Tag Archives: Ask Grettie Column


My latest Chic Vegan column. I have lots of vegan bread recipes that call for whole wheat flour, but I don‚Äôt bake with gluten. ¬†Is there a formula for adding xanthan gum to gluten free flours, ie‚Ķteaspoon for every cup of flour, etc.? ~ Sirica Hi Sirica, Yes, there is a formula for adding xanthan gum to recipes. ¬†The amount of xanthan gum added depends upon what you plan on using it for. ¬†Here is a quick breakdown: Cake¬†–¬†¬ľ tsp. per 1 cup of flour Breads¬†–¬†1 tsp. per 1 cup of flour Pizza Crust¬†–¬†2 tsp. per 1 cup of flour Salad Dressings¬†–¬†1/8 tsp. per 1 ¬Ĺ cups of dressing Frozen Treats¬†–¬†1/8 tsp. per 2 cups of liquid For those of you not familiar with xanthan gum, it is a powdery substance often used in gluten free baking to replicate the function of gluten. ¬†When added to dressings xanthan gum binds the dressing together and improves the texture. ¬†When added to frozen treats it inhibits the development of large ice crystals and imparts a more creamy texture to the dessert. A wonderful resource for learning how to bake gluten free is¬†The Gluten Free Goddess¬†by¬†Karina Allrich. ¬†I always keep a bag of Karina‚Äôs Gluten Free Flour mix in my fridge. Karina‚Äôs Basic Gluten Free Flour Mix

1 cup sorghum flour (aka jowar flour)
1 cup tapioca starch or potato starch (not potato flour)
1/3 to 1/2 cup almond meal, buckwheat flour, millet flour or quinoa flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

To read more of Karina’s gluten free baking tips click here. I know it seems intimidating at first, however with a little experimentation I know you will soon be very comfortable baking in your gluten free kitchen. Here’s to health! Gretchen **Do you have a questions for Grettie? She is here to answer any of your health and nutrition related questions! Email her ataskgrettie@chicvegan.com .**


Filed under Chic Vegan Column, Education, Gluten Free, Gluten-Free Baking, Vegan, Vegetarian

ASK GRETTIE – Dealing With Cold Sores Naturally

Here is my latest Ask Grettie column for Chic Vegan…keep those questions coming!


I was recently contacted by a family member¬†for advice about¬†an¬†ailment that I know many people suffer from.¬† In their e-mail to me they wrote, ‚ÄúI keep getting cold sores in my mouth and on my tongue. What do I need to do to get rid of them?¬† Help!‚ÄĚ


First of all I want to reiterate that I am not a doctor.  I do however know that there are steps people can take to help heal their cold sores and to help prevent an outbreak in the first place.  One popular supplement to take in an effort to cure an outbreak is lysine.  Lysine is an essential amino acid.  When I say essential, I mean that our body does not produce this amino acid on its own, rather we need to obtain it through our diet.  Lysine has been shown to be effective against the spread of the Herpes virus, however it will not be effective if we have too much of another amino acid in our body, arginine.  It appears that these two amino acids fight against each other for space in our guts.  If the arginine outnumbers the lysine, the lysine will be ineffective.

According to About.com’s Alternative Medicine section, the proper dosage of supplemental lysine during an active episode is 1000mg 3 times a day.  Once the cold sores have healed, the maintenance dose is 1250mg per day.  When looking for a lysine supplement it is important to buy a supplement that is pure and not synthetic.  Also try to buy a lysine supplement that includes zinc, vitamin C, and bioflavinoids since these seems to work synergistically (Source:http://www.herpes-coldsores.com/amino-acid-lysine-for-herpes.html).

To aid the effectiveness of the lysine treatment, it is important to consume as many high lysine foods as possible and to avoid high arginine food sources.  I found conflicting information with regards to wheat germ and legumes.  Some sources list them as high in arginine and others list them as high in lysine.  Confusing.  Click here for a list of high lysine and high arginine foods.

It is also important to note that the following have shown promise in the fight against cold sores, bee propolis, resveratrol cream, peppermint oil, and lemon balm.

**Do you have a questions for Grettie? She is here to answer any of your health and nutrition related questions! Email her ataskgrettie@chicvegan.com .**

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Filed under Chic Vegan Column, Cold Sores, Education, Research, Vegan, Vegetarian

ASK GRETTIE – How Healthy Is Gardein?

This is my latest column for Chic Vegan

I was recently contacted with a question about Gardein meat substitutes.  The reader (who is currently a meat eater, but trying to eat less) was out at a restaurant called the Yard House and saw that they offered vegetarian meals prepared with Gardein.  This experience prompted her to ask me what my opinion was about Gardein and whether or not it was a better choice nutritionally than eating meat.

Overall I am not a big fan on meat substitutes.  Processed food is processed food whether it is animal based or vegan.  As with most processed foods, Gardein tends to be very high in sodium and can do a number on your blood pressure.

I do see the value of vegan meat substitutes in that I see them as stepping stones for those who can‚Äôt envision a life without meat (or as an occasional ‚Äútreat‚ÄĚ for those who are already vegans).¬† Transitioning to a vegan diet can be difficult for many people who are used to eating the texture of meat at nearly every meal.¬† In this instance I give the reader the green light to try the Gardein meal as a means to see that it is very possible to eat a vegetarian meal and not miss the meat!

According to the Gardein website, their meat substitutes are made from soy, wheat and pea proteins, vegetables and ancient grains (quinoa, amaranth, millet and kamut¬ģ).¬† For someone who wants to introduce vegetarian meals into their menu plan, some good points about Gardein are that the product is cholesterol free as well as¬†trans and saturated fat free,¬†which is something that meat can never claim to be.¬†¬†Gardein also¬†provides all of the essential amino acids.

I am glad to know that Gardein tries to use mostly non-gmo (genetically modified) foods.¬† There have been some studies that indicate gmo soybeans¬†are potentially detrimental to our health.¬† When asked the question about gmo soybeans, Gardein states, ‚Äú[W]e only use ‚Äėidentity-preserved‚Äô soy protein (which basically means, it helps to ensure us that our soy protein is not genetically modified).‚ÄĚ

I do want to re-emphasize that overall I am not a big fan of meat substitutes.¬† Personally I would love it if each and every one of you strove¬†towards a ‚Äúwhole foods plant based diet.‚Ä̬† Your body will thank you!

**Do you have a questions for Grettie? She is here to answer any of your health and nutrition related questions! Email her at askgrettie@chicvegan.com .**


Filed under Chic Vegan Column, Education, General Vegan, Protein, Vegan, Vegetarian