FOOD FUN FACT: Use Your Food to Clean Your Home!
CHRISTI'S COMMENTARY: Guest Post - Elimination Diet III
FOOD CORNER: Pumpkin Pie Quinoa Bake
UPCOMING EVENTS: "Chemical-Free Home " Teleclass


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Jen's Elimination Diet Story Part III

Over the past few weeks , my sister-in-law, Jen Lehner, introduced us to the concept of the Elimination Diet.   You can read Part I and Part II of this series, if you missed them.


In this last part of her newsletter series, we're focusing on tips and tricks to help you have a successful elimination diet journey.

While we're focusing on the elimination diet, the advice that follows will be helpful no matter WHAT kind of diet you are embarking on.  Anytime we change the way we eat, it requires creativity, support and dedication on our part.



Here's Jen's advice!

If you live in a bubble, your Elimination Diet experience (along with many other things in your life!) will be a cake-walk.  But you don’t, so it won’t.  You have a real life - family, friends, work, social events, grocery shopping - and depending on your lifestyle and commitments, the Elimination Diet will probably put a proverbial cramp in your style. 

There’s no need to become a dieting martyr, but some practical adjustments will be required.  Fortunately, these adjustments are temporary and can be a great excuse to try new things!

I honestly believe that the practical, day-to-day execution of the diet can be more challenging than the dietary instructions themselves.  Whether you are Elimination Dieting or not, life marches on, and I had to learn for myself how to create harmony.  Hopefully you can adopt some lessons from my experiences to better enjoy your own Elimination Diet journey!

Double Duty

Perhaps the most important tool for a successful Elimination Diet journey is a collection of good recipes.  By “good” I mean those that meet my three non-negotiables for a “keeper” recipe: delicious, quick, AND inexpensive.  These are not mutually exclusive concepts!

1) DELICIOUS enough to serve my in-laws.  Who doesn’t want to impress their guests with a scrumptious home-made spread?  I find the ultimate triumph to be that those with whom you regularly dine will be unsuspecting and more than happy to inadvertently join you in your Elimination Diet meal because it is so tempting and tasty!

2) QUICK to prepare.  My family starts circling the kitchen like vultures the minute I step in the door after work, so I need to be able to get dinner on the table pronto - yesterday isn’t fast enough for my boys.  Simple preparation, a short ingredients list of basic staples, and steps that can be taken the night before are essential to mimicking a line order chef and preventing my family from impatiently pounding their forks on the table.

3) INEXPENSIVE ingredients to buy.  There’s no greater thrill than throwing together a gourmet meal for pennies, and the happiness of my meal is often reduced when I’ve had to spend a lot of cash on expensive ingredients.  There’s certainly no reason that the Elimination Diet needs to break the bank.  In fact, you’re likely to save money by cooking at home if you’re accustomed to eating out!

All this adds up to a repertoire of food that will please both you and any lucky folks with whom you are dining.  Why relegate oneself to cooking multiple dinners when an Elimination Diet recipe is at least as good as what otherwise would have been prepared?

My paramount concern when presented with the concept of the Elimination Diet was that I would have to cook separate meals for myself and my husband.  With all the dietary restrictions, how could I possibly ask him to suffer through the month eating the same meals as me?  However, I’m a busy mom, I work full-time outside the home, and I have taken responsibility for preparing three meals a day for my family.  So, I’m certainly not interested or even available to be cooking personalized meals for everyone - even for myself!

The recipes that I collected and cooked throughout the Elimination Diet - the same recipes that I share in the Elimination Diet 101 cookbook - put that concern to rest as both my husband and I marched through the month well fed and satisfied, sharing the same Elimination Diet meals.  (That doesn’t mean that he didn’t slip out on his own for the occasional burger or fish 'n' chips when he wanted to!) 


Dealing with Detox

The Elimination Diet is a natural detoxification process for your body.  That’s nice, but we also know what detox really means - withdrawal.  It’s true that cravings and withdrawal symptoms are common when embarking upon the Diet - after all, why wouldn’t they be?  Our bodies are sure to miss all the yummy addictive foods we eat, and sometimes Elimination Dieters can actually feel worse before they feel better.  Typical complaints include nagging cravings, headaches, body aches, upset stomach, and lethargy…good times!

But seriously, the good news is that detox symptoms are usually limited to the first week.  The even better news is that these symptoms often mean the diet is actually working!  It’s a paradox, but withdrawal and cravings themselves can be symptoms of food sensitivities - sometimes our favorite foods may be the very things that we’re sensitive to.  For me, it was wheat.  For you, maybe cheese or eggs.  Either way, the fact that your body is so desperate to have them probably means that something is suspicious!

The first week of the Elimination Diet can be truly irksome if you’re detoxing, but there’s a lot you can do to feel better.  First and foremost, drink a lot of water!  There’s no faster way to flush the junk out of your system, and your skin will love you for it.

In those dark moments of temptation and cravings, it helps to remember that the Elimination Diet is a very short-term investment in your long-term future - a temporary inconvenience in exchange for a potential lifetime of good health.  Not to mention that willpower is a muscle that grows stronger with exercise. 

Running in the opposite direction from the deli when you’re dying for a tuna melt has a wonderful multiplying effect, as each act of positive choices reinforces your determination to carry on.  And really, who wants to put in all the hard work of Week 1 only to blow the Diet on Week 2 and have to start over?  If you're desperate, set a timer for 15 minutes and put that tempting treat out of sight.  Studies show that cravings usually pass within 10 minutes, particularly if you can’t see the object of your desire.

When all else fails, try going French.  French women commonly cite distraction as a powerful tool in curbing their cravings and immediate culinary desires.  For sure, distraction is a wonderful weapon when going into battle with your better-than-a-lover croissant craving.  Naps, calling a long-lost friend, a short walk, or tackling your “honey-do” list can help, and they're all things you should really be making time for anyway!


All You Need is Love...

I can’t over-emphasize how important it is to surround yourself with positive support while on the Elimination Diet (let alone all the time!).  Those friends and family with whom you regularly dine and socialize have the power to precipitate a Diet experience that is either really manageable or really oppressive. 

Food is an integral part of our daily existence, so having to adjust your menu also means having to adjust your life - this is much easier to achieve when the people around you are supportive!  I’d recommend sitting down with your family or close friends to explain what the Elimination Diet is, how it works, and why you are doing it.

It will help them understand that this is an important process in helping you achieve good health and well-being.  The Elimination Diet is not some sort of egomaniacal, self-indulgent spa treatment, and the people who really care about you will cheer your efforts and gladly embrace the temporary inconveniences.

I was very fortunate, as Mike was eager to partner with me in brainstorming recipe ideas that we could eat together for dinner.  He volunteered to limit his non-Diet food to outside the home or when I wasn’t around - what a guy!  We explained the Diet to friends with whom we regularly shared dinners and family whom we visit, so that everyone knew what to expect at mealtime. 

I was so reluctant and embarrassed to be making such a fuss about food, but everyone was actually very accepting and supportive!  Think about it - for however much you don’t want to dictate the menu to your dinner host, they also don’t want to serve something you can’t eat! 

Through the act of educating my friends about the Elimination Diet, I even inspired some of them to try it too.  For me, the key was to invite my support network into the process by sharing information and providing suggestions about how they could best help me.  The people who love you should and do want the best for you!

Dining In

It’s possible, but dining out at restaurants is risky business for the Elimination Dieter.  Though many restaurants offer allergen information for menu items, this information is not always complete or accurate. 

For example, did you know that certain commercial spice mixes contain cornstarch?  That’s probably not noted on the menu descriptions and, unless I can go back in the kitchen myself, I don’t trust that the chef knows it either. 

And let’s not even get started on salad dressings!  It's also difficult to control for cross-contamination with non-Diet-allowed foods in a restaurant kitchen since equipment and cookware are often reused between orders.

Dining out should be avoided during the Elimination Phase in order to achieve reliable results - it’s all too easy to accidentally eat a non-Diet-allowed food.  If you do find yourself obligated to eat at a restaurant, you might be able to access their menus on-line before-hand or call ahead to select the best options.  When in any doubt, play it safe and order a garden salad with olive oil dressing only - or bring your own dressing! 

If your fridge is filled with take-out boxes, think of this as your big opportunity to clean it out, scrub it down (when was the last time you did that?!), and stock it with lovely green, organic produce.  The best way to ensure that you are eating the right foods for the Elimination Diet is to prepare them yourself, not put your faith in the line chef at a 24-hour diner. 


Get a life!

The Elimination Diet is not, I repeat, not, an excuse to stop living your life and having a good time at it!  If you are a social nightlife creature, you’ll just need to get a bit creative. 

Your friends may need you to take the lead in crafting social opportunities that don’t gravitate around restaurants and bars and food, which is surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it. 

Organize a game night, explore a new part of town or a park together, watch movies, check out a new band at the local coffee shop, or (like Mike and I did) join an evening kickball league or learn a new sport.  These activities can be much more fun than eating lukewarm cheese fries in a smoky dive bar.  If you do find yourself in a bar (some of us just seem to naturally gravitate toward them), order sparkling water in a martini glass and just let your imagination do the rest.

If you are invited to a dinner party, go!  Just offer to bring an Elimination Diet-friendly side dish so you can be assured to have at least one item on your plate you can eat.  Or better yet, offer to host the dinner party yourself so that you can plan the menu.  Most Elimination Diet meals are so good your friends won’t suspect a thing.

It goes without saying that holiday seasons aren’t the most opportune time to initiate the Elimination Diet, so for your own sanity please try not to do so.  I think I’d cry if I had to turn down a slice of my mother’s pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving dinner.  If you have the flexibility, check out your calendar for chunks of weeks that will present the fewest challenges for sticking to the diet. 

Starting the program a week before your wedding, for example, would not be a good choice.  If you can reschedule events to clear a block of time, do that, particularly in the summer when fresh produce is bountiful, cheaper, and the general population tends to eat fresher, whole foods anyway.

It’s all of these little choices and strategies that, when added up, mitigate the Elimination Diet’s potential inconvenience and adverse impact on your daily life.  The goal is to breeze through the process inspired and well-fed, not deprived.  Remember, you are just eliminating some foods for a few weeks, not your whole life and happiness as you know it forever. 

If you’re concerned that your lifestyle can’t adjust and accommodate the Elimination Diet, I hope my advice convinces you that you can do it flawlessly.  With supportive friends and family, and armed with a good quality frying pan, the Elimination Diet will be a rewarding adventure that you will be glad you embarked upon.



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 25th for book purchases made directly through her cookbook website, by clicking on "Buy Directly from Us (via PayPal) **




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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

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

WHEN: Thursday, May 9 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


Pam and Christi will share how you can get rid of all the toxic cleaners you are using to clean your home, office, and school.   It's time to throw out the Pledge, Windex, Bleach, Comet, Fabreze, Tilex, etc.

You may be surprised how cheap natural, healthy cleaning can be... and how much better it smells... and how it BOOSTS your immune system, intead of wreaking havoc on your health (like chemical-based cleaners do).

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

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PUMPKIN PIE QUINOA BAKE (from The Elimination Diet 101)


I don't normally enjoy sweet food first thing in the morning, but I'll always make an exception for this outstanding breakfast dish. Not only is it scrumptious, but it's also loaded with fiber and protein - talk about a power breakfast! It's quick to throw together so I like to bake this the night before while I'm cleaning up the dinner dishes, and then just reheat it in the morning.

Inspired by

Serves 2

For the bake:
2/3 cup almond or rice milk
1/4 cup pumpkin puree or mashed sweet potatoes
1/4 cup quinoa (yellow or red, or a mix of both)
2 Tablespoons chopped dates (optional)
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

For the topping:
1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons finely ground almond flour
1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a small casserole dish or 2 large ramekins.
2. In a small bowl combine all the bake ingredients. Stir until fully mixed, then pour into the casserole dish or ramekins.
3. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, combine all topping ingredients. After the 30 minutes are up, remove casserole from oven and sprinkle topping over top of the casserole.
5. Return to the oven and cook uncovered for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden.







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






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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