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Fight Fatigue and prevent disease!

This unique program provides an interactive, exciting opportunity to improve your health, fitness and overall wellness. Enter into a state of complete, balanced, mind-body nutrition and fitness and be the ultimate warrior of lifelong health! Rejuvenate your energy level and nourish your body and your soul.

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Cacao powderGood news for chocolate lovers! Not only is cacao an extremely healthy alternative to any other dessert when you have a sweet tooth, but it is also a superfood that is anti-aging and can help combat disease! Cacao contains an enzyme called theobromine, which is a non-addictive stimulant that can boost energy, enhance circulation by promoting dilation, lower blood pressure, and may help to treat depression.

 

The Mayan superfoood in its raw form contains a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, copper, zinc, potassium, oleic acid (monounsaturated fat), and Vitamins E, B2, B1, B5, B3, B9. These vitamins and minerals are important to help support the body in everyday function.

 

The fiber helps to stimulant digestive enzymes. A healthy digestive tract will also lead to a strengthened immune system. I like the Navitas Naturals brand, which is 100% cacao powder, USDA organic, non-gmo, vegan, kosher, gluten free.

 

Nutritional Breakdown of Cacao powder (1.5 tbsp. serving) = 60 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 243 mg potassium, 92 mg magnesium, 4 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar and 3 grams of protein. It is great in smoothies or with baking.

 

Cacao beans contain natural chemicals called flavonoids (particularly anthocyanin), a type of antioxidant compound that promotes health and can prevent diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Cacao antioxidants block LDL (bad cholesterol) oxidation, that improve blood flow and prevent plaque formation in arteries that lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries).

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry compared the antioxidant capacity of black tea, green tea, red wine, blueberries and cocoa and found that cocoa (in it’s natural, unprocessed form) had the highest antioxidant capacity coupled with the greatest health benefits. The phytochemical analysis of cacao beans reveals that raw chocolate is perhaps the most chemically complex food on earth.

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Acai bowlWhat does it mean to “eat clean?” It is a buzz topic centered around the consumption of healthy, whole, unprocessed foods. We see so many different things in the media every day directing us on what to eat, and what not to eat. Nutrition is ever changing and evolving, with new studies and research out all of the time telling us what will help or hurt us nutrition wise. I am here as your go-to Registered Dietitian to separate theory and fact regarding nutritional benefits (or hazards) of foods.

 

Clean Eating dates back to the 1960’s but the lines of “wholesome” food have been blurred with the constant increase in processed snack foods that appear healthy from the front packaging but actually contain unhealthy ingredients when you read and dissect the nutrition facts label. Many companies try to make their foods appear as “whole” and “natural” to the consumer, when in reality, there is added sugar, salt or even trans fat to preserve the shelf life of the product. It is important to stay educated about these foods. I help my clients select nutrient packed foods to create balanced meals during my grocery store tours. They are always astonished to see what foods really pan out to be as good for you, as they appear from the front packaging.IMG_7072

Guidelines for clean eating:

  1. Choose whole, natural foods instead of processed foods – The majority of these foods should be fresh with no additives or preservatives. Red flags on the ingredients list include: high fructose corn syrup, partially or fully hydrogenated oils, and/or any dyes (food coloring).

  1. Eat small, frequent meals – Consuming 5-6 meals spread throughout the day can help you maintain or lose weight (lose fat mass and increase lean muscle), maintain good blood sugar control, boost metabolism, increase energy and mental focus/clarity during your work or school day.

  1. Incorporate balanced meals –  It is very important to include a lean protein, high fiber carbohydrate and heart healthy fat at every meal. Many people consume inadequate protein during their breakfast and lunch meals, and try to make up for it during dinner. This is the perfect example of when ¾ of your calories are consumed at 3pm or later and affects body composition, causing increased fat mass. Make sure to incorporate lean proteins with each meal to increase satiety, help with muscle maintenance or building and weight control.IMG_7070

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CerealThe summer has flown by too quickly and now it’s time for kids to go back to school! Parents are stocking up on school supplies to prepare their children with all the necessary tools they need for class. One thing that is often overlooked during the hustle and bustle of getting our kids off to school in the morning is making a balanced and healthy breakfast. It doesn’t have to be expensive or take a lot of preparation to be healthy. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it literally means “breaking” the “fast” and therefore it is crucial to fuel properly in the morning or else you will literally be “running on fumes” (low energy, no fuel).

 

Food that is healthy does not have to take on the stereotype of “tasting like cardboard.” Many parents will feed their children a glass of juice (approximately 20-35 grams of sugar per 8 ounce glass) paired with a choice of convenient breakfast food (i.e. Pop tart, donut, croissant, cinnamon roll or sugary cereal such as Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch to name a few) which is a recipe for disaster. Many parents are unaware of the drastic effect that these foods have on blood sugar levels. These foods are packed with refined sugar and contain no nutritional value (i.e. fiber, vitamins or minerals). Excessive amounts of refined sugars are directly linked to weight gain, childhood obesity, hypertension, headaches, fatigue, Type 2 Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and acne.

 

DonutsForbes stated that in 2012, Americans consumed about 130 pounds of sugar per year (equivalent to 765 grams of sugar or 191 teaspoons) and the number continues to rise. Americans consume 10 times more sugar than other food additives. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 9.5 teaspoons of sugar per day. The average adult consumes 22 teaspoons (88 grams) per day and the average child consumes 32 teaspoons (128 grams) per day. Sugar is highly addictive, so the more you have, the more you want. It is a vicious cycle that can be broken by making lifestyle behavior modifications and incorporating healthier foods and beverages on a regular basis.

 

There are so many healthy foods that children enjoy and believe to be delicious, but are not consumed often enough. It is just about being aware as a parent, doing your research and learning how to read a nutrition facts label. It is important to avoid all foods with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and partially or fully hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and foods high is saturated fats. These unhealthy fats (i.e. trans and saturated fats) contribute to increasing LDL (bad cholesterol), clogging arteries and increasing heart rated conditions.

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Maca PowderMaca is grown in the high plateaus of the Andes Mountains in Peru, and is known as an ancient Incan superfood! It is vegan, raw, gluten free, non-GMO, and a complex, nutrient-dense whole food source containing a perfect blend of fatty acids and amino acids. It is known for its medicinal properties and relieving stress. Maca is rich in B vitamins, Vitamin C and E and increases energy to help fight fatigue (and chronic fatigue syndrome). It provides calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and amino acids, which are all important for daily function and sports nutrition. It can optimize athletic performance and give you that extra boost/stamina for increasing lean muscle. Maca can be found at Whole Foods, Erewhon market, Amazon and health food stores.

 

Maca is widely used to promote sexual function of both men and women. It serves as a boost to your libido and increases endurance. At the same time it balances your hormones and increases fertility. Maca also relieves menstrual issues and menopause. It alleviates cramps, body pain, hot flashes, anxiety, mood swings, and reduces depression and anxiety. Maca supplies iron and helps restore red blood cells and prevent anemia. It can help to clear acne and blemishes. Above Photo credit found on thechalkboardmag.

Use: Great for smoothies (morning or pre/post workout), salads, soups, juice blends, oatmeal or even baked goods (healthier version). As an athlete myself, I enjoy blending it into smoothies because it is quick, easy and delicious. Below are a few of my favorite ways to use Maca powder.

Dose: start with ½ teaspoon Maca powder and increase your dose up to 1 tablespoon per day goal.

Note: there is not enough evidence to use Maca powder if you are currently pregnant or lactating, therefore you should avoid taking it during this time to be on the safe side.

Almond Butter Maca SmoothieMedicinal Maca & Almond Smoothie: (Great for breakfast, post workout or dessert and only takes 5 minutes to make!) Photo credit to BlissfulBasil

  • 6-8 ounces Silk unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon raw, unsalted almond butter (chunky or creamy)
  • 1 tablespoon Maca powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Slivered almonds for garnish (optional)
  • 1-2 ice cubes (optional: to make cold with thicker texture)
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RunHow many of you are athletes, active exercisers, or just “weekend warriors” when it comes to working out? Well, no matter which category you fit in, it’s critical to get in your post workout nutrition to replenish fluids and electrolytes lost, carbohydrates for glycogen storage, and high quality protein for repairing and rebuilding muscle.

 

Your timing post workout is of great significance. The 30-minute “recovery window,” is the most important time to get quality nutrition in, which will help to build lean muscle and burn fat. It is not only about timing, but also what type of foods you choose to nourish your body with during this 30-minute window. The key is a mixture of protein, whole grain carbohydrates (all natural, not processed or refined carbs) and a small amount of omega 3 fatty acids, which are anti inflammatory to the body.

 

Many people are not hungry right after they workout, especially if it was a strenuous cardiovascular or heavy strength training exercise day. In this case, a protein shake is your best bet because you can blend whole fruits and/or vegetables and protein into a portable drink that is quick, easy and nutritious.

 

Pea ProteinTo the right you will see a picture of my favorite post workout protein shake. I perfected this homemade recipe after mixing multiple smoothie creations. It includes 8 ounces of Silk unsweetened Almond milk, 1 scoop pea protein, 2 tablespoons ground flaxmeal, 2 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt, ½ of a frozen banana, ½ cup organic frozen blueberries, a handful of walnuts, ½-1 cup organic spinach leaves, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 2 pitted dates (optional). Add 2-3 ice cubes and blend to make it cold and refreshing! You’ll feel great and re-energized!

 

I love this shake because it contains a great source of plant based protein, fiber and antioxidants (from the fresh fruit), omega 3 fatty acids (from the flaxseeds and walnuts), green phytonutrients (from the spinach), probiotics (from the Greek yogurt) and delicious sweetness without the added sugar (from the cinnamon and dates). This shake yields a high nutrient value, with low calories to allow you to stay within your calorie allowance for the day!

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IMG_6994PALETA is a farm to table, sustainable and GREEN meal delivery service providing healthy meals for people of all ages. It is suited to meet the nutrient needs for kids, athletes, individuals who want to lose weight, women who are pregnant, and individuals with specific diets restrictions such as vegetarian, vegan or low salt needs. They provide fresh, organic, non-GMO (genetically modified organism) foods, cold pressed juices, cleanses, and power up energy bars! The variety is key to a balanced diet and sustaining a healthy weight.

The best part about PALETA is that their foods actually taste delicious! You will never feel like you’re on a diet while consuming meals, snacks or cold pressed juices from PALETA. I believe in their motto, “Change the way you eat, change the way you live!” I have built my private practice with the message to create healthier individuals, families, communities and workplaces through nutrition, lifestyle behavior modifications and fitness. Balance, moderation and variety are keys to success, which is aligned with PALETA’s goals as well.

As a Registered Dietitian, I practice what I preach to my clients about healthy eating, consuming balanced portions, and adding variety to all meals to increase nutrients and energy level. Most of the cleanses I have seen in the past contain little to no nutritional value. For example, the “lemon, cayenne, water and honey detox” will deplete you of energy and nutrients that your body needs to function each day. The problem with these cleanses is that although you may lose weight, it is usually a combo of fluid water weight loss and lean muscle loss. You cannot sustain muscle on such a severely restricted calorie diet with inadequate protein. Your metabolism will also slow down and go into “conservation mode” as if it were prepping for a famine with such a low calorie diet (500-900 calories per day).

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