Category Archives: health

Summer is here! Gluten-free sunscreen #glutenfree #sunscreen

It’s time to get out on the lake, hike in the Greens or tune up your bike. Summer is here! Us pasty-white northerners need to take extra care with our skin in early summer when we’re most likely to burn.

Information on gluten in lotions and sunscreens can be contradictory. Technically, you cannot have a Celiac reaction in your small intestine due to gluten absorbed through your skin. That said, many (most?) of us have dermatitis-type skin reactions to gluten– itching, burning, etc. There’s also the worry that some of that sunscreen could get ingested accidentally. So, why not just stay away from it? Ok– then which sunscreens are “safe” for a Celiac? Here’s a list of gluten-free sunscreens:

Sunscreen (Stars* by my favorites):

Alba Botanica*

Margaritaville Floridays Sunscreen*– smells delish!

Kiss My Face Sunscreen

Blue Lizard Sunscreen

Solar RX Sunscreen

California Baby Sunscreen

Badger Sunscreen

Dessert Essence Sunscreen

Coppertone (all products, includes Coppertone Sport line and Water Babies)

Neutrogena (certain sunscreens – Spectrum+, Oil Free Moisturizer with SPF, Healthy Defense Moisturizer with SPF) Note: Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry Touch line and Pure and Free Baby products contain Oat Kernel Extract.

Nature’s Gate

What others do you like? I used to love Banana Boat Sport (gluten-free) but it has other ingredients in it that bother my skin.

Enjoy your time outdoors!


Gluten-free Vermont


Beauty and the Celiac (or why I keep changing shampoo)

When I as first diagnosed, I never believed that I would be *that* sensitive, whatever that meant. A friend warned me stuff like ibuprofen could have gluten and make me sick. I scoffed, believing I could handle little bits of gluten. Six months later, I came to realise that I couldn’t handle ibuprofen (I now use Aleve or Advil liquid caps, which are gluten-free and easier on your tummy than the generic tablets).

I’d always noticed that my favorite conditioner, Aveda Camomille, made my scalp burn. BURN. As in, I dared not touch it to my head but would use it on the ends of my hair. About the same time I noticed I was reacting to small exposure of gluten in ibuprofen, I realized other gluten-containing body products were irritating my skin. Oatmeal soap. Shampoo and Conditioner with wheat or wheat protein. Aveno face wash (actually that always bothered my skin and I didn’t use it). So, over the years, I gave up a lot of natural products– even though I believed in less chemicals, more plant products– because so many had wheat or oats in them. Remember, oats are naturally gluten-free but always contaminated unless certified gluten-free. My fine hair hated natural products without wheat, it would get so dry and tangled.

Our family stylist slyly whispered to me one day that if I were going to use cheap shampoos without gluten that Pantene would be the best for my hair. Since then, I’ve found that I love the Pantene highlighting conditioner a few times a weeks and the super moisturizing conditioner for fine hair. Problem solved.

I think this is an important point to clarify for friends, family, hair stylists, massage therapists or anyone who might give you or apply skin care products to you– just because we’re not eating shampoo [conditioner, lotion, make-up, etc] doesn’t mean that you may not be sensitive to it. If you have a skin sensitivity to products with gluten, let people know and they are usually so happy to accommodate you. I mean, who wants a burning scalp when they walk out of the hair salon?

Fast-forward a few years to this week. I’ve had some dermatitis on-and-off for the last few years… in hind sight, about as long as I have been avoiding wheat in shampoo, conditioner, body wash and soap. The friendly folks over at Dorset St. Dermatology decided it was time to test me for skin allergies. Fun times. The panel showed I’m allergic (as in, contact reaction that gives me a little dermatitis) to methylisothiazolinone. What the heck??? Yeah, well it turns out that its a preservative often found in… (you guessed it)… shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc etc etc. So now I was back to square one, as Pantene uses it! So, I did some research. Remember, check your labels for your self and re-check as ingredients can change over time!

Here’s the beauty products I tried and liked so far that are: 1) gluten-free and 2) free of methylisothiazolinone.  What are your favorite products? Leave us a note in the comments section


Mango Body Builder by Alba Botanica (Hannaford’s)

Momo Shampoo by Davines (note: it does have parabens…) buy online through Davines or Amazon or your favorite stylist. I found it through Lara at Rock Paper Scissors. I will say that I like the Davines website as it is quite easy to determine which products have gluten in them (and other common plant allergens). I just wish they had more GF styling products.

Aveda Rosemary Mint (but note the conditioner has barley extract!)

Nature’s Gate  makes some delicious natural shampoos (organic too!) that leave your hair smelling great. I don’t prefer their conditioners– just not sufficient for my long, thick, fine hair but great for others– give it a try.


Momo Conditioner by Davines. I’ve only used this a few days so far but I am loving it!
Aveda Scalp Benefits (both shampoo and conditioner are gluten free. They are also sulfate-free. Find them at Stephens and Burns on Church St!).


Threw out my old Dove body wash because of the methylisothiazoline, but have replaced it with Dove bar soap for now.

Face wash & lotion

Both Cetaphil and CeraVe have been recommended to me by dermatologists and both are on my personal “safe” list. CeraVe is incredibly moisturizing (look for the big pot of lotion you can use on your face and your whole body) but it does contain parabens that turn-off some folks. Cetaphil doesn’t contain parabens and doesn’t make your face quite as soft and you might buy their regular lotion for the rest of your body. Cetaphil does make a gentle skin cleanser that is easy to splash off with warm water if you’re in a hurry. Both make chemical sunscreen versions of their lotion.

Burt’s Bee’s products are great for their natural ingredients.

I have used Clinque for awhile– good quality, gluten-free… It just feels like a low-risk solution to me. Some other options are mineral make-up, such as Bare Minerals or Everyday Minerals. The dermotologist also recommended La Bella Donna, although that takes you into a whole other price category 😉 Eos makes a great lip balm that is also soy-free.

Hair products
It’s little things… like realizing you didn’t read the ingredients on the hair spray can before the stylist sprays you down (shoot, what if I inhale that!?). “Paranoid as you wanna be” runs through my head. Well, at home where things are in my control, I use products I know are gluten-free “just in case.”

Sojourn Firm Hold Working Spray: does the trick on holding my bangs out of my eyes all day. Buy it online or Styles Stowe

Mantra Om Foam: for those nights when I need a little body (does contain almond). It may have been discontinued?

Aveda Phomollient adds texture and volume at the ends of hair


If you want to learn more about how gluten may affect you through beauty products, I recommend the following articles and sites:

Does it really matter if your make-up is gluten-free (Allure Magazine)

Now that your beauty products are all healthy, get out there and enjoy your self!


Gluten-free Vermont

How much is “just a little” when it comes to gluten exposure?

My mother has been “glutenated” a few times recently. She’s learning that she’s more sensitive to gluten than when she first went GF. For example, I’ve seen her eat regular soy sauce several times, whereas I *must* have GF soy sauce. A few weeks ago she picked up prepared chicken kabobs at the grocery store and thinks they made her sick. I asked if they had soy sauce and she said she didn’t really pay attention because the ones at the other grocery store were always fine. Then about a week ago she got sick after chinese food that may have had soy sauce in it– she thought it didn’t but hadn’t bothered to ask since it had never affected her before.

Getting more sensitive to gluten the longer you are off of it is a common story for most of us. In my experience, we all think “I will never be THAT sensitive” but at some point you realize you are sensitive to smaller and smaller exposures. That is a subject for another blog…

I told my mother that REPEATED exposure can make each reaction worse. The chicken kabobs taxed her system and then repeating the exposure just a week or so later made for another bad reaction. Had these events been spaced weeks or months apart it is possible the second one wouldn’t have been so bad.

For those of you questioning your gluten intolerance levels, here is a great article on “HOW MUCH GLUTEN WILL MAKE ME SICK?”  

What’s the paleo diet all about?

Have you ever thought of being gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free? Wondered what the paleo diet is all about? Our guest contributor, C.P. of Montpelier  VT, writes about the Paleo Diet, which happens to be gluten-free! Have you tried the paleo diet? Leave your comments below!
“Paleo” is a term used to describe a diet resembling what our ancestors ate.  Some refer to it as a Primal diet, caveman diet, ancestral diet, etc.  Whatever you choose to call it, what it really boils down to is eating real nutrient-dense whole foods.  We have gotten so accustomed to opening a box or package and microwaving our food or getting take out in this day in age.
When we eat, we really need to ask ourselves “Will this food help nourish me?”  or “will this food harm me?”.  Good nutrition is critical to physical and mental health.  Getting back to our roots will help us to live longer and prevent lots of chronic diseases that seem so commonplace today.
So what can I eat?
This plan excludes dairy (still in hot debate), grains, legumes, processed foods, refined vegetable oils and sugar. 
Paleo Diet Flowchart
These foods were not around when our ancestors roamed the earth and they are contributing, in large part, to inflammation, chronic disease and mental illness.
Protein & calcium
Some view this plan as very heavy in the meat department, but it doesn’t have to be.  You need to accommodate this for you and your family.  If you only eat fish and yogurt for protein, then keep on- just make sure that your fish is of good quality and the yogurt isn’t filled with sugar.
Grassfed-beef, free range chickens, other pastured animals, eggs, and wild caught fish are ideal sources of protein, but sometimes cost is an issue.  We can’t always buy organic fruits and veggies all the time, but conventional produce and meat from paleo_food_pyramidthe supermarket are much better than processed/HFCS/trans fat garbage any day.  Ditch the sodas, cereals, PopTarts, chips, crappy breads and refined vegetable oils and enjoy wholesome, nourishing foods like our great-grandparents ate.  Stick with meats, fish eggs, nuts/seeds, fruits and veggies, and good fats/oils.
What about calcium?  Try eating sardines or canned salmon with the little bones (yes, you can eat them and they are full of calcium!), dark leafy greens or homemade bone broth.  We’ve been led to believe that dairy is our only source of dietary calcium and that’s just not true.
Nutrition and chronic illnessbenefits
People don’t realize how powerful good nutrition is with regards to chronic illness and disease.  This diet is perfect for anyone, especially those with Celiac Disease, other food allergies, any chronic disease (fibromyalgia, IBS, ADHD, Autism, other mental illness, chronic skin conditions) or autoimmune disease (MS, psoriasis, colitis, Crohn’s, Hashimoto’s), those looking to drop weight, lower their blood pressure, have more energy or just feel better.
Paleo Myths
One of the myths about Paleo is that it is a low carb diet.  If you like low carb diets and do well on them, by all means make Paleo low carb for you.  Others, like myself, don’t do so well cutting out carbs, so I make sure I get plenty (sweet potatoes, squashes, beets are good sources).
Another myth is that it is expensive.  How much do you spend on soda?  Pizza night?  A morning bagel?  Beer?  Processed snack foods?  Take that money and put it to good use buying cheaper cuts of meat, eggs, frozen vegetables, potatoes and fruits  (apples, pears and bananas tend to be cheaper) and viola!  a Paleo meal.
The bottom line with any lifestyle change is that you need to make it work for you so you can be successful in the long run.
This is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix diet.  It is a template.  Keeping things simple is always the best way to go.
This is Paleo in a nutshell.  There is lots and lots of information out there on the internet- like how to get your family/kids on board with it, shopping paleo on a budget, recipes, etc.
Here are some of my favorite websites/blogs about the paleo diet (remember, all these recipes are gluten-free!):
Balanced bites: podcasts, recipes, life coaching
Nomnom Paleo: recipes and blog
Mark’s Daily Apple: advice, recipes and other info for paleo living
The Whole 9:  a community focused on health, fitness, balance and sanity, all built on a foundation of real food and healthy nutritional habits
Chris Kresser: information on nutrition and health
Robb Wolf: tons of information on the paleo diet
Cave Girl Eats: Blog and podcasts
Civilized Caveman Cooking: tons of recipes!
Big Tim’s Primal Journey: blog and recipes
The Paleo Miracle: stories of health and transformation
And some great books on the paleo diet (remember to check your local library!):
Practical Paleo by Diana Sanfillipo
The Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet
The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf
Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD
Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan
The Paleo Miracle by Joe Salama & Christine Lianos
Primal Body Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas
It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig
About the author: 
I am a full-time wife and mother of 2 boys and part-time ICU Nurse.  I am currently studying to receive my certification in Nutrition Counseling.  I am obsessed with all things fitness and nutrition.