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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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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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_E0A4198Have you heard of EPOC, also known as exercise post oxygen consumption? This is informally called the “afterburn” or the measurable increase of oxygen intake following strenuous activity intended to erase the body’s “oxygen deficit.”

This oxygen dept quantifies anaerobic energy expenditure, particularly as it regards lactic acid/lactate metabolism. In recovery, oxygen EPOC is used in the processes that restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed. EPOC also fuels the body’s increased metabolism from the increase in body temperature which occurs during exercise.

High intensity interval and resistance training in particular are important for total body toning, increase of lean muscle and simultaneous loss of subcutaneous fat. The combination of both anaerobic and aerobic exercise is ideal for increased EPOC and can raise your total calorie burn for 12-38 hours post workout. Therefore, you will be burning two or three times as many calories while at rest post workout. In response to exercise, fat stores are broken down and free fatty acids (FFA) are released into the blood. The more lean muscle you have, the more metabolically active your muscles will be.

IMG_1472Fun Fact: Good news! Your body will burn 25-50 calories per 1 pound of lean muscle per day.

 

It is not always the number on the scale that indicates your health. It is important to learn about your body fat % because muscle weighs more than fat and has much greater health benefits. Below is a reference guide for healthy and unhealthy body fat percentages. I encourage you to get your body fat tested to see where you are, and set S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and can be achieved in the designated time frame) goals. Your goal should be to have a lean, toned body, not just a “skinny body.” Individuals with a skinny body and higher body fat percentage are known as “skinny-fat” which is unhealthy, in comparison to someone who weighs more but their added 5 pounds of weight is all lean muscle.

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Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 9.42.37 PMCayenne pepper is a big “buzz” word that comes up when discussing weight loss. Cayenne pepper is part of the Capscium family of vegetables and contains natural capsaicin, which gives cayenne pepper its hot and spicy taste. It causes an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity, which can reduce hunger and decrease appetite (a win-win for those of you trying to lose weight or those “extra 5 pounds”). Capsaicin also stimulates proteins that enhance fat breakdown (fat burning).

Aside from helping to kick start weight loss, cayenne pepper has many other health benefits.

Cayenne pepper benefits:

  • Helps to boost immunity

  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure

  • Improve blood circulation

  • Helps to soothe a sore throat and keep sinus congestion at bay

  • Helps to initiate weight loss by increasing energy expenditure

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IMG_1117Oftentimes, it is difficult to make healthy choices while traveling. The key to keeping to a healthy, balanced eating regimen is planning ahead. It is much easier to give in to poor food choices when you haven’t eaten for hours and most likely have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Pack nutrient dense snacks such as fruit and nut trail mix or all natural granola to avoid hunger pains between meals, which will also help manage your appetite and the amount of food you consume at your next meal.  If you have a layover, do your best to find the best eating choices. Luckily, many of the larger airports such as Houston’s George Bush and Chicago’s O’Hare have been working to provide healthier options for travelers.

At Your Hotel

IMG_1135We all know that on vacation we suddenly have the urge to splurge more than usual. Just because it’s time to relax, does not mean you need to throw your healthy choices out the window! Once you are at your hotel there are a few ways that we can make sure we are eating right. Refusing the key to the mini bar can prevent unhealthy snacking. Bring your own “healthy mini bar alternatives” from home, such as fresh or dried fruit, unsalted nuts, KIND nuts and spices bars, whole wheat pretzels, flax crackers,  plain instant oatmeal, or a zip lock bag of Kashi high fiber cereal. At home, if you have access to a dehydrator, you can even make your own instant soups to bring with you.

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