September 2016 Newsletter Articles

Welcome to the September Newsletter Articles! This month features The Stigmas We Face (article one) and Eating Healthy. What Does That Really Mean? (article two, about half way down the page. Until I get the formatting to be a bit better, it’s just going to be a long scroll. Sorry about that.

The Stigmas We Face

Having food allergies, well, it’s awful. There’s all the planning, the insecurities, the reactions, and the fear. That all happens before you get out of the car to go into the grocery store. When you live with food allergies, you lose your trust in just about everything, and you have to question everything like your life depends on it, because it does. Over time, it really takes a toll on your mind. One of the most over looked allergic reactions to food is the mental effect.

Before I get into that, let’s review what an allergic reaction is. Food allergies happen when the protein for the offending food enters your body. In highly allergic people, anaphylaxis is the worst case scenario. Without an epi-pen and a trip to the emergency room, this usually ends in death. I’ve personally experienced what can be defined as a near-anaphylaxis response” and it’s awful. You’re there one moment, then BOOM, you’re gasping for air, and you’re on the ground. You can’t think, and all you do is panic internally. 0/10 would not recommend. But did you know that an allergic response doesn’t have to end in death? It can be seen in the form of hives, joint pain, headache, tongue itching and swelling, eye swelling, brain fog, GI pain, heart and chest pain, and well, everything else in-between. Food allergies never effect any two people exactly the same, and that’s part of the problem with them. They’re even harder to measure in some people when the allergy is mild. Yet, even for those who have a mild allergy, if you’re always “mildly reacting” it’s never any fun.

Which leads us back to the point of our discussion: mental health. There was a point in my life where I was mentally just ready for death. I was there for a good solid 10 years. I would be smiling one moment and totally OK, and the next moment, ready to jump off of a bridge. I never said anything to anyone because of the stigmas associated with mental health issues. It got much worse over time… much worse. Until finally, I did a little research after learning about the possibility of having a corn allergy. It was something I will cherish forever, and never forget. A mother was writing about her teenage daughter’s struggle with bi-polar disorder, and described me almost to a point! It was like we were the same person. Well, the mother didn’t believe her child was bi-polar (she worked in the medical field) and was a real champion for her kid. Turned out, the daughter had a severe corn allergy that had been diagnosed for years. After a couple of weeks of no corn (and it’s long nasty list of derivatives), the daughter was “no longer bi-polar”. When I read that, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

I can personally attest to the direct connection of food and mental health. Have you heard of the gut-brain? It’s real. There are nights, even now, when I lay in bed and wish for death. The reactions get so bad from such minute amounts of the offending allergens. After a couple of days, the fog lifts and you look at the food that made you sick like it’s the devil.

So what does all of this mean? Mental health is something we all have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. At times, you suffer a loss, and it’s very understandable why you feel so down. Sometimes, people have a chemical imbalance in their brain that causes mental health issues. They may need prescription drugs and a good psychologist. Other times, a person has food allergies. They need an allergist who understands, and a nutritional specialist who can help. They may also need to look into things like leaky gut, and functional medicine.

More than anything, I hope this article is able to help at least one person, or a friend of a friend who may be struggling. Remember, I’m not a doctor, so please don’t take this in lieu of medical advice from your doctor.

 

Eating Healthy. What Does That Really Mean?

We’ve all heard it: eat healthy. Get fit. Blah blah blah. But what does it really mean? Well, without signing up for a fad diet, or paying $5.99 to join the club, how do we learn what healthy eating is all about? This month, I want to take a moment to talk about healthy eating, and help those of you that may be struggling. And no, there’s no club you’ll need to join.

First, we must know that there are a lot of science based methods for choosing a good diet for you, such as one that’s based on blood type, or metabolism type, gender, age, and ethnicity. However, at the end of the day, it’s calories in, calories out. How will you know if it’s working? Two things: you’ll feel better, and over time, you’ll see the weight drop off.

What if it’s not working? Given my personal experience of weighing over 450 pounds, I would ask if you have a food allergy or food intolerance. I would also want to know if you’re on any special medications. Finally, we’d have to ask the hard question: are you lying to yourself?

If you do a quick web search, you’ll giggle when you see what 400 calories of oil/butter looks like versus 400 calories of vegetables. It’s amazing what the difference is, and if you have a tendency to cook with a lot of oils, you’ll see where your calories are coming from. For those of you that love your oils, other options could be steaming or baking food.

Now that we have that out the way, if you’re at a point where you’re ready for change, but overwhelmed by all of your choices, let’s break it down into manageable chunks: hunger, appetite, snacks, planning, and choices.

Hunger and appetite are similar, but different. When your stomach growls, makes noises, and and you feel a bit of pain, you are physically hungry. Be sure to make a positive choice in this moment (this is why planning and prep are so important). When you think to yourself, I could really go for a slice of cake right now, that’s mental hunger, or appetite. You want it, but don’t need it, and may have to be a little tough on yourself in the beginning as these choices do add up.

Snacks are a big deal for some people. If you find that you are a snacker, or constant grazer, don’t snack on nuts. Nuts are full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and CALORIES. They add up. A handful or two of nuts a day is all you need on a well-rounded healthy diet. Instead of having nuts in the snack bowl, opt for fresh veggies such as carrots, tomatoes, and broccoli. Skip the dip if you can. By doing this, you’re going to stuff yourself full, but without loading up on extra calories. If you’re a body builder, or trying to put on weight, the opposite is true for you. See what I mean? No two people are the same.

Planning and choices are a huge part of eating healthy. For the sake of the next paragraph or two, I’m going to assume you’re a Standard American that’s eating out a couple of times a week, you’re overweight, and want to change things up. The rest of you are still welcome to read though. Meal planning is the most essential part to having any change in diet stick, and work. By planning, you end up with a great shopping list too, which means you’re less likely to deviate and buy things you don’t need. For you married ladies out there, if you need a little help with this, send your husband. You know they’ll only get what’s on the list, hehe. When you take time to plan (when you’re not hungry) you’re more likely to choose good things for yourself, and when the time comes, you’ll want to stick to your plan. With that comes choice. Sometimes, it’s easy to say, well, I don’t feel like such and such today. That’s why PREP is just as important. If you take the time to buy the celery, wash it, cut it, portion it out, and even add raisins to the baggie, you’re going to eat it. You did the work, and it’s right there when you need it. See, you didn’t need that pesky cookie.

OK, so what have we learned so far? Mindfully planning meals, sending a man to the store, and prepping your food are important things. But what if I have food allergies you ask… Everything still applies, even more so because your life depends on it. The extra element for those with allergies and sensitivities is RESEARCH. Know where each element of the food is coming from. In our house, there aren’t many packages. I try to get everything as close to it’s original state as possible. I even thought about purchasing a food mill at one point so we could grind our own flours at home…

On to the part you all really want. The meal plan itself. I find that this is the part where most people struggle, especially because the FDA and other governing bodies often tell us things that aren’t true for everyone, or just unnecessary. A healthy meal for a week will include as many food groups that you’re not allergic to, and will rotate to give you balance. It also includes combinations of foods during meals because the combo is what sometimes helps with the bio-availability. However, there are some foods that should be eaten on their own, such as melon.

Here’s a plan that’s lower in carbs, and on the Paleo side. It’s also easy to make top-8 free. My final words before parting you with the list: Make sure that you plan meals you will enjoy, especially at the beginning of any major change. If it feels like a task or a burden, you’re less likely to stick with it. Always incorporate sweets at the beginning, even if it’s a simple Paleo treat, or eating a couple of medjool dates. it’s what most people crave, and by giving yourself a much healthier sweet, you won’t feel deprived, and thus, you’re more likely to stick with it. Don’t forget to drink water, chew food really well, and keep a food journal (if you suspect food allergies or sensitivities).

Our team is always here to help, so please drop us a line if you have questions. Annnnd remember, I’m not a licensed medical person, etc., so none of this should be taken as medical advice. If you think you’re having an emergency, please get off of the internet and seek help.

 

Monday Breakfast Fruit, Yogurt, Granola
AM Snack Homemade Trail Mix
Lunch Taco Box
PM Snack Applesauce + Banana
Dinner String Bean Dish
   
Tuesday Breakfast Sweet Potato Fries, Chocolate Smoothie
AM Snack Wild Zora Bar (or other bar)
Lunch Kale & Bean Stew
PM Snack Carrots, Broccoli, Dip
Dinner Spinach, Chicken, Mushroom Pizza
   
Wednesday Breakfast Duck Egg Ramen
AM Snack Homemade Trail Mix
Lunch Salad
PM Snack Applesauce + Banana
Dinner Pineapple Pork Balls
   
Thursday Breakfast Avocado, Toast, Eggs
AM Snack Wild Zora Bar (or other bar)
Lunch Taco Box
PM Snack Cherry Tomatoes, Carrots, Dip
Dinner Broccoli, Beef, Noodles
   
Friday Breakfast Quiche (or Egg Cups)
AM Snack Homemade Paleo Cookies
Lunch Kale & Bean Stew
PM Snack Paleo Dessert Cup
Dinner Alfredo Zoodles + Beets
   
Saturday Breakfast Whole Wheat French Toast, Fruit
AM Snack Fruit Bowl with Chia Seeds
Lunch Salad
PM Snack Your Choice
Dinner Red Sauce Lamb Buckwheat Pasta
   
Sunday Breakfast Paleo Bacon, Eggs, Peas & Carrots
AM Snack Wild Zora Bar (or other bar)
Lunch Quinoa + Protein & Veg of Choice
PM Snack Fruit
Dinner Salmon + Cauliflower Rice
Dessert Paleo Apple Pie

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