Valerie's Blog

Any tips for enjoying the holidays without regrets?

Hi Lori, Can you believe it’s December already! Something I’ve always emphasized is moderation. The holidays are the easiest time of the year to overindulge. This year, feel free to enjoy the foods you love, just in smaller quantities. You will feel just as satisfied, minus all the guilt. I would also recommend to start meals with salads and vegetables. This will make it easier to eat other foods in moderation. Attending a holiday party? Try bringing a platter of our vegan, organic crackers along with some homemade guacamole or hummus. In honor of the upcoming holidays, here’s a healthy gluten free recipe to share with others.

Mary’s Gluten Free Apple Crisp

Apples
5 Organic Granny Smith apples (should be very crisp and tart)
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 small lemon (juice from)

Topping
½ cup quinoa flakes
½ cup walnuts or almonds (chopped well)
½ cup Mary’s Gone Crackers Original Crumbs
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup* melted butter (or substitute with ghee, coconut oil or other light tasting oil)
*enough fat to ensure all topping ingredients are coated but crumbly enough to sprinkle on top of the apples.

Preparation
1. Peel, core and slice apples.
2. Put apples, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice in a large bowl, mix well and pour into an ungreased baking dish.
3. Shake the pan to distribute the apples well.
4. Combine all topping ingredients and mix well.
5. Evenly distribute the topping on the apples and pat down.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until apples are tender and bubbly. If topping begins to brown too much, turn the heat down to 325 and cover with foil.

Best,
Valerie Douglass, DTR
Mary’s Gone Crackers, Inc.
valerie@marysgonecrackers.com

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What is the hype about chia seeds? What can you tell me about them?

One of the many ancient grains Mary’s Gone Crackers uses are chia seeds. Chia seeds have been around for centuries. This flowering plant was initially consumed by the ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures. They are a great source of fiber, insoluble and soluble, and have more omega 3′s and protein than flax seeds. They are a good source of calcium, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, iron, zinc, boron and copper. By weight, these seeds are a better source of calcium than milk. The boron in the seeds helps the body with the absorption of calcium. Fiber, which can be difficult to get enough of on a gluten-free diet, is abundant in this seed. Fiber is essential for feeling satisfied and keeping your digestive system on track. All of these benefits are why these powerful little seeds are considered a “superfood.”

Chia can easily be incorporated into any diet. Unlike other omega 3 sources, these seeds are tasteless. They become gelatinous when mixed with liquids, adding to the options for including them in your daily fare. The natural fiber in chia seeds slow down the body’s sugar conversion which helps to stabilize your blood sugar. When baking, chia seeds can be substituted to cut down the amount of fat used in a recipe. Chia seeds can also be ground into flour for baking or sprouted for a nice addition to salads.

I like to mix chia seeds with almond milk and refrigerate overnight to make a nutritious on-the-go breakfast. You can find chia seeds in our Sticks & Twigs and our love Cookies.

Valerie Douglass, DTR
Mary’s Gone Crackers, Inc.
Valerie@marysgonecrackers.com

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Soy

I’ve received several questions lately regarding soy in our products so I’d like to touch on a few of your concerns. All flavors of our crackers and our Sea Salt Sticks & Twigs contain fermented soy in the form of organic, gluten-free tamari. A small amount of organic alcohol or organic vinegar is added to the tamari to facilitate its fermentation. According to what I’ve read, soy allergies in most people are triggered by the protein in soy. Fermented soy is generally tolerable for individuals with soy allergies because the fermentation process alters the proteins in soy making it easier to break down in the human body. It is thought that unfermented soy is more difficult for the human body to break down due to whole, unfermented soy being rich in enzyme inhibitors. Soy is also found in the chocolate chips we use in our Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate love Cookies, in the form of soy lecithin. Similarly, this form of soy is also easier to digest and not usually a soy allergy trigger since it is an extract from soy oil and does not contain any soy protein.

I’ve heard from many of our customers with soy allergies or intolerance that our products are easily digestible for them.

Our Sticks & Twigs in Curry and Chipotle Tomato and our love Cookies in “N’Oatmeal” Raisin (without oats!) and Ginger Snaps do not contain soy. The Frequently Asked Questions section of our website also has some great information on soy.

Valerie Douglass, DTR
Mary’s Gone Crackers, Inc.
valerie@marysgonecrackers.com

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Why are the fats we get naturally from the Whole Grains and Seeds in Mary’s Gone Crackers better for us than the types of fats that most crackers contain from oils or added fats?

Great question! The naturally occurring fats in the Whole Grains and Seeds provide a lot more than just fats. They are high in protein and fiber and many essential vitamins and minerals. For example, sesame seeds are a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, manganese and copper. The flax seeds and chia seeds are an excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. This is a very delicious and great vegetarian way to get your Omega 3’s!

Not all fats are created equal. The fats found in hydrogenated oils can be detrimental to your health compared to the natural fats found in coconut and avocado that are essential to your health. Hydrogenated fats can disturb the metabolism of fats in the body. This means that consuming man-made fats affects the way your body processes all forms of fats. Even the non-hydrogenated oils and fats added in other crackers are often highly refined or old and rancid, making the products harder to digest and of questionable nutritional value. Even good, cold-pressed oils, when cooked at high temperatures, can lose their value. It is best to get your fats from natural food sources.

Happy Snacking!

Valerie Douglass, DTR
Mary’s Gone Crackers
valerie@marysgonecrackers.com

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What is a good recipe for cooking quinoa that is easy and has some nice flavor? I like to have it made ahead of time to serve with my meals.

This is a great recipe that is very nutrient dense with lots of flavor.

Ingredients:
1 cup organic vegetable broth
½ cup cooked organic quinoa
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ cup organic broccoli florets
¼ cup organic vegetable broth
¼ cup sliced organic mushrooms
1 cup chopped fresh organic spinach or kale

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup vegetable broth to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and broccoli florets. Stir for a minute, then cover and steam over low heat for about 2 minutes. Stir in the ¼ cup vegetable broth, mushrooms and spinach. Cover and cook until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.
3. Stir the vegetable mixture into the cooked quinoa. Cover, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

*Feel free to incorporate your favorite vegetables into this recipe. I like to add items like red bell pepper and celery depending on what’s in season.

For more great recipes, please visit the Inspiring Health section on our website.

Enjoy!

Valerie Douglass, DTR
Mary’s Gone Crackers

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What is the sugar content in your cookies? I am very sensitive to sugar and am careful about what I eat.

Hi Leslie,

Thank you for your question. Our love Cookies contain 9 grams of sugar per serving (2-3 cookies depending on the flavor). We use organic coconut palm sugar and organic tapioca syrup to sweeten them. Organic coconut palm sugar is produced from the nectar of the coconut palm tree. The nectar is harvested, cooked down into a thick syrup and dried into a granulated sugar. Organic tapioca syrup is made from the pure tapioca root starch. Both sweeteners are low-glycemic and made from real food. Our coconut palm sugar has been claimed by the FAO (Food & Agricultural Organization of the United Nations) to be the single most sustainable sweetener in the world.

While it’s often said that “sugar is sugar” I have found that since our sweeteners are food and not refined cane sugar, our cookies do not spike your blood sugar as most do. As with all sweets, moderation is key to a healthy diet. To see the full nutrition panel on our cookies, please visit the Your Products section of our website.

Valerie Douglass, DTR
Mary’s Gone Crackers
valerie@marysgonecrackers.com

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What sets MGC cookies apart from other cookies nutritionally?

Dear Christiana,

Thanks so much for taking the time to ask a question! I was actually hoping someone would ask this one. Our love Cookies are much more than just a cookie. They are FOOD that nourish you and leave you feeling better because they are made with whole food ingredients. They are sweetened with organic coconut palm sugar and organic tapioca syrup, which are low glycemic sweeteners. The palm sugar actually has vitamins and minerals in it! We use organic chia seeds in all of the cookies as well. The coconut oil and palm fruit oil are good forms of fat and leave you feeling full and satisfied. Of course, since they taste so good, you still have to practice portion control! For more information on our products, please visit our newly designed website www.marysgonecrackers.com.

Valerie Douglass, DTR
Mary’s Gone Crackers
valerie@marysgonecrackers.com

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What is the recommended amount of fiber we should have in our day? Is 25 grams the maximum one should eat?

Why is fiber so important? Fiber plays a vital role in overall health. A high fiber diet is known to decrease your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Two of the most common diseases Americans are facing today. Fiber also helps you feel full longer. Eating a diet high in fiber is a great way to look and feel your best!

The amount of dietary fiber needed is very different for each individual. The guidelines say we need at least 25 grams per day but more than 25 grams is good for most people if their digestive systems can handle more. Softer fiber forms called “Soluble Fibers” found in most fruits, vegetables, brown rice, flax seeds and corn are sometimes easier to digest and not as bloating. Bulking fibers called “Insoluble Fibers” found in seeds, nuts, most whole-grain high fiber cereals and the skin of certain fruits and vegetables may be harder on the digestive system in larger quantities.

I recommend starting with the goal of 25 grams per day and slowly incorporating more fiber up to 35-40 grams per day as your system allows. It is extremely important to drink a lot more water as you increase your fiber intake. This will allow the extra fiber to move through your digestive system more efficiently. It is said that our ancestors ate up to 100 grams of fiber per day.

Valerie Douglass, DTR
Mary’s Gone Crackers
valerie@marysgonecrackers.com

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Introduction

Hi, I’m Valerie Douglass the Nutrition Expert here at Mary’s Gone Crackers! Have questions about nutrition? I’m here to help! Please send me all of your nutrition related questions to valerie@marysgonecrackers.com. Every week I’ll be taking your questions and posting one or two answers publicly. I’ll do my best to answer your private questions in a timely manner.

General Disclaimer: Information and advice provided by Valerie Douglass is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Anyone suffering from a condition that requires medical attention or who has symptoms that concern them, should consult a qualified medical practitioner. Valerie Douglass and Mary’s Gone Crackers shall not be held responsible for any claims relating to illness or ailments that are deemed to have arisen as a consequence of reading any part, or all of the content provided on this website. The content is provided for general use and may be unsuitable for people suffering from certain conditions, diagnosed or otherwise.

While I have a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science and the knowledge presented on this website represents many hours of careful research, I’m not a physician and this blog is not intended to be a substitute for the advice and counsel of your personal physician.

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