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Healthy Gluten Free Baking for the Holidays

Written by Sheila Wagner PT, CN, BCHN

Remaining gluten free through out the holiday season is easier than ever now due to readily available gluten free substitutes! There’s a myriad of gluten free flours to use for baking such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat, tapioca, potato, corn and millet. The available prepared gluten free baked goods are numerous as well:  cookies, muffins, scones, breads, cakes, cupcakes and pies! It’s all there for you to easily create a gluten free holiday and indulge just like everyone else!

But let’s face it; baked goods that are gluten free are still laden with sugar and excess carbohydrates that challenge your blood sugar and pack on excess pounds! If you want to lower the blood sugar burden of your baked goods then try using higher protein flours like almond or other nut flours or using a lower glycemic index flour such as coconut flour. Even your pie crusts can be made from ground nuts, nut flours or finely shredded coconut!

I always try to get away with using the least amount of sweetener as possible and also choose sweeteners that are real and unprocessed like pure maple syrup or honey. Once again, coconut sugar comes in at a lower glycemic index than other sugars and is another good sweetener to use when baking. A few drops of liquid stevia are also great to sweeten hot beverages like tea, chai, coffee or spiced milk.

If dairy is on your list of intolerances, then choose milk substitutes such as almond, hemp, quinoa or rice milk. Using coconut milk as a substitute adds a rich and creamy quality while providing healthy fats! Coconut milk soaked chia seeds with chopped fruit and nuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon doesn’t need any sweetening and makes a wonderful substitute for creamy fruit and yogurt.

If corn is your intolerance then use arrowroot, tapioca or potato starch as a thickener, and avoid xanthan gum by using guar gum instead!

Those are a few tips for you to keep your holidays not only gluten free and dairy free but also a little more balanced when it comes to managing your blood sugar! Here’s a pumpkin pie filling that does nicely in any home made or store bought GF pie crust or you can simply fill small ramekins with filling and bake for lower glycemic individual crust less ‘pies’!


I like to make a lot of filling so that I can make a deep dish pumpkin pie and have more left over to fill some 3” or 4” ramekins.


Use 3 and 1/2 cups of fresh cooked and pureed pumpkin or a large 29oz can of pumpkin

1/2 cup or less of pure Grade A maple syrup (OR 1/2 cup or less of coconut sugar or 1/2 cup mix of the two)

4 extra large or jumbo eggs plus 1 more egg white

2 cups of unsweetened almond, hemp or quinoa milk

1/2 cup of coconut milk (How much milk you use depends on how thick you want your filling)

2-3 t. ground cinnamon

1 t. ground ginger

1/2 t. ground cloves

Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl and then add the pumpkin, maple syrup and/or coconut sugar and spices and blend well. Gradually stir in the milk combo of your choice. Pour into a GF pie crust or a pie plate without the crust or individual ramekins. Place your pie in a preheated 425° oven for 15 minutes and then turn it down to 350° for 45 – 50 minutes. If you are baking in a ramekin or want to make a crustless pie, then just bake at 350° for 40 – 50 minutes until set. The ramekins don’t need as much cooking time, so watch them carefully. Enjoy!

Sheila Wagner, PT, CN, BCHN is an Orthopedic Physical Therapist and Certified Nutritionist and is known as your Expert Source to Finally Fix Your Health! Sheila has over 30 years of experience treating patients with a variety of pain, injury and health complaints and is well known for her ability to sleuth out the source and then systematically create a science based solution for hard to resolve health issues. Sheila is sought after as a successful healer, speaker and teacher and can skillfully turn complex information into simple and practical knowledge for everyone to use to improve their health! Sheila has been a competitive athlete throughout her life in diving, gymnastics, triathloning, cycling and most recently, ballroom dancing, Sheila understands what it’s like to attain optimal health for peak performance. Sheila is the Founder/CoLeader of a California branch of the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America and is on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Nutritional Professionals. In addition to her athletic endeavors Sheila is passionate about gardening and healthy cooking.
To learn more about how to Finally Fix Your Health!™ with Sheila, visit