Monday, November 9, 2015

How to deal with a drastic dietary change - by Valentina from Real Italian Kitchen

Hey guys,
I have really exciting news!


In this article I'd like to share my experience and how I ended up wanting to be a health coach for people.

Before we start....

Email me at to schedule an appointment. I will work with your budget so we can set a rate that you can afford. 


When my friends see me now the first thing they say to me is "Oh my Gosh! You're so skinny! What happened??".
I had to change my diet for health reasons, that's what happened.
I'll organize this article according to the frequently asked questions people ask me.

After: I can enjoy my tight dresses again
Before: I barely squeezed into those jeans... 


I've never been overweight. The mediterranean diet worked very well for me, until I moved to the United States.
Blame the sugars (that are in everything we buy that is pre-made), blame the GMO corn and wheat, blame the change in life style (from more active to more sedentary), I gained 1 kg (2.2lb) each year I was in the States without being able to shed it with with my usual diet and exercise combo.
I've been in the States for 6 years (since 2009) and the last year the number of kilos gained grew exponentially. For a total of 10 extra kilos from my starting weight (22lb).

Besides the weight gain, I also started having other symptoms: bloating, constipation, nausea, lack of energy, insomnia, headaches. Those were "mild" symptoms, I thought all in all, they are things that can occasionally happen to everybody, right? WRONG!!! I should have not ignored those symptoms.

My stomach and intestinal problems worsened over time, till a couple of years ago I started suffering of chronic vaginal and intestinal yeast infections (the word chronic is used when it occurs more then 3 times a year), accompanied by several episodes of migraine headaches. Yikes, right?


My first instinct was to go see an OBGYN about the vaginal yeast. He gave me an anti fungal but didn't tell me to make any dietary adjustments. As soon as the treatment ended the yeast came back.

After that epic failure I decided to seek comfort in the arms of friends and families and guess what I discovered? ALL of my female friends have had those problems. ALL OF THEM. I mean it's an epidemic. It must be something we all do or eat that causes all of us to have those problems.

That concept drove me to find alternative medicine doctors and nutritionists who could help me. I'm not skeptical towards those remedies, my mother raised me on organic foods and homeopathic solutions, so my mind is pretty opened.


March 2015. Weight: 64 kg, 141 lb. The highest I had ever been. 

The first person who really helped me was a nutritionist. She was covered by my insurance, so I went for it. It was a risk free trial.

She was so sweet and supportive, really helped me understand what those foods I was eating were doing to my body on a chemical level and gave me a Candida Diet to follow for a few months that helped as long as I followed it but as soon as I strayed my problems came back. I already have an article on the Candida diet so I'm not gonna repeat myself, but in short that diet says:

NO SUGARS (no sugary fruit or vegetables either, absolutely no alcohol)

And guess what? I've also discovered I have a sensitivity towards nuts! So NO NUTS either!

Seeds, vegetables and proteins. That's all I could eat.

If I just said that it sucked it wouldn't be enough to express how I felt. Full withdrawal symptoms from the lack of sugars, I thought I was gonna die of hunger every step I took, I had to watch how much physical exercise I was doing (because of the low carbs intake), on top of it I couldn't even comfort myself with a glass of wine (because of the high levels of sugars in it) or sex (because of the discomfort caused by the yeast infection). It sucked times 1000. It was awful.

For two weeks.

Then I started getting better.

I did this for a month before I could start reintroducing foods in my diet again. No need to mention that going out to dinner was a nightmare. And that my husband is a saint for going through this process with me. The patience and the support he gave me were priceless and I couldn't ask for a better partner. Anyway...

Stronger then ever I should also say.
But how?? Over the summer I thought I was "cured" so I drank a little more then I was supposed to, and maybe I had a dessert that normal humans eat, and maybe I was in Italy with my family and I wanted to see if eating pizza would still bother me.... BAAAD GIRL...

Well my yeast problem came back. With the migraines and the insomnia and all that jazz.

September: Let's find a new solution... 

This time around I went to a NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR, doctor Martin Orimenko. Doctor Martin is a Chiropractor, Nutritionist, Naturopath. He loaded me with all sorts of supplements that my body needed, which he figured out by doing muscle testing (this technique is awesome and doesn't require any needles), in addition to the supplements he put me back on his version of a candida diet.

His candida diet was a little less strict then the first one I followed, which made it easier to bare.
The supplements helped with the detox and getting rid of the yeast. The headaches went away. I'm less bloated, more focused. After only 3 weeks he allowed me to have a glass of dry red wine a few times a week if I wanted.

He promised me that my problem won't come back. But I still have to be careful about those foods that are harmful for me. And after this lengthy process of elimination, I know for sure which ones they are.
He was also really honest about the length of time it would take to be completely yeast infection free. I can't say the same about the nutritionist. Maybe she kept it from me so I wouldn't get discouraged, but getting a different "end date" every week was really frustrating and it made it look like my suffering was never going to end.


After the nutritionist's plan I lost 7 kg, about 15 lb, in 6 months.

Thanks to Dr Martin I lost another 3 kg, about 6 lb, in just a little over a month!

I keep on following my diet strictly, cause nothing is more important then my health. I'm also still not out of it completely and I'm still seeing Dr Matin every 2 weeks for updates and correction on my regiment.

Now I weigh 54 kg. 119 lb. I haven't been this weight since I moved to the U.S. 6 years ago... Just saying... what the heck is in the food over here!?!?!? And don't worry, I don't plan on loosing any more weight, my weight has been stable for a few weeks now.

This was me right after I started the cleanse, April 2015

Still me, October 2015. You can see the weight loss in my face, my arms. 


100% of what I eat is homemade.
I make my own sugar free apple sauce, sugar free jam, brown rice flour bread. I rarely eat sweets, but when I make them they have honey or maple syrup instead of sugar (which is still bad for me, but not soooo bad). I occasionally treat myself to some cheese (I prefer goat milk feta and other lean cheeses).

If I find myself buying pre made stuff (sometimes I give into buying gluten free tortillas), I always make sure the list of ingredients doesn't go over the 3 or 4 ingredients.

I buy organic as often as I can, grass fed no hormones no antibiotics meats, no GMOs.

I've gotten really creative making up recipes that include ONLY the safe foods for me. And I'll tell you more: IT'S FUN! 

I love to cook, and I think there's nothing better then being creative with some limitations. If you have endless possibilities sometimes you don't know what to choose, but having to follow all these rules has really taught me a lot about foods, ingredients, substitutions in recipes, how certain flours react with certain acids and more and more and more!

BOTTOM LINE: I WANT TO BE A HEALTH COACH. I want to help you transitioning towards your new healthy diet, because nobody should go through it alone. 

If you're going through something similar to what I've been through, but you don't like to cook, or you never had to cook for yourself and you're at a loss. I can help.

Because for me IT'S FUN! 

I'm not going to be a substitution for a nutritionist or a naturopath (who knows, maybe someday I'll get my license!), but I will happily be your personal chef (in person or online!) and I will make sure you follow what you're supposed to do every step of the way.

Together we will find recipes you can eat that follow both what you like to eat and what you must not eat.

I will help you build good habits, and slowly replace the bad ones...

We can come up with a weekly meal plan, I will find recipes that will be good for you, so you don't have to do the research.

So take actions towards being healthy and rid of your problems.


Email me at to schedule an appointment. I will work with your budget so we can set a rate that you can afford. 


  1. What a great idea to have a health coach! I've seen the charts from nutritionists and it's overwhelming to think about how to make (tasty) meals AND stick to the rules.

    Can you say more about how to tell what premade food is okay to buy? I know to avoid partially hydrogenated oils and ingredients with a bazillion syllables, but is Kellogg cereal okay? Or bagels and breads made at the store?

    1. Thanks Anne! Besides avoiding trans fats (palm, soybean, corn oil), I'm also careful about refined flours (like white flour or white rice), high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, sodium nitrates and sodium nitrites (found commonly in lunch meat, bacon, hot dogs), colorants, MSG. Out of all of these the most likely to be used to make breads or bagels by the store are trans fats, refined flours and corn syrup.
      The good thing is that they are required to list the ingredients, so you can always double check what's in the food you buy.

      A have found good packaged alternatives, that don't include those ingredients, they might be a little more pricy, but it's safer food to eat. You could also start baking you're own bread, it's really not that difficult, I'll try to shoot a tutorial about it for you!

      I took a look at what's in Kellogg's Corn Flakes, although they do contain colorants and preservatives, and I would also assume that the corn they use is GMO, at least you're safe from corn syrup! At Whole Foods they have a variety of Corn Flakes that is organic, non GMO verified, sweetened with grape fruit juice. An alternative to that would be to make your own granola, which is also pretty simple, there are many recipes online.

      I hope I answered to all your questions!

  2. Couple months ago I got an MRT (mediator release test for food sensitivities) and I was so overwhelmed with the results and with all the food my body wasn't reacting well to them that I didn't even knew how to start. Valentina took a lot of time hearing about my lifestyle, diet, and concerns. We talk about a cleanse specific to my needs to help me start. We also went thru my list of foods that I should avoid because of my high reaction level to them. She gave ideas of what to do with the foods I could actually eat. And also recommended some of her recipes I could follow too. I appreciated that a lot since I'm not the most creative person in the kitchen. Anyway I am not all the way there yet since I just started but I am feeling more focused and positive. I actually think I might be able to do this now! Thanks, Valentina!

  3. Great article. Happy to visit your blog. Thanks for sharing.

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