it enjoying it with Bolognese sauce! Delicious!

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 cups gluten free flour (rice flour works great)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 egg
  1. Roast potatoes until soft (you can boil them but I like the taste of roasted potatoes more, plus boiled potatoes take on too much water)
  2. Allow to cool slightly
  3. Peel potatoes
  4. Mash potatoes with a ricer (I don’t have one, I just mash the heck out of them and sometimes use my handheld mixer to help)
  5. Add flour, salt, and pepper to potatoes and mix thoroughly
  6. Add egg and knead dough being careful to not over do it!
  7. Divide dough into 4 to make it easier to work with
  8. Generously flour a board
  9. Roll dough into long ropes (estimate the thickness of your index finger)
  10. Slice into ½ inch inch pillows
  11. Use the prongs of a fork to make ridges in pillows
  12. Bring a large pot of water to a boil
  13. Working in batches, add a few handfuls gnocchi and cook until most have floated to top, 2 minutes
  14. With a slotted spoon, remove gnocchi as they finish and transfer immediately to your sauce.

***Note if you wait for them to finish at the same time you will end up with mushy gnocchi! Do not overcook them!

Enjoy!

xoxo

PS- if that’s way too much work for you, here is a list of some already made options that are pretty yummy!

DeLallo Gluten Free Potato Gnocchi

Conte’s Gluten Free Gnocchi

Parmesan Spaghetti Squash

I know this recipe is a little late given that it is well into fall and just about wintertime, but I found two spaghetti squash in the corner of my kitchen this morning and decided to whip some up for dinner! Spaghetti squash is a great healthy substitute for pasta- regardless if you are gluten free or not! This recipe is super easy and if you wanna impress you friends, you can easily serve it on a bed of arugula and even add a few cherry tomatoes cut in half! If cheese isn’t quite your thing, you can cook the squash as directed and then add your favorite pasta sauce instead! It works great with a meat sauce or even a marinara!

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (approx 5 pounds)
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 gloves of garlic, chopped (or you can cheat and use 2 tsp minced garlic. I always have a jar on hand!)
  • 4 tbsp butter (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk  (if you want to make it creamy, but I usually skip this one)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut squash in half lengthwise
  3. Scrape seeds out with a spoon
  4. Place cut side down on a baking dish with 1/2inch-1 inch water
  5. Cover with foil
  6. Bake for 30 minutes
  7. Remove from oven and turn squash cut side up. Cover again and bake for 15 more minutes. You may need to bake longer if your squash is thick. You should be able to pierce squash with a fork
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly so you can handle touching the squash
  9. Use a fork to scrape the sides to make “noodles.” At this point they should feel pretty al dente
  10. Heat butter in a pan on the stove top
  11. Add garlic and simmer for 1-2 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
  12. Add spaghetti squash to pan and cook thoroughly
  13. Add grated parmesan cheese and cook for 5 minutes
  14. If you want to make your pasta a bit creamy, you can add the milk and cheese together.

Enjoy!

xoxo

Baked Parmesan Potato Chips

Baked parmesan potato chipsA healthier version of potato chips? And delicious? Thats pretty hard to beat! This is one of my go-to snack recipes. Its pretty easy to turn a potato into a yummy treat. Completely gluten free, savory, and filling. That’s a pretty sweet combination.

  • 1 large potato
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cut potato into 1/8″ slices. A mandolin is the easiest way to do this. I use mine pretty frequently so if it is not part of your kitchen, you should consider investing in one!
  3. Place potato slices, oil, salt, pepper, and cheese in a sealed container and shake shake shake!
  4. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  5. Place potato slices on sheet being careful to not overlap slices
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until slightly browned
  7. Turn chips over and cook for 5 additional minutes
  8. Allow chips to cool before storing in an airtight container
  9. Chips will keep for 2-3 days but they are so yummy I’ve never had any left over!
  10. If you decide to you do not want parmesan chips skip the parmesan cheese and bake as above, or take some chipotle seasoning and sprinkle over chips on the cookie sheets.

Enjoy!

xoxo

Gluten free lotions

I had a few mixed emotions when deciding what to do when it came to beauty products. For myself, I’m okay with not being 100% gluten free with certain things, including lotions. I know you have to EAT gluten for it to cause a problem and I certainly do not eat lotion. Or do I? I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t seem very tasty, but there are other ways one can consume lotion. Generally not an issue for adults, but as a pediatrician, it’s something I try to caution my families about.  Kids are always putting things in their mouths. They bite their nails. They suck their thumbs. So… they kinda eat their lotion too.  So while I’m not super strict with myself, I do caution those with kids.  I do have a few products that I love that are not necessarily gluten free. I love Eucerin products, but they cannot guarantee my safety. My solution is that my unending love of aquaphor can continue- on my legs, arms, feet, and torso, but NOT on my hands.  My hands are gluten free zones most of the time.

Here’s my list of go to products for lotions/creams that are gluten free:

I know this is a pretty short list, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you. Yes there are plenty of gluten free options out there, these are just some of my favorite. They work great and they are pretty easy to find. You don’t need a Whole Foods near you! Target carries most of these brands too!

xoxo

Jalapeno Tacos

20131113-094912.jpgTacos are one of my favorite things to eat. Not only are they delicious, but they are pretty easy to make (or have delivered)! The shell is the only part that can sometimes give celiacs a little scare. Flour tortillas are obviously not an option, but the corn tortillas are usually pretty safe! Just make sure they are not warmed up on the same spot they just heated flour tortillas without wiping it down! My favorite local joint heats up flour on one side of the grill and corn on the other so I never have to worry about it! However, this yummy recipe takes the worry out of the equation by completely eliminating tortillas and replacing them with jalapeno peppers! Now if spice isn’t your thing, you can easily substitute green pepper. For me, jalapenos are the perfect size to increase my veggie to meat ratio. More veggies without sacrificing taste? Score!

  •  12-15 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 pound ground turkey (If turkey isn’t for you- try 1/2 pound ground turkey, 1/2 pound lean ground beef)
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2½ tbsp taco seasoning
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup cotija cheese
  • ½ cup chopped lettuce
  • fresh cilantro
  • crushed tortilla chips
  • fresh limes
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚
  2. Heat oil in large skillet
  3. Add turkey and taco seasoning and cook approximately 15-20 minutes
  4. Slice jalapenos lengthwise and remove seeds
  5. Add heaping tablespoon of meat to each jalapeno half. You may need to add more or less meat depending on the size of your peppers.
  6. Place peppers in baking dish to keep from tipping over while baking
  7. Bake for 20 minutes
  8. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped cherry tomatoes, cotija cheese, lettuce and fresh cilantro.
  9. You may also garnish with crushed tortilla chips for an extra crunch and fresh lime juice if you desire!

Enjoy!

xoxo

PS- if you make this for your family to enjoy and your kids aren’t fans of peppers, you can mix up all the other ingredients and have them use tortilla chips to eat their meat/veggies!