Growing Vital Health

Leslie Elia





     As a health coach, part of my job is to stay current with the nutritional trends. The two trendy buzz words that are floating around the nutrition world lately are “allergies” and “sensitivities”.  Many people want to know what the difference is, and even more people are telling me that their doctor has told them that their blood work shows no food allergies. Still, they have symptoms like bloated belly, headaches, brain fog, rosacea, adult acne, aching joints, unexplained loss of sleep and more.


    I am here to profess to you that these are not normal signs of aging. Our bodies were made to work and made to work well. Many of the symptoms mentioned are indicative of a food allergy or sensitivity.  A true food allergy is when the person eats an allergic reactive food and suffers immediate symptoms like hives, swollen airway and even anaphylaxis.  This constitutes a severe reaction to the immune system.


     An intolerance or sensitivity is less severe and not usually life threatening. Many doctors will even tell you that there is no such thing as an intolerance or sensitivity.  You know your own body better than that.  If you consistently feel bloated after eating gluten products or have constipation and lower cramps after eating cheese and other dairy products, then you cannot tell me that food has nothing to do with it.


    The top foods to watch out for are dairy (milk, cheese, butter, whey), gluten (wheat products as well as bulgur, barley, couscous, kamut, rye berries and spelt), eggs (which can also be called albumin, globulin, ovomucoid, vitellin, and ovalbumin on ingredient lists), peanuts (in lots of oils we use), corn (used in most oils and is often made into high fructose corn syrup and added to most processed foods), soy ( found in oils, Asian foods, many processed foods and alternative milk products), and artificial sweeteners like aspartame and Splenda.


    The sad testimony to our standard American diet is that the top allergy/sensitivity foods are from the crops we use the most. Do you find it interesting that those top crops of corn, soy and wheat are also the most genetically modified crops to date?  Why do we put corn syrup in otherwise healthy foods like salsa, canned soups and crackers?  My grandmother's recipes never called for high fructose corn syrup. Why do we put soy in so many processed dry goods? Many of us in the health industry are ashamed that we took otherwise healthy foods like corn and peanuts, and overloaded our systems with too much of a good thing.  Our bodies are in a state of rebellion with the overload, and often do not know what to do with the foods we consider to now be toxins.  Toxins our body cannot eliminate are stored in our fat cells and fat is often stored in our mid section where it causes inflammation and disease. 


    By now are you asking what is left to eat?  I am just at the tail end of 21 days of removing all allergens from my diet, and will slowly reintroduce them back in and see where my own personal sensitivities are. I can assure you that I did not go hungry and I did not have to spend my entire day in the kitchen making everything from scratch.  I enjoyed a gluten free pie made with a rice flour crust, a stir fry made with kelp noodles, dishes like cabbage and potatoes, lentil soups, flax cracker sandwiches with humus and avocado and much more.


     I will admit that I had to be creative when family time came around. While the family watched a movie, the kids were munching on pop corn with butter and pretzels.  I tore open my tin of flax crackers and dipped them in humus.  While my husband was enjoying his beer (wheat) I enjoyed my raw juice of apples, beets, carrot and ginger.  When my vegetarian kids were eating soy burgers, I slapped together a burger made from black beans, lentils and onions. I used two large lettuce leaves as the “bread” and made sure my ketchup did not contain High Fructose Corn Syrup as most of them do. When my husband cracked two or three eggs for a breakfast scramble, I enjoyed a hot bowl of amaranth cereal with raw almond milk. No sacrifice is too small when I can wake up without pain,  irritability, and belly bloat!


     If you would like to try a detox diet to remove sensitive foods, you must know that you will suffer some detox symptoms such as headaches, irritability, even rashes or body odor as the fat cells release

the toxins into your bloodstream to be eliminated through sweat, urine and bowel movements. To do any type of detox, you should get a doctors permission, and see a good Certified Health Coach who

can help you find new recipes, and navigate through reading the ingredients of the overly processed foods we eat.  At Growing Vital Health, you can receive a 1 hour FREE health consultation to see what foods may be causing health issues in your life. Today is the day that you can take charge of your brain fog, aching joints, lack of sleep, excess belly fat, skin problems and constipation.  Don't wait. Please call 440-729-3627 or visit today.

Have a healthy and allergy free day,

Your Health Coach, Leslie



4 Reasons to Celebrate Non-GMO Month

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Did you know that October is the official Non-GMO Month? This month, retail stores nationwide will celebrate the consumer's right to be informed of foods and products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

What exactly are GMOs again?

GMOs, or Genetically Modified Organisms, are products of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE), which creates new combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes by combining DNA from one species with DNA from another. The result: new organisms that do not occur in nature.

GMOs are often not labeled as such. In many developed nations, GMO products are heavily restricted or banned altogether because they have yet to be proven safe for people's health and the health of the environment. However, in the U.S. there is a dearth of public awareness of the potentially harmful repercussions of GMO products.

Here are four more reasons why you should celebrate Non-GMO Month this October and empower yourself to make the right decisions for you and your family.

1. Human Health

What Role Can Corporations Play in Solving the Global Health Crisis?

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Yesterday, Walmart announced an initiative to improve the nutrition of the food they carry while lessening its environmental impact. This is just one more announcement in a series of big name brands waking up to the dual global crises of health and the environment, and responding with corporate action.

Walmart's goal is to help the environment as well as the health of their consumers, and they’ve established four “pillars” to help them achieve that goal:

Are Synthetically Modified Foods the New GMOs?

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This Non-GMO Month, we’re thinking a lot about the genetically modified organisms that make their way into our food supply, and what they mean for our environment and our health. It’s a complicated and controversial issue, as we explored last week—and looks like it’s about to get even thornier.

A technology has just hit the market that brings new questions and concerns to the GMO debate. Synthetic biology, or “synbio,” doesn’t just change the makeup of certain natural entities, it actually grows new organisms that make things more efficiently than nature does.

Without getting too deep into the science, here’s how synbio works: By taking genes from a plant and giving them to yeast, scientists employ the process of fermentation to create the same compound that plant produces.

VIDEO: Are GMOs Useful or Unsafe?

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October is Non-GMO Month, which means it’s a perfect time to ask the perennial question: are genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) useful, or are they unsafe?

The parties on both sides feel strongly about the answer, and the complex science, politics, financial interests, and environmental implications of GMOs make it difficult to parse out who is correct.

Anti-GMO activists claim that these organisms are an environmental trigger for the growing health crisis, that genetic engineering is not natural, and that we don’t know the long-term health effects of eating GMOs. Scientists, on the other hand, point to thousands of studies that show the safety of GMOs, and say that labeling GMO products would cause people to avoid them out of unfounded fear.

This thorny issue involves the FDA, big corporations like Monsanto, farms small and huge, as well as everyone who eats fruits and vegetables. In the video below, 2009 graduate Robyn Youkilis explores the two sides of this debate. Watch now, and then tell us what you think in the comments.

National Kale Day: Could Kale Be the Next Beef?

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Today is our favorite day of the year: National Kale Day! First of all, how great that our country, despite all its health problems, has a designated day for the king of all leafy greens, right?

In Integrative Nutrition’s Health coach Training Program, kale holds an equally prominent place, with a special part of the curriculum devoted to it. One of the aspects we focus on is the surprising ways in which kale is actually a superb substitute for animal protein, something that most people don’t know.

So how does a bunch kale stack up against that slab of steak? Let’s take a look:

Deepak Chopra on What NOT to Do to Succeed

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When you look at the most successful people you know, you probably focus on what they did to achieve their success. But what about what they didn’t do? According to Integrative Nutrition visiting teacher Deepak Chopra, those non-actions play just as significant a role in determining career success.

In an article on LinkedIn last week, Deepak laid out the three biggest mistakes he sees derailing people’s potential:

  1. Setting your expectations too low.
  2. Feeling that you have to be certain.
  3. Not seeing how much you will grow.

A visionary in the world of holistic health and mindfulness, Deepak may not immediately seem like someone who would be giving tips for professional success. However, his advice—as well as the arc of his own life—is proof of the fact that it’s not only possible but even easier to achieve success if you listen to your inner voice.

Integrative Nutrition's World Heart Day Tips for Heart Health!

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Happy World Heart Day! Sponsored by the World Health Federation, today is an occasion to raise awareness about cardiac health and what people can do to reduce their risk of suffering from heart disease.

This is incredibly important, given that heart problems are the leading cause of death in the world, and the number of people who die from heart disease annually is projected to reach 23.3 million by 2030. And though heart disease is declining in developed countries, it’s increasing in virtually every other region of the world.

Fortunately, preventative measures are low-cost (or free!), so people in developing areas can reduce their risk of heart disease. The challenge is increasing awareness.

World Heart Day provides a powerful platform for this, spreading information about what causes heart disease and what people can do to fight it. The theme this year is “Heart Choices not Hard Choices,” with an emphasis on creating heart-healthy environments through day-to-day decisions.

They identify four factors that contribute to heart disease:

Will the iPhone 6 Make Us Healthier?

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The iPhone 6. Whether you have one yet or not, you likely haven’t been able to escape the buzz about it. And sure, it has some nifty features that mark big strides for mobile communication, photography, and information consumption.

But here’s why we’re interested: it also has the potential to do major things for people’s health by putting a Health Coaches in their pocket.

The new iPhone comes with a native Health app, which collects all of the user’s health and fitness data and presents it in an easy-to-read dashboard. Plus, Apple has unveiled a new platform called HealthKit, which developers can use to create wellness-focused apps that utilize all of the data from Health. Sounds promising!

Enterprising, health-minded developers are already raring to take advantage of these new technologies, and we’re sure to be seeing a lot of wellness apps coming down the pipeline in the near future.

Are Artificial Sweeteners Making Us Fat? Keri Glassman Weighs In

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“People don’t understand that artificial sweeteners make you gain weight, they do not make you lose weight.” This is one of the most common nutrition myths that Integrative Nutrition visiting teacher Keri Glassman says “makes her shake” when she encounters it in clients.

With a new study from Nature in the news recently asserting that artificial sweeteners interfere with the friendly bacteria in our guts, thus causing our blood sugar to spike and potentially fueling the obesity and diabetes epidemic, hopefully she’ll encounter this myth less frequently. However, as she explains in the video below, outdated dietary misconceptions abound!

In this interview, Glassman explains how she turned her innate passion for nutrition into a fulfilling and lucrative career that combats these myths, and the work she sees ahead for herself and other wellness crusaders. Watch now!

Khmer Tofu and Aubergine Curry

Khmer Tofu and Aubergine Curry

(Serves 4-5)

While many non-native foods reached Cambodia from other lands, a wealth of sugar palms, coconut trees, papayas, mangoes, and bananas are indigenous and thrive happily in the warm region. Vegetables are colorful, plentiful, and often grow wild. Bright displays of lufa gourd, eggplant, water spinach, yard-long beans, mushrooms, cabbage, bamboo shoots, Chinese broccoli, carrots, garlic, and snow peas are readily available at open-air farmers' markets.

I've adapted this typically spicy Cambodian curry to be far milder than its original fiery version but every bit as delicious. In addition to their frequent use of chilies and black pepper, Southeast Asian cooks turn to fresh herbs, which they use liberally to infuse their foods with enticing flavors`. Because fresh herbs love Cambodia's hot, humid climate, they grow with enthusiasm. Serve this tasty curry over brown rice or rice noodles.

Using Kaffir Lime Leaves

Endowed with a uniquely delicious flavor, these aromatic leaves add a desirable touch to Southeast Asian soups, curries, and sauces. Look for fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves in Asian markets. If the leaves are fresh and pliable, use them whole or slice them into 1/8 -inch slivers and add to stirfries or soups as directed. If the leaves are dried, use them whole in recipes with plenty of liquid, such as soups or saucy dishes. Discard before serving.

Where to Kuy