Gluten Free

A brief history

During the past fifteen years I have been a part of an amazing journey in the gluten-free food industry.  When my mother was diagnosed with celiac disease, my sister and I delved into the largely uncharted waters of the gluten-free diet.  What was available commercially was dry and unpalatable.  We were determined to develop delicious breads and desserts that were were every bit as desirable as what the people surrounding my mother could eat.  With me as the dietitian and my sister as the creative and business expert we successfully brought gluten-free products to market (including to customers such as Disney World).

Educating industry

Very few culinarians in the food industry were aware of the need for gluten-free food items nor how to prepare them safely in their commercial kitchens.  This includes not only manufacturing facilities but also food-prep kitchens in restaurants, hospitals, school cafeterias, etc.  It was my pleasure working as a consultant to spread the word concerning the need for delicious gluten-free foods.

Educating the consumer

Fast forward to the present day.  We have entire aisles filled with gluten-free foods.   Warning!  Gluten-free does not automatically mean healthy.  While you may need to avoid gluten for medical reasons, remember good balanced nutrition should always be your foundation.  Loading your grocery cart with with mounds of gluten-free breads, crackers, pasta, granola bars,chips, cereals, etc. cannot meet your nutritional needs.   Worse, a diet dense in these types of carbohydrates can put on excess weight, cause food cravings, raise triglycerides and elevate blood-sugar levels.  Remember, your vegetables, fruit, fish and unprocessed meats or other protein sources have always been both gluten free and essential to your diet.

What I promote

Macronutrient/micronutrient balancing is the foundation of a healthy diet.  For macronutrient balancing, this rhyme may be helpful:

“Protein, carbs (carbohydrates) and healthy fat at every single meal and snack!”

Look for individual posts on these topics!

Smiling in health,

Joan the Dietitian


It’s more than healthy eating

Joan's Wellness Wheel

Choosing the foods you eat and the beverages you drink is only part of the healthy lifestyle puzzle.  In my professional day’s work, people routinely ask me for the perfect diet that will be their saving grace.  I am always happy to help patients develop meal  plans that will suit their food preferences, budget and medical needs.  However, nourishing oneself is not just about the food.

What nourishes you?  I’m talking about more than just food.  Look at what I call the “Wellness Wheel”.  This is my version, but you could make your own.  At the core are things most people would agree are vital for life such as air, food, water, sleep, etc.  These provide for your most basic needs, but  our human species needs much more.

Notice how the wheel has spokes to support the core.  Each spoke must be present and strong for the wheel to optimally function.  For example, in my practice I often find that people compensate for a lack of intimacy with poor eating choices.  Likewise, being stuck in a job that restricts ones talent and self-expression may lead to excessive or unhealthy intake of food and/or drink.

What does this mean for you?  Naturally we should look at your diet, what you eat, when you eat, and how you eat.  However, the wheel may be used as a tool to assess stressors and why you eat.  Of course food should be comforting, pleasurable and a part of your social activities, but it cannot fulfil these other needs.  I invite you to spend some time thinking about the spokes in your own Wellness Wheel.  Your openness to addressing these other areas, whether individually or with qualified  healthcare providers, plays an important role in your success.  With me as your dietitian we can explore the what, when and how of your eating.