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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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?


A Media Holiday: Can It Help With Food Allergies and Emotional Eating?

This week is Yom Kippur. A time when the Jewish community fasts from sunset to sunset. It is a time to ask for forgiveness, and a time to forgive. It is a day of atonement and abstinence. The act of seeking forgiveness and forgiving others has many emotional and psychological benefits (religion aside).

During these 24 hours-conversative Jews also refrain from touching electricity/fire (no t.v., computer, phones, driving) no reading anything except prayer books. It is a time to reflect.

Here are things to reflect upon (even if you are not Jewish):
1) Is your life where you want it to be?
2) Is your health optimal?
3) Are there things you could be doing to improve your health but aren’t?
4) Are you creating extra drama and stress for yourself or others?
5) When you look in the mirror do you like what you see? What do you see?
6) Are there people in your life that you are hurting? Are you letting others hurt you?
7) Is there something you need to forgive yourself for?

Many experts, when discussing emotional eating suggest taking a “media holiday”-a period of time in which you refrain from watching t.v., listening to the radio, and reading magazines. In my work with people who struggle with self esteem or body image, they are frequently bombarded with media messages of what they should look like, eat like, dress like, and things they should be doing. Somehow, if we do all these things, have all those possessions, and look a certain way-by some miracle we become happy and confident.

Wondering if a media holiday is right for you?
Consider the following:

  • Do you ever feel depressed reading other people’s Facebook status?
  • Do you feel inadequate when you compare yourself to others on Twitter?
  • Do you flip through magazines wishing you had more hair, less hair, a smaller waist, bigger breasts, more muscles, etc?

If you answered yes to any of these, then you may want to seriously consider taking a media holiday. Not sure you can last a week? Try a day-just 24 little hours.

Leave us a comment and tell us how you did!

Stress and Your Health

At Center for Healthy and Happy Living, we work with a lot of stressed out people. People from all walks of life from single parents, families with multiple food allergies, individuals with work/school stress to those with chronic health problems. We appreciate being a part of their journey and helping them along the way. Here is some basic but nevertheless helpful information about how stress impacts our health.

We all agree that stress affects health right? Any non-believers? Here are just a few examples of how stress can affect your health
1) Stress can cause insomnia which in turn leads to an increased caloric intake and decreased response time which may lead to accidents.
2) Stress can cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS-that’s right the foods you love may start to attack your body.
3) Stress can make your grind your teeth or clench your jaw-just ask your dentist what damage this can do.

Our founder, Elika Kormeili, recently read an article in Science Daily describing the impact of stress during pregnancy. If you think it only affects the mother then think again! The study showed that what the mother ate or did not eat affected the child’s response to stress, showing that “choline intake that is higher than what is generally recommended during pregnancy may improve how a child responds to stress. ” You can read the full article here.

How does stress impact you?

When it comes to eating what is “normal”?

As a therapist, Elika Kormeili, works with individuals with food allergies and emotional eating. That’s right you can be an emotional eater even if you have food allergies or food intolerances. Ever wonder what the difference is between an “Eating Disorder” and “Disordered Eating”?

Eating Disorder vs Disordered Eating

What are “eating disorders”?
“Eating disorder” is when a person eats (or refuses to eat) in order to satisfy an emotional need. The person may not be aware of bodily signals or may ignore them. These are the typical ones I am sure we have all heard of anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. Of course, there are others that don’t fall into these categories.

So what is normal?
A normal person eats when hungry and stops eating when the body doesn’t need more. They eat to live and not live to eat.

What is “disordered eating”?
“Disordered eating” is a fancy term used to describe irregular eating habits or patterns. Many people have eating habits that arent’ “typical” or “healthy” but that doesn’t warrant a diagnosis of an eating disorder. Nevertheless, it does become a problem when your jeans stop fitting. That’s when it may be a good idea to talk to a professional who can guide you back to healthy eating patterns.

Okay, if you are like me you absolutely hate labels (and we don’t mean nutrition labels). Elika actually doesn’t like the term “disordered eating” so how about we call it “unhealthy eating habits”? Is that okay with everyone?

You may have unhealthy eating patterns if…
1) You celebrate with food instead of laughter.
2) You eat a chocolate cake instead of talking about your feelings.
3) You eat eat a box of cookies because you have nothing else to do.
4) You snacking on chips watching t.v. and you realize you finished the whole bag.
5) You lose 5lbs then celebrate with an elaborate dinner and cocktails.

8 Tips to Overcome The Emotional Eating Cycle: Emotional Eating and Food Allergies

This month, Elika Kormeili, the food allergy therapist, was interviewed by EmpowHER magazine on tips to overcome the emotional eating cycle. Before we discuss ways to overcome emotional eating, it’s important to understand what it actually is.
What is emotional eating?
Ever search the fridge and cabinets trying to find something to eat, but can’t find anything even though there is plenty to eat? Well, most likely you are not really hungry but trying to feed your feelings. Eating for any reason other than because you are hunger. When you have food allergies or food sensitivities, emotional eating may cause you to eat foods that you are sensitive to.

Still not sure if you fit this category? Take a brief emotional eating quiz
1) Does your hungry come out of nowhere instead of gradually?
2) Do you finish eating and never feel full?
3) Do you feel sad or guilty after eating?
4) You crave a very specific food such as pizza, chocolate, or ice cream?

Physical hunger comes on gradually. Once you feed physical hunger you feel full (satisfied). When you are really hunger you are open to many foods (just feed me please) and not set on one type of food. Also when you eat because you are hungry, there is no feelings of guilt or sadness.

Ready for the solution?
Read Elika’s 8 Tips to Overcome The Emotional Eating Cycle published by EmpowHer online magazine.

Which of these tips do you need help with? Are there occassions that emotional eating is more difficult to control for you? Do your food allergies impact your emotions in a way that leaves you wanting to eat?

Confessions of a foodie with food allergies!

As a food allergist therapist, Elika Kormeili, wants you to be assured that she knows what you are going through. She founded Center for Healthy and Happy Living because she gets how important it is to take care of your emotional, physical and mental health. It’s a simple fact, we need to eat to survive. But what if the food choices you are making are not optimal?
Here are a few words Elika wanted to share with you.

“I LOVE food! Who doesn’t right? Unfortunately, some of the foods I love don’t love me back. Truth be told, I have been known to flirt, even seduce food that I know will make me sick-have you? Perhaps it’s food you can’t digest, maybe food that you can’t have because of dietary restrictions, perhaps it’s delicious fattening food that you know you shouldn’t have…sound familiar?”

Here are 3 steps to take back control:
1) Confess: That’s right! Confession is also good for your food related sins!
2) Re-declare: Yup, get clear on your goal and better yet tell someone-accountability isn’t just for accountants!
3) Get on with it: Everyone makes mistakes, no sense beating yourself up over it. Once you made a new commitment-start over! Clean slate (not to be confused with a clean plate)!

Here is to happy and healthy living!