Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Clarifications, Facebook, and Fairy Angels

Hey Everyone!

It's me, Iris. I just wanted to pop in to say hello and clarify a few things so that you know what to expect coming up. I'll try to be concise, even though that's hard for me!

I've been getting some questions from fans and friends alike, and it seems no one is completely sure what's going on with the Gluten Free Health Challenge, the future of this blog, and my new website. So here's the quick rundown.
  • On June 1st, I will officially start The Gluten Free Health Challenge. This is a SIX MONTH challenge, and during that time, you'll get regular updates from the women in the challenge, recipes from their coaches, and some other fun posts here and there. I personally won't be writing posts very often. But I do promise that when I come up with recipes, I'll share them with you. 
  • I am not actually disappearing or stopping my own involvement in The Daily Dietribe. I have been working on the blog for hours every day for the last couple of months to get the challenge up and running. I love managing and editing, so this is just as much fun for me as writing the blog has been. In fact, it's reignited my love for this site. 
  • If you like my writing and still want to read my posts, you can do it at my other blog on my new website, Your Fairy Angel. Today, I'm sharing my first post, which is an explanation of why I gave my website that name.  In general, my posts over there will be focused on living with purpose, having faith in yourself, and healing through mind*body*spirit work. I also have some fun plans that involve making a fool of myself, so if that sounds appealing, you know where to find me! Right now, you can subscribe via RSS feed. I will eventually figure out a newsletter so you can get e-mails when there's a new post. But I've heard from most of you that Facebook is your favorite way to get blog updates, so you can like my Fairy Angel Facebook page if you want to know when there's a new Fairy Angel blog post.
  • I have two Facebook pages now: The Daily Dietribe page and the page for Your Fairy Angel. My intern, Aly, will be helping me during the challenge to come up with good recipes and gluten free tips to share on The Daily Dietribe page. I'll still be posting there as well. I had originally planned on turning that page over to her completely, but it turns out I'm way too much of a control freak and still want to connect with you on both pages. But this way, The Daily Dietribe can be all about gluten free, and Your Fairy Angel can be more about inspiration. 
I'm sure there was something else I was supposed to explain, but I can't think of anything at the moment. If you have more questions about anything, including the challenge, please leave a comment. I'm planning on writing up a FAQ page for the challenge, and will have lots of answers for you there.

Love from, 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Gluten Free Health Challenge: Meet Ellen Allard, Team Fuji

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.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Who Will Continue on in Hopes of Becoming The Next Gluten Free Health Idol?

I watch way too much American Idol. And my new favorite, The Voice.

There are no "winners" and "losers" here though. Just awesome women, all on their own paths.

I would like to write something really spectacular, but I went to bed late and was woken early by a crane fly flipping out in the bedroom. If I've learned one thing about Missouri, it's that nothing I do will keep the bugs out of my bedroom at night.

Oh well. I'm going back to bed after I post this.

Drumroll please...

And the winners of the contest are: Marisa, Shannon and Rose! 

That means these three ladies will be joining Amy, Rebecca, Dorothy, and Marie in their journey for health, starting June 1st.

I want to thank all of the women who entered because I know that writing honestly is not easy. It means opening up and sharing thoughts you may want to hide. And that is the most beautiful, cool, rock on kind of thing to do.

Because I can't just let those women go, I'm offering them each a free session with me to get them started on their own gluten free health challenge, and I'll be offering all of you ways to join the challenge from home. So stay tuned in June for how you can join the challenge!

And tomorrow I'll reveal my final health coach. She's a blogger I've been following for over four years now, and I'm really happy to have her bringing her positive energy and expertise to the challenge.

June 1st can't come soon enough for me!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Who Should Win The Gluten Free Health Challenge?

Update 5/21/13 All contestants and health coaches have been chosen. Thank you for voting. 

The Daily Dietribe Gluten Free Health Challenge is a six month challenge that will begin on June 1st and end on November 30th, 2013. During this time period, 7 women will get free gluten free health coaching, free group workshops on food and emotions, and the opportunity to share their stories here.

Four of those women have already been chosen. Today, you get to pick the final three.

I've replaced my normal tabs above with the names of each contestant. These are all women who have written in to share their stories with you and me. I am so proud of each one of them. Many of them I've "known" over the years as readers of my blog, but now I am finally getting to know their stories. They have all shared openly and honestly, something that you know I try to do here at The Daily Dietribe.

I ask that you read each of their stories and then take the survey linked here and at the bottom of each of their posts. The survey will allow you to choose your top three contestants. Those are the women whose stories you would like to hear more of for the next six months. The survey will also ask you a few questions about what else you want to see here during the challenge. Don't worry, there are only 4 questions total. It will take you less than 5 minutes to complete!

If you have time, please also consider leaving supportive comments for these women under their posts. It was so brave of them to share with us all, and I want them to know what a wonderful community they have here, no matter if they are chosen for the challenge or not.

Voting ends Tuesday night at 10pm EST.

The contestants are:
Shannon   Stacy   Odile   Marisa   Donna   Rose   Jody   Cassandra   Christe   Kim   Renee   

Are you a nutritionist, ND, health coach, or RD specializing in gluten free diets? I chose 6 health coaches originally, but have decided to add on a 7th health coach so that I can accept more participants into the challenge. Health coaches will work with their participant twice a month from June through November and will share one gluten free recipe here each month. If you're interested in applying to be the final health coach, please e-mail me at iris@thedailydietribe.com

You can learn more about the other coaches by reading their personal profiles. Do not vote on coaches when you vote, only the contestants linked above:
Eryn McEntee, naturopathic student, gluten free for 10+ years
Sarah Dochow, clinical nutritionist with a master's degree in health psychology
Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, licensed social worker and gluten free lifestyle coach
Drew Parisi, certified nutrition consultant and nutrition educator
Mia Davis, holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach
Shirley Plant, nutritionist and dietary designer

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Gluten Free Health Challenge: Meet Eryn McEntee, Team Chocolate

Yesterday, you met Sarah Dochow, nutritionist with a dual degree in nutrition and health psychology.
Today, meet Eryn McEntee, Health Coach for Team Chocolate.

Eryn McEntee is a naturopathic medical student in her final year at Bastyr University. A native of Western Connecticut, she was led to the practice of holistic medicine through her own journey of health restoration. She has a particular interest in psychoneuroimmunology with a specific proclivity to working with eating disorders and other psychology dis-ease/mood disorders. As a naturopathic doctor, she envisions her role to be one of leading people to their optimal physical performance in order that they may participate more actively in all areas of their life.

Eryn utilizes an individualized approach, the foremost of which is cultivating a dialogue with her patients. She focuses on wholesome nutrition and psycho/social/spiritual interventions in facilitating health and well-being of patients. Eryn loves exploring natural landscapes, having meaningful conversations with people, and finding out more about what excites them. She can often be found surveying the expanse of local fare offered at the farmer's markets or participating in various creative pursuits.

Want to know more about Eryn? Here's how she answered my questions: 

How long have you been gluten free? I've been gluten free for about 10 years. I am also completely flour free as well, including those with gluten. I enjoy the whole grain goodness, which doesn't seem to negatively affect my energy levels and moods as do all types of flour products.

What's your go-to meal for nights when you're tired and need something easy? I love a good stir-fry with coconut oil and tons of veggies, with some cod pieces that I always have stashed in my freezer. The combinations are endless.   

Favorite dessert? Hands down, my favorite dessert is a square of pure dark chocolate, anything with 75 percent or above. I make sure to conscientiously source my chocolate so that it is organic, direct trade, and of course gluten free, as well as soy and dairy free. One of my favorites by far is Theo's 85 percent dark chocolate.

Favorite vegetable: Oh, so many good ones it's hard to decide! I feel like it changes depending on the season. I am blessed here in Western Washington to have access to such an abundance of local produce for the majority of the year. But if I have to pick just one, I'm going to go with red Russian kale. It is a more tender variety than the regular red curly kale and is especially delicious in raw kale salads. Another all-time favorite is fennel, a very versatile vegetable that I love raw or cooked, and grew up eating as a palate cleanser in a traditional Italian home.

Any tips for gluten free newbies? Start with doable goals and recognize the successes you have had. Approaching it like an adventure and exploration from the perspective of "what can I add to my diet" rather than "what do I have to give up" has been helpful for other gluten free newbies I've worked with in the past.

What's the one thing you know now that you wish you had known when you first went gluten free? The one thing I know now that I wish I'd known is that going gluten free would actually expand my diet and definitely not restrict the variety open to me. Also, that I would feel so much better physically and mentally!

If you are what you eat, what would you be? Haha. Definitely would be a cruciferous vegetable, no doubt about it. Probably a cross between kale and bok choy.

What is the most common struggle you see when people come to you for nutrition advice? The most common struggle I see is people wanting to bite off more than they can chew, so to speak, in making changes. I believe it is best to start small and make sustainable changes.

Follow Eryn on Twitter.

Tomorrow, the contest to pick the last two challengers begins! Tune in so you can vote on whose story you would like to follow for the next 6 months!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Gluten Free Health Challenge: Meet Sarah Dochow, Team Gratitude

Yesterday, you met Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, licensed social worker and gluten free lifestyle coach.
Today, meet Sarah Dochow, Health Coach for Team Gratitude.

Sarah Dochow, MS, CN, LMHCA, has been helping people create changes in their lives for over a decade. She has masters degrees in both nutrition and clinical healthy psychology from Bastyr University, and currently works as a Youth and Family Counselor for Youth Eastside Services and as a Clinical Family Nutritionist for Vital Kids Medicine. She uses a collaborative, engaging, and mindfulness based approach to help clients create healthy relationships with food, body, self and others. She enjoys being silly with her children, finding new ways to cook green vegetables, hiking the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and dreaming of traveling abroad. 

Want to know more about Sarah? Here's how she answered my questions:

What's your go-to gluten free meal for nights when you're tired and need something easy? With two kiddos running around during dinner prep, I almost always need something easy to prepare that will be a hit. We love make-your-own omelet night around here, and a big pot of curried lentil soup with brown rice comes together easily. 

Favorite dessert? That's an easy one! My favorite dessert is cheesecake followed by a close second of crème brûlée. Luckily, these are both pretty easy to make gluten free.

Favorite vegetable? Why is it so much more difficult to pick my favorite vegetable than my favorite dessert? I grew up not liking too many vegetables but, as an adult, have learned to appreciate the multitude of flavors in the vegetable kingdom. Lately, I've been really enjoying greens with a spicy kick, especially kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.

Any tips for gluten free newbies? Start by making a list of all of the foods you already love that are gluten free naturally. Sometimes when I focus only on what I can't have, it makes something seem so much more gloomy. 

What's the one thing you know now that you wish you had known when you first went gluten free? I wish I had known about The Daily Dietribe! Being able to find tried-and-true, delicious, and healthy recipes is so important.  

If you are what you eat, what would you be? I'd like to change that saying to, "you are *HOW* you eat." When I eat, I aim to be kind to myself, flexible with my choices, open to new experiences, nurturing to myself and family, and full of gratitude. 

What is the most common struggle you see when people come to you for nutrition advice? Shame. There is so much shame about what we eat that it often takes some time to convince people that I'm not going to judge them and continue the cultural shame that often accompanies food choices.

Learn more about working with Sarah on her website, Nurture Nutrition.
Follow Sarah on Facebook

Tomorrow, meet the coach behind Team Chocolate.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Gluten Free Health Challenge: Meet Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, Team Strawberry

Yesterday, you met Drew Parisi, certified nutrition consultant and nutrition educator.
Today, meet Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, Health Coach for Team Strawberry.

Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, known online for her gluten free blog, Celtic Celiac, is a licensed social worker (LMSW) who tackled her own diagnosis of Celiac Disease with the same strength she gives to her clients. Georgianna has a passion for addressing medically restrictive diets from a psychosocial perspective. She is determined to assist individuals living with restrictive diets in understanding and taking hold of their conditions. Georgianna strives to help her clients understand that a restrictive diet doesn't have to limit them. She provides education, empowerment, coaching, and advocacy services, helping clients to live their lives to the fullest.

Georgianna recently decided to combine her social work background with her first hand knowledge of the gluten free diet. As a gluten free lifestyle coach, she brings a unique perspective to her role as a coach with her extensive background in medical and behavioral research, as well as her strong interest in policy, community and group work, and public health. She is currently chief editor, board member, and a staff writer for Social Justice Solutions Incorporated.

Want to know more about Georgianna? Here's how she answered my questions:

What prompted you to shift to a gluten free diet? After seven years of multiple physical, emotional/psychological, and gastrointestinal symptoms, I took the advice of a friend and pressed my doctor to test me for Celiac Disease. The results came back positive and I have been gluten free ever since.  

Can you explain your food philosophy? I believe that food, in its natural state, is a primal means of fulfillment, connection and balance. Physically, it fills our hunger and provides us with the nutrients we need to live. It has a means of nurturing and healing our body if used correctly. Emotionally, it has a hold on us. It is the binder that connects our "two brains," our brain and our gut. Too much or too little of a good thing not only influences how our body feels but also our mind. Socially, it sustains many of our cultural identities, and is the focus of almost all social gatherings. In addition, it connects us to the world around us. It was the thread that held together communities, brought strangers out of their houses to the market, and the reminder that the world we live in is our source of nutrients. 

Ultimately, food sustains us as individuals and as a culture, yet this is only true if our relationship with food is balanced. We have a habit now of focusing on overabundance, over processing, and mass marketing food in a way we never have before. We've lost sight of food's true purpose and have made it into a commodity accessible by some and out of reach by others. As a result, our relationship with food is skewed, often negatively. Sticking with fresher ingredients, cooking food ourselves, and minimizing processed and non-local foods is a great way to regain a positive relationship with food. I feel that having to follow a gluten free diet has actually helped me to develop a healthier relationship with food and get back the fulfillment, connection, and balance that was lacking before. My goal is always to help my clients do the same.  

What one recipe would you recommend to someone who doesn't like vegetables? I would recommend kale or radicchio chips, baked greenery with oil and spices. Simple to make, flavorful, and complete with a good crunch akin to potato chips, these are a great way to start incorporating vegetables. Kale chips are likely the best choice for someone who absolutely hates vegetables, as radicchio has a bolder taste. 

What's your go-to snack when you're out of the house? At any time you can find about 2-4 bars in my bag for a go-to snack. I especially enjoy the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabars.  

Favorite go-to meal when you're tired: If I have energy to prep, I like vegetable dishes. I enjoy a good simple salad or baked potato. If I am not in the mood at all to cook, I stick with an Amy's Organic canned soup or something similar. 

Biggest challenge for you in being gluten free: Managing social situations. The food was simple. It is something I personally could manage, especially once I got the hang of it. Yet I cannot manage other people's responses or their willingness to accommodate me. I have encountered many experiences in which I have felt "less than" others, especially at the start, because I was unique in my dietary needs. I found myself limiting what I would do socially for fear of being the center of attention when ordering food, because I was concerned where my next meal would come from on a day out, or because I just didn't want to hear another, "Oh come on, just a bit won't hurt you". This feeling of lack of control in those situations, frustration with people's responses, and being the center of attention was often overwhelming in the beginning. To this day, I find it hard to put my trust in others when it comes to food preparation and responding positively to my needs. However, I no longer let it make me feel less than because it has helped me develop confidence in myself and my needs. Of course there are still off days where social situations are difficult, but learning that you can't control others is an ongoing process for almost everyone. 

What advice would you give to someone who has been recently diagnosed and is feeling overwhelmed? I would tell them to start where they feel comfortable. As a social worker, I find the key to managing feeling overwhelmed is to work on partializing, or breaking down the issue into manageable parts. I would tell the individual that they are not alone in their restrictive diet and work on breaking down the challenge of being gluten free into area and steps that are manageable and make sense to them particularly. By remind them they are not along, you minimize the feelings of isolation, yet by helping them break it down in their own way, you not only make it more manageable but you also help them to be the one in control. Understanding that they have control is paramount to taking anything on without feeling too overwhelmed. 

Favorite fruit: Strawberries have always been my favorite!

Favorite gluten free recipe to bake: Pignoli or almond nut cookies. Similar to peanut butter cookies, this recipe is simple, and doesn't include any flour in most cases. But at the same they, they are a bit more interesting in flavor than peanut butter cookies. It is a great go-to recipe for a sweet treat. 

What do you know now about being gluten free that you wish you knew when you first started? When I first went gluten free, I started trying to replace gluten products with store bought gluten free alternatives. I wish I would have known the value of home cooking and baking. A little persistence, experimenting, and love goes a long way in helping take hold of your diet by creating the foods that you eat. Yes, it takes time, but all good things do!

Learn more about working with Georgianna at her blog, Celtic Celiac.
Follow Georgianna on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

Tomorrow, meet the coach behind Team Gratitude.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Gluten Free Health Challenge: Meet Drew Parisi, Team Smoothie

Yesterday, you met Mia Davis, holistic nutritionist and lifestyle coach.
Today, meet Drew Parisi, Health Coach for Team Smoothie.

Drew Parisi is a certified nutrition consultant and nutrition educator practicing functional, whole-foods nutrition in Palo Alto, California. She partners with her clients in integrating healing, nourishing foods into their daily lifestyle. Growing up with her mom's organic garden in Southern California, she learned to appreciate the bounty nature provides year after year and began to understand the important role food plays in our health and well being.

Drew believes that our food system was created perfectly for us, and our bodies operate best when nourished with real foods. She firmly believes in the body's natural capacity to heal when provided with real nourishment, and she encourages her clients to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, wild-caught fish, pastured meats, dairy and eggs, nourishing fats, and traditionally prepared nuts, seeds, and grains. She understands that each individual has unique genetic tendencies and tastes, and needs differing amounts of healthful foods and nutrients to cope with our fast-paced and stress-filled world. Therefore, she does not subscribe to a "one size fits all" approach to nutrition; rather, she incorporates each individual's preferences along with therapies from many traditional diets - all rooted in whole foods. In doing so, she removes the stumbling blocks to good health and gives her clients the tools they need to truly care for themselves and their families.

Want to know more about Drew? Here's how she answered my questions:

How long have you been gluten free and what prompted you to adopt a gluten free diet? I've been gluten free for about 5 years now. I had some pretty severe abdominal pain that landed me in the E.R. and was passed between my gastroenterologist and GYN, with neither able to give me a diagnosis. I took matters into my own hands and did some functional testing and found gluten intolerance. I had to laugh at myself because I initially reacted like many of my clients - I didn't believe that gluten could possibly be the cause of my pain and I disregarded the legitimacy of my test result. When I finally convinced myself to give gluten free a try, I wasn't sorry! After the first couple of weeks, I noticed my energy was incredible (I didn't even know I had low energy before). I was waking up before my alarm and able to stay up much later without feeling tired. It took longer for my hormones to balance out, but my abdominal pain slowly lessened and I can now say that I haven't had any pain at all in the last 3 years!

Favorite go-to meal for nights when you're tired: I have a great market near my office that sells whole roasted chickens along with pre-made salads and soups. I'll grab whichever combination looks enticing for takeout. 

Favorite dessert: I've always loved flourless chocolate cake - and it's naturally gluten free!

Favorite vegetable: I can't believe I'm saying this, but I love brussels sprouts. I hated them as a child and only recently discovered my tastes had changed when they were served at a friend's house. I ate them to be polite, and am glad I did! I'm drawn to the visual appeal of food, and the color of brussels sprouts is just so bright and perfect. I can eat roasted brussels sprouts sprinkled with a little parmesan any day of the week. I think I'm making up for lost time!

Tips for gluten free newbies: Take comfort in the fact that ALL your favorite foods have gluten free substitutes. That said, don't go crazy on the gluten free baked goods. Allow this new diet to upgrade your healthstyle. Choose fruits and vegetables to round out your meals instead of refined grain products. Choose special occasions to indulge in gluten free treats - and enjoy them when you do!

One thing you know now that you wish you had known when you first went gluten free: People told me this, but I think it's something that you have to experience in order to understand. I wish I had known how good I would feel being gluten free. The improvement in my overall health and everyday energy was so dramatic that it makes it easy to choose to be gluten free each day. I used to think that I would "splurge" and eat gluten to celebrate a special occasion, but now I ask, "Why would I do that to myself?" I never want to feel crummy - especially not on a special occasion!

If you are what you eat, what would you be? I would love to be poached eggs, roasted vegetables, summer fruit, or a perfectly cooked lamb chop, but I'm probably a smoothie. I'm always running from one place to the next; Throwing some produce and protein powder in a blender is what keeps me sane most days. When I have time, I love cooking up a savory meal in my kitchen, but it's really the quick and easy meals like smoothies that consistently fuel my day.

What is the most common struggle you see when people come to you for nutrition advice? Most people come to me feeling tired, in pain, depressed, or unhappy with the way they feel in their bodies. Many of them have motivation to do something about it, but with so much conflicting health information out there, they don't know where to start. I help them sift through those contradicting health claims and put them in control of their health through education, support, and nutritional therapies based on their unique biochemistry.

Learn more about working with Drew on her website, Parisi Nutrition.
Follow Drew on Twitter and Facebook.

Tomorrow, meet the coach behind Team Strawberry

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Gluten Free Health Challenge: Meet Mia Davis, Team Kale

Yesterday, you met Shirley Plant, dietary designer and nutritionist on Team Avocado.
Today, meet Mia Davis, Health Coach for Team Kale.

Mia Davis is a holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach, wellness speaker, writer, foodie, and a believer that true happiness is a reflection of our overall health. She teaches women a blissful, balanced, and whole-istic approach to achieving a healthy mind, body, and lifestyle so they can feel radiant, confident, and authentic!

With this unique outlook, Mia empowers her clients to change their relationship with food, and to create the healthy lifestyle they want in order for healing to take place. Her simple step-by-step programs are tailored to meet each woman's individual needs in a fun, focused, and feminine way.

Mia graduated from the National University of Health Sciences with her Master's of Science in Oriental Medicine. Her passion for the healing properties of nutrition sparked her to also study at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She began Blissful Chicks Wellness after her own struggle with weight led her back to her traditional holistic approach to eating and living.

In addition to working with women one-on-one, Mia also contributes to health blogs and gives community workshops on health, wellness, and living "blissfully natural". She currently resides in sunny Sacramento, California.

Want to know more about Mia? Here's how she answered my questions: 

Favorite go-to meal for nights when you're tired and need something easy: Broccoli cashew stir-fry. Broccoli, carrots, bok choy, and cashews quickly stir-fried in light gluten free tamari sauce. You can enjoy over brown rice or quinoa as well.

Favorite dessert: Chocolate avocado pudding! It's creamy, chocolaty and full of healthy fat and protein. It definitely makes you feel special.

Favorite vegetable: I'm a kale girl. I love it! In my opinion, it's a true superfood. There are so many nutrients in it. It tastes great and it's versatile. I use it in soups, stews, raw in salads and smoothies, and roasted as a snack.

Tips for gluten free newbies: Be creative and have fun with this! Eating gluten free is an adventure. Take this chance to explore what you eat and find fun alternatives. You'll find new loves and reinvent old favorites in a way that's unique to you and your taste buds. The Daily Dietribe is a great place to get ideas and the support you need to make being gluten free work for your life.

One thing you know now that you wish you had known when you first went gluten free: That going gluten free would change my life beyond the plate. Not only did I become more creative with my food, I gained a new appreciation for what I put in my body and brought into my life. I became more aware of my emotions and how they related to my eating. It made me rethink my approach to a lot of things - something I didn't expect, but greatly appreciate!

If you are what you eat, what would you be? I would be a plate of kale with a side of dark chocolate-covered pineapples! Eating healthy for me is eating foods that nourish my body and spirit. You can and should have both. I've always loved pineapple, but drizzle homemade dark chocolate syrup on top, and heaven is just a spoonful away!

What is the most common struggle you see when people come to you for nutrition advice? Weight loss is the most common challenge I see. Women want to look great in their clothes and feel sexy when they take them off. However, our sessions go beyond basic nutrition. Most of the women I work with know the basics to losing weight, but have trouble implementing them in a way that works for their needs and lifestyle. A woman losing baby weight isn't going to have the same needs as a woman losing weight due to a stressful work schedule. My job is to provide the guidance and environment that will allow them to both reach that end goal and sustain it in their lives.

Learn more about working with Mia on her website, Blissful Chicks Wellness.
Follow Mia on Twitter and Facebook

Tomorrow, meet the coach behind Team Smoothie

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Gluten Free Health Challenge: Meet Shirley Plant, Team Avocado

For the next six days, I'll be introducing you to a different coach each morning. These women will be the backbone of The Daily Dietribe Gluten Free Health Challenge. They will coach the challengers, provide support, and share their delicious recipes with us all at the end of every month.
Today, meet Shirley Plant, Health Coach for Team Avocado.

Shirley Plant was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and multiple food and environmental allergies 25 years ago. She became gluten free 5 years ago, and has learned through personal experience how hard it is to change your life for the better. She understands first hand the difficulties of trying to plan creative, nutritious and affordable menus while having to avoid such common foods as gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, and sugar, just to name a few. But through understanding, education, and a keen interest in helping people find food alternatives to fit into their life schedules, Shirley has developed an expertise and well-known reputation as a dietary designer. In addition to individual consulting, Shirley offers seminars on food allergies, cooking, and menu planning.

As a nutritionist and dietary designer, Shirley brings a sound expertise and understanding to clients and their families that few can match. Her pleasant and caring manner, her own experiences as a food allergy sufferer, and her creative design flare make working with Shirley "a must" for clients struggling to find the light at the end of the dietary tunnel. 

Shirley is the food editor for General Store Publishing house, and the author of Finally...Food I Can Eat, an inspirational dietary guide and cookbook for people with food allergies and food intolerance. She has written articles for Eco- Sense, the Celiac News, and Total Fit Magazine, as well as Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Life blog and Mindbodygreen. 
Want to know more about Shirley? Here's how she answered my questions:

Favorite go-to meal when you're too tired to cook: Brown rice pasta with organic garlic pasta sauce - yes, from a glass jar - or now that I'm eating paleo: nitrite free lamb sausages, sweet potato and steamed spinach.

Favorite dessert: My almond flour banana muffins or my gluten free lemon pie, which will be in my next cookbook. And my cocoa hemp dessert, which is in Finally...Food I Can Eat

Favorite vegetable: Asparagus.

Tips for gluten free newbies: Clean out your pantry. Get rid of all the gluten foods and replace them with healthy gluten free snacks (flax crackers, nuts, seeds, dates, gluten free granola) and gluten free flours so that when you have time, you can bake your own treats.

One thing you know now that you wish you had known when you first went gluten free: That there are so many options out there, it is not limiting at all; You just have to get back to basics and maybe do a little baking and cooking yourself.

If you are what you eat, what would you be? An avocado.

What is the most common struggle you see when people come to you for nutrition advice? Giving up sugar and getting back to basics and into their kitchen. They say they don't have time, but it's because they don't like change.

Learn more about working with Shirley on her website, Delicious Alternatives.
Purchase her cookbook, Finally...Food I Can Eat.
Follow Shirley on Twitter and Facebook.

Tomorrow, meet the coach behind Team Kale.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Chocolate Glazed Apricot Brownie Bites (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

I'm totally cheating right now. I'm only posting this recipe to get your attention. And if I know anything about you, it's that the word chocolate gets your attention. So if I have to bribe you with chocolate, I am perfectly okay with that.

Before I share the recipe with you, I want to tell you a few things. You're not allowed to scroll down to the recipe until you've read this. I'm totally serious. I can control your computer with my mind:
  1. The Anti-Diet 30 Day Spring Challenge starts on Sunday. Saturday at 10pm EST is your last chance to register! If you're on the fence, jump in! You have very little to lose and the chance to gain energy, renewed faith, and a better understanding of your purpose in life. And since it's Mother's Day, register for your mom too. You can keep each other motivated during the challenge. Register here.
  2. I posted the podcast of my webinar, Beyond Gluten Free: What's Next in Your Health Journey. It's available here. It includes a meditation on listening to your body, which starts about 20 minutes in. I've received amazing feedback on the meditation. My friend Kelly told me: "Thank you, thank you, a thousand times THANK YOU for such a beautiful and informative podcast! I learned so much about myself, my purpose, and what I need to do to let go of negativity and live the life I was intended to. You are truly awe inspiring! ♥" 
  3. This is an excerpt from my article in the latest copy of GF Magazine. "Through all of this searching for the perfect diet, a few ideas became glaringly clear to me. One, I was listening to everyone else and completely ignoring my own intelligence. Two, I was becoming so stressed over what I ate that I would literally break down crying when I didn’t eat “perfectly.” I was being told that if I didn’t follow a specific diet to the T, I would never get better and have only myself to blame. Just like someone on a weight loss diet, I blamed myself for lack of willpower and struggled with guilt and shame. The third thing I realized was that by focusing solely on diet as the answer, I was ignoring a lot of other factors in my life." You can download the free magazine and read the full article here.  
  4. I've received 3 entries into the Gluten Free Health Challenge already, and I'm very excited! It is going to be so hard to pick the winners. Good thing I don't have to do it. That's all on you... Just to clarify, you do not need to be new to the gluten free diet in order to enter. Our journey to health doesn't stop when we become gluten free. For many of us, it's just starting. The Gluten Free Health Challenge focuses on all aspects of health, not just being gluten free.
  5. Only one person left a comment on my post about no longer blogging here (Natalie, I love you!). I'm a little hurt. Sure, you'll comment when I talk about Blue Eyes but nothing when I'm just talking about myself. Where's the love, people? 
Okay, you've listened to me. I will now release my hold on your computer and you may have the recipe. 

Chocolate Glazed Apricot Brownie Bites Print-Me
These brownie bites make an elegant dessert. A rich and dense brownie ball is covered with a layer of chocolate, then cooled in the fridge for the perfect bite-sized treat. Make sure you have room in your fridge for them!

Yield: Four dozen brownie bites

1 ½ cups dried apricots
¾ cup full fat canned coconut milk
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup coconut palm sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

132 grams buckwheat flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
60 grams tapioca starch (1/2 cup)
40 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt

Chocolate Glaze: (All ingredients need to be at room temperature ahead of time or the glaze will not be smooth)
½ cup full fat canned coconut milk
6 tablespoons maple syrup OR 4 tablespoons coconut nectar plus 40 drops liquid stevia
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 dried apricots, finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease four 12-cup mini-muffin tins.
2. Blend the apricots and coconut milk in a blender for about 30 seconds, just until the apricots are chopped but not completely pureed. Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the applesauce, sugar, and vanilla extract.
3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, tapioca starch, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until completely mixed.
4. Scoop the batter into the muffin tins about halfway Dip your fingers in water and use them to spread the batter evenly. Bake for 14 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack.
5. Once the brownie bites have cooled, heat coconut milk in a small pan over low heat. Stir in sweetener and vanilla extract for a minute. Add chocolate and stir until smooth. Dip brownies in chocolate completely, shaking a bit to get excess chocolate off when you take them out. Place on wax or parchment paper. 
6. Once you’ve dipped all of the brownies, top them with chopped apricots and place in the fridge to chill. This only takes about ten minutes. Once you can touch the coating without it sticking completely to your fingers, you’re golden! Eat away!

Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze for later use.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Do You Want to Join The Gluten Free Health Challenge?

(If you missed yesterday's post, please read that one first). 

I took on my own gluten free health challenge 4 years ago. It changed my life in ways I never would have imagined.

Starting June 1st, I'm inviting you to take the challenge as well. Here's how it will work:

The Daily Dietribe Gluten Free Health Challenge  
June 1st-November 30th, 2013 

The Who:
Six women who are ready to take the challenge.
Six health coaches ready to support them in becoming healthier in mind and body.
One fairy angel (that's me!), ready to guide them in discovering the divine secrets of their soul.

The What:
Each of the six women will get two private sessions with her own health coach each month, one group workshop with me per month, and will share her story with you in weekly posts here.

The first 3 weeks of every month will be dedicated to updates from the challengers while they're on this journey. The last week of every month will feature delicious gluten free recipes from the challengers' coaches.

The Where:
Anywhere! My challengers and coaches live all over the U.S. and Canada. We will be holding sessions and workshops via phone and skype.

The Why: 
To challenge these women to live healthier lives in mind, body, and soul.

The cost:
Nothing. The coaching and workshops are absolutely free to the challengers. This is a project that came to me during a road trip. As I sat in the car hour after hour, I asked God to let me know what the purpose of my blog was and how I was supposed to use it to help more people. This is what I was led to.

How can you join? 
4 women have already signed on for the challenge, but I am looking for 2 more. I've decided to let you, my readers, decide who those women will be. I'm holding a contest to find the last 2 challengers to complete this group. Just to clarify, you do not need to be new to the gluten free diet to enter. Our journey to health does not stop when we become gluten free. You can enter even if you've been gluten free for years. The challenge is about getting extra support around nutrition, stress, and our emotions.

To enter: 
E-mail me by Friday May 17th at iris@thedailydietribe.com with the subject line, GF Health Challenge. In the body of your e-mail, write a letter to me as if you were addressing my readers. This is your chance to tell us who you are, why you want to take the challenge, and how you feel this can help you. I know this will sound scary and make you feel vulnerable to write about yourself and put it out there for people to read. I've been doing it for 4 years; it is scary and makes me feel vulnerable, but it's also really awesome. That is actually part of the purpose of the challenge: to put yourself out there, to be vulnerable, and to experience the amazing support of all my readers as you open up. When you are honest about the scary things in your life, they slowly become less frightening and eventually even fade away.

After you e-mail me, I will give you more details on the challenge, and if you decide to enter, then I will post your letter to me along with the other contestants' letters. Readers will vote on who they would like to see take the challenge.

Who can enter: 
Women 18+ who have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance or have a health reason for wanting to be on a gluten free diet. I especially encourage women who have been newly diagnosed and are feeling overwhelmed to enter. This can be a great way to support you in your new lifestyle. I also encourage women who have been gluten free for a long time, but would like the support of a health coach and mind/body/soul workshops.

Disclaimer: The Daily Dietribe Gluten Free Health Challenge is not a substitute for professional advice from your health care practitioner. Content within this site has not been approved by the FDA. The challenge participant assumes full responsibility for consulting with her health care professional before starting a new diet. The writers and publishers of this challenge are not responsible for any adverse consequences resulting from the recipes, stories, or suggestions provided. These individuals may or may not be health care professionals, and their weekly blog posts are written to share their personal support and journey, not as recommendations for others to follow their diets.

Coming next week on the blog: 
Sunday through Thursday will be dedicated to my health coaches. Each day you'll learn about a new coach, so if you're considering entering the challenge contest, tune in to see who you might get to work with!

And don't forget, this Saturday at 10pm EST is the last day to register to join The Anti-Diet 30 Day Challenge. This challenge can be undertaken at the same time as The Gluten Free Challenge. In fact, one of my challengers is already signed up for both!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Saying Goodbye to My Blog

Dear Reader,

It's been just over 4 years since I wrote my first post here. Since then, I've shared a lot with you. Maybe a little more than some of you wanted to know. Remember the poop post? Or the one about garlic? Don't remember them? You probably blocked them out.

Seriously though, we've been through a lot of changes in these last 4 years, haven't we? You've watched me move from NYC to Seattle to a teeny town in Missouri where I now reside. I've gotten to know many of you better. We've shared e-mails, Facebook conversations, and dreams. I know one of you opened a bakery, one of you wrote a book, one of you became a mother for the first time, and one of you became a grandmother. I know one of you has struggled with similar health problems and one of you understood only too well when I wrote about binge eating. One of you supported me when I was missing my old home in Brooklyn, and one of you even randomly ended up on a date with my ex-boyfriend through an online dating site. Yes, strange things do happen! Some of you have become my clients and I even traveled to Utah to do a workshop with one of you. I met many of you at gluten free expos, and I have photos of some of us in my Facebook albums.  

You, dear reader, you are my people. And that may perhaps be the strangest sentence I've yet written. Strange because I'm realizing that it's true. 

The Daily Dietribe has become as much a part of my identity as anything else in my life. When people ask me who I am, the first thing that comes to mind is, "I'm a blogger." Not a sister, not a girlfriend, not just me. I'm a blogger.

What does that mean to me?

I began The Daily Dietribe as a creative outlet for myself, and it morphed into a way to share my experiences with others. When I began to hear from you that it helped for me to be so honest, I realized I could actually make a difference through blogging. I wasn't changing the world, but sometimes I was making you feel a little more normal, a little less alone.

When I co-wrote The Essential Gluten Free Baking Guides, I had the same desire. To share my knowledge so that your gluten free journey could be just a little bit easier. So you could feel you had some control over what you were doing in your own gluten free kitchen. Again, I wasn't saving the world, but maybe the baking guides have made a few lives easier. At least that was my hope.

Now, here I am, and I've been coming to a new realization for a long time. The Daily Dietribe has been my baby. I've nurtured it, watched it grow, worried over the stumbling teenage years, and now here it is and for quite a while, it's been like me. Stuck in limbo. No longer a child. Not yet an adult.

Well, I think it's time for The Daily Dietribe to grow up. That means I'm taking off my training wheels and stepping back as a parent. I've thought long and hard what the purpose of this blog is. It has always been a place for me to talk about my health journey, a place to learn and share about following a gluten free diet. A place for me to talk about my life in all its messy details. And in doing so, a place to learn to be okay with wherever I am in life.

Now, The Daily Dietribe is going to become that place for six other women. Starting June 1st, The Daily Dietribe will host its first Gluten Free Health Challenge. I'm going to introduce you to six women who are on their own gluten free journeys, and then I'm going to let them take over. The Daily Dietribe will no longer be just about me. It will be about every woman who is working to be healthier, to feel stronger, to love herself. It will be about YOU because I'm sure you'll be able to see yourself in each of these women. I know I do.

So this, dear reader, is not a goodbye letter. It's a letter to tell you just how much I have appreciated you, and just how much this blog has meant to me. I was twenty-six when I started blogging. I'll be thirty-one soon. And I've spent about a year now struggling with the desire to let go of this blog and the need to hold on.

I'm ready to move on. Yet I want The Daily Dietribe to remain a safe space for others to grow. I am absolutely stoked and jazzed and inspired and levitating with excitement about the work I've been doing. But I've tried not to let it take over because I didn't want to disrupt the gluten free flow of The Daily Dietribe. So now I don't have to worry about that. The Daily Dietribe will flow gluten free goodness. And my new site will flow with the love I'm putting into it.

Do you want to flow with me? Here's how you can. Continue to subscribe to The Daily Dietribe as it becomes The Daily Dietribe Gluten Free Health Challenge. Tune in tomorrow to read the rules of the challenge and learn how you can be a part of it. If you haven't already, follow The Daily Dietribe on Facebook and Twitter. My awesome new intern, Aly Vanderwalde, will be manning the controls on those fronts starting in June, so she will be keeping you in the know and doing a much better job of it than I ever did.

I'll still stop by and say hello from time to time. I'll share a post or a recipe here and there. And though you may not always see me, I'll be taking care of things behind the scenes. But if you want to keep in touch for real, please don't be a stranger. You are still my people. And the best way you can find me these days is by liking my new Facebook page. This will be my page, separate from The Daily Dietribe, which means I'll share more on what really matters to me, not just the gluten free stuff (although I'll share that too because it also matters). i.e.  If you want to hear more about Blue Eyes, this is the place to go because I'm sure I'll talk about him too.

If that's not enough and you think you'll miss my posts, don't forget that Saturday is the last day to sign up for my 30 Day Challenge. Then you'll get to e-mail with me every day AND talk with me on the phone once a week. We'll be best friends by the time the 30 days is over!

Okay, deep breaths (me, not you). Now I've told you and now it's real.

Really Still Yours,

p.s. If you know what show I was referencing in that photo above, then you're definitely my people. Blue Eyes hates the show, but I adore it.  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Tahini Spice Cookies and a Free Webinar on Meditation

You know I love simple recipes. When you have food sensitivities, you get used to cooking all your own food. Blue Eyes, bless him, knows how to cook for me. But we rarely get to go out to dinner or order in, and forget grabbing a random snack when I'm out and about. This cookie recipe came about because I wanted something I could snack on. Something with just enough crisp and a little chew. Of course, I ate all the cookies in one day and that kind of defeated the purpose of having snacks handy.

Oh well. They made me happy.

This recipe is made with tahini, which has a bitter aftertaste. Since it's a sugar-free recipe, I used stevia to mask that taste. If you don't like stevia, I recommend using a different nut or seed butter, or using a granulated sugar. I'm not sure how a liquid sweetener (like honey) would affect the texture. I also found that the longer I baked them, the better the flavor was. I took a few cookies out early and they had a stronger bitterness to them. The ones I let bake more no longer had such a bite.

And be forewarned that these are earthy-crunchy cookies. That means most people will probably think they taste like "health food." I really liked them and would definitely make more had I not realized I was reacting to the tahini. But you know yourself best. If you like earthy-crunchy, not-too-sweet cookies, this recipe is for you! If not, here's another one for you.  

And before I forget, I want to cordially invite you to my first webinar tomorrow night (Thursday, May 2nd) from 5:30-7:00pm pacific time. I'm really excited to share with you some of the experiences I've had in dealing with my health issues through meditation and hypnotherapy. I'll be leading a guided meditation as part of the webinar, so it's a great opportunity for you to try this out for yourself and see how it makes you feel. If you can't make the webinar, but want to hear it, please register anyway... After the webinar, everyone who is registered will get an e-mail with a link to the recording. That way you can also listen to the meditation on your own time.

p.s. Did I mention it's free?

(See more about and register for the free webinar on my new site here).

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Tahini Spice Cookies Print-Me
Adapted from this recipe for 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted tahini*
1/4 cup pureed sweet potato (baked first)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
10-20 drops liquid vanilla stevia (I like NuNaturals)

*If you use salted tahini, just skip the salt in the recipe.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 
  2. Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together. I use my food processor so it's a nice, smooth batter. Taste for sweetness and add more stevia as desired. 
  3. Scoop by the tablespoon and flatten for traditional cookie shape. Use your fork to make the imprint you see above. Alternatively you can leave them as scoops as also shown in the photo above. 
  4. Baked flat cookies for 12-13 minutes. Bake round cookies for 20 minutes, checking after 18 minutes. Let cool completely before eating. 
Makes approximately 10 cookies. 

Note: I went light on the spices. If you like lots of spice flavor, go ahead and add what you like and taste the batter before baking. Same with the orange zest.


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