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



Vegan Kale Caesar Salad

Blog post thumbnail

Last Sunday night, I was craving a caesar salad like no other. Unfortunately I’m allergic to dairy so the Parmesan-coated salad that I so craved was out of the question. Instead, I made my own version with kale subbing in for the classic romaine, and dressing that tasted like a creamy caesar variety that you might get at an Italian restaurant. Not to mention, I toasted up some homemade croutons from sprouted grain bread.

Reading that description doesn’t make this salad seem as oh so good as it is but I promise you, it will curb your caesar cravings any day. Full disclosure: As I was cooking, I didn’t measure the ingredients precisely but the amounts I recommend below are as close as possible to the actual measurements.

Vegan Kale Cesear Salad

Serves 2.


Your Handy Guide to Food Combining

Blog post thumbnail

For years, I convinced myself that I didn’t suffer from indigestion. I hadn’t experienced the telltale signs like acid reflux or heartburn, and I never took antacids or other over-the-counter remedies meant to treat digestive disorders.

Only when I started paying attention to what I ate and how my body responded did I realize the ugly truth: my digestive tract was completely out of whack.

At around 3pm every day, just a few hours after eating lunch, it would kick in. The bloating, the cramps, the nausea –there was no denying any longer that I had indigestion!

So I did my research and after a little bit of trial and error with my diet I discovered that the cause of these symptoms was improper food combining. I was eating salads topped with fruit and filets of fish with roasted potatoes or butternut squash, combinations that were wreaking some serious havoc on my poor digestive system.

10-Minute Stretching and Strengthening Prenatal Workout [VIDEO]

Blog post thumbnail

Staying physically active while pregnant can be tricky. Your newly large belly can create all sorts of challenges that make the notion of working out seem especially unappealing, not to mention the (mostly unfounded) fear that strenuous exercise could do harm to the baby.  However, these hurdles shouldn’t prevent you from keeping up a stretching and strengthening routine during your pregnancy. In fact, it’s extra important to stay in shape during your pregnancy, both for the health of your baby and to prepare your body for labor.

In this video, Diana from Wellness Today takes you through a stretching and strengthening sequence that’s perfect for any stage of pregnancy. It targets all the muscle groups that are so essential during pregnancy, releasing tension, increasing flexibility, strengthening muscles, and building endurance. It’s perfect to fit in at the beginning of the day or in the evening, and is guaranteed to leave you feeling relaxed and invigorated!

8 Quick and Creative Avocado Recipes

Blog post thumbnail

Let's cut to the chase: avocado is the best.

Just thinking about a big bowl of guacamole makes me feel like I'm on vacation, and finding a big chunk of avocado in a salad is better than finding a $20 in your coat pocket! It's creamy, tangy, and the perfect mix of savory and sweet, making it an amazing complement to just about every dish. Plus, it just so happens to be incredible for your health.

Avocado is one of the great healing fruits. Its monounsaturated fats and potassium help to protect the body against heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Its omega-3 fatty acids lubricate the joints and reduce arthritic symptoms. For those who struggle with the inflammation caused by asthma and allergies, the antioxidants and fatty alcohols found in the flesh and oil of the avocado help to reduce and stabilize inflammation, offering an organic alternative to pharmacopeia antihistamines.

Because avocado is so awesome, we're always looking for new ways to incorporate it into each and every meal. We know it's great for guac and salads, but how can you fit some avocado into an after work snack? A morning pick-me up? Pretty easily, actually.

Here are 8 great ideas for getting more of the delicious, nutrition-packed avocado into every day.

4 Outdoor Workouts to Try This Spring

Blog post thumbnail

Among the wonderful things about spring, one of my favorites is taking advantage of the warm weather by exercising outdoors. Long gone are the treadmill-filled days inside a hot, crowded gym. It’s time to lace up your shoes and take it outside!

Going for a run is my standby outdoor workout. Running is a great choice, because you can do it anytime and almost anywhere, but it’s not exactly exciting. This spring, I plan on mixing things up a bit by adding a few fun, new outdoor workouts to my routine! Here are four I’m excited to add to the rotation. 

Food to Make You (Even More) Beautiful

Blog post thumbnail

“I can spot your clients from across the room.”

“What do you mean?” I asked

“They glow, there’s something about them, they’re gorgeous. I can spot the girls that are working with you. There she is, she’s a Holli client.”

This sweet gentleman proceeded to list the ladies that I had been working with. I looked around. I’d been watching their transformation in my office over time but here it was. Wow.

You know that look, after you’ve done a cleanse, or gone to a spa, or really lived your Nutritional Style® for a month or more? It shows.

Here’s the cool part; science backs up his observation. The University of St. Andrews in Scotland conducted a study on attractiveness and fruit and vegetable consumption last year.

“We found that within a six-week period, fluctuation in fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with skin-color changes,” said lead researcher Ross Whitehead, from the School of Psychology at St. Andrews.

Not only did skin look healthier at the end of the study period, it was judged more attractive as well, he said.

“Eat more fruits and veggies to improve your appearance,” he added.

7 Things You Didn't Know About...Chia Seeds!

Blog post thumbnail

Chia seeds are the superfood du jour. They’re not only popping up in every health food store and wellness blog, but are also making their way into just about every food category, from drinks to desserts and everything in between.

Whenever I talk about chia seeds, I can’t help but call them nutritional powerhouses. They’re jam-packed with fiber, omega 3’s, and minerals like calcium and manganese, they’re an excellent source of sustainable energy, they aid in weight loss by keeping you satiated longer, and they’ve been shown to support heart health. Yup, powerhouse.

But, I bet you already knew that, so here are 7 facts you may not have known about chia:

7 Signs You Have a Quality Friendship

Blog post thumbnail

Research backs up what many of us know instinctively: Quality friendships are good for our health. Many studies, including the landmark Nurses’ Health Study, show that social interaction with friends can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol, and an Australian study of older people found that those who had a large network of friends lived much longer than those with the fewest friends.

Take a moment to think about your friends. How many do you have? How many of those do you consider really close friends? Chances are you have fewer than a handful of friends who you would turn to in times of trouble. Now, think about how those friends regard you. How many of them would rely on you in tough times? Because really, that’s the true measure of a quality friendship. When you need them, they are there, and when they need you, you don’t let them down.

Easy Kimchi Recipe for Ultimate Gut Health

Blog post thumbnail

Kimchi is one if those dishes that I'd always been a little wary of.  At first, it was fear of the unknown—I had never had kimchi, but I figured the strong fermented flavor wasn’t for me. Oh, how wrong I was! After I finally caved and gave kimchi a shot, I was instantly hooked. The tang, the spice, the crunch. I couldn't get enough!

If you’re unfamiliar with kimchi, let me explain. Kimchi is a traditional Korean fermented food. It usually consists of cabbage, daikon, or radish, all soaked in garlic and spices and allowed to ferment for anywhere from a few days to a few months, until it achieves a unique spicy, sour flavor. Not only is kimchi the perfect complement to just about any Asian-flavored dish, it's also very healthy, particularly for your gut. Kimchi, and fermented foods in general, are full of good bacteria that help to balance out the bacteria in your digestive tract. If you’ve been suffering from indigestion or other gut-related ailments, adding kimchi to your regular diet could help tremendously.

Which Nut Butter is Right for You?

Blog post thumbnail

Whether on toast, atop a banana, or straight out of the jar, nut butters are delicious. But which nut butter is the healthiest? Are some, in fact, bad for us? Does it all depend on who you are or who you ask? Without someone to lay it out for you, things can get a bit, well…nutty! (Sorry, couldn’t help it!)

To simplify things, here’s a primer on the most common nut butters to help you choose the healthiest nut butter for you!

Peanut Butter

Rich in vitamins E and B3 and manganese, peanut butter also contains some powerful antioxidants that may help fight stomach cancer. Plus, it’s high in fiber, helping to keep you feeling full for hours! While peanut butter is rich in protein, it lacks the amino acid lysine, which means you’ll need to eat an additional lysine-rich protein food source to get the most from this nut butter. On the negative side, peanuts are technically legumes (aka a no-no for those on a Paelo diet), and are fast becoming known as “the allergy nut” because of the high incidence of peanut allergies. Keep this in mind if you’re reintroducing peanut butter into your diet.

May I Suggest: A lysine-rich banana goes great with peanut butter, for both taste and nutrition!