by Lauren Hoover-West
Growing up, I had a stomach ache and congestion virtually every day.
And nobody noticed.
Back then, parents didn’t fuss over their children’s food allergies, or even give much thought to their special dietary needs.
After years, I simply got “tired of being sick and tired” and decided to do something about it.
On the advice of a health practitioner, I decided to cut out wheat.
Six weeks later, I was feeling a lot better. But I still had discomfort. And the near-constant congestion hadn’t gone away.
My internist suggested I be tested for dairy intolerance. When the results came in, he advised me to eliminate dairy completely for six weeks.
Wow, THAT was radical!
I lived in Switzerland and ate cheese three times a day! I couldn’t imagine a life worth living without the wonderful variety of cheeses, yogurt, and ice cream available in that land of fat brown cows grazing in high Alpine meadows.
Now in my thirties, I woke up one morning six weeks later and inhaled clearly for the first time in my life!
Later, I learned that it takes six weeks for the body to down-regulate the antibodies it produces when we have a food sensitivity.
My next big experiment was to cut out all refined sugar. When I reintroduced processed sugar experimentally several weeks later, I broke out in red patches all over my face. Thus began a journey to find healthier sweeteners.
I noticed that all of the gluten-free products contained refined flours, and all of them were high in starch and sugar.
NOT a healthy choice!
So I became a professional chef-turned-mad-food-scientist.
First, I developed recipes that used healthy ingredients and were extremely tasty. They used gluten-free oat flour, nut milks, and healthy oils (without all the weird hard-to-find ingredients in most commercial packaged GF foods – like xanthan gum).
Being a gourmet and professional chef, I demand above all that food taste great and have excellent texture, as well as being healthy.
After seven years of research and development, I wrote and self-published a cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem.
As the raw foods movement exploded over the years, I found some fabulous dairy-free alternatives, like nut and seed milks, cheeses, sauces, cheesecakes, and many other items that use healthy, organic, whole food ingredients.
I’m always eager to make new discoveries about health, diet, and healing with food. I cook in creative ways to meet our family’s needs and desires, and I also cook for my private clients.
But I have to say, the physical pieces of the health puzzle are just one part of the whole. That’s because I’ve discovered that there are also very important emotional and spiritual components.
During my dietary journey, I began meditating, practicing yoga, and praying more. All in all, I’ve learned a lot about the physical, mental, and spiritual sides of healing and health.
In her best-selling books, author Carolyn Myss, PhD taught us how our emotions can “get stuck” in our bodies.
When I injured my shoulder and it refused to heal, even though I applied every possible kind of validated therapy, I started asking what the pain was really about.
If I get a sore throat, I might realize that I’m not “speaking my truth.” Problems with feet and legs might mean that I’m unwilling to take risks and keep moving forward. Back problems might indicate that I’m feeling unsupported.
So, when you’re confronted with pain, illness, or disease, you might want to ask, what’s the emotional or spiritual component?
My passion and mission is to keep learning, while I help others to heal and thrive rather than merely survive.
I do this by designing individually custom-prepared meals, writing cookbooks, teaching cooking classes, doing pantry makeovers, and leading grocery shopping tours to locate healthier, tastier alternatives. I also help my clients spot any hidden food-related sources of health problems they may have.
I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love, while helping others feel better so they can live their best life.
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Lauren Hoover-West has appeared and cooked on “ABC Live” in Chicago and Sacramento. She has cooked for four U.S. Presidents and a U.S. Senator. Lauren was classically trained at the California Culinary Academy (now Cordon Bleu). Since 2002 she has served as a Chef, Educator, and Consultant specializing in food allergies and health issues, including gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, diabetes, autism, autoimmune diseases, and inflammatory conditions.
Lauren has created a revolutionary way to cook delicious food that is gluten-free, dairy-free, low-glycemic, or sugar-free, while being very healthy and tasting just as good as traditional food so everyone can enjoy it.
Lauren doesn’t believe in weird ingredients, so in her classes and consultations you will learn to use readily available foods and many wonderful items that you may not even have noticed before. If you desire, she will help you replace your stock pantry items with gluten-free, dairy-free, low-glycemic alternatives.
Lauren is the author of the No Wheat No Dairy No Problem cookbook and website. She has over 20 years of cooking and teaching experience at La Folie (Michelin star), Fairmont, Hyatt Resorts, Bally’s, Marriott, New Leaf Market, Sur la Table, etc. Lauren is the owner of Lauren’s Kitchen, a customized meal service. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology at St. Mary’s College. To contact Lauren, and for more information follow the link to her Lauren’s Kitchen website: http://nowheatnodairynoproblem.com/.