Coping with Food Allergies, Eczema, and Asthma-Parent’s Edition

Last week, Elika Kormeili, the food allergy therapist, had the honor of doing a guest blog for It’s An Itchy Little World just for parents to help them cope with their child’s food allergies, eczema and asthma. Jennifer, the blog’s author, is a mother of children with food allergies.

Moms and dad think back to the day you found out you were pregnant. Remember how excited you were? The hopes and dreams you had for your child?

Now, fast forward, remember what it felt like to find out your child has a food allergy? A health condition such as asthma or a dermatological problem such as eczema? What happened to those hopes and dreams? What happened to the quality of your life? How did it impact your relationship with your child or your spouse? How about other family members and friends?

Elika was asked to provide tips to help parents cope with these issues. You can read the guest post here. There are so many great resources to help children, we wanted to make sure we can provide support to YOU as a parent, so that you can continue to care for your child and ensure their safety.

A special thanks to Jennifer, the Circle of Moms, and my mom for your support!

After you read the blog, feel free to come back here and share your thoughts. Which of these tips have you used? Which areas do you need to improve on? How are you coping with your child’s food allergies, eczema and asthma?


Post Halloween Food Allergy Survival Tips

Trick or Treat? Let me pick my own treat! When your child has food allergies, going trick or treating can be a real trick. This week, Center for Healthy and Happy Living’s founder, Elika Kormeili, talked to many concerned parents about their children with food allergies especially about surviving Halloween.

 Here are how some parents are suriving Halloween with their food-allergic child:

1) Some parents will run a few houses ahead of their child. Explain the situation to the homeowner and provide them with approved treats and candy.

2) Some parents will only take their children trick or treating at the homes of friends and family Approved candy is already stashed there.

3) Parents will let their child go trick or treating and then switch out the candy with approved candy.

4) Families will have a Halloween get together instead of trick or treating. This way the parents are in control of what their child eats.

Here is a tip from us: focus your child’s attention more on activities (Halloween crafts and games) and less on food.

***If you do take your child trick or treating (even with pre-approved candy) make sure to check their bag (and candy) because as you know children love to trade candy and some people may not understand the severity of your child’s food allergies.

How did you survive this sugar-infused holiday?

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

Learn the myths and truths for yourself at

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

Upcoming Event

We are excited to announce that our founder, Elika Kormeili, will be doing a presentation at Pepperdine University Nov. 4, 2012 that is open to all MFTs. Did we mention it’s FREE?

STAYING WITHIN THE LINES: A Lesson from Grade-school on Boundaries!

Do you work with children who have a hard time with limits? Par-ents who can’t say no? Working adults who need to learn stress management? Then this is the workshop for you!

In this workshop, you, as the therapist, will learn basic hands on techniques to teach clients so that they can define their own boundaries and respect the boundaries of others.

Friday, November 2nd, 2012 12:00 pm-2:00 pm, Room 109
Networking Begins at 1:30 pm
Pepperdine University – West Los Angeles Graduate Campus
6100 Center Drive Los Angeles, CA 90045

In case you forgot…
Elika Kormeili, MA, LMFT, is a licensed Marriage and FamilyTherapist in private practice in Santa Monica. She earned her Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, and her Bachelor’s in Psychology from UCLA. Elika’s experience includes work with trauma, ADHD, emotional eating and stress management for adults, children and families. Prior to private practice, Elika worked at a large non-profit providing community based mental health services. During this time, she utilized fun ways to teach her clients about boundaries. Elika has been published in EmpowHER online magazine for tips regarding emotional eating and mental health issues in families. Elika is also a member of The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT). 

Please RSVP to Sheila Sayani at or call (310) 568-5776
*If you are unlicensed, you may be able to get hours towards licensure with your clinical supervisor’s approval*
This event is sponsored by Pepperdine’s Clinical Training & Professional Development Office

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

Are you addicted to Facebook?

Are you addicted to Facebook?
This month, the founder for Center for Healthy and Happy Living, Elika Kormeili, was interviewed by Brain World Magazine. Brain World magazine explores cutting-edge science and how its findings can affect human health, culture, education, technology, business, aging, the arts, global issues and more.


As a food allergy therapist, Elika Kormeili, often encourages people with food allergies often use Facebook and other forms of social media in order to connect with others. Social media is great at bringing people together and but just pay attention to how you feel when you are on Facebook.

In her interview, Elika was asked about the reasons Facebook is so addicting and the psychological needs it fills!

Read Elika’s full interview here.

If you want to be healthy for life, don’t exercise!

That’s right, you heard us-don’t exercise! Now, before you run and tell your personal trainer or your doctor that you don’t need to exercise-read this!

If you want to be healthy for a lifetime (more than just weight loss) then you need to defy the temporary role exercise  plays in your life.

The biggest factor in determining how long you will work toward getting yourself in shape is motivation. When we start a new exercise program, none of us plan on quiting. In time, it gets difficult to stay motivated, we begin to get bored! The problem is not determination or will power.
Many of us are not excited about the idea of “exercise”, we are excited about what comes with exercise (weight loss, a six pack, more energy, etc). As a result, we set ourselves up to fail from the start, we are bored before we begin.

Some people love running on the treadmill, but for some of us-it feels like a hamster wheel. The idea of exercise doesn’t seem “fun” or “natural” and we can come up with many things we would like to do instead. It’s a chore that most of us force ourselves into doing.

If this sounds like you, don’t exercise. Instead, find an activity that you enjoy. The trick is to find an activity that incorporates fitness into it.

Here are some examples:
1) Play a sport (that you enjoy)-maybe basketball, football, hockey or soccer. Get a few of your friends together and play. If your friends don’t enjoy it, you can find others to play with via Facebook or Craigslist.
2) Go hiking. Discover new trails and new scenic routes. The fresh air will do you wonders.
3) Just dance. It could be elegant or just jumping up and down, and being silly to music.
4) Go for a walk. Yes, it can be that simple.
5) Swimming can be especially fun on a hot day.

Now, we realize that FUN is in the eyes of the beholder. To one person walking may be recreational but for another it could be exercise. One person may enjoy dancing while another doesn’t. Whatever you do, YOU MUST ENJOY IT! No way around that, if you don’t enjoy it, then it feels like a chore and you won’t stick to it.

Remember, when you are enthusiastic and having fun, you will get consistency. Oh and if you are like us, you will need to switch activities ever now and again, so as to break the routine!


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!

Healthy Living Begins At Home

September is a busy month, student’s go back to school, traffic gets more congested, it is Thryoid Cancer Awareness month and Childhood obesity awareness month.  Childhood obesity is no joke. It continues to be a serious problems in the United States.

At Center for Healthy and Happy Living, our Founder Elika Kormeili, understands that speciality diets are not just about food allergies, but also for overcoming obesity and diabetes. Did you know your diet can also impact your Thyroid? 
According to the Defeat Diabetes Foundation “over the past 30 years the prevalence of overweight children has tripled. One in three American children remains overweight or obese. More than 12 million young people, aged two to nineteen years, are considered obese. Obese 10-14 year olds have an 80% chance of being obese as adults”.
Doctors are diagnosing overweight children with Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension.

The statistics are frightening-but how did we get here?
Simply said it’s the result of poor diet and lack of physical activity. We live in a society where television and video games serve as backup babysitters in some homes. For many of us, the majority of our meals are eaten outside the home. We are constantly bombarded with advertising for unhealthy foods.

Obesity does not just lead to medical and physical health problems, it also impacts our emotional health. With obesity comes isolated, poor self-esteem, and depression.

So what do we do NOW?
1) First we need proper education. Both children and parents need to be educated about proper nutrition and the importance of physical activity.
2) Support for families to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes into their already overwhelming and busy lives.

At Center for Healthy and Happy Living, we believe that everyone WANTS to be at their best and to succeed, we also need support in reaching our goals. Education is a key factor. I often laugh at the irony that our cars come with an owner’s manual but our bodies and children don’t. Throughout our lifespan, we need to learn how to create a healthy lifestyle and it is a decison that we make, a goal that we re-declare everyday!

Ready to get started eating a healthier diet? Not sure where or how to get started? Give us a call. We can help you get off to a healthy start so that you don’t end up sabotaging your own health goals.