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



Juicing vs Blending: Find Your Ideal Summertime Green Drink

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Summer is fast approaching, which means many of us are starting to come out of our wintertime hibernation in search of lighter foods and fitness tips that will get us into bikini season shape. Smoothies and juices are nutrition-packed and super energizing, making them both great warm weather additions to your diet. 

Choosing between the two can be tricky, since each has its own undeniable health benefits. Whether you stop by the local juice bar or fire up your blender will depend on your personal preferences and requirements, as well as what you need at any given moment. Next time you’re asking yourself “to blend or to juice?” consider how smoothies and juices stack up against each other across these essential categories:

Troubleshooting Your Paleo Plan

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Are you one of the millions of people who are rocking a Paleo diet these days, yet not seeing any results in your body?  Let’s talk about some of the deeper reasons as to why you’re not making the progress you’d like, and what you can do about it. A number of causes could be at play, but here are some of the most common culprits:

You’re Toxic.  Because we women carry more body fat than men, we make better storage houses for toxins. Fat is where they like to hang out. And the more toxic we are, the more fat we store in an effort to dilute those toxins. Work with a nutritionally-oriented MD to get a workup done if you suspect you’re toxic.

You’re Intolerant.  In simplifying your diet and purging processed carbs from your pantry, you can overexpose yourself to staples like meat, eggs, and fish, and then develop intolerances to those foods. This can cause low levels of inflammation throughout the body, making it difficult to drop body fat. Eggs, nuts, soy, corn, wheat, and dairy are the most common allergens found in food, but make sure you rotate all your proteins, fats, fruits, and vegetables as much as possible to avoid developing intolerances.

7 Things You Didn't Know About...Spirulina

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Growing up, we had a small pond in the backyard. It was murky and bacteria-filled, and the thought of eating anything out of it was repulsive—which makes me wonder what younger me would think if she knew I pay a lot of money to eat pond scum now!

Spirulina, a single celled cyanobacteria (often mistakenly called a blue-green algae) that grows on the tops of ponds and is otherwise known as pond scum, is quite the superfood. While most people take it solely for detoxification purposes, more and more research is showing that its benefits reach much further than a detox.

Whether you've been using spirulina for years, or this is the first time you've heard of it, it's a truly fascinating superfood. Not only does it have unique and powerful health benefits, but it also has a long and interesting history, and has been used for a wide range of purpos—some of them pretty surprising!


Here are 7 things I bet you didn’t know about spirulina:

Meet Freekeh: The New Must-Try Super Grain

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Tired of rice? Bored with barley?  Does even quinoa or teff seem passé? If so, we'd like to introduce you to freekeh. Pronounced freek-ah, this little super grain is new to the West, but has actually been around for thousands of years. In fact, it was discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean region around 2300 BCE, and has been a favorite crop in Australia for many years. It’s only recently begun to pop up in U.S. health food stores, prompting many people to ask the question: So what is freekeh?

Unlike its celebrity sister, quinoa, freekeh is wheat, so it’s not advisable for folks with celiac disease. However, because it’s harvested while still young and green, it contains less gluten than other grains and may be easier for those with gluten intolerance to digest, according to Australian studies. This early harvesting also means that freekeh retains key nutrients and fiber, making it super nutritious.

The flavor of freekeh is very unique. The grains are roasted, which creates a nice crunchy texture and nutty flavor, different from any other common grains.

Now that you know what it is, you may be asking yourself why you should add freekeh to your pantry. Well, here are just a few of the many reasons :

The No-Equipment 15-Minute Pilates Workout for Beginners

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While yoga has been practiced for centuries in some cultures, Pilates is a relative newcomer to the fitness circuit. Named after creator Joseph Pilates, the system was designed in the early 1900s to offer resistance training and muscle toning for optimal health. It first caught on with ballet dancers as a way to stretch and warm up muscles, and then gained in popularity among people looking for low-impact, effective, and functional exercise. Through simple modifications to each exercise, you can make your Pilates workout as easy or as challenging as you like.

The health benefits of Pilates cannot be overstated. Some of the major ones include:

All-Natural Spring Cleaning Solution: Lemon, Vinegar and Baking Soda

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The weather is finally warming up and the flowers are blooming, which can only mean one thing: spring cleaning time is here! I have mixed feelings when it comes to spring cleaning. On one hand it feels so great to throw open the windows and scrub down my home from top to bottom. It’s a fresh start for the new season. On the other hand, home cleaning products can be very toxic and have strong, unpleasant odors. Even the all-natural brands leave my hands feeling itchy and dry.

This year, I decided to take a more natural approach to cleaning by challenging myself to clean my entire home using just three ingredients that I already had in my kitchen: lemons, baking soda, and distilled white vinegar. Though some nooks and crannies in your house might require you to use other cleaning products, these three ingredients do the trick almost everywhere else. It’s a chemical-free clean-stravaganza! 

What You’ll Need:

1 spray bottle filled with distilled white vinegar

1 spray bottle filled with half vinegar, half water

1 box of baking soda

6 to 8 lemons 

What Are the Signs I’m Eating the Wrong Diet for my Body?

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Hi, I’m Maria Marlowe, a Certified Health Coach and author of Detox without the Deprivation. This is my weekly “Ask Health Coach Maria” series, in which I answer frequently asked questions that relate to health and wellness. Have a question? Ask me here

Hi Maria,

I switched to a raw vegan diet about two years ago, and at first I lost a ton of weight and felt great. Now, though, I feel like I am starting to look older than I am, and while I’m thin, I don’t feel like I look “healthy.” Lately I’ve noticed that I have phlegm in my throat in the morning, which I used to get from drinking dairy, but now since I don’t drink dairy, I don’t understand why I’m getting it. What’s going on?! 

-Linda, New Jersey

Dear Linda,

Deciphering Diet Trends: What's Right for Me?

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Atkins. South Beach.  Jenny Craig. Weight Watchers. Gluten-free. Vegan. Vegetarian. That one my best friend is doing.

I don’t know about you, but for me all of these different diets, trends, and fads make my head spin.  And with all of the celebrity-endorsed books, it can be easy to fall prey to the age-old, “I’ll have what she’s/he’s having.”

While it’s important not to succumb to societal pressure to look a certain way, it is crucial for your health and overall well-being that you understand different dietary theories so that you can better understand your body and its needs.

I spent a long time navigating the “I’ll have what she’s having” diet, comparing the food on my plate and in my lunch box to what my peers were having.  My mind would be filled with questions like, “She has a salad every day for lunch and looks awesome, so should I be having a salad every day for lunch?” 

Green Cannellini Bean Dip

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I was pressed to deliver a green snack to a group of lower school kids for St. Patrick’s day, and having contributed guacamole one too many times, I made a DIY white bean dip a lot healthier by adding greens. I happened to have baby kale in my fridge, and this under-pressure mother took a chance that the kids would still eat it if it were green.

Apparently, St. Patrick’s day is our free pass to eating green. I say, take advantage, ladies, and boost your family’s foods now. You can stretch this out for at least a week or so (start with alien juice!) and use this as an excuse to go green with your kids (or spouse).

White cannelloni beans are a mild, high fiber source of protein, and adding tahini (ground sesame seeds) delivers a really nice boost of calcium for your kids and your own healthy bones. The kale offers more calcium, and dark leafy green goodness, high in antioxidants, and loaded with vitamins. This is a healthy fat, protein, and veggie all in one.