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Do you have itchy skin? Is it red, splotchy and the cause of embarrassment? Over the years I have worked with several women who have flare-ups of itchy, rash like skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, rashes, etc.  In fact, as a sufferer of histamine intolerance, I regularly experience a horrible itch on my back and acne flare ups. I am tempted to just put cream on it and make it go away, but I know my body is sending me a message, and the body NEVER sends a signal that doesn’t need attention! In my case, my body is telling me to go back to a low- histamine, nutrient dense diet, and relax!

Your skin is an organ, and just like your liver, kidney and heart, it has a job to do. Its main job is to protect your bones and blood from the outside

READ your skin. Aches, pains, itching, stiffness, etc. are all signs that something is going on inside.

elements. But according to Chinese medicine, the skin is the external expression of your lungs, so if your lungs are stressed or weak, you will see that on your skin.  In fact, the skin is considered the outer lung by the Chinese and the pores as “doors of Qi” (Qi is energy and life force).  The lungs are considered the gateway between the outdoor world and your inner being. Abundant lung energy manifests as strong physical vitality, and breath nourishes the lung. If your lungs are weak, your skin will appear unhealthy.

Your skin is also a major detox organ, excreting toxins on a regular basis. This is why everyone has a different smell (or in some cases just B.O.), depending on what’s IN your body! The skin also takes up the slack when your detox organs (kidney, colon and liver) are not functioning properly or are stressed.

So, what does all this mean? READ your skin. Aches, pains, itching, stiffness, etc. are all signs that something is going on inside. Acne, eczema and psoriasis could be inflammation or autoimmune issues. Reactions to certain foods, environmental toxins or stress are also common causes of skin ailments. Some of the common triggers include gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, and nuts. By doing an elimination diet, you can determine whether or not food is the cause. I recently worked with a client who suffered from terrible eczema in her ears. Multiple doctors insisted it was not food related. After a couple weeks of eliminating dairy, she noticed improvement. After eating a more low-histamine diet, she improved more. Now she can identify her triggers and manage her eczema much easier than before. What a relief!

If you do suffer from skin issues, what can you do?

First, focus on breathing, stretching and expanding the lungs. Yoga, meditation and walking all help with this. Secondly, eliminate all processed foods to nourish your body completely, and consider an elimination diet Adding in nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables and grass-fed or pastured animal products (if you eat meat) will help nourish your body and give it strength to rebuild. Thirdly, pay attention to what is going on inside and outside of your body, especially your emotional state and self-esteem. Detoxing negative feelings is very important.

Finally, eliminate fried, fatty foods and sugary foods which burden your system. Of course, if you notice anything strange on your skin or bumps, dots or specks that look suspicious, you should have your dermatologist take a look.

Whatever the issue may be, please know that you have the power to heal yourself. Pay attention and tap into your intuition. Your body is sending you a message; it is your job to listen.

 

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READ ALL OF 24/SEVEN MAGAZINE AT http://www.cyacyl.com/magazine

 

Skipping Lunch? Think again.

Busy young business woman eating a healthy lunch while working in her office

Taking the time to fuel your body in the middle of the day will help you stay focused and energized.

Think you’re too busy at work to squeeze in a lunch-hour routine?  You might want to reconsider to improve your concentration and productivity.  Studies indicate that taking regular breaks during the work day can improve productivity and mental acuity, reduce fatigue, relieve joint or muscle pain, and increase overall alertness.  Also, taking the time to fuel your body in the middle of the day will help you stay focused and energized.

Here are some great suggestions for a REAL POWER LUNCH!

  • Choose a salad with protein. While salads usually include vegetables and greens, be sure to add some protein for a nutritional power punch.  Chicken, beans, salmon, tuna or hummus will help you stay focused throughout the day. Dress your salad with good quality fats like olive oil or toss in some guacamole and salsa for a spiced up dressing.
  • Make your dinner your lunch.  Sometimes making lunch your larger meal, balanced with protein and vegetables works more efficiently in keeping you charged for the day.  Just don’t eat too much, or you will get sleepy.
  • Elevate your plate with energy packed superfoods like dark leafy greens, blueberries, almond, or chia seeds.
  • Avoid lunches that are fried, rich, packed on thick bread or full of sugar. This will make you crash within a few hours and have you running to the vending machine or nearest coffee shop.

And if it is at all possible, step outside to grab your lunch during the day or take some time during your break to take a walk. A study in the Journal of Personal and Social Psychology says that people who go for a brisk 10-minute stroll feel more awake and experience a surge in energy that lasts up to two hours after they walk.

By combining a healthy lunch with 10 minutes of exercise, you can start to reclaim your energy!

Honoring Your Individuality to Achieve Balance, Confidence, and Health

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To honor your individuality is to recognize what your body craves or needs to achieve health and balance. It is to appreciate and love yourself for who you are!

No two people are alike. We differ in body shape, size, preferences, talents, etc. So it is only logical to say that no one diet works for every person out there.  Everyone is unique in the way the body reacts to, processes and absorbs food.   Vibrant health depends on age, gender, ancestry, body, blood type and lifestyle.  Honoring your individuality is the key to optimal health.

To honor your individuality is to recognize what your body craves or needs to achieve health and balance. It is to appreciate and love yourself for who you are! When we don’t feel right, we assume that something went wrong or that we are abnormal, and that the condition, illness or discomfort is beyond our control. But that discomfort, or weight gain or illness is usually a sign from your body that something is simply out of balance. So it is important to develop an individual program and make lifestyle changes that work for your mental, emotional and physical health. And most importantly, don’t compare yourself to others, but love yourself unconditionally for who YOU are.

Much of honoring your individuality includes listening to your body. Your body gives you many signals like hunger, thirst, pain, cravings or feelings. These signals are telling you that something is out of balance and needs to be corrected.  So how do you understand what it is saying? Here are a few simple tips to cultivate awareness and listen to your body:

  1. Question what you are told. Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.” The field of nutrition is incredibly complex and complicated. For example, trying to read a label today is like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube puzzle. Do you really understand what is written and can you trust it? Doing your own research to find out if the latest cereal is really good for your heart like the labels says will help you break free from the latest fads and give you a boost of confidence when shopping.
  2. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. You are you! No one else is you! This is why you may have gained weight on the South Beach Diet while your neighbor lost 10 lbs. We live in a media monsoon with diet books, cooking shows and news programs pouring down on us.  Yet, with all this information at hand, we are more confused than ever! It wasn’t long ago that people ate instinctively, with the seasons, according to the land.  Your great-grandmother didn’t need books, programs or celebrities telling her what to eat, which brings us to the next tip…
  3. Go back to basics Simply put, if your great-grandmother didn’t eat it, or wouldn’t be able to recognize it, neither should you. Fast food, microwave meals and packaged foods are recent food inventions and don’t provide the nutrients that fresh, seasonal produce does.  Eating healthfully really isn’t that complicated. The body knows what to eat – it’s the brain that makes mistakes. Give yourself time to listen to your body and intuition.
  4. Take note of how certain foods make you feel Often, keeping a food diary is all it takes to solve that heart burn or indigestion problem. Investing a little time now will help prevent a myriad of problems later. I know several people who complain of daily abdominal cramping, diarrhea, bloating or heartburn after eating dairy, but still do not make the connection that perhaps dairy does not work well in their bodies.   If they cut dairy out of their diet, they will probably see these symptoms go away.
  5. Make time to check in with your body This point is the most important of all. Taking a few moments out of your day to check in with yourself will make a dramatic difference in how you feel.  If you don’t feel well, ask yourself, “What did I eat today? What did I do today?”  Rather than taking a pill to cover up the pain, do a little detective work to find out why the problem is there. Often, just practicing deep breathing to calm the mind and the body will help you figure out what is going on.

Embrace your individuality. You are unique and deserve to treat yourself that way!

Picnic Food that Won’t Pack on the Pounds!

Vermont August 2014

It’s the last weekend of the summer. Not officially, but Labor Day weekend always feels like that. School is starting, it’s getting cooler in the evenings, and the summer is winding down.  This weekend, while you are closing out the season of picnics and outdoor fun, keep in mind that jumping from party to party can take a serious toll on your energy and your waistline. Creamy coleslaws and potato salads, beef patties on white bread and topped with cheese, and nitrate-laden hot dogs are not exactly foods that will help you keep your figure or protect your body.   Additionally, picnics, parties and warm nights seem to beg for ice cream and other sweets – challenging anyone trying to keep to a healthier regime.

If you want to close out the summer with healthy habits stick to the seasonal, fresh fruits and vegetables that this time of the zucchiniyear provides! Berries, lettuces, greens, peaches, peas, green beans and zucchini are just a few of the many delicious foods nature provides for us during the summer months. These foods give you energy without making you feel heavy or weighed down. If you are headed to a party or a picnic, ask to bring a dish or two that you know you will want to eat and will help steer you away from the temptations.

Here are a few options that are simple, inexpensive and will make fireworks in everyone’s mouth!

  1. Make a fruit salad with seasonal, organic fruits like strawberries, blueberries and peaches.  There is nothing like an in-season, local peach. The sweetness, softness and juiciness IS summer! Toss the fruit together with fresh lemon juice to keep the peaches from browning and to add some tartness. It’s festive, fun and flavorful!
  2. Bring along a vegetable centered dish or appetizer. If you know there will be a grill (and likely there will be), tell your hosts you will bring asparagus, skewered veggies like peppers, mushrooms & squash, or corn on the cob. Grilled vegetables are succulent and hard to resist!  Simply toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and grill until they are tender. Add fresh lemon juice to brighten it up and bring out the flavors!
  3.  Bring the Chips and Dip. You can go for lower fat, organic and baked chips, along with organic salsa without preservatives or additives. Take it one step further and make your OWN salsa with tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic, basil, red onion and mango for sweetness!  You can control the heat and fresh means more antioxidants and nutrients! Here’s a tip: Use heirloom tomatoes in salsa. The result is a sweeter taste with endless flavor!
  4. Quench everyone’s thirst with healthy cocktails!  Make a batch of a Coconut-Pineapple smoothie in advance with fresh pineapple, coconut milk and coconut water. Guests can add in rum if they’d like or drink it virgin. Another idea is to make a refreshing and energizing mixture of honeydew melon, cucumber and fresh mint. This is cooling, relaxing and would also be tasty with a shot of vodka or tequila (drinker’s choice).

And if you decide to just go with the flow and eat what’s there, then keep these tips in mind for a healthier mouthful.

  1. Avoid char on your meats. It may look appetizing, but the char contains carcinogens (cancer causing substances).
  2. Dress up your burger or hot dog with tomatoes, sauerkraut, pickles, cucumbers, mixed green lettuces, etc. The more vegetables you add on top, the healthier your burger will be. You will also be filling up on fiber and nutrients, and feel more satisfied.
  3. Remember that cocktails, fun party drinks, beers and wines contain a lot of calories and sugar, so go easy and drink a lot of water too!

Cheers to the end of summer!

It’s time to travel!

It’s that time of the year again. School is getting out and vacations are just around the corner! Everyone knows that vacations often interrupt diet plans or cause you to stray from the efforts you have been making to grab hold of a healthier YOU. But, while vacation food is tempting, and we may overindulge in ice cream or alcohol at times, vacation doesn’t have to ruin all the efforts you have made up until this point! You can still enjoy yourself and be healthy. In fact, I’ll bet if you did, you would feel even more relaxed after your trip, and ready to rejoin life with a refreshed attitude and outlook!

To start you off with some tips on how to travel healthfully, I’ve turned to my very dear friend and fellow health coach Angela Orecchio, who is an expert traveler! She has been travelling and working on a yacht for many years. during that time, she has managed to change her diet completely and navigate a vegan lifestyle all over the world!  She is truly inspiring by the way she takes charge of her health.  She has given me permission to share her recent blog post with you Never Get Stuck Eating Airplane Food Again!  In her post she offers great tips on what you need to consider before and during travelling.  I will continue to post more on #healthytravels in the new week or two! Stay tuned…

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For anyone hopping on a plane in the next few weeks, this is a MUST READ!
THANKS ANGELA for sharing!!

Creative Breakfast Ideas When It Seems Like You Can’t Eat Anything!

More and more people are coming up with food allergies, intolerances and reactions. What is going on in our world? I honestly don’t know, but I suspect it is a cry from our bodies for real nourishment from real whole foods.   We live in a toxic world filled with toxic processed foods and our bodies can only take so much. Everyone has their own breaking point and every person reacts differently to toxic overload – some in disease, others in allergies, others in temperament or digestive issues, etc.  Whatever the case is, if you are battling something that just seems “off,” I encourage you to take a look at your diet. Diet is not everything. Stress, work and relationships to name a few, certainly do contribute to illness or “offness.”  But our modern day food products and our giant leap away from whole food eating are certainly a prevalent factors.

If you have been following me, you know I have been dealing with some food intolerances myself lately (read my post When your body goes haywire! to catch up to speed).   For the past 6 months I have had to make drastic changes to my diet, eliminating even healthy foods that were causing reactions like  avocado, bananas, berries, egg whites and walnuts.  I was left scratching my head at what to eat for breakfast!  How do you start out your day when you can’t eat anything you usually eat? I know this is a question many of my clients and friends face when they first find out about food intolerances.  It requires stepping out of the breakfast box, and adjusting your taste buds and thoughts 😉

Typically for breakfast, I would eat homemade granola,  pancakes, toast with almond butter and berries, eggs with sautéed greens, green smoothie or yogurt parfait with fruit and granola.  With all those options out the door, I came up with a few ideas, which are now favorites.  And they are packed with nutrients, anti-inflammatory agents and Vitamin C.

IMG_1904Pancakes:  It took me a while to master the gluten free pancake, but with the help of the Low Histamine Chef and other bloggers I finally did it! In fact, I am eating pancakes more often than before because t hey are SO good! Check out a recipe here: http://thelowhistaminechef.com/gf-paleo-pancakes-with-coconut-cream/  Note: I’ve used brown rice flour instead of chestnut and it’s worked well.

Runny egg yolk over sautéed greens and rice porridge:  This is just delicious. Sautéed some mixed greens like kale, chard or even bok choy are served over Bob’s Red Mill brown rice porridge or Quinoa Rice and Shine.  Sprinkle with good olive oil and some sea salt. Top with a runny egg yolk (or full egg if you can tolerate the whites).    If you want to omit the egg, you can add in some pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds to the dish instead.

Grain free granola:  This has to be my favorite creation since going gluten free. I simply combine hemp seeds, flax seeds, organic-coconut-flakes-1kg-cealmonds, dried cranberries and shredded coconut. I toss with coconut oil and maple syrup and then bake on low at 250 for about 20-25 minutes, or until coconut is just browning. It is sweet, tasty and loaded with omega-3 oils and healthy fat from the coconut and seeds.  Sprinkle on some Himalayan sea salt and this can be used as a snack, granola or chia pudding topper.

Pomegranate Coconut Cacao Chia Pudding:  It’s creamy, silky and sweet.  Follow Kris Carr for a fabulous recipe and adjust accordingly to create mine by using pomegranate seeds and raw cacao nibs, or enjoy her recipe as is.  http://kriscarr.com/recipe/raspberry-chia-seed-pudding

Herby Mango Smoothie:  I love this smoothie, it is herbaceous and savory, which may be off-putting at first, but this is delicious.  You can adjust accordingly, add more basil or cilantro if you, or less. It’s a great energizing start to the morning.

smoothie1 handful dandelion greens

1 handful parsley or cilantro

1 mango or 1 cup frozen mango

5 basil leaves

1 pinky size cube of ginger

Water

Boost: Hemp seeds, Ground flax or Chia Seeds

Zucchini – Apple Bake with “Crunchies” and Basil:  Who would have thought that steamed zucchini and apple would be so satisfying?  Toss on some shaved almonds (or nut of your choice), finely cut fresh basil, pomegranate seeds for color and crunch, and a sprinkle of olive oil (or coconut oil) for an easy to make, satisfying healthy breakfast.

Whatever your reason might be for eliminating foods from your diet, there is one important fact to consider: it’s not so much of what you exclude, but what you include.  Your body is crying out for nutrients, so be sure to feed it whole, nutrient dense foods. You will heal faster and feel better.  It may seem daunting at first, especially if you are coming from a high –carb, Standard American processed food diet, but you will get there. If you are having trouble, send me an email. I would love to hear your story and help you along your path to healing.

When your body goes haywire!

tired girl

I used to look at people with multiple food allergies and wonder – what went wrong? Why is their body rejecting so many things?  Maybe it was their diet? Perhaps it was stress?  I did not know, but I knew something wasn’t right with them.  I wasn’t judging, just observing and hoping they would find an answer so all foods could be enjoyed.  Mostly though, I was grateful that food allergies didn’t affect me.

Then it happened to me.  Last December, suddenly, my body started reacting to foods I had eaten my entire life. Bananas, Walnuts, Cashews, Strawberries, Avocadoes, Homemade chicken broth! I mean, for goodness sake, it was homemade, slow-cooked to perfection and from pastured chickens I got from the local farmer. I didn’t think I could do it any healthier, aside from raising my own chickens. What was going on?  I was beyond frustrated and honestly, scared to eat anything at that point. Everything I ate, I awaited the rise of heat in my throat, the pounding in my head, the prickly hives on my face, arms or legs,  the searing pain between my should blades, and the wave of nausea that would overcome me.  My anorexia (fear of food) came back in full force and I was afraid to put anything in my mouth without somewhere nearby and my new epi-pen close at hand (thankfully I have not had to use).

I ran to the doctor for answers, but had to wait weeks for results. How was I going to get on for the next few weeks without being able to eat, I thought?  I looked to my colleagues for answers (kudos to an amazing group of intelligent health coaches!), and we came up on a histamine issue. I had never heard of histamine, except in relationship to allergies, and my blood tests showed I had a few intolerances, but no real allergies, so I dismissed it.  Then I found a host of information, mainly spearheaded by the Low Histamine Chef (check her out, she’s amazing!), and it all made sense. I was on histamine overload and my body could NOT handle another drop of it.  And get this – those healthy foods I loved so much were high in histamine – especially that slow cooked chicken broth!  So with research and diligence I cut out all high histamine foods and started adding in more low histamine and histamine inhibiting foods like basil, mango, greens (but not spinach), cilantro, etc.  It wasn’t that much of a change for me since I have eaten most of these already, but finding things for breakfast (no gluten, no oats, no dairy, no soy, no avocado, no banana, no berries, etc. etc. etc.) was a challenge.  I had to get creative, and in later blog posts I will share how I did!

But I digress…back to the beginning. My body was going haywire, but I didn’t know why and I certainly didn’t think it would or could ever happen to me. I was a healthy health coach after all, and I knew what was good and what was bad for the body.  But this, took me to a whole other level of learning and understanding the body. I am grateful because this histamine episode led me to discover other things in my body that needed correction… I am now fixing them.  And with that, I hope that someday, once the havoc clears my body will reset and enjoy food without any threat.

So, what should you do when your body goes haywire?

  1. Take a look at your diet. Are you eating wholesome foods to nourish your cells and support your body?
  2. Take a look at your lifestyle. Are you sleeping enough? Are you working in a job that drains you or challenges you? Are you in a relationship that builds you up or drags you down? Do you exercise?
  3. Take a look at your attitude. Do you treat your body with love? Do you love others? Are you a positive influence in this world or do you speak negativity? (Check out my latest blog post on me not being able to speak! https://appetitesforlife.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/choosing-the-words-to-speak/).

If you feel you need to make adjustments in one of these areas, please start today.  Your body is giving you a signal that something needs to change.  You are the only one who can facilitate that change.

Stay tuned for my next few posts to find out what recipes I came up with to manage this condition and how I have been dealing with allergy-free eating!

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