Monthly Archives: February 2018

Slow Cooker Beef and Mushroom Stew

To be honest, I don’t go in for kitchen “gadgets.” And, I don’t use my “crock pot” much except to make dishes like this Slow Cooker Beef and Mushroom Stew, one of my go-to recipes on busy weekdays. (What weekday isn’t busy?)  Take a few minutes in the morning to make this gluten-free beef stew recipe and you’ll have a delicious meal for dinner that the entire family will enjoy!

Gluten-free, low-carb slow cooker Beef and mushroom stew in a bowl with cornbread.

One bowl of Slow-Cooker Beef and Mushroom Stew is almost a meal in itself!  

How to eat more plant foods 

You don’t need to give up meat to eat a plant-based diet, and this recipe proves it. One serving of beef and mushroom stew supplies a full portion of vegetables, along with protein, and iron. It also contains 25% of the daily requirement for choline, a nutrient every cell in your body needs, and is necessary for developing brains during pregnancy and early life, and to support brain health in your later years, too.


This juicy, delicious burger recipe is a beef and mushroom blend


The health benefits of replacing some meat with mushrooms

The stew is rich in mushrooms, which take the place of some of the beef. Mushrooms are the only product in the fruit and vegetable section with vitamin D, and they have many other beneficial properties, too, including choline. Adding even a small amount of mushrooms to your eating plan can increase nutrition.

In addition to the nutrients mushrooms supply, there’s plenty they don’t have, including cholesterol. Mushrooms are also nearly free of fat and sodium.  Vary this recipe with a mixture of mushrooms, such as white button and shiitake, if you like.

Whole white button mushrooms

Mushrooms provide umami, a taste sensation that brings a savory flavor to dishes and may reduce salt use.

Gluten-free Beef Stew for the Slow Cooker

On top of it’s great taste, this low-carb slow cooker beef stew (16 grams of carbohydrate per serving) is also a gluten-free beef stew.  The recipe calls for cornstarch instead of flour as a thickener. Be sure to buy gluten-free beef broth, because wheat, which contains gluten, may be added to the broth.

Slow Cooker Beef and Mushroom Stew (Gluten-free)

Delicious and nutritious stew that's ready at the end of a busy day.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beefstew, glutenfreebeefstew, mushrooms, slowcookerstew
Servings: 6
Calories: 248kcal
Author: ewardrd

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 16 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 15-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 16 ounces stew meat, such as chuck, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)

Instructions

  • Place all the ingredients except the beef, peas, and black pepper in a slow cooker. Combine well. Add the beef.
  • Cover and cook on the low setting for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.
  • Just before serving, add the peas, and season with black pepper, if desired. Stir well. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.

Notes

Per serving: Calories: 248, Protein: 22 grams, Fat: 10 grams (4 grams saturated fat), Cholesterol: 52 milligrams, Sodium: 627 milligrams, Carbohydrate: 16 grams, Fiber: 3 grams, Calcium: 46 milligrams, Iron: 2 milligrams, Choline: 91 milligrams

Slow Cooker Beef and Mushroom Stew recipe

No-Bake Vegan Bean and Peanut Butter Treats

As a dietitian, and lover of all things sweet, this no-bake vegan bean and peanut butter treats recipe checks all the boxes for me!

Vegan peanut butter and peanut heart-shaped dessert on Love napkin.

Nothing says “love” like a healthy, delicious dessert.

Healthy, no-bake dessert recipe 

The best thing about vegan recipes is that you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy them. (Also, you can eat the raw dough!)

No-Bake Vegan Bean and Peanut Butter Treats are perfect for everyone because they’re delicious, energizing, and heart-healthy.  And, if made with certified gluten-free oats, this vegan treat is gluten-free, too.

Children can help form the dough into hearts. Or, if it’s easier for them, they can form the dough into balls and dunk them into the chocolate.


Click here for a flourless Easy Black Bean Brownie recipe!

Small bowls of white beans, uncooked oats, peanuts

White beans, oats, and peanuts are the basis of these treats.

 

No-Bake Vegan Bean and Peanut Butter Treats

Peanut butter, white beans, and oatmeal combine to make a delicious sweet vegan treat that can be gluten-free, too. 
Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beans, glutenfree, peanutbutter, ValentinesDay, vegan
Servings: 18
Calories: 124kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oatmeal, uncooked
  • 1 15-oz. can white beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (vegan and gluten-free, if desired)
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped peanuts

Instructions

  • Place all the ingredients except the chocolate chips and peanuts in a food processor.  Blend until the mixture is well-combined, about 3 minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides of the processor.  Leave the dough in the food processor and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
    Place the dough on a large cutting board and press into a 9-inch square that’s about 1/2-inch thick. Use a medium heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut the dough into hearts.*  
    Combine the remaining dough and press into a 1/2-inch thick piece. Cut dough into hearts until you have 18, and place hearts on a wire cooling rack on top of a cutting board.
    To decorate, melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler and  drizzle on the hearts. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and allow the chocolate to harden before eating. Refrigerate leftovers.

Nutrition Information: Per serving: 124 calories; 5 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat); 0 cholesterol; 82 milligrams sodium; 16 grams carbohydrate; 3 grams fiber; 4 grams protein.

    Notes

    *Note: You can also shape the dough into 18 balls. Dip half of each ball into the melted chocolate and coat with peanuts. Place on wax paper to harden.
    Plate of vegan bean and peanut butter no-bake treats

    They’re vegan, so you can pick at the batter without worries!

     

    How to Eat to Beat Digestive Problems

    Today’s topic: gut health. I know that gut health is not a topic typically brought up in polite conversation. Well, maybe it should be. If you’re among the millions of Americans who suffer with uncomfortable gastrointestinal (GI) tract symptoms on a regular basis, you’ll want to know how to eat to beat digestive problems. See what Kate Scarlata, RDN, LDN, the co-author of The Low-FODMAP Diet Step by Step, A Personalized Plan to Relieve the Symptoms of IBS and Other Digestive Disorders, has to say about getting relief.

    The Low-Fodmap Diet, Step by Step

    Irritable bowel syndrome and the low FODMAP diet

    One in four of us have tummy trouble on a regular basis, and an estimated 25 to 45 million Americans suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  

    IBS causes gas, bloating, cramping, pain and altered bowel function.

    The low-FODMAP way of eating is based on an approach created by researchers at Monash University in Australia. According to Scarlata, research shows that up to 75% of people with IBS can get relief from their symptoms by following a low-FODMAP diet.

    A low-FODMAP eating plan may also benefit those with other GI conditions, such as celiac disease (along with a gluten-free eating plan.)

    One in four Americans suffer from tummy trouble.

    One in four Americans suffer from tummy trouble.

     

    When it comes to digestive woes, the authors know what they are talking about. In addition to providing the latest research about personalizing a FODMAP plan and 130 delicious recipes, Kate, and her co-author and recipe developer Dede Wilson, discuss their experiences in the book. Kate had a major intestinal resection nearly 23 years ago that resulted in debilitating digestive symptoms.  Dede was diagnosed with IBS in 1990.  Both have successfully used the low-FODMAP diet to manage their issues.

    Here’s more from my interview with Kate.

    What are FODMAPS?

    FODMAPs are a group of certain carbohydrates (sugars and fibers) found in higher levels in many everyday foods, such as apples, garlic, traditional yogurt (not Greek), and products made with wheat. Because some people can’t properly digest them, FODMAPS can pull water into the small intestine, and they are rapidly consumed by gut microbes (the bacteria present in the gut), which results in excessive gas production. If you have a sensitive gut, water and gas can contribute to symptoms of bloating, alteration in bowel habits, and pain.  Additionally, the microbes that feed on FODMAPs create compounds that may also play a role in the symptoms of digestive distress.

    peanuts and walnuts are allowed on the low-FODMAP eating plan

    Peanuts and walnuts are on the low-FODMAP food list.

    Why did you write a book about FODMAPS? 

    I co-wrote the The Low-FODMAP Diet Step by Step because I wanted IBS patients to have an easy-to-understand approach to following the low FODMAP diet.  I have created ways to make the approach less daunting and realistic through my work with thousands of patients to implement the low-FODMAP diet.

    The most important point about the low-FODMAP approach is that is it a three-part nutritional intervention. The first part is a two to six-week elimination phase where high-FODMAP foods are taken out of the diet.  The second part is the challenge, or reintroduction, phase. During this phase, FODMAPs are systematically added back to the diet to help you identify which FODMAP sources trigger symptoms, and which FODMAPs do not. The third phase is the integration phase, when tolerated FODMAP foods are slowly added back to the diet.

    The goal of the low-FODMAP approach is to eat the most varied and enjoyable diet as possible while maintaining good symptom control. However, balance is important. Cutting out too many foods on the low-FODMAP diet may also reduce some healthy microbes in the gut.  We encourage the challenge and integration phases of the low-FODMAP diet so that you can follow an eating plan with as much variety as possible to maintain symptom relief and keep your gut healthy.

    chocolate chunk cookies

    Chocolate Chunk Cookies are on the low-FODMAP diet menu! You’ll find the recipe in book.

    Why are digestive disorders increasing?

    In my opinion, we are seeing an increase in digestive issues due to a a variety of reasons including the use of antibiotics and antimicrobial soaps, high fructose corn syrup (a concentrated source of FODMAPs) and food additives. For example, emulsifiers in highly processed foods such as ice cream, salad dressing, and mayonnaise, cause gut inflammation and altered gut microbes in animal studies.

    Pollution, stress, and other factors also alter and disturb the balance of microbes that inhabit our gut and support health.


    Read: What your gut bacteria say about your health


    Do you think it’s difficult for people to be properly diagnosed with IBS and other digestive disorders? 

    In America, talking about gut health is often viewed as taboo. Although our views on talking about it is slowly changing for the better, many patients would rather suffer in silence than address their symptoms. A recent study found that primary care doctors fail to ask about GI symptoms quite often as well during physical exams, which further compounds the problem.

    On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best), how exciting is the evidence about the effects of what you eat on digestive health and overall wellbeing? 

    I would say we are at about a 10+ in this area! The evidence continues to mount daily that the gut is the window to health.

    What we eat impacts the trillions of microbes that live in our intestine. We know these microbes affect our chances for chronic diseases including diabetes, obesity, non alcoholic liver disease, and depression.

    It’s a very exciting time to be a dietitian interested in gut health. I truly believe all dietitians should be watching the research closely so that they can best communicate findings to patients and other consumers.

    There are so many new studies looking at how FODMAPs may affect health. A 2017 study showed that when breastfeeding moms of infants with colic decreased their FODMAP intake, the infants’ colic symptoms decreased.

    While more research is needed about the effect of mom’s diet on colic, the study offers hope to parents. Another interesting study looked at how the low-FODMAP diet may help reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation can give rise to chronic conditions including heart disease and cancer.


    Click here for tips about how to discuss your digestive issues with your doctor


    The Low-Fodmap diet book

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