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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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DeterminationHappy New Year! Each year thousands of people make a list of “New Years Resolutions” most of which include something related to losing weight and/or joining a gym. Resolutions are things that you want to change and resolve to do better. The difficult part is that many of these resolutions are created unrealistically, which results in a loss of momentum, a feeling of defeat and thoughts of “I’ll just throw in the towel” by the end of January. We start the year feeling excited for change, but in reality, we as human beings are creatures of habit and ‘change’ is not a comfortable feeling.

 

Change is defined as the act or instance of making or becoming different. The obstacle is that people like to stick to what they know and trust. Change can bring on thoughts of worry and anxiousness, followed by a long list of “what if” questions. Making the decision to change (yourself or something about your lifestyle) is the first step in the right direction. Once you commit to change (mentally), your body will follow (physically). Many people are scared of failure, but don’t be! I love the saying, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” Stay confident and believe in yourself. Success can mean many different things to different people. However, I view a sign of success as taking a leap of faith and allowing change to occur in your life. You have to be prepared for it and accept it with open arms, but when you do …there is endless opportunity.

 

MotivatePeople specifically don’t like change in regards to their eating habits. You might have been raised on a farm eating meat and potatoes, or you might have grown up eating vegetarian for cultural reasons. Each of you has your own genetic makeup and background, which has made you who you are today. Accept that and embrace it! Oftentimes people will order the same entrée at a restaurant even when there are 200+ menu options. Again, we are creatures of habit and we like to stick to what we know.

 

 

 

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Nutribullet trainingWishing you happy and healthy holidays!!  Although this winter season is filled with JOY, it can also be bogged down by stresses that challenge our daily routines. For example, our morning yoga class is replaced by a drive to the post office to send out holiday gifts, or our evening cardio/strength training class is replaced by an extra errand and the tail end of holiday shopping. We all have our own obstacles to face, so it’s important to incorporate an exercise plan that can fit into your schedule and lifestyle, even during the busy holidays! Exercise can actually help to reduce stress, while increasing energy, motivation and those “feel good” endorphins that keep you positive and happy!

Photo (above) is of my Team Nutribullet (marathon training team) buddies and I dressed up for our Santa Monica/Venice 10K race. Feeling festive with our “happy feet!” 

I have created a few quick workouts that focus on high intensity interval training (HIIT) to boost your metabolism also known as EPOC (excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption). This is great news because your body will burn additional calories and fat even after your workout is complete (and you’re sitting at your desk for example), for up to 12-24 hours.

Please note: Consult your physician before trying this workout. If you’re a beginner to running or exercise, perform each interval no harder than a moderate effort level. Go at your own pace and walk the recovery intervals. Add a few extra seconds to your recovery intervals if you don’t feel fully recovered before starting the next cycle.  Stick with the first workout listed below. You can add more as you build your exercise base and cardiovascular capacity.

Listen to your body, and if you’re having aches and pains, slow down and focus on stretching and yoga to help lengthen and strengthen your muscles and balance out your body so you don’t pull any muscles. The Bryan Kest power yoga is one of my favorite ways to keep my muscles lose and aligned.  You can even do it while traveling which is convenient.

Here is a great example of a workout schedule and how you can incorporate HIIT into your weekly routine:

  • Perform HIIT 2 days per week (i.e. Tuesday and Thursday)
  • Perform Yoga 1-2 times per week (i.e. Wednesday)
  • Perform longer distance easier effort runs 2 days per week (i.e. Monday and Saturday).

RunHoliday HIIT Workout #1: Level 1 (introductory)

Don’t skip the warm up! Start by walking for 2 minutes and increasing your pace to a brisk walk, then a light jog (i.e. where you can still hold a conversation) for a total warm up time of 5 minutes.

Stretch or foam roll for 5 minutes to make sure all of your muscles are lose and ready for the workout. Increase the treadmill incline to 1.0-2.0, which is equivalent to the natural incline on most roads. Then, begin the workout below.

  1. Run at a sprint pace (hard) for 30 seconds
  2. Recover with 90 seconds of very easy jogging or brisk walking
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 eight to ten times (total of 16-20 minutes)
  4. Cool down by walking for 2-3 minutes after the last interval

Total Time: 25-30 minutes

Photo (above): FitSugar.com
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Holiday Oatmeal‘Tis the season to be jolly! It’s December and we are in the heart of holiday season, a time filled with love, joy, rich food and decadent desserts. We attend holiday parties with friends and dine out at some of our favorite restaurants with family and significant others. Weight gain is one thing that is feared the most during the holidays. Consumers have one (or a few) “bad day(s)” of eating and want to “throw in the towel,” which is the wrong approach! Life is about having balance, not about being perfect. We all have our own weaknesses to face and obstacles to overcome.

 

Finding a way to incorporate nutrition and exercise into your lifestyle presents a different challenge for each person, which is why I always provide customized nutrition and fitness consulting expertise to my clients. Every individual has his or her own food likes and dislikes, food allergies and/or dietary restrictions based on past medical or family medical history. No one is exactly alike, which is why each body is unique and requires different nutrients and proportions. You should never compare yourself, and following the latest “diet trend” will not solve your problems. It is about learning what nutrients your body needs, and how to incorporate them into your daily lifestyle. You’re in for a treat because this month I have a challenge for you! It’s called the Holiday Challenge to “Eat Smart, Burn More and Maintain Balance. My challenge is focused on lifestyle as a whole, not just the eating component. It includes the following:

 

Make ½ your grains whole: Make sure at least ½ of the carbohydrates you’re consuming are high in fiber (>3 grams of fiber per serving). Fiber is important for healthy digestion, regular bowel movements, reducing bloating, maintaining good blood sugar control and increasing satiety (which can help you maintain or lose weight).

 

Sleep at least 7 hours per night: Lack of sleep can contribute to depression and increase rate of aging. When our bodies don’t get enough sleep, we produce more of the stress hormone called Cortisol, which can increase abdominal adiposity. Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin (a hormone that signals satiety) and elevations in ghrelin (a hormone that stimulates hunger). Your cravings will be revved up for high fat, high carbohydrate foods due to this shift in hormones. Our brain does not function as well with a lack of sleep, therefore we do not have the “mental strength” to make healthy food choices. For example, if we are presented with an option of a donut or veggies with hummus for a snack, consumers will be more likely choose the donut if they are sleep deprived.

 

IMG_7856Fit physical activity into your day: Goal of 30 minutes of activity 4 times per week (at least). If you are advanced and exercise at a high intensity on a regular basis, than 1 hour of physical activity 5 times per week is a good goal. I realize that we all have very busy schedules, which are even more compacted during the busy holiday time. However, we can’t make excuses everyday. I love the saying, “It’s not about having the time, it’s about MAKING the time.” We need to be strong and get it done! I encourage you to set goals, create a support system and grab a workout buddy to hold yourself accountable. Find a sport or activity that you enjoy, and make it fun, instead of a chore.

 

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KIND 2Have you tried the new STRONG & KIND protein bars? I had the pleasure of working with KIND to assess the nutritional health benefits and breakdown of these bars, long before they were out in stores. It was fun coming across them at Trader Joe’s this week while doing my weekly grocery shopping. They were pleasantly displayed front and center at the check out register. The STRONG and KIND protein bar is very unique because it is gluten free, non-GMO (genetically modified organism), low glycemic index, high fiber and high in protein, but does not contain any whey or soy (which is the primary protein source used in many protein/snack bars on the market). You might be wondering where the protein is coming from.  Well, KIND always sticks with it’s motto of adding whole, natural ingredients that you can see and pronounce, and along with it’s natural source of protein (nuts and seeds), KIND has added a well balanced plant based pea protein.

 

Pea ProteinBenefits of pea protein:

  • Hypoallergenic: many people develop intolerances to whey or soy protein over time, resulting in a bloated, uncomfortable feeling and other stomach issues
  • High in BCAA (branched chain amino acids) which aid in muscle building, decreased body fat and increased satiety, and energy during workouts
  • 100% vegan (plant based with no added ingredients), gluten free

 

 

The STRONG and KIND protein bar  provides a bold and savory taste versus the sweet taste (coming from yogurt or dried fruit) found in other KIND bar varieties. I tasted the roasted jalapeno, and the honey smoked BBQ varieties and loved them! It is a great pre workout snack or travel nutrition (on the go) for people of all ages and gender.

 

KIND 3There are so many protein bars and snack bars on the market, which makes it very difficult for consumers to know which one to buy. The problem with many of the snack and protein bars on the market is that they are high in saturated fat, which will contribute to increased LDL (bad cholesterol) and therefore increase your risk of heart disease. Other snack bars are too high in sugar, or processed ingredients such as preservatives or fillers for longer shelf life. If a product is lower in sugar, then it is usually higher in salt (i.e. take out one poison and replace it with another).

 

The reason I love KIND is that is always stays true to it’s motto of using ingredients that are natural, that you can see and pronounce. They work hard to find a perfect blend of low sugar, low salt, high fiber and low fat (saturated fat) and include heart healthy monounsatured fats.

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IMG_0287Have you tried a juice cleanse before? Over the weekend, I decided to get adventurous with Juice Crafters, and try their 1 day “Master Cleanse.” This cleanse is designed to improve your day-to-day health and help your body eliminate toxins while replacing them with powerful nutrients. It consists of 8 cold pressed, raw juices each containing unique and beneficial ingredients to detox, improve health, enhance beauty, increase energy and immune function. The goal is to drink one juice every two hours and drink about 6-8 cups of water throughout the day in between juices. The order in which you drink the juices is also very important. Juice Crafters gave me a reminder sheet with the juices listed in the order to be consumed.

 

As a Registered Dietitian, I see many clients who ask about “cleansing” and “detox” juice blends. Usually my clients are inclined to ask about these after a stink of traveling, unhealthy eating and drinking, dining out or recent weight gain. My answer to them is that our bodies are equipt with all of the necessary organs to detoxify, such as the liver, kidneys and lungs. However, because these organs are working around the clock, day in and day out, (somedays more than others depending on what you ate and drank) it is nice to give them a break once in a while. A 1-3 day juice cleanse that is packed with nutrients is the best way to do it! Please note that I don’t recommend doing the old “lemon, honey, water and cayenne pepper cleanse” that people have been doing for years to gain quick weight loss results because it will deplete your body of nutrients and lead to dehydration.

 

Juice Crafters on the other hand, is a great way to hit the “reset” button on your digestive tract and organs, and allow your body to filter many of the toxins that could have been lingering in your body for quite some time. Most people are aware that fruits and vegetables are “good for you.” However, I am here to explain the health benefits of each juice based on their ingredients. Each one of the juices contains a rich source of fiber, which helps keep you full and promotes a healthy and regular digestive tract.

 

  1. IMG_0288Greenest #3: consists of spinach, kale, romaine, cucumber, parsley, celery, lemon, apple and ginger.

RD insight:

  • Green vegetables are one of the best types of foods to consume in the morning because you are coming from an overnight fast and need to balance blood sugar levels. These greens are specifically high in antioxidants which are cancer fighting, rich in calcium, fiber, Vitamin K, C, A, B, iron, folate, magnesium, and omega 3 fatty acids (important for brain function).
  • The lemon helps the body become more alkaline (balanced) and can also enhance the absorpotion of iron (from leafy green vegetables) in the body which is important for red blood cell formation that deliver oxygen to the body’s tissues.
  • The apple provides soluble fiber which will help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and reduce risk of heart disease while also providing a slighlty sweet taste but without any added sugar.
  • The ginger has a great anti-nausea effect, as well as anti-viral properties which helps boost immune function.

 

  1. IMG_0289Cleaner #10: consists of pineapple, apple, and mint.

RD insight:

  • Pineapple contains an important enzyme called bromelain which improves protein and nutrient digestion, reduces inflammation, prevents blood clotting and can help reduce swelling post surgery or reduce joint and muscle pain post injury.
  • The phytonutrients (plant nutrients) in apples can help regulate blood sugar which is especially important for anyone who is diabetic or pre-diabetic. Apples are also high in antioxidants which can prevent cancer (more specifically colon and breast cancer) and heart disease.
  • Mint helps to reduce inflammation, and activates the salivary glands in our mouth which secrete digestive enzymes to soothe the stomach and facilitate digestion. It is also used as a palate cleanser after the appetizer and before the main course. It is a stimulant which may help to increase weight loss, alertness and decrease fatigue.

At this point in the cleanse, I felt great! I felt energized, full and satisfied. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and I didn’t feel like I was missing out this morning. Juice Crafters was providing me with all of the necessary nutrients to keep my mind and body running at full speed.

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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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