Selena De Vries is a Registered Dietitian specialized in Celiac Disease. Living with celiac herself, she helps others improve their symptoms and boost confidence so they can live life unrestricted. She shared with us some of her favorite gluten-free replacements for baking, her inspiration for becoming an RDN, and advice for those who may suspect they are gluten intolerant or celiac.
- –What inspired you to become a dietitian?
“I became a dietitian because I love food and I love to eat! Number one, hands-down, that was the biggest motivation. The second reason was that I loved learning the science behind food and how it behaves in cooking and baking. Also, how food can affect our nutritional health on our body. So, my love of food combined with the science and nutrition of food seemed like becoming a dietitian was the perfect fit.”
- What is your favorite gluten-free baked goodie?
“For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that my favorite item that is baked and gluten-free is a scone. Any fruit combinations, any savory combinations, I am all for it! I absolutely love having a coffee and a scone in the morning as a snack.”
- What do you think is the most misunderstood part of a healthy diet?
“I would say it is the exclusion or thought that full-fat, full-sugar items like cookies, cakes, muffins, scones, or ice cream, can’t be a part of a healthy diet. I think that is totally opposite in the way that we should be thinking when it comes to a healthy diet. These foods play a pivotal role in allowing us to connect with others through cultural or family events. I like to call them ‘foods for the soul,’ and they play an equally important role as our traditional healthy foods for our mental health.”
- What advice do you have for someone who may suspect they are gluten intolerant or celiac?
“If you believe you have celiac disease, definitely get screened for celiac via the TTG antibody before removing gluten from the diet. If you don’t do this, this could potentially have negative consequences down the road in terms of ongoing symptoms, as well as your family. As family, they would be at higher risk for celiac disease and you could spare them years of being undiagnosed.”
- What product on Tastermonial stands out to you as a game changer?
“I think finding gluten-free snacks on-the-go that are quick and tasty are awesome options. Ariana’s Cinnamon Energy Balls look like a great option, they are filled with whole-food ingredients that promote satiety and I would love to try those!”
- What are some of your favorite gluten-free replacements for baking?
“One of my favorite mixes would be the Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 baking flour mix because it has been tested in multiple recipes and it is widely available at multiple different grocery stores. Other items that I like to recommend that can be a bit more fussy when gluten-free like cakes or cookies, I like to recommend a mix that has been specially formulated for those items so that it turns out and tastes good. One of my favorites is the gluten-free Betty Crocker chocolate devil’s cake, it works wonderful for birthdays!”
- What is your favorite nutrition “hack?”
“I use one of my favorite nutrition hacks when I bake! I’m a baker, I love to bake, and I use this hack quite often, which is to substitute out 25% of the flour called for in a quick bread recipe with ground flax. It helps to up the fiber, the omega-3 content, as well as the satiety when eating quick bread recipes. A quick bread is a muffin, a loaf, a pancake, or a waffle. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of all-purpose flour, you would use ¾ cup of all-purpose flour mix and ¼ of flax. It only works with quick breads!”
- Who has been the most influential person in your passion for food and health?
“The most influential person would probably be my mum. She really influenced my behaviors around food as well as how to prepare delicious food. I grew up cooking with her, and as such I learned how to prepare some of the basic meals that I go to often now at home. Especially growing up, we made a lot of soups, stews, and one-pot meals, and now soup is one of my favorite items. I could eat it all day long, and I am now a great soup-maker because of my mum!”
Want to hear more from Selena? Find her on her website or on Instagram @celiac_dietitian.