Gluten-Free Labels

Do family gatherings bring the stress of making tasty gluten free meals for yourself or other relatives? … If so, here is a snapshot of recipe ideas that can improve your nutritional lifestyle now and after the holidays.


The BodyMindLink series by Dr Ray Pataracchia ND provides insight on Nutritional and Naturopathic approaches that matter most and have the potential to benefit both your physical and mental health.  In this series we look at the treatment approaches and body-mind-links of aging/longevity, tiredness, mental performance, work performance, digestive problems, food intolerances, stress, cardiovascular health, insomnia, weight problems, and chronic disease.  Winter 2014/2015 blog themes rotate between the topics of longevity, immunity, and weight problems. Clinical approaches discussed are implemented by the Naturopathic Medical Research Clinic in Toronto, Ontario.

Gluten Free Holiday & Year Round Recipes

Gluten free dieting has taken on as a health approach that is reaping benefits globally across all socio-economic demographics.  About a third of all Canadians are buying gluten free products regularly.  Eliminating food intolerances is one of the 15 metabolic syndromes associated with improving your physical and mental health.

There are so many good references for gluten free eating but based on my experience working with clients I have limited my selection to those that:

1) require few ingredients and are easy to prepare (to encourage daily routine);

2) contain high quality protein such as meat or eggs;

3) do not include expensive gluten free alternative products; and

4) can be used all year round.

I want people to try a variety of gluten free meals and select among them those winner recipes that they know the whole family will enjoy.  Most often you don’t have to mention that a meal is gluten free and people will enjoy it just the same.  Most recognize the value of eating gluten free meals once they have done it for a while and look back and take note of symptoms that have gone away and things that have improved.  A typical minimal response of a positive responder (>75% of cases) after strict gluten elimination is a 30% improvement in energy and a marked reduction in bloating, or other digestive complaints.

Please note that gluten free eating is not a diet in the context of reducing overall intake of food nutrients; you should feel satisfied that what you have eaten has not left you hungry (without over-eating). 

If you are trying to eat gluten free and find you are reducing your intake its best to stop, rethink your approach, and resume when you have developed 7 winner recipes that you can do regularly, happily.

For people with dairy intolerances, please take note of ingredients that are dairy containing and avoid them.  My blog on dairy-free eating made-simple can help you understand how dairy free eating can be done easily.

To bring you up to speed on why you might want to eat gluten free, my mood review, schizophrenia review, and part 5 of my kids health review provide some solid references on this.

Gluten Free Eating: The BodyMindLink

Gluten is culprit in a variety of ailments and the only way to truly find out if you are sensitive to this protein is to eliminate it and see what happens.  From a physical health perspective gluten is associated with weight gain (obesity), skin problems, digestive conditions, bloating, celiac disease, fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, allergies, and much more.  From a mental health perspective gluten is associated with mental clarity, improved concentration, better mood (depression/anxiety/bipolar), reduced psychotic symptoms (schizophrenia), improved attention (ADD/ADHD), and more.

Winner Gluten-Free Recipes for the Holidays and Year Round

Making a resolution to incorporate lifestyle changes can be difficult but not impossible if we take it one step at a time.  Explore your options and settle on those recipes that you consider winners for yourself and others as well.  Enjoy!!!

Gluten-Free Archive of Meals for Improved Mood

Mushroom Soup with Chicken and Stuffing

Garlic Chicken Caesar 

Razored Beef Tenderloin Flatbread

Grilled Smoked Sausage Kebobs with Summer Vegetables

Open-Faced Grilled Fish Sandwiches

Baked Chicken

Smoked Meatballs & Bacon

Gluten-Free Anytime Stuffing

Leek & Herb Stuffing

Gluten-Free Anytime Appetizers

Amazing Burgers

Gluten-free Travelling

Here is a link on eating gluten-free while travelling with insights on related within-culture diversities.

Hidden Sources of Gluten

Gravies – wheat flour is a thickener so you need to make sure you buy gluten-free flour based gravy.  Also, some gravy has soy sauce or malt vinegar ingredients that may contain gluten.  Cream sauces or gravies often use wheat flour mixed with butter as the base/roux.

Soy sauce – these are often made from wheat but some are not.

Marinades – these are often made from wheat but some are not.

Processed meat/deli meat/crab meat/sausage/meatballs/meatloaf – these often contain wheat as a filler.

Preformed patties (e.g. restaurants) – these often contain wheat.

Packaged broth stock/bouillon – these often have gluten.

Cream soups – these are often thickened with flour.

Potato chips – some contain gluten seasonings or malt vinegar or wheat starch.

French fries (from restaurants or super markets) – these often have a wheat coating to make fries crispy.

Scrambled eggs/omelets from restaurants – these often have pancake batter added to make them fluffy.

Gluten-Free Wording

When you see the following wording on product labels be sure to rule out that they do not contain gluten:  fried, coated, crispy, crusted, or malt. Some malt products/ingredients contain rice vinegar or soy sauce made with gluten.

Cross-Contamination Risk

Some restaurants re-fry salsa chips to add crispness after the fryer oil was used to fry other gluten containing foods.  Therefore, and tehre are other examples, the only way to see if gluten free foods haven’t been contaminated with gluten while being processed is to ask!