gluten free

The Foodie's Guide to Gluten-Free

I WISH these were gluten free…

I WISH these were gluten free…

As a practitioner that sees a lot of gut health issues, and conditions associated with it, it is likely that I will ask you go try going gluten free. I do this, not because I am trying to be the stereotypical Naturopath portrayed in movies, but because it can truly have a negative effect on some people’s health. No, it doesn’t effect everyone, or at least everyone the same, but for those with a more chronic condition that they are seeking help with, it is a great place to start. There is research that shows gluten can increase zonulin in the gut, which I’ve spoken about before, which causes a more “leaky gut.” Gluten can cause different reactions, including the obvious bloating and cramping, to swelling, headaches and fatigue.


What the heck is gluten though? Gluten is the protein in certain grains, including wheat, spelt, kamut and barley. It is what makes it stick together well. It is not in oats, millet, buckwheat, corn, quinoa, sorghum. In years past, trying to find gluten free bread that didn’t crumble immediately was almost impossible! Luckily now there are so many great options to choose from. I am creating a guide for those patients of mine that need some guidance, but also all those out there wondering whether this is something they should try for their health. (Hint…if you are asking yourself that, you should probably try it!) Halifax has a few less options than bigger cities, so let me know if there are other favourites I may not know about.

My Gluten-free Tips

  1. My number 1 tip for going gluten free is to not worry so much about replacing every type of gluten product you have. You can do a lot with a lettuce wrap, sweet potato, cauliflower or bed of rice. Try a burger on a lettuce wrap, or seasoned ground meat in romaine. Or even sloppy joes in a roasted sweet potato. You will end up buying less gluten free products and eating more whole foods :)

  2. Bob’s Red Mill is my go-to for gluten free flours for baking. No more complicated recipes needed with a binding agent such as xanthum gum, since their blends are all ready to go and come out tasting great!

  3. Eating out when you are gluten free has become easier as well (except for brunch…that’s still hard for me sometimes!). A lot of restaurants have gluten free options or substitutes so all you need to do is ask. A go to for me is just their meat/fish, potato and veggie dish. There is usually always something like that.

Favourite Gluten Free Products

  • Baking Flour: Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour - hands down the best baking flour. It works so well for mostly anything you are baking.

  • Oats: Regular oats - Unless you are celiac, you can use regular large oat flakes. These are a go to for me for quick pre-made breakfasts and snacks. I love my oats!

  • Pasta: GoGo Quinoa Pastas - I get a big bag of their mixed grain pasta at costco and it tastes great. Their cauliflower blend option isn’t as good. Kids also tend to like the 100% legume pastas you can find now, which provide a good source of fibre.

  • Crackers: Blue Diamond Artisan Nut-Thins - These are crunchy and delicious with hummus. Mary’s crackers are a great option as well. Breton even has gluten free crackers in the regular cracker section.

  • Bagel: O’Doughs Thins - This is a new company I think, found at Superstore in the freezer section. They are delicious with a little peanut butter for a quick breakfast if you are craving more carbs (but not with the calories - bonus!). Their sandwich buns are pretty good as well. Little Northern Bakehouse has bagels as well.

  • English Muffins: Glutino brand - I’m not a big english muffin gal but I’ve been told these are the best option.

  • Bread: This one is a toss up depending on what you are looking for. Some options are - Little Northern Bakehouse Gluten Free bread is apparently really good, especially their Honey Oat Bread; Costco Gluten free bread (comes in a pack of 2 loafs); fresh bread at the market (look around, you may find a gem). Glutino and Udi’s are best for making stuffings etc, since they are still a bit crumbly.

  • Burger buns: Udi’s Hamburger Buns - I discovered these in the summer and I was very impressed! I’ve you aren’t going for the lettuce bun, try these.

  • Pizza: Sabatassos Gluten-free Pizzas - Since I can’t eat dairy, these came highly recommended by a great source. Found at Costco and they are apparently amazing!

  • Mac & Cheese: Annie’s Mac & Cheese - Another that I haven’t tried myself but is a great option for quick meal for yourself or kids.

There you have it, some great options for those of us that are gluten free! I promise it isn’t so bad. I love to cook and I’ve made out alright 😉

Any favourite products of yours I’m missing here? Let me know!

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen

Food Friday: Cauliflower Pizza with BBQ Chicken

His and Her slices. We were too hungry to take time for a beautiful pic :)

His and Her slices. We were too hungry to take time for a beautiful pic :)

Oh boy, I finally found the perfect cauliflower pizza crust recipe and it is delicious! This has been hit or miss for me over the years but I found the one I now want to write down and keep returning to. I have never been a pizza fanatic since I am lactose intolerant and gluten free, so I’m pretty open to different takes on pizza, but my hubby IS a pizza fanatic and he really enjoys this. Ok, ok, he still needs his fix of the real deal but when we are eating healthy during the week he’s all for it. If you have been prescribed a gluten free diet (by me perhaps or someone else), eating a low carb, paleo or keto diet, or just want a lighter option that is healthy for you this is a great option! Heads up however that this recipe takes some time to make. So it isn’t going to be your quick 30 minute dinner option for a weeknight. OR you can prep the crust beforehand on the weekend, freeze it and voila - a 10 minute meal! Another note, make sure to double (or triple) the recipe if you have big eaters in your house or want leftovers. This amount only made 2 pieces each for us. It is filling enough with all the toppings I put on but worth making extra with all the time involved.

Feel free to mix up the toppings to your liking as well, omit cheese or not (I have to of course - so its more a flat bread with veggies and chicken for me). So here it is!

Ingredients: (Serves 2 not so starving people)

  • 3 cups cauliflower florets

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (or just under if using goat cheese)

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 3 tbsp (up to 1/4 cup) soft goat cheese - can omit if needed

  • 2 tsp italian seasoning

  • Sea salt, pinch

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken

  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce

  • Red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1-2 mushrooms, sliced

  • Mozza cheese - optional

  • Pizza sauce


  1. Steam cauliflower until tender with a fork. Let cool. (I did this earlier in the day) Add to food processor and process until rice-like (or even smoother). Using a nut mylk bag, cheese cloth or tea towel, squeeze out all liquid from the cauliflower, or at least as much as you can. This step is important. Add the cauliflower to a medium bowl with eggs, seasoning, cornmeal, salt, goat cheese, olive oil and mix well.

  2. Spread “dough” on parchment paper lined baking sheet, using a spatula, into a circle or rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Bake at 425F for 25 minutes until golden. Flip over using the parchment paper and bake another 5-10 minutes to brown on other side, without parchment.

  3. Remove and add thin layer of pizza sauce, mozza, red onion, mushrooms and bbq chicken (or toppings of your choice of course). Broil for a few minutes or bake for 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.


In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen

Food Friday: Best Brunch Frittata

Do you have leftovers vegetables or meat in your fridge? Are you looking for a breakfast option that is packed with protein and veggies? Are you on a paleo diet or limiting grains and lost for what to eat for breakfast? This is your dish!

I was not able to eat eggs for awhile as they were a sensitivity for me, I also never liked them as a kid, so cooking an egg (in its many ways) was a mystery to me. Luckily that has changed, so over the years (years meaning about 1!), I am exploring different egg dishes and perfecting my cooking methods. This still is a struggle…I constantly overcook my fried egg!

Good quality protein to start my day is very important to me. It helps me focus for the day and prevents a crash of energy in the afternoon. If I am not doing an intermittent fast day, something I weave in and out of, I always make sure to have some sort of protein, and eggs are a great option. What makes this frittata so awesome is that it is very easy to make and you can make it on the weekend with leftover veggies you have, and then eat it for breakfast the next few days. You could even make this in little muffin tins and have an easy on the go breakfast. Feel free to switch up the vegetables and protein to your liking (eg. red pepper, broccoli, tomato, grated sweet potato). Anything goes really!


  • 6-8 eggs

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 uncooked sausage, skin removed and broken into pieces

  • 1 leek, diced

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1/2-1 cup mushrooms, diced

  • 1 cup greens, chopped (swiss chard or baby spinach)

  • 1 tsp coconut or almond milk

  • 1/2 tsp Herbamare or sea salt

  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • optional - feta cheese, cheddar cheese, grated


  • Preheat oven to 375F.

  • Heat the oil in an oven-safe skillet, such as a cast-iron pan, over medium heat.

  • Add sausage, leek and garlic and saute for 5-7 minutes or until sausage is cooked through. Spread vegetables and sausage evenly around skillet.

  • Beat the eggs with the coconut/almond milk, add salt and pepper, then pour into the skillet and cook for 2 minutes.

  • Place the pan in the oven and bake for 12-20 minutes, until egg is no longer runny and slightly golden.

  • Serve in pie slices and garnish with avocado, chives and parsley if you like.


Do you have a favourite combination for a frittata?

Food Friday: Anytime Minestrone Soup


The rainy day this week finally got me craving some cozy soup and what better way to use up leftovers and random cans of beans than make a minestrone soup! To be honest, I have never made minestrone soup before, mostly because I don't usually like really brothy soups, BUT I have to say this is a winner! I made some adjustments to the typical soup recipe to make it more hearty and it turned out delicious! 

So, if you are in the mood for something cozy, yet still summery AND you want to use up those leftovers, look no further! :) Feel free to use any veggies you'd like in this one. 


  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced 
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme 
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes 
  • 2 small celery stacks, diced
  • 2 small/medium carrots, diced
  • handful of green beans, trimmed and cut into pieces 
  • 1 cup gluten free pasta 
  • 1 19 oz can white kidney beans 
  • salt and pepper 
  • 3 cups chicken, veggie stock (or water and bullion cubes)
  • parmesan to sprinkle 


  1. Heat 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and saute for a few minutes until golden. Add carrots, celery, garlic, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano and some pepper and saute for a few minutes more until fragrant.
  2. Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes and stock and simmer covered until carrots are slightly tender, about 10 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile mash 1/2 the beans with a fork - this adds a little more bulk to the soup. Cook pasta as well and strain. 
  4. Add beans, green beans and salt to taste and simmer 7-10 minutes more until veggies are tender. Add pasta at the end and adjust seasoning. 
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan, if dairy is ok, and a slice of sourdough bread if desired. Enjoy! 

In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen