3 things you can do at home to manage your stress

Center for Healthy and Happy Living’s Founder, Elika Kormeili, appreciates how hard we all work. She also knows that our physical health and our emotional (and mental health) are connected. In order to be truly healthy and happy we need to take care of both our physical health (i.e. make sure you go for an annual check up and follow doctor recommendations) and our mental health or emotional health (i.e. developing a prevention plan).

Last week, we wrote about how to manage stress at work. Here are a few tips you can use NOW to manage stress at home.
1) Develop a ritual. Incorporate a relaxation technique into your bedtime routine in order to prevent stress. I will be posting some “how to videos” on this soon.

2) Declutter your home. From a psychological point of view, a messy environment, adds to our sense of emotional chaos.

3) Get enough rest. It sounds really simple, but so many adults suffer from insomnia. Stress can lead to poor sleep and poor sleep and become an added stressor. If sleep is an issue, get support!

Is worrying keeping you up at night? Need help learning a relaxation technique?

Food, Politics, and GMOs

So you may be wondering what politics has to do with food-usually not a lot but lately, with the elections coming up, it’s a topic worth discussing.

At Center for Healthy and Happy Living, we don’t talk politics often, we don’t judge who you vote for, but we do care about Prop 37.

Why should we label genetically engineered (GE) food?
As a food allergy therapist, Elika encourages people to read labels carefully and to be aware of

where their food is coming from. As consumers have the right to know what is in the food we buy, eat and feed our families. With appropriate labeling we have the freedom to choose whether to buy genetically modified foods or not. Afterall, we decide on organic vs. inorganic; cooked vs. raw; why think differently when it comes to GMO?
Can genetically engineering foods cause health problems?
We do know that the foods we eat impact our bodies, our mood and overall wellbeing. If you have food allergies or food sensitivities you know first hand the impact certain ingredients or style of preparation can have on your physical and mental health. Currently, the FDA does not require health studies or safety testing of GE foods for human consumption.  Hence, we just really don’t know the longterm impact GE foods have on our bodies.
(Information adapted from carighttoknow.org)

Learn the myths and truths for yourself at http://earthopensource.org/index.php.reports/gmo-myths-and-truths.

Almost 50 countries-including all of the European Union countries, Japan, and China label their genetically engineered foods.

Join us in voting Yes on Prop. 37

3 things you can do to manage stress at work

Our founder, Elika Kormeili, gets asked by a lot of people (even doctors) for tips to manage stress in the work place. While, we recognize that each setting is different, here are some general tools to help manage workplace stress.

3 things you can do while at work to manage your stress
1) Close your eyes and take a few deep breathes.
2) Get organized. Many people get stressed due to poor time management or lack of organization. If you need help in this area, don’t be afraid to ask!
3) Stimulate your senses-have a bottle of lotion, perfume or maybe a candle that invigorates your senses (my personal favorites are citrus, melon or cucumber). The real thing works just as well.  At Center for Healthy and Happy Living, we believe that prevention is better than treatment, so here is what you can do NOW to prevent stress at work.

3 tips to prevent stress at work
1) Identify the source of your stress and develop a battle plan.
2) Learn to manage your time as efficiently as possible.
3) Eliminate unneccessary stressors in your personal life, so that they do not become stressors at work. If you are already stressed, it doesn’t take much to overwhelm you.

Need help implementing? Give us a call at 424.274.2256

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.

Bitter Sweet Surprises: Hidden Sugars and Your Health

At Center for Healthy and Happy Living, Elika Kormeili (the food allergy therapist), works with many individuals and families to effectively reduce and manage their sugar intake. Perhaps you know someone who is avoiding sugar for health reasons? Perhaps you are a person who needs to avoid sugar because of food allergies, diabetes, or sugar addictions. If so then you definately want to keep reading.

According to a recent LA Times article, the FDA wants to study how consumers will react to clearly labeling “hidden sugars” on nutrition labels.

It may take a while before this takes place. In the meanwhile, do you know where your sugar comes from? How savvy are you at identifying ‘hidden sugars’?

Step 1: Look at the ingredient list

Step 2: Avoid products that list sugars as one of the top 5 ingredients

Step 3: Natural sugar is okay i.e. fructose in fresh fruit and lactose in dairy products.

Here is a list of hidden sugars to watch out for:
corn syrup (any variation of it); dextrose; glucose; fructose; oligofructose; polydextrose; sucrose; maltose; maltol; D-manose
galactose; crystalline fructose; any type of syrup; “malt”; cane juice; cane sugar; evaporate cane juice; sugar alcohols such as maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol.

*To determine the calories you consume in sugar, multiple the grams of sugar by 4 (25g=100calories which is the daily recommended max by American Heart Association).

You can read the LA Times article here.

Are you ready to reduce your sugar intake and manage sugar cravings? Check out our Sweet Endings: Eliminate Sugar Cravings Package and find out how we can help you.

Thyroid Health, Food Allergies and Weight Management

As a food allergy therapist, Elika frequently feels frustrated when her patients report that their doctors made adjustments to their thyroid medication based on labs instead of how the patient feels. The idea of treating the patient and not the disease can be puzzling for some physicians.

Weight loss is difficult enough. Ever have a hard time finding the energy to go about your day? Well, guess what your thyroid can make it even worse. A thyroid that is not working properly can affect your mood, your sleep and your weight.
Look out for unexplained changes in weight (the binge you try to forget does not count as “unexplained”).

Food allergies and food sensitivities could be contributing to your Thyroid health and your weight management.

Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormones. This results in weight gain in addition to it’s impact on your mood.

Hyperthyroidism is when they thyroid produces more hormones that the body needs. This results in unexpected weight loss or difficulty putting on weight.

If you or a loved one suspect a thyroid condition, please seek treatment. A great first step is blood work through your primary doctor. That may be sufficient for some of you. If you really want to show your thyroid who is boss. Find a great holistic health practioner. They are better at treating the whole person and not just the disease.

Do your research and find someone that is qualified and that you feel comfortable with. Chances are if you don’t believe in what they say then you won’t do as they instruct.

Also, please support others with thyroid conditions obtain quality healthcare. Many doctors are unable to diagnosis thyroid disorders and some have outdated knowledge of how to treat such patients. You can view and sign the petitition here.

Your partner in health and happiness.

Recipe: Baked salmon with kale (gluten free)

As a therapist specializing in helping people cope with speciality and restricted diets, Elika Kormeili, knows the importance of finding tasty recipes. Here is an easy recipe (gluten free) that you can try at home. It also comes with a little speil about nutrition.

Proper nutrition is an important factor in healthy living.  Why is what you eat so important?
1) Food provides fuel to keep the body running smoothly.
2) You are what you eat-do you really want to be a glazed donut?
3) The food you eat impacts your mood, your energy and even your sleep!

We know, we know, you don’t have time to cook. Well, here is a healthy, tasty and easy recipe that doesn’t take much effort!

What is the health benefit of salmon?

Salmon is high in omega-3 and also rich in vitamin D and selenium. Salmon may help with inflammation, eye health, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, cognitive functioning as well as skin and hair health (to make your dermatologist proud). When the body experiences selenium deficiency, a variety of health problems can develop, such as thyroid disorder, psoriasis, heart illness and viral infections. A diet rich in omega-3s and selenium is also great for your skin and hair (who wouldn’t want to look better by eating?)

What is the health benefit of kale?
Our Founder, Elika Kormeili, read a great article about the many benefits of kale such as it helps with cancer prevention, it is a great source of calcium which helps with bone health, and is great for vision and oral health (less painful trips to the dentist would make me happier).

4 fillets of wild caught salmon (wild caught is healthier because it doesn’t have all the extra preservatives).
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic (also a source of selenium)
4 cups raw kale
1 tomato
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup water

1) Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 375. Boil 1 cup of water.
2) Mix the vinegar with the mustard. Finely chop to garlic and add to the mixture. Chop the tomato and add it to the mixture (add salt and pepper to taste). Add the olive oil. Put the fish in the bowl with the mixture to marinate (best if you can let it marinate while you are at work or overnight to get rid of the fishy smell).
3) Place the kale in a steamer and let it steam (about 3-5 minutes).
4) Place the fish on an oven safe dish (skin side down) and spoon the marinate on top.
5) Bake the fish for 20-25 minutes.
6) Once cooked remove the fish from the oven. Divide the fish and kale equally into 4 plates.
**Can enjoy with brown rice or quinoa but it really doesn’t need it.
****Don’t put the kale in the oven-it becomes dry and tastes bitter (lesson from experience).

Easy enough? Tasty? Let us know what you think of this recipe.

Do The Numbers On The Scale Define Your Self Worth?

Our Founder, Elika Kormeili, was recently talking with a group of women discussing their bodies, their weight and the size of their self esteem. Often times, when you have food allergies, the foods your substitutes foods like rice bread is more fattening than regular bread. This can often lead to weight gain and frustration. Even people with food allergies worry about their weight and struggle with confidence.
Here is what was discovered:

60% are on some sort of diet
50% are doing an “intense” workout program such as “Insanity” or PX90
100% are struggling with their confidence in some capacity

This is heartbearting. For so many women, their confidence is directly related to the numbers on the scale. Elika admits that she has been guilty of letting her self-confidence be determined by the scale at times too.

So why do we put such a big emphasis on our weight?
We are bombarded every day, every second of the day, by what “society” has determined to be sexy or beautiful. Ever magazine, T.V. show and gym has pre-determined what it looks like to be “fit” or ‘beautiful”. The modeling and fashion industry have determined that we should all be very tall, slender women, with little to no hips, and either small breasts or big implants. Now aren’t most designers gay men? And aren’t gay men attracted to other men? So, are they not trying to conform women into their idea of attractiveness? Which is not very feminine looking.

Four Tips to boosting your self-esteem
1) Find activities you enjoy or are good at and engage in those activities regularly.
2) Find your power color. For some it is red (it symbolizes courage, strength and power) for others it may be blue. Discover what color you feel good in and wear it.
3) Make a list of attributes you like about yourself that have nothing to do with your appearance. For example, “I am a good friend”, “I am reliable”, “I am a great cook”.
4) What would you be doing if you had higher self esteem? Do that NOW!!

BONUS TIP: Give to others. When Elika was in graduate school, she read a study about a group of students who failed a test. Naturally, they all felt bad about themselves after their grade. Half the group, volunteered to tutor others and give of their time. The other half didn’t. Guess what? The group the provided help to others rated higher on self confidence in a standardized measure.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Give these a try and leave a comment with how it works for you-I would love to get your feedback. There is no “one size fits all” and there is no “one treatment for all”.


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.

Just Peachy Breakfast Smoothie (Food Allergy Friendly)

As a food allergy therapist, Elika Kormeili, is often asked about easy breakfast ideas, so here you go.

Here is another breakfast shake (who has time to cook in the morning?)

You guessed it, time for another wonderful smoothie. This one will be peachy!
Here are cool facts about the peach (stuff we didn’t learn in school):

  • The peach is a member of the rose family.
  • The ancient Chinese considered the peach a symbol of long life and immortality.
  • Peaches have been around since prehistoric times.
  • They were first cultivated in China.
  • Peaches are one of the lowest-calorie fruits, almost no fat, cholesterol or sodium.

  • Why Should I give a peach?

    • Peaches contain vitamin A, in the form of beta carotene, which has been linked to a reduced risk of some forms of cancer.
    • Peaches also contain riboflavin which is good for the eyes.
    • Peaches have potassium (a potassium shortage you may experience fatigue, anxiety, muscle weakness, poor memory, skin problems and heart problems).

    Peaches give you a boost without the sugar craving!

    Now for the smoothie. Here are your ingredients:
    1 rip peach
    1 cup milk (can use milk alternative of your choice)
    1 scoop protein powder, vanilla (we used pea protein because it is vegan)
    1/4 cup raw pecans (full of anti-oxidants and vitamin E which are part of healthy skin diet).
    **Can substitute with the nut of your choice

    Blend all the ingredients together. Add ice if desired. Sweeten with Stevia if desired.
    Drink responsibly!

    Did you try this recipe? What did you think?