FOOD FUN FACT: Lose the Mom Jeans!
CHRISTI'S COMMENTARY: Guest Post - Elimination Diet II
FOOD CORNER: Smothered Chicken
UPCOMING EVENTS: "Emotional Release" Teleclass


 

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Ready to Turn Heads in that Little Black Dress?

 

Join me and thousands of women around the world in this powerful FREE training series about health and wellness. 

My friend Margaret is kicking off her "Kiss The Mom Jeans Goodbye" speaker series to teach you the inside secrets to superb health physically and mentally. 

I’m so thrilled to be a featured speaker on April 4.  I'll be talking about how to use essential oils and other natural methods to improve your digestion, cut down on the bloat, and flatten your belly.

Check it out and sign up for free.

 

 


Jen's Elimination Diet Story Part II


Last month, my sister-in-law, Jen Lehner, introduced you to the concept of the Elimination Diet. The concept is simple = you eliminate certain foods (common allergens) from your diet for a specified amount of time. Then you reintroduce the foods - one at a time - and watch to see which foods trigger symptoms for you (like anxiety, join pain, gas, bloating, acne, rashes, etc.).  Sounds easy enough!

 

Simple in concept. :)

Not simple in execution.  :(

Many people attempt an Elimination Diet and fail miserably. I failed miserably the first time I tried it, more than 17 years ago.  Heck, I failed the first few times I tried it.

The reasons for my failures? Two-fold.

1. Back then, I didn't understand exactly how the diet worked. My doctor gave me a list of foods that weren't allowed on the Elimination Diet, but once I threw out everything in my kitchen that included those "restricted" foods, I had nothing left in my fridge or pantry. I had no idea if the meals I ordered at the cafeteria at lunch contained those foods.  As far as I could tell, all the processed foods I bought at the grocery store were off limits.  What would I eat?!?!? My doctor also didn't give me specific instructions on how I was to wean myself off of the diet.  I was ill-prepared.

2. I wasn't prepared for the huge commitment that I would need to make to stick to the diet while going through real life.  I wasn't ready to face the fact that so many of my emotions and coping mechanisms were tied up in food.  I also wasn't prepared to answer all the questions I got from friends and family and co-workers about the diet.  I thought everyone would be supportive - but I thought wrong.

In this newsletter, we're going to address the FIRST reason why I failed: the fact that I didn't have a specific plan to follow. The fact that I didn't know what I could eat, cook, or buy that would take the place of all the foods that were on my restricted list.

In our next newsletter, we'll cover the SECOND reason for failure - the lack of commitment to the diet itself.

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So, let's hear Jen Lehner, in her own words, talk about how to do the Elimination Diet... step by step.  Here's Jen!

 

"What can I actually eat during the Elimination Diet?

Because there are so many potentially allergenic/sensitive foods that can cause symptoms, there is an extensive list of food and food groups that you'll need to steer clear of during the Elimination Diet. 

The good news is that there's an even more extensive list of allowed foods that you can enjoy! 

The food groups that are excluded during the 2-4 week Elimination Phase include:

- dairy

- soy

- gluten (pasta, wheat, barley, rye, etc.)

- eggs
- citrus fruits

- nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers)

- corn

- processed meats and sugars

- caffeine (coffee, tea, and chocolate)

A detailed list of allowed and excluded foods/ingredients is available in my Elimination Diet 101 cookbook.

It’s also critical to ask yourself the following questions: 

-What foods do I eat most often?
-What foods do I crave?
-What foods do I eat to “feel better”?
-What foods would I have trouble giving up?

Often, these are the very foods that are most important to eliminate during the Elimination Diet!  Based on your symptoms, current diet, and answers to the above questions, your health care provider may want to exclude additional items such as sulfites, salicylates, fermented products, or other foods that promote yeast overgrowth.

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DOING THE ELIMINATION DIET:  Step by Step

The Elimination Diet is divided into two simple phases - the Elimination Phase and the Challenge Phase.

STEP 1:  Elimination Phase

During the Elimination Phase, you should completely avoid all foods known to cause reactions for 2-4 weeks.  During this time, you’ll enjoy foods that are generally considered non-reactive, allowing your body time to recover and symptoms to clear. 

My cookbook, Elimination Diet 101, outlines the various food and food groups that are allowed and not allowed during this phase - follow this list and you’re well on your way to a successful Elimination Diet journey. 

You’ll want to review this list with your health provider to ensure that you will be avoiding all the foods that they recommend.  Sometimes, you’ll need to transfer Elimination Diet-allowed food from the “Include” to “Exclude” side of the list if there are additional foods or food groups beyond the traditional Elimination Diet roster that might be of concern.

Please note that cheating is not allowed!  Because any exposure can cause a reaction, cheating here and there will completely negate the purpose of the Elimination Diet.  Your body won’t be able to cleanse itself and prepare for the Challenge Phase testing, which means you won’t be able to identify any offender foods.

If you complete the Elimination Phase with no reduction in your symptoms, this does not mean that the Diet was unsuccessful.  In fact, quite the opposite - you now know that the foods you removed aren’t a primary cause of your symptoms.  This is very useful information to have as you and your doctor explore the next steps in identifying the underlying cause of your health concerns, including whether or not to try the Elimination Diet again with a different combination of foods. 

You likely don’t need to move on to the Challenge Phase unless you have experienced a reduction in other reactions or symptoms during the Elimination Phase.

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STEP 2:  Challenge Phase

If your symptoms improve after completing 2-4 weeks of the Elimination Phase, you’re ready to move on to the Challenge Phase. 

During this next phase, you’ll start “challenging” your body with the eliminated foods, one food group at a time, once every three days (it can take up to three days to be sure that any delayed reactions have time to surface). 

If a reaction does occur within this window, you’ll be able to confidently associate it with this food.  As you introduce new challenge foods, you should record any reactions or symptoms that you experience.

You should work with your health care provider to determine the order in which you will challenge foods.  Standard procedure is to first challenge those foods that you least suspect to be problematic and work your way up to those foods that you do suspect are causing symptoms.  That way you don’t unnecessarily experience any potential reactions early on and have to start the whole process over to let symptoms subside. 

The process for the Challenge Phase is as follows:

1) Begin the Challenge Phase after completing at least 2 weeks of the Elimination Phase.  If your symptoms have not improved in those two weeks, talk with your health care provider about whether or not to try it again with a different combination of foods.  If your symptoms did improve during the Elimination Phase, continue to the Challenge Phase.

2) On Day 1 of the Challenge Phase, consume the selected challenge food 2-3 times throughout the day.  For at least one exposure, try to choose a “pure” form of the food (fresh squeezed lemon juice to test for lemons, for example). For the other exposure, use an Elimination Diet-friendly recipe with the singular addition of this one challenge food.  (My Elimination Diet 101 cookbook offers several Challenge Phase recipes to help keep this process interesting and delicious!). For each exposure, make sure that you consume enough of that food for your digestive system to notice that it's there.

3) Return to allowed Elimination Phase food for Days 2 and 3 (and any other meals or snacks on Day 1).  Observe for any reaction and do not consume challenge foods on these days.  Problem foods may not be immediately obvious since food sensitivities can go unnoticed for hours or even days after being digested.

4) If there is no reaction, introduce a new challenge food on Day 4 and repeat the process.

5) If a reaction does occur, stop consuming the challenge food.  Record the results.  Return to Elimination Phase food for 3 more days, then introduce a new challenge food again on the fourth day and repeat the entire process. 

Caution:  If a food causes you to have an immediate allergic reaction, such as throat swelling, seek medical care and avoid food challenges unless you are under direct medical supervision.

6) Follow-up with your doctor once all foods have been challenged.  Review the results from your records and discuss next-steps for diet and nutrition planning based on the identified food sensitivities.

Some foods have sub-categories (gluten, citrus, nightshades) that should be challenged individually. 

For example, when testing for gluten during the Challenge Phase, you'll be testing each type of gluten grain separately (wheat, rye, barley, etc.). 

Why is this?  Because our bodies are so wonderfully quirky and unique!  For those with gluten intolerance, for example, some types of gluten might cause problems and others might not.  You might do fine with rye, but not with wheat. 

It can be the same for nightshade vegetables and citrus - maybe you can tolerate mashed potatoes every day, but bell peppers put your stomach through the ringer.  Thus, you'll need to isolate and thoroughly test each food within the Challenge Phase categories in order to properly rule it out.

Many of you can expect to find at least one food that you’re intolerant or sensitive to, even if you previously hadn't noticed any problems.  Sensitivities can also range widely in their intensity and health implications, so some of you will now need to completely avoid that food while others can use this experience simply as a cautionary tale for overindulging, but not completely avoiding.

Far fewer of you will find that you are actually truly allergic to a food - but for those of you that do, count yourselves very lucky to have finally found out!  Now you can move forward, confident of your body’s ability to repair and achieve good health! 

Either way, the next step is to work closely with your doctor to investigate what is behind the sensitivity, intolerance, or allergy and develop a plan to address that food’s role in your diet.

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Label Literacy

The surefire strategy for the Elimination Diet is to eat only allowed natural, whole foods served raw or gently cooked and seasoned with only natural salt, pepper, olive oil, herbs, or natural sweeteners. 

But what you DON’T eat is just as important.  For your results to be successful, you have to avoid all potentially suspect foods and chemicals.

If you’ve read any food labels recently, you understand that deciphering exactly what is in your food is a confusing and frustrating task.  Soy, corn, and gluten cooking products and additives go by many scary-sounding names (malodextrin! ascorbic acid!), and often appear as mystery ingredients in very small print buried deep in the ingredients list. 

This is legitimately annoying, and you will need to arm yourself with knowledge and patience to protect the integrity of your diet.  It’s hard enough to say “No!” to the known ingredients we can’t eat on the diet - now we have to be worried about accidentally eating those hidden ingredients in our well-intentioned food choices!

The best advice, as mentioned above, is to eat as many whole natural foods as possible.  It’s pretty hard to get in trouble that way.  Where we enter dangerous territory is in buying processed, packaged foods that advertise themselves as being “_____-free.” 

As such, I really recommend a visit your local healthy-food store that carries a wide variety of produce and natural food products. These stores employ very nice and knowledgeable people who will be only too happy to support your needs, give you a tour of the store, and advise which of their products you can utilize.  The Elimination Diet process lasts a while, so I guarantee you’ll find yourself in that store at some point anyway. 

Call ahead and schedule a visit, you’ll be glad you did.  It’s a great way to mentally prepare for the Elimination Diet and get your fridge properly stocked for success.

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Here are a couple quick pointers for navigating the grocery store aisles, though you’ll probably need to do additional research on your own based on what your local healthy-food store carries or what you find on your pantry shelves:

1. Stock up on allowed fresh fruits and vegetables that are certified organic and are in season.  This should be the majority of what you’ll be eating for the month.  Fresh-frozen foods are good substitutes when fresh is unavailable or too expensive.

2. Some commercially-available poultry are injected with chemicals and are basted with corn starch, additives, and tenderizers.  The label will usually state if a fresh chicken or turkey has not been treated.

3. Look for fresh fish, and avoid fillets treated with sulfites and other chemicals (such as farm raised fish).

4. Commercial salt and other seasonings often contain corn starch and chemicals.  Purchase pure sea salt (which tastes much better anyway) and check the spice labels to makes sure they don’t contain any unallowed items.

5. Some commercially available nuts contain additives that are tossed in starch.  Buy allowed nuts in the shell (or fresh shelled with no processing), which are usually available in bulk at your local healthy-food store.

6. Drink only pure water (pure spring water, distilled water, mineral water bottled in glass, or filtered water), not flavored.

7. Avoid most processed, smoked or cured meats (salami, bacon, sausage, etc.) - any surprise that there’s a bunch of starches, sugar, and additives in there?

8. Check your vitamins!  Many brands use dairy, soy, or gluten to help the medicine go down.  Your doctor or local healthy food store can steer you towards Elimination Diet-friendly versions for the next 2-3 months.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but you get the idea.  Just use your common sense and take the time to really read your labels.  If you can’t be bothered, stick to whole foods (though you may pay the price with limited meal options)."

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From Christi: A big thanks to Jen for sharing all of these details and action plans with us.  You can read more about her own elimination diet journey on her website

If you are thinking of trying an elimination diet, I want to highly recommend that you purchase a copy of Jen's cookbook, Elimination Diet 101, a cookbook and how-to guide filled with helpful advice and over 80 easy, quick, and delicious recipes to test for food allergies and sensitivities.

 

 

We've highlighted another one of my favorite recipes from Jen's cookbook in the "Food Corner" in the top right corner of this newsletter.

 

** Jen is excited to offer my readers free priority shipping through April 15th for book purchases made directly through her cookbook website, by clicking on "Buy Directly from Us (via PayPal) **

 

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If you are new to the concept of the Elimination Diet, stay tuned. In the third and last newsletter of this series, Jen and I will share our best tips on how you can prepare emotionally - and get the support you need - to ensure a successful elimination diet experience.

Stay tuned!


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If you got this far, thanks for reading...

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I would love to hear from you. If you've ever thought of emailing me, please do!  If you've already put healthy measures in place for yourself, let me know what they are... and how you're feeling.

 

 

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"Essential Oils 101 - An Intro to the Healing Power of Essential Oils"

WHAT: This is a live workshop where Christi will teach you all about essential oils... and also share all of her oils with you, so you can smell, sample, and see which oils call to you.

WHEN: Thursday, April 18 from 7-9 p.m.

WHERE: The office of Lifetime Health & Consulting - 1166 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

HOW MUCH: This live home workshop is $10 for people from my BostonHealthCoach list

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Please send Christi an email and ask to be put on the invite list.

 

Using Essential Oils for Emotional Release

WHAT: Teleclass hosted by Christi and Pam Rich, certified holistic health coaches and oil ladies extraordinaire

WHEN: Tuesday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. EST

WHERE: This is a phone call, you can call in from the comfort of your couch

HOW MUCH: This call is free for all

WHAT WILL BE COVERED IN THE CALL?

Pam and Christi will share which essential oils are best for supporting your emotional health. On this call, we will share all the information and advice we learned in March at an all-day Emotional Release workshop with Gary Young (the founder of Young Living oils)... so this teleclass will be full of the most current research and practical tips.  If you are feeling depressed, anxious, sad, fearful or worried... please join us on this call.

** Yes, this call will be recorded, and if you sign up for the teleclass, you will receive the recording, even if you can't attend the live call. **

TO SIGN UP: Visit the registration page!   For advance details, please see my Facebook page.

 

"Kiss the Mom Jeans Good-bye " Telesummit

Ready to turn heads in that little black dress?  Join me and thousands of women around the world in this powerful FREE training series about health and wellness.  My friend Margaret is kicking off her "Kiss The Mom Jeans Goodbye" speaker series to teach you the inside secrets to superb health physically and mentally.  I’m so thrilled to be a featured speaker, check it out and sign up for FREE.

 

Sunday Morning Zumba Class

Yes, I'm now teaching zumba classes! Come get your dance party on!   Check me out on Facebook!

WHERE: The Champion Factory, North Andover

WHEN: 9-10 a.m. on Sunday mornings

WHAT: Zumba is an hour of awesome music, fun Latin-inspired dancing, and is a non-intimidating and easy workout for beginners and experienced zumba-ers alike! You won't believe how fast an hour of calorie-burning will go by, and how much fun you'll have... plus the changes in your body won't be too shabby either :)

HOW MUCH: First class is always free... so come give it a try!

** Make sure to check my Facebook page to receive any schedule changes.

 

"Eating to Survive the First Years of Motherhood"

This popular eBook helps new moms and experienced moms alike figure out a step-by-step plan to get healthy food into their bodies. For more info on this eBook, click here.

 

"The Ultimate Spring Cleanse - A Fast, Easy Detox Program for Beginners"

This eBook is designed to help you create your own cleansing curriculum (especially if you're new to cleansing).  The cleanse programs described in this book are gentle, easy, and suitable for people of all health levels. For more information, click here.

 

"How to Write a Powerful Lecture... in Less than 60 Minutes"

This teleclass and workbook combination are for health practitioners who are looking to build their businesses quickly, without getting stressed out or reinventing the wheel. Got a lecture coming up?  Not sure what you're going to say?  Well, this teleclass recording will help you figure it out in less than an hour.  Now, that's what I call using your time effectively! 

For more info on this product, click here.

 

 

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If you are looking for inspiration around healthy living, please check out the archived copy of all past teleclasses and healthy living products that I keep on my website.

 

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SMOTHERED CHICKEN (from The Elimination Diet 101)

 

This simple meal makes use of basic kitchen staples but somehow tastes extra special.  It also reheats well and makes wonderful leftovers, so feel free to double-up on the ingredients and enjoy an easy mid-week lunch the next day!

Serves 4

4 cups fresh baby spinach
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
3 green onions, sliced
3 Tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 boneless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence

1. In a large skillet, saut√© the spinach, mushrooms, green onions, and pecans in olive oil until mushrooms are tender.  Set aside and keep warm.


2. Sprinkle chicken with herbes de Provence.  Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 inches from the heat for 6-8 minutes on each side.


3. To serve, top each chicken breast with reserved spinach mixture.

Tip:  For non-Elimination Dieters, you can add a thin slice of provolone or mozzarella cheese on top of the grilled chicken before smothering with the spinach mixture (then cover to let cheese melt).

The cheese mixes beautifully with the spinach mixture and creates a truly luxurious dish!

 

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** Christi's tip - my husband recently found a dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free cheese made by Daiya that actually kind of melts :)  It is the best-tasting cheese alternative that we've tried in 15 years... and it comes pre-grated for easy use.

 

 

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Check out:

The Ultimate Spring Cleanse: A Fast, Easy Detox Program for Beginners

Check Out:

Sugar Blues: How to Beat Your Sugar Addiction

Check Out:
How to Create a Natural First Aid Kit with Essential Oils

Check Out:
Natural and Non-Toxic Personal Care Using Essential Oils

 

 

 

ABOUT CHRISTI

 

Christi Collins, H.H.C., AADP, is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

**Are you wondering what a Holistic Health Counselor is?  This description may help!

Christi studied Eastern/Western nutrition and modern health counseling at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She is addicted to learning about nutrition and wellness, and is constantly experimenting with her own food and self-care.

Christi's goal is to help people fall in love with "The Big Three": Healthy Eating, Juicy Living, and Guilt-Free Self-Care.

She uses food, lifestyle changes, and essential oils to help you be your very best healthy self.

She supports very busy women who are struggling to eat healthy and take insanely good care of themselves... without feeling stressed or guilty about it.

Christi is a three-time marathoner and triathlete, pianist, and a mom who homeschools her sons Henry and Evan.

Christi is also a licensed zumba instructor and a trained psychic reader.

To read more fun facts and stories about Christi, click here.

These days, Christi is best reached by email.

She is not working with individual clients at the moment, but will be happy to refer you to another holistic health counselor.

 

To visit Christi's website, click here.

 

 

 

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