Turkey, Stuffing and A Side of Food Allergies and Emotional Eating. 5 Tips for Surviving

The table is set. Turkey, mashed potatoes, with unforgiving sides of food allergies and emotional eating. For those who have a problem with food, the food holidays can be a stressful nightmare. Read Elika Kormeili’s tips to surviving the food holidays.
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How to Eat Healthy While Networking

Elika is big on networking, but she is also big on eating healthy. If you ever wonder how to network AND eat healthy, you’re not alone! Here are a few ideas.
Lately, Elika has been doing a lot of driving around and a fair about of networking. Being on a restricted diet herself, she had to come up with some strategies to help with stick with her diet, manage her weight and her budget while connecting with new referral sources.

Most therapists in private practice make a point of meeting referrals for lunch or coffee in order to network, as it can be quite lonely when your only interaction with with clients. Doctors and dentists are accustomed to lunches, dinners and drinks. All of which could stack up in calories and dollars.

So what is the solution?

Take responsibility for the parts which you can:
1) Suggest a healthy place to meet
2) Control how frequently you do networking meals
3) Limit eating out on your own time
4) Get some regular exercise in your diet to help with stress and weight control

How about alternatives to dining out? Elika was excited to meet with a few professionals who network at the gym/workout studio (buddy pass/pass day). Others go for walks and hikes.

What are some ways you have stayed healthy while networking? Have you tried one of these strategies? How did it go?  

Why You Should Get Therapy If You Have Food Allergies or A Restricted Diet.

At Center For Healthy and Happy Living, our Founder, Elika Kormeili (aka “the food allergy therapist”), encourages adults and children with food allergies, food intolerances, food sensitivities, or other restricted diets to strongly consider getting counseling.

 Whether you are new to a restricted diet or if you are overwhelmed with the daily stressors of adhering to a strict diet, here is an explanation of why you should get counseling for food allergies, in addition to seeing your regular doctor.

Eliminating foods from your diet goes beyond just knowing what to eat and not eat. It involves an overall change in your relationship with food. It requires changing your attitude about food, associations with food, making effective and healthy decisions, tolerating emotional distress that can arise from not being able to “just eat”, especially in social settings.

A doctor can give a diagnosis, a dietician or nutritionist can tell you what to avoid, a health coach can teach you about alternative foods, however, they are not generally able to be there with you through the social, behavioral, and emotional aspects of making such drastic lifestyle changes around food.

It’s easy to know that a certain food should be avoided, but making that choice every time is not as easy. Especially when that food was once your favorite, or you show up at an event and there’s nothing safe to eat.

An alcoholic can stay away from bars and nightclubs. The alcoholic can even refrain from ever having a sip of alcohol. It is impossible to refrain from eating food, we need food to survive.

Counseling can provide you with the emotional support and motivation that is needed to overcome the cravings, anxiety, depression, and social challenges that arise when making such drastic lifestyle changes.

Surviving Thanksgiving With Food Allergies and Emotional Eating

Do you feel left out of Thanksgiving “fun” because you can’t eat what everyone else can?
Do you dread going to social events for fear of insulting the host when you find there is no food you can eat? Many of people struggling with food allergies or emotional eating (or heck even those trying to lose weight) find it difficult to participate in holiday festivities while staying on track with their health goals. Therapist, Elika Kormeili, discusses ways to negotiate these events graciously and leave feeling full and nourished.

With so many delicious foods at holiday parties, many people worry about overeating. However, those accustomed to watching what they eat usually overcome this obstacle because they know how bad they feel after eating past their comfort zone. After indulging a few times, they usually realize it isn’t worth it. If after eating your fill of acceptable food you feel left out of the fun, nosh on salads or raw vegetables such as carrot or celery sticks. These foods are safe for most allergy sufferers and devoid of the extra calories that will make you feel guilty in the morning.

Potlucks are usually the easiest events to fully participate in since, if necessary, you can eat only the food you bring, without anybody noticing. Because most desserts are off limits, bring one you’ve made from a favorite recipe. Also consider bringing an entrée, as many main courses contain mixed ingredients, making it difficult to detect the culprits.  When accepting an invitation, gently tell the host or hostess about your situation and your desire to be part of the festivities. Clear communication about your food preferences will not only keep you on course but also be less offensive than quietly passing over the untouchables and going home hungry. Once informed, most people are more than happy to accommodate special needs. More than likely you will be informed of the menu. Upon hearing of dishes you cannot eat, suggest that you bring a small portion of one you can eat.   Keep in mind the purpose of the holidays – celebration of family, friendships, and community.

Happy Thanksgiving from Center For Healthy and Happy Living. Food allergies and emotional eating are not on the menu.

How will you celebrate Thanksgiving?


Healthy Eating On The Road (Food Allergy Friendly Advice)

At Center for Healthy and Happy Living, our clients, just like you are busy professionals, parents, and students. They frequently ask, Elika Kormeili, our resident food allergy therapist, how to eat healthy while away from home. We all have preferences for types of food we enjoy, however, when you are on a restricted diet (due to food allergies, diabetes, or even religious reasons) eating away from home can be especially anxiety provoking. Perhaps you travel for work, work in the field, are planning a vacation, or simply trying to survive a date, here are some suggestions just for you!

Twenty Tips For Healthy Eating On The Road:
1. Do your research. Find restaurants that offer healthy options on their menu. Call the restaurant or hotel in advance to see how they can accommodate your dietary needs. Most places will accommodate you if they have advance warning. If they can’t/won’t then don’t feel obligated to give them your business.

2. If there are certain foods /snacks that you love, pack them! Some examples are raw nuts, individual potions of nut butters, protein bars, 100 calorie packs and canned tuna in water.

3. Take dry food with you i.e. bread/pasta (especially if you have gluten or soy allergies). You can have the restaurant cook it for you.

4. Find a hotel with a kitchen or kitchenette and perhaps do some grocery shopping.

5. Tell the waiter not to bring chips or bread to the table: if you are starving you won’t make healthy food choices AND you will stuff yourself with bread/chips.

6. Instead of sugary sodas order iced tea or club soda with lime.

7. Have the server dilute your soda with club soda or mix regular soda with diet soda. The regular soda will stay on the bottom so if you drink it with a straw by the time you’re halfway through you won’t taste the difference.

8. If you insist on dessert-share it!

9. Eat slowly. That’s right this actually requires putting your utensils down.

10. Stay away from buffets and “all you can eat” places. Just because you can eat it all doesn’t mean you should.

11. Take the time to enjoy your meal. That means no multi-tasking. Do you actually remember the last time you tasted your food?

12. Stay away from anything that says fried, breaded, glazed or battered. Instead look for steamed, grilled or sautéed.

13. Leave some food on your plate. Despite that your parents taught you, those leftovers won’t do any good for the starving children in Africa.

14. Salad can be a calorie bomb! Lightened it up by skipping the dressing, or having dressing on the side. 

15. Remember you eat to live so don’t live to eat.

16. Use all your senses to make your meal a pleasant experience, that way your food isn’t your entertainment.

17. Be cautious of liquid calories: coffee, cocktails, and juices.

18. Try to have veggies at every meal.

19. Eat at least 1 hot meal everyday.

20. If it doesn’t taste the best-don’t ingest! Calories are calories even when they don’t taste good.