To share my signature “Smart Nutrition Backed by Science” with everyone interested in transforming and restoring their health through the foods they eat.
What I Believe:
I believe in a holistic approach to nutrition and wellness and that this approach should be rooted in valid scientific research and viewed with an open mind and free from extremist actions and attitudes. My research-based approach stems from my professional training as a behavioral neuroscience and natural products researcher.
I also believe…
- It is best to meet others where they are.
We’re all in a different place, so in terms of fulfilling my mission to share my knowledge, experience and expertise with others, it makes sense for me to reach out to the individual, where they are, especially for those newly diagnosed with celiac disease or another gluten-related health issue.
- Judgment is destructive, divisive and detrimental.
I designate my world as a judgment-free zone. How can we expect others to open up and share their experiences if they feel they will be judged and possibly condemned for them? Open dialogue and exchange of ideas in a constructive manner is beneficial for us all. We learn from one another when we put our preconceived notions aside and listen with an open mind, and an open heart.
- There are countless paths to optimal health and we are all unique beings, with equally unique needs.
There is no “one size fits all” diet or plan for achieving one’s personal optimal health. One individual may do well on a gluten-free diet, while another must cut out gluten and dairy (or another food or food group). Still another may need to live completely grain-free, etc. My desire is to help you find what is right for you so that your wellness goals are successfully met.
- Practicing mindfulness is essential to a successful outcome.
Being aware of our own presence in every situation brings us to the present moment, allows us to engage and really give our all. This applies to all aspects of life, including nutrition and eating. Be there in the moment with the food, with the nutrients as you take them in, and you become the food, it becomes a part of you. This was my personal philosophy before my healing began, and it was definitely a significant part of my healing process after diagnosis with celiac disease and multiple food allergies. I practice mindfulness daily, in every facet of my life.
- Achieving optimal health is an action.
Moving forward requires effort, energy and motion. Wellness and healthy living are not things that simply happen to us, they are things we achieve by doing.
More about My Approach to Helping Others Achieve Optimal Health
I understand what it means to live with celiac disease and multiple food allergies.
Back in 2007, when I first learned I had celiac disease and needed to adopt a gluten-free lifestyle, I was at a very different place than I am today. While I have always been involved and interested in nutrition and fitness, I quickly learned that my “healthy” diet was not healthy for me at all. My undiagnosed celiac disease plagued my health for more than 25 years, and multiple food allergies developed shortly after diagnosis. What was a favorite food one day was totally off limits, and in some cases, deadly, the next. I understand what it is like to suddenly need to eliminate entire food categories from your diet. I also understand that does not have to mean a life of restrictions. That is why my approach is a positive, upbeat one of liberation.
There is no room here for judgment.
Because I understand how overwhelming these changes can be, I practice a judgment-free approach. Many newly diagnosed celiac patients are sad, depressed and beaten down by years of frustrating misdiagnoses and all they want to do is to eat as close to the way they ate before diagnosis as possible. For others, it is a time to revamp their old ways of eating and turn to whole foods and get serious about a healthier way of living. Still others fall somewhere between those points on the continuum. Either way, I am accepting and here to help.
Sometimes, individuals who begin their gluten-free journey replacing “regular” gluten-filled foods with “box” gluten-free products reach out to me to tell me the reduction in negative symptoms seems slow and they are not feeling as well as they think they should be feeling after going gluten-free.
I believe this is because certain ingredients like additives, preservatives and the high sugar and fat content of many gluten-free processed foods, as well as the addition of xanthan and other gums, can wreak havoc on the digestive tract, cause a degree of cross-reactivity in some individuals and cause inflammation, thus affecting the entire body in a negative way.
For these individuals, I suggest consuming fewer processed foods and cooking more from scratch, using fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and even eliminating dairy products when possible. This usually makes a huge difference in how people are feeling on their new gluten-free diet.
Why all of my recipes are not sugar-free, grain-free, and everything else free.
For every individual I talk to that wants an “everything free” recipe, I run into three others who want a full-on 7-layer chocolate layer cake with fudge frosting. It all goes back to each of us being unique and having different wants and needs at different times in our life.
While it is my personal practice to consume a whole foods diet of in-season produce, lean plant- and animal-based proteins and healthy fats, while limiting natural sugar intake (i.e., from fruit) and eliminating added sugar from my diet, that is not necessarily what others wish to do.
And that’s OK. We each have our own unique way of eating and nourishing our body. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa.
I do my best to provide a wide variety of recipes from which readers are able to choose, depending upon their specific needs.
All of my recipes are gluten-free, soy-free, peanut-free and tree nut free due to my having celiac disease and severe food allergies to soy, peanuts and tree nuts. All but a handful of my recipes are dairy-free because I do not eat dairy products due to a health condition.
Why I talk about gluten-free products.
For some individuals, replacing foods they were accustomed to eating with gluten-free “box” foods like cake mixes, crackers, cookies and store-bought sandwich bread is what feels comfortable early on in the process of transitioning to a gluten-free diet. For some, that is what always feels best. That is why I share information about gluten-free, allergen-free products on the market. For those who are interested in these items, I feel it is part of my job to share what I learn about new and existing products in which readers may have an interest.
If I am not able to try a product (due to other food allergies or restrictions), I have my family and other taste testers try it and fill out an assessment sheet and rate the product so that I can compile results and report those to you. I will always tell you if I do not personally test a product.
Check out my work in other spaces:
Author, The Gluten-Free Solution: Your Ultimate Guide to Positive Gluten-Free Living (Dec. 2014)
TV and video personality, The Ingles Table
Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Food Solutions Magazine
- Resident Gluten-Free Living Expert for the Gluten Free Resource Directory
- In publications like USA Today
- Featured on BlogHer
- As an Expert Contributor at SheKnows.com
- As a contributor at Epicurious Community Table
- As a partner and contributor to Q Squared NYC
- As a contributor to StartGlutenFree.com
- As an Expert Contributor to GlutenFreeFind.com
- As a contributor to Gluten Free Therapeutics
To get in touch, contact me here.