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Some of the most common and seemingly-benign symptoms that we all complain about include headaches, heartburn, bloating, sinus pressure, and anxiety. We learn to live with many of these, and accept them as part of daily life - we even are quick and willing to medicate ourselves to treat these minor issues. Did you know that all of these symptoms can be caused or worsened by diet?
Let's take heartburn for example: many of us will complain of heartburn, but never connect (or at least never admit) that it may be directly caused by something we're eating. The comfort of that morning cup of joe is so great, that we're unwilling to admit that it may be that our bodies do not digest cream well, or even the coffee itself. Achieving optimal health through diet means listening to the subtle cues your body sends you about the foods you are eating. (See also: Intuitive Eating.)
How many times have you heard someone say, "Oh, I could never give up <fill in the blank>". I am here to tell you that you CAN give up the foods that are not serving you well, period. (See some of my solutions, here.) I am so confident in this, because I have done so for myself. For instance, here’s the short list of foods that I avoid on a regular basis: coffee, dairy, wheat, soy, corn, tomatoes, and peanuts - it's doable, really!
How did I reach this point? It started with a visit to Chester County Nutrition, where Registered Dietitian and founder June Kuz opened my eyes to the world of food sensitivities. Because she has been so instrumental in helping me feel better, and educating me along the way, this week I have asked June to share some of her knowledge with you. Please enjoy!
Is your food making you sick?
By June Kuz, Registered Dietitian
Are you suffering from a stubborn health problem that won’t go away no matter what you try? Or perhaps the medications and treatments you’re taking aren’t actually getting at the root cause of your illness- but you want something that will? Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, migraine and other headaches, skin eruptions, brain fog and other lingering health problems are often directly related to immune reactions to the foods we eat. Even so called “healthy” foods such as salmon, chicken, apples or garlic can provoke symptoms in sensitive individuals.
LEAP (Lifestyle Eating And Performance) is the solution for food sensitivities. The first thing a food sensitivity sufferer needs to do is identify their trigger foods and food chemicals. In the past, this has been easier said than done for many reasons: Food sensitivity reactions may be delayed by hours or even days after ingestion. Even if you suspect food sensitivities, would you consider that the headache you might have now was caused by something you ate yesterday? And often, food sensitivities are dose-related. This means a small or moderate amount of reactive food may not cause any noticeable symptoms, but a larger amount does. Or, perhaps when you eat 2-3 moderately reactive foods at the same time, you get symptoms. But, if you ate only one of those foods you wouldn’t. If that wasn’t enough of a challenge, reactive foods vary widely from person to person, even if they have the same symptoms, and there are usually many reactive foods and food-chemicals, not just one or two.
In addition, the most common blood test used to help identify sensitive foods (ELISA IgG) can only detect one lesser kind of sensitivity reaction (Type 3, which covers about 25% of food sensitivity reactions). Plus, IgG testing can’t identify reactions to food-chemicals. Fortunately, there’s a program, called LEAP that can help you quickly overcome even the most troublesome food sensitivity related problems. LEAP includes the patented blood test call MRT (Mediator Release Test) that accounts for both Type 3 and Type 4 pathways. MRT also identifies reactions to food chemicals. This translate into faster and more complete relief for those who test with MRT.
A recent patient, Kathy, complained she was exhausted, couldn’t think, had muscle and joint pain, stomach gas, bloating, pains/cramps, to name a few. Her initial symptom survey was a huge 160 points! She felt like "crap"! After just one month of following her LEAP eating plan, her symptoms reduced to 18 points on the symptom scale! An added benefit was an 8 lb. weight loss. With deep felt gratitude she commented, “I have gotten my life back!”
Find out today if your health problems stem from food sensitivities. You’ll be glad you did.
For more information, contact June Kuz, RD at Chester County Nutrition (610) 518-5253
I love love love soups at any time of the year, but they are particularly satisfying during these winter months. In my home kitchen, making soup is an excellent way for me to use up bits and pieces of leftover vegetables, grains, or herbs that would otherwise go to waste. One of my favorite soups that I made recently involved a pureed base of butternut squash and eggplant, with whole corn kernels and brown rice stirred in at the end - sounds unusual, but it was so good!
My favorite tool for soup making is an immersion blender, as it allows me to puree vegetable-based soups with ease and without dirtying too many kitchen appliances. (Although a standard blender will work just fine, if that’s all you’ve got.)
The following two recipes are ones that our Organic Meal Delivery clients have raved about, and I’m pleased to share the recipes with you here.
If you’re a soup-fiend like me and are interested in receiving 3 more of our top soup recipes, simply email me directly and I’ll share them with you!
Mushroom Barley Soup
This recipe can be partially blended using an immersion blender (follow directions below), or you can simply take the time to chop the mushrooms finely before sauteeing them - I’ve made this soup both ways with great success.
*Note that if you plan to partially blend the soup with an immersion blender or prefer a chunkier texture, you do not need to chop your vegetables so finely to start.
Cook barley according to package directions. (Most types will take about 40-50 minutes to simmer.) Set aside once cooked.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery to the skillet and sauté till softened, 8-10 minutes, reducing the heat as needed to allow them to sweat instead of brown. Add garlic and mushrooms, and season with salt. Add stock.
Reduce heat to a low simmer. Let the soup cook uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the soup is nicely thickened. At this point, you may blend half of the soup to achieve a creamier texture, or leave it chunky. (We generally don’t blend the entire batch because we prefer to leave some pieces of mushroom whole.)
Finally, add the barley to your soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
Vegan Tortilla Soup
This tangy soup is rich in protein and fiber from white beans. The fresh lime juice makes this dish pop - don't skip it!
Puree vegetable mixture using an immersion blender - only partially puree it and leave it a bit chunky if that's your preference. Add corn. Add lime juice and fresh cilantro, to taste. Season with salt and pepper, as needed. Serve soup with tortilla chips.
Chester County, PA* Malvern, PA* West Chester, PA* Chester Springs, PA* Downingtown, PA* Newtown Square, PA* Berwyn, PA*
Food is emotional. It is personal, complicated, and unfortunately, it often causes anxiety. For many of us, we grew up thinking that dieting is a normal way of life.
You might even be one of those people whose guilt spirals out of control after one splurge... "I ate a chocolate chip cookie, I guess I'll eat an entire bag of chips now." There's no denying it: How we eat plays a direct role in how we feel, act, and live our lives.
So, how do we actually get in touch with how our food choices are making us feel, both physically and mentally? How do we make food a positive experience, and learn to trust our own instincts rather than trust what someone else is telling us we should eat? The answer is something called Intuitive Eating.
I recently discussed this topic with local holistic health coach, Lisa Catherine. Lisa is based in West Chester and works with clients all over Chester County to overcome their unhealthy relationships with food. As a personal chef, I am fascinated by the variety of attitudes and opinions about food that my clients share with me, and I am extremely aware of how deeply personal and emotionally-turbulent our opinions about food can be.
Lisa Catherine has noticed that for her clients, much of the lack of connection is due to a busy and hectic lifestyle. “We live in a world where everyone is going, going, going all the time. Fast food is prevalent in our country because nobody has time to sit down and enjoy a meal. Maybe this is you. How do you feel after scarfing down a burger in two minutes while running to your next meeting? So many people can't even remember what they had to eat that day because they rush through every meal,” she says.
I asked Lisa to share her tips for learning to eat intuitively. Here’s what she suggests:
1. LISTEN TO YOUR HUNGER
Are you truly hungry? Or do you eat at the same time every day just because you are used to it? You may think you are hungry, but maybe you haven't had enough water that day. Listen to your hunger. Eat when you are truly hungry.
2. FIND TIME
If you are one of those people that eat on the go or in the car, pull into a parking lot and eat or find a bench to sit on. If it takes you 5 minutes to eat, try spending 10 minutes enjoying your meal to start. After you have tried 10 minutes, try 15 minutes and so on and so on.
Before you eat, take a few breaths in through your nose and out through your nose. This will help calm your body before eating.
Digestion starts in your mouth. Make sure you are chewing your food well before swallowing. Savor the taste of your food.
5. BE PRESENT
Turn off your cell phone, tv, iPad, anything that can distract you. Truly be present. Enjoy this time you have to sit down, relax and enjoy your food and those that accompany you.
6. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY
After eating a meal, listen to your body. Some people are intolerant or even allergic to certain foods and have no idea because they eat too fast and don't pay attention to the signals their body is telling them.*
To find out more about working with Lisa Catherine, email or call: 484-889-0079
*Do you have food sensitivities or allergies that you’re already aware of? Our Organic Meal Delivery Service caters to all types of special dietary needs. Fill out our Food Questionnaire to get started.
I have always loved Valentine’s Day, long before I celebrated it with a significant other. You see, my birthday is on the 19th, and that meant that growing up, around the time of my birthday, all of the Valentine’s candy and treats would go on sale in the store, and I got to go a little crazy!
Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately) ignorance was bliss, and I’m no longer tempted by those overly processed confections full of unpronounceable ingredients, now that I know how terrible they are for me. Still, if you’ve read any of my blogs in the past or know me personally, you’ll know that I certainly do love me some chocolate!!! And what’s more, I’m super-lazy when it comes to preparing baked goods at home, so that’s not really a great option for me most of the time.
Some of my easy go-to's include my Red Velvet Valentine Smoothie or one of my Guilt-Free
No-Bake Desserts. For anything more complicated than that, I am not ashamed to buy store-bought desserts, as long as they are made with ingredients I approve of. This week I’ve decided to give a little shoutout to some of the brands that I love. All of these chocolate-centric treats are free of soy, dairy, and gluten.
I find all of these in my local Chester County stores: Wegmans and Kimberton Whole Foods, both the Downingtown and Malvern locations. (I would guess that other locations carry these, too, but I haven't checked!)
Amy’s Chocolate Cake (freezer section)
Wholly Gluten Free Fudge Brownies (freezer section)
Taza Coco Besos 70% Dark Stone-Ground Chocolate Chocolate with Coconut
Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips - perfect sprinkled over gluten-free waffles or pancakes!
Still figuring out your Valentine’s Day plans for this year? Enjoy a freshly prepared, organic meal delivered right to your home, and save yourself the hassle of making restaurant reservations. Order a meal for you and your valentine by Wednesday, February 8th for delivery on February 13th, and we’ll throw in a decadent chocolate mousse on us!
Email Chef Emily Scott to order: firstname.lastname@example.org