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Celiac Disease Awareness Month: Living a full life without gluten

By Kristin Kessler, Registered Dietician 

For most of us, consuming foods like bread, pasta, and tortillas is not a problem. However, for about 1% of the population the protein called gluten can cause major gastrointestinal damage1. Luckily, fruits and vegetables are gluten-free! In honor of May as Celiac Disease Awareness Month, here are some helpful tips and gluten-free recipes that everyone can enjoy. 

 Scrumptious Substitutes


Thankfully there are plenty of foods available at the grocery store to help fill the gluten gap. Brown rice and corn tortillas are excellent replacements for whole wheat foods. Try this Creamy Coconut & Veggie Brown Rice Pilaf with Honey Roasted Pecans or Corn and Crab Salad Tortilla Cups for your next weekday meal. Really craving bread or pasta? There are more choices than ever made from gluten-free ingredients such as brown rice bread and quinoa pasta. 

Read the Label 


The trickiest part of following a gluten-free diet is often the “hidden” gluten. Opt for gluten-free soy sauce, such as Tamari-style sauce, marinades and dressings. If you’re not sure whether something has gluten in it or not, look at the ingredient list, searching for key words such as “wheat,” “malt,” and “spelt.” This recipe for Quick and Healthy Fried Quinoa with Mixed Vegetables is a wonderful recipe that can easily be adapted to be gluten-free by using Tamari-style sauce instead of soy sauce.

Now that you’ve learned the hard stuff, the great news is that Libby’s fruit and vegetables are all naturally gluten-free! Use them to fill any dish without having to worry. Since a deficiency in fiber intake can be a concern for gluten-free diets, the fiber found in fruits, vegetables, and beans will not only keep you full for longer between meals but is also great for your health!

1 Celiac Disease: Fast Facts. (2015, April 29). Retrieved from Celiac Central:

Good Grill Hunting

As summer kicks in and temperatures soar, grilling rules. And what better way to simplify family meals while taking advantage the warm weather? Here are some tips on making it healthy but hearty enough for everyone:

Don’t Smoke – Avoid cooking on high heat for longer periods of time as this can produce carcinogens that have been linked to certain types of cancer. Cut off any burnt or black bits before eating. Also get in the habit of scrubbing down the grill rack after each use. Removing excess food prevents future charring, smoke and off-flavors in your food.

Look to Lean- The leaner the protein, the less chance of fat drippings causing smoke and burnt food. Look for cuts of loin, round or leg when selecting beef, pork or lamb. Try different fillets of fish (wrapped in foil.) Choose extra-lean ground beef, chicken or turkey for patties. Cook up veggie kabobs brushed in olive oil or grill portabella mushrooms for a rich, flavorful “burger”.

Dunk or Rub- Marinating or rubbing spices on meats and chicken before grilling adds flavor and may also reduce the formation of carcinogens. Use about ½ cup marinade for each pound of protein. Always discard the remaining marinade – never reuse after raw meat has touched it.

Think Outside the Grill – Get out of your steak, burger and hot dog rut. You can experiment with chili (place a cast iron pot right on the grill!), fruit, and even pizzas on your grill.

Portion Your Plate –Look to the new MyPlate food icon – fill half your plate with vegetables (grilled veggies, salad), a quarter with whole grains (rice, pasta, bread) and a quarter with lean protein (meat, chicken, fish, seafood, beans.)

Check out this month’s Sunshine Salsa recipe – the perfect summer side for grilled shrimp, chicken or fish!