Archive for August 2011 | Monthly archive page

As I’m waiting for a new client to come over this fine Saturday morning, I want to post a great recipe that I’ve been using for years.  It can be changed for each person’s likes/dislikes, and great for dinner parties and busy people, as it can be prepared in advance, kept in the fridge, and popped into the oven for cooking whenever you need them!

Chicken en papillote (in parchment paper packets)

Prep time:  15 minutes
Cook time:  20-25 minutes
Serves 4

2                                  large skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 cups                         shredded or grated carrot
1 large or 2 small    zucchini, sliced                                                  
1 large                        stalk of celery, sliced
2 cups                         baby spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, kale, or other greens
2 cloves                      garlic, chopped
4 tbsp                         olive oil or butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Parchment paper

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut each chicken breast in half width-wise.  To help reduce the cooking time, slice each chicken breast down one side so that you are cutting the meat into thinner slices.  Only go about ¾ of the way through so that you can flip the chicken breast open like a book.  Push it down to flatten it out and make sure it’s about the same thickness all over.
  3.  Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper that are large enough that when folded in half can easily fit the chicken fillets with 2 inches of room around the border.
  4. Place the chicken, vegetables, garlic, a little sea salt, and 1 tbsp of oil in the middle of each piece of parchment paper.
  5. Fold the parchment paper over the filling.  Starting at one end, roll the edges over each other, continuing along the entire edge until you get to the end.  Twist the end to hold the entire packet closed.
  6. Place the packets on a cookie sheet, and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken) until puffed up.
  7. Serve one packet per person, but be careful opening them as steam will release.

Notes:  – Any vegetables can be used, just make sure they are cut small enough that they will cook in a short amount of time
- A splash of white wine can be added to the packet before cooking for an authentic      French dish.  It will mix with the butter to make a nice sauce.

Quinoa (Keen-wah)

1 cup                           uncooked quinoa
2 cups                         water, chicken, or vegetable broth


  1. Rinse quinoa in a strainer with cold water until water runs clear.  This step is VERY important, do not skip it.  If you do, your end result will taste bitter.
  2. Place quinoa in a pot with 2 cups of liquid.  If using water, add a pinch or two or sea salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes until tender and fluffy.
  3. Serve just like you would rice as a side dish.

If you are Canadian, and your head hasn’t been in the sand, you will know that Jack Layton, former leader of the NDP party, has lost his battle with cancer.  Even when he was I’m sure in pain, and dealing with his feelings about his own death, he managed to write an uplifting letter to Canadians.

Here’s my favourite excerpt:

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton

What a fantastic outlook on life from someone seeing it slip away from him.

This brings me to share how I came up with the name “love what you eat” as my website and business name … it’s so easy when you have food allergies or Celiac disease to start to hate your body.  I mean, it’s hard to eat out with friends, have Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with your family, you may feel like utter and total crap each day, and dammit, you can’t have cupcakes (yet!)!

I know how this feels, I lived it for years, and on bad days, still do.  I’ve never had an issue with my body when I look at it, but sometimes I hate it for how I feel it’s let me down.

No matter how I feel sometimes, I’ve taken this opportunity to change my thinking about my body, having food allergies, and my overall life, and I’m learning to love my life again.

If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.  ~ Maya Angelou

It’s hard, but my own struggle with food allergies is my opportunity to help all you lovely but struggling people out there with your own food allergies and Celiac disease.  You CAN learn how to not only live, but THRIVE with your food allergies, and you truly will love your life again.

It’s time for love.

I have always been a very active and busy person throughout my life.  In high school, I was captain of the soccer team, and my ringette team won provincial medals.  In university, I continued with ringette and soccer, and just because I wasn’t busy enough, added rock climbing, squash, and broomball into the mix (all while occasionally going out at night and spending 15 hours on school assignments).  My travel with all these sports, as well as my love for geology, has taken me all around Ontario and Quebec, to the top of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, to the Western coast of Canada, and to the International Broomball Championships in Newfoundland.  In the last year of my university degree, even though I considered myself Superwoman, the cracks in my healthy facade were starting to show.  I made my bi-monthly visit to health services on campus with fatigue and overall feeling like crap, and they kept testing me for mono (and surprise, surprise, every time it came back negative!).  My skin was broken out pretty much all the time, and I’m sure I wasn’t all that pleasant most the time, either (sorry, roomies!).

The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back came in May 2006, shortly after completing my Bachelors’ thesis. I was on the highway, driving to my full time summer job before moving to Arizona State University to start my PhD in Geology, when I suddenly felt like there was no way in hell that I could go any further.  I promptly turned around and drive back home, not to drive on a major highway again for another year.  Thus started severe anxiety, including regular panic attacks, at work no less. My family thought that I was having a total breakdown when I decided to not go through with the PhD.  In November of the same year I also started experiencing feelings of unsteadiness and dizziness, which had been diagnosed as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and vertigo. After seeing many specialists and medical doctors, my symptoms were not improving, so I decided to start seeing a naturopathic doctor, mostly out of desperation, and the fact that they had an advertisement on the front of their building that said “Currently Accepting New Patients!”. That decision changed my life and started me on the path that I am on today.

In May of 2007, more than one year after my problems began, my naturopath and I finally found out with a simple blood test that I have many food intolerances or allergies, including wheat, gluten, dairy products, and eggs. The hardest thing I ever had to do was to change everything about the way that I was eating.  I literally almost had a breakdown at the grocery store one day after realizing that I might never get to eat my Mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies again!  In the beginning, I turned into a hermit, afraid to eat out at restaurants or at friends houses, for fear of what might be in the food.  It just wasn’t worth it to worry about whether or not I would spend hours feeling like I was going to throw up, or worse, passing the regular gas that I used to get that smelled like a small animal died inside of me (how my then boyfriend decided to marry me is beyond me!).

I enrolled in the Natural Nutrition program at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in September 2007, one measly week after learning about it from my naturopath.  I didn’t have a plan for what I would do after I graduated, nor did I think about the financial consequences (being in school for 7 years straight puts a little bit of a dent in the wallet), but I knew that I had to help others with food allergies!  I graduated as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist in October 2008.

Slowly but surely, my body has normalized.  I still get regular worries, but not crippling anxiety or panic attacks.  My skin is clearer, people tell me all the time that I have tons of energy, and I can confidently eat out without fear or strange smells emanating from my body.  And guess what? I have found a recipe for allergen free chocolate chip cookies that taste darn close to my Mom’s!

It has taken me years, but I have found a way to love what I eat again, not to mention my body and my life too!

Got food allergies?

Do you have Celiac disease?

Read on!

I’ve been working for 4 years to develop my program to help you overcome your food allergies and intolerances.  With these 5 steps, I’ll teach you how to love your food, love your body, and love your life again!

Without further ado, your 5 steps to food allergy freedom™:

  1. The “what the hell?” moment:  So you’ve been diagnosed with one or more food allergies or intolerances, now what?  First things first, you have to figure out exactly what you’ve been eating and putting on your body that has that ingredient in it, and what names it goes by.  What do I mean what names (plural!), won’t that ingredient be called the same thing all the time?  The truth is no!  Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
  2. The great purge:  Now that you know where to find your food allergies, you need to rid your house of them.  This means, first and foremost, cleaning out your kitchen.  All of the your kitchen cupboards, your fridge, and your freezer need to be examined with a microscope. Remember that organizing and cleaning up the clutter is a long and tiring process, but you’ll feel so energized and in control for the first time since you learned about your food allergies … so embrace it!
  3. Replenish, NOT replace:  It’s tempting (not to mention profitable for the food companies) for you to go out and buy all new allergen-free replacement foods for the ones you had to get rid of.  Well guess what?  Allergen free replacements are not what your body needs right now.  It needs nutrient dense, whole foods that will replenish what it has been missing.  A body with food allergies has not been absorbing vitamins and minerals properly for awhile, and it’s now time to give it what it needs with foods that are delicious, satisfying, and quick to make.  Yes, you’re going to have to cook real food, but yes, you are going to love your food, love your body, and love your life again (and maybe, just maybe, there will be a recipe for allergen free chocolate cupcakes that will make you forget all the regular cake you ever had in your whole life).
  4. Stepping it up another level:  By this point, you will have noticed that your old symptoms are disappearing or even gone, and probably some new, annoying symptoms are popping up.  This is normal, and is part of the healing process.  Your body was trying to correct itself for a long time, and now you’ve opened the floodgates to allow it to let go of all those physical, mental, and emotional protective mechanisms that it developed.  Now is the time to step up to the next level by introducing some specialized foods and select nutritional (and allergen free) supplements.  By using select products, we can speed up your body’s own healing process by weeks, months, or even years.
  5. Go forth and conquer!:  Now that you have a handle on your food and your body, it’s time to start living again.  Friends, family, and co-workers may have started commenting that you never come out for parties, drinks, or social gatherings anymore, and I’m sure that you are experiencing a little (or a lot) of fear about eating out, along with a little (or a lot) or stir craziness!  This is normal, and all it’s going to take is some research and planning to love your social life again.  Living with food allergies can be hard sometimes, but with a little planning, you will love your life again!
If you are ready to re-gain the life you had before food allergies, contact Ashley to set up your free 30 minute getting acquainted call, or read more information about working with Ashley here.
Viva the allergen free life!

While you might be asking yourself “aren’t these the same thing?”, reactions to foods can be different for everyone.

Anaphylactic reactions to food, also known as food allergies, are the ones where your throat closes up and you could literally die in minutes, and are caused by a true immune system reaction to foods.  In 2008, the CDC in the US reported that 3.9% of children under the age of 18 (that’s 3 million kids!) had a food or digestive allergen in the past 12 months, and these numbers are on the rise.

Food intolerances are what have plagued my life for the past 4 years.  While I have had blood testing that shows a different type of immune reactions to common foods such as wheat, gluten, dairy products, and eggs, I have never had an anaphylactic reaction to foods in my life.  I use the phrase “food allergy” and “food intolerance” interchangeably, since not many people know what the difference is, and it’s really not important.  What’s important is that over the past 4 years, I have learned how to heal my body from my food allergies, and I now love my life, with all it’s social events, eating out, and general business.

If you are newly diagnosed with food allergies or Celiac disease, head on over to my Interview with Ashley page to read more about my story, and learn how I can help you love your life again!

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