You met the first six health coaches. You voted on the final three challengers. Today, meet our seventh health coach. Originally I planned on working with six women, but I impulsively added on room for a seventh. I just couldn't stand to turn down so many of the women who entered the contest last week. Of course that meant I needed another health coach. Turned out the right woman for the job was someone I had an early gluten free connection with. So without further ado, let me present:
Ellen Allard, Health Coach for Team Fuji.
Ellen Allard is the Gluten Free Diva and a certified holistic health coach, recipe developer, food writer, photographer, and videographer who frequently posts on her upbeat gluten free blog about gluten free, dairy free, and mostly plant-based recipes. She coaches people who are newly gluten free, and teaches them how to choose healthy, delicious food that feels great in their body without compromising on flavor, or feeling like they're missing out on the simple pleasures that eating provides.
In addition to her blog writing, she extolls the benefits of a gluten free, dairy free, and plant-based lifestyle for numerous print and online publications. Ellen also teaches gluten free cooking and baking classes that inspire, encourage, and empower people to change their diets and improve their lives.
Ellen started her blog in January 2006 shortly after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Six months prior to that, she had been diagnosed with Alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. After her Celiac Disease diagnosis, she began connecting the dots, realizing that she had lived with stomachaches, headaches, hair loss, muscle aches, mood swings, and intense non-stop hunger for her entire life - all because of undiagnosed Celiac Disease. Ellen has embraced this gluten free, dairy free, and mostly plant-based way of eating and cooking with unbridled enthusiasm and a dedication to sharing her love of all things food with others.
Want to know more about Ellen? Here's how she answered my questions:
What's your food philosophy? I believe in eating as clean a diet as possible, and in using food as a means for nurturing and in some cases, healing. Moderation is certainly a factor in my choices. There are time where I will make exceptions, either because of a social situation or simply because I feel like it. This might mean I have frozen yogurt (gluten free of course) once every few months. But as a general rule, I approach food as art and as nutrition and as comfort and as love.
What one recipe would you recommend to someone who doesn't like vegetables? Kale chips! (Do I have to stop at one!?!?)
What's your favorite meal when you're too tired to cook anything special? Quinoa and roasted veggies.
What has been the biggest challenge for you in being gluten free? Traveling has been challenging - and I travel a lot for my work. I don't consider it a challenge any longer, but it was definitely a challenge for the first few years.
What would you tell someone who has been recently diagnosed with a gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease, is feeling overwhelmed, and doesn't know where to start? Baby steps. And find a support person or group that you can rely on for help and a shoulder.
Favorite vegetable? Broccoli.
Favorite fruit? Fuji apples.
Do you like to bake gluten free, and if so, what's your favorite recipe to make? I LOVE to bake gluten free. One of my favorite gluten free recipes is for bagels that I make using a Breads From Anna bread mix.
What do you know now about being gluten free that you wish you had known when you first started? I had no idea how much better I would feel and that the challenged would pay off in a big way. I believe I am an entirely different person than I was when I ate gluten. I feel like the transformation has been nothing short of amazing.
Learn more about working with Ellen on her website, Gluten Free Diva.
Follow Ellen on Facebook and Twitter.