HEALTH HACK | THANKFUL FOR DESSERT

You may be watching your carb and calorie intake this holiday season, but that does not mean you have to skip out on dessert...ESPECIALLY Thanksgiving dessert (possibly one of the best parts of the night). Indulge in lighter versions of dessert that are lower in calories but not low on flavor. Yes, that's right--delicious and healthier options exist in copious amounts. Here are 5 recipes to try out this Thanksgiving that would give anyone an extra reason to be thankful:

1. Apple Coconut Crumble Pie. See recipe here.

2. Caramel Apples. See recipe here.

3. Pumpkin Cheesecake. See recipe here.

4. Pumpkin Donuts with Pecan Frosting. See recipe here.

5. Pumpkin Pie Parfait with Coconut Whipped Cream. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | STUFFING 2.0

Thanksgiving is a special day for family, friends, and food. While this day is usually filled with much love, appreciation, and laughs, there is a small downside--fattening foods that are catastrophic to your diet. One traditional dish that is packed with carbs and calories but so very hard to avoid when its delectable scent wafts your way is... stuffing. Luckily, there are ways to transform this Turkey Day staple into a healthier dish that is tasty, will deliver the same amount of comforting satisfaction and won't leave you feeling guilty. Here are 5 recipes for you try out this Thanksgiving: 

1. Farro, Caramelized Onion, and Wild Mushroom Stuffing. See recipe here.

2. Sausage Stuffing. See recipe here.

3. Herbed Cornbread Stuffing. See recipe here,

4. Quinoa Stuffing. See recipe here.

5. Cauliflower Rice Stuffing. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | SLOW COOK FOR ME

Want an easy, low-maintainence meal full of bold flavors and a warm sense of comfort? Time to bust out your handy-dandy slow cooker! The slow cooker is the perfect versatile instrument to concoct hearty, fall-inspired meals without devoting long hours in the kitchen. You only need to pop the ingredients in the pot, forget about it, and then reap the fruits of your (minimal) labor after you've enjoyed your day. Cook in big quantities and you can meal-prep for the week or effectively serve big dinner parties (where you will be lauded for your cooking prowess). Either way, you will relish in the victory of a delicious, healthy meal with almost no effort. Check out these 5 scrumptious fall recipes to try with your slow cooker:


1. Slow Cooker Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Kale Stew. See recipe here.

2.Cider Pork Stew. See recipe here

3. Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken. See recipe here

4. Vegan Lentil Chili. See recipe here.

5. Slow Cooker Minestrone. See recipe here

HEALTH HACK | HEY PUMPKIN

We are in the thick of October and Halloween is almost upon us! So before another month sweeps by, let us ramp up the appreciation for Orange October by giving a nod to this month's iconic image--the pumpkin. Besides being the perfect festive Halloween decoration, pumpkins are a great source of energy, fiber and iron. Check out these 5 pumpkin-inspired recipes that will have you running to the kitchen:

1. Pumpkin Spice Waffles. See recipe here.

2. Pumpkin Chai Latte. See recipe here.

3. Paleo Pumpkin Pie Muffins. See recipe here.

4. Pumpkin Chili. See recipe here.

5. Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | DIET WITH PIZZA-ZZ

Eating healthy means you are cutting calories and maximizing nutrition--It does not mean you are cutting out one of life's savory and comforting staples: pizza! All diets should include pizza and we have discovered some of the tastiest and healthier pizza recipes to please your palette. Next time you crave a cheesy slice, try one of these 5 recipes that won't leave you feeling guilty for cheating your diet (talk about a personal victory): 

1. Margherita Pizza. See recipe here.

2. Turkey Pizza. See recipe here.

3. Mushroom and Arugula Pizza. See recipe here.

4. Roasted Pepper and Olive Pizza. See recipe here.

5. Tomato Ricotta Pizza. See recipe here.

 

TRAINER SPOTLIGHT | Eva s

IMG_30599C85FE18-1.jpeg

How did you find Lagree Fitness and why does it resonate with you?

Freshman year of college I went to a tiny university in Salem, Oregon.  I learned very quickly that I am not a small-town girl.  Every weekend I would drive an hour north to explore Portland.  I have always loved group fitness classes, and a Lagree studio happened to be in the vicinity of my stomping grounds.  I tried it out, and I was instantly hooked.  The most appealing part was the combination of high intensity and low impact.  I have a bad knee from years of tennis, so low impact is crucial for me.  It is so satisfying to get my heart rate pumping and muscles shaking with the comfort of knowing that this workout is sustainable on my joints.  For the rest of my year in Oregon, I would drive an hour each way just to take Lagree classes.  Then I transferred to Occidental and found that wonderful feeling once again with Motivate.

How would you describe your teaching style?

SERIOUS.  Though I love to joke around, I really want my classes to be effective and efficient.  Workout smarter, not harder!

GRATEFUL.  First, I am so inspired by each of my students for taking the time out of their busy lives to focus on their physical and mental health, and I want my students to know how proud I am.  Second, I am thankful to be part of each of my students' lives, even if for a short moment.

INTROSPECTIVE.  I want to help my students get lost in their sensations--the deep breathing, muscle fatigue, and mental challenges.  Once you embrace these feelings, you can more effectively (and safely) challenge yourself.

salads-eat-pray-workout-6-1024x683.jpg

What's your favorite post workout nosh?

Rice, beans, and a leafy green!  I could eat rice and beans, pretty much, for every meal, every day for the rest of my life.  I usually go for brown rice, lentils, and kale with a splash of lime juice and olive oil.

If you were to give one workout tip to your clients, what would it be?

Don't beat yourself up!  We can't be on our A-game every workout.  If you're having an off-day, it just means you're human. ;)

Check out Eva's classes on Saturday afternoons at 4:00 and 5:00 pm!

HEALTH HACK | COMFORT FOOD RETHOUGHT

The weather is starting to get cooler and our cravings for fresh, raw ingredients give away to appetites for hearty, comfort food. An understandable immediate reaction to the words "comfort food" is that it is fattening, high in calorie. and food-coma inducing. This can be true (we've all been there), however you can rethink and revamp classic comfort foods with a healthy diet in mind. Check out these 5 balanced recipes that still give you that comfort goodness, but not the consequential food baby: 

1. Healthy mac and cheese. See recipe here.

1. Healthy mac and cheese. See recipe here.

2. Skinny Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. See recipe here.

2. Skinny Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. See recipe here.

3. Chicken Potpie with Green Beans and Squash. See recipe here.

3. Chicken Potpie with Green Beans and Squash. See recipe here.

4. Chili with Chipotle and Chocolate. See recipe here.

4. Chili with Chipotle and Chocolate. See recipe here.

5. Slow Cooker Beef-and-Barley Stew. See recipe here.

5. Slow Cooker Beef-and-Barley Stew. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | FALL SOUP (FOR THE SOUL)

We are officially two days from saying hello to... FALL! Before you get sad about Summer coming to an end, get excited about what the upcoming season has to offer! Fall means crisper air, beautiful Autumn leaves, sweater weather, and hearty soups that make your heart smile. And on that last cheesy note, check out these 5 delicious soups/stews that will warm your soul and prime you for Fall: 

1. Aromatic Shrimp and Noodle Soup. See recipe here.

1. Aromatic Shrimp and Noodle Soup. See recipe here.

2. Chicken Tortellini Soup. See recipe here.

2. Chicken Tortellini Soup. See recipe here.

3 Mushroom Soup. See recipe here.

3 Mushroom Soup. See recipe here.

4. Veggie Kimchi Soup. See recipe here.

4. Veggie Kimchi Soup. See recipe here.

5. Egg and Lentil Stew. See recipe here.

5. Egg and Lentil Stew. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | JUICE ME UP

Juicing is a great way to supplement your diet--if you haven't gotten into this yet, do yourself a favor and start now! By juicing your vegetables and fruit, you can pack an abundance of nutrients and flavor...in one single drink. Now not all juices are made equal, so here are 5 surefire delicious recipes for you to try out:

1. Beet, Carrot, Apple Juice. See recipe here. 

1. Beet, Carrot, Apple Juice. See recipe here

2; Beet and Berry Juice. See recipe here.

2; Beet and Berry Juice. See recipe here.

3. Belly Buster Green Juice. See recipe here.

3. Belly Buster Green Juice. See recipe here.

4. Tomato Vegetable Juice. See recipe here. 

4. Tomato Vegetable Juice. See recipe here

5. Strawberry Cucumber Juice. See recipe here. 

5. Strawberry Cucumber Juice. See recipe here. 

HEALTH HACK | BEAT THE BLOAT

It can be incredibly frustrating to constantly feel bloated, have relentless hiccups, or suffer heartburn due to improper indigestion. Your digestive system works hard every day to break down the food you eat, but sometimes (for some more often than others) the inner workings of your body does not run as smoothly as you would like. To proactively avoid problems and maintain optimal digestive healthy (say goodbye to gas), fuel up with these 5 foods that will be kind to your belly and facilitate good digestion:
 

1. Yogurt

1. Yogurt

2. Ginger

2. Ginger

3. Wild Alaskan Salmon

3. Wild Alaskan Salmon

4. Papaya

4. Papaya

5. Zucchini

5. Zucchini

HEALTH HACK | EAT WELL, EAT CHEAP

There is a common fallacy that eating healthy is very expensive. While eating healthy can be expensive, one does not definitively lead to the other. Even on a budget, it is possible to cook a nutritious and delicious meal. With a little bit of research and mindful application, eating healthy can actually save you money! Next time you have trouble figuring out a healthy meal option and are strapped on cash, try one of these easy, budget-friendly recipes:

1. Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken and Vegetables. See recipe here.

1. Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken and Vegetables. See recipe here.

2. Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta. See recipe here.

2. Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta. See recipe here.

3. Kale & White Bean Potpie with Chive Biscuits. See recipe here.

3. Kale & White Bean Potpie with Chive Biscuits. See recipe here.

4. Vegetarian Tortilla Casserole. See recipe here.

4. Vegetarian Tortilla Casserole. See recipe here.

5. Vegetable & Tuna Pasta Salad. See recipe here.

5. Vegetable & Tuna Pasta Salad. See recipe here.

Let's not fret about stress

Hello, everyone!

Since we are all busy bees in our busy lives and some of us were lucky enough to have a relaxing vacations and are now getting ready to “come back to reality”, I wanted to talk about stress in order to remind ourselves how stress can affect us, how to deal with stress, and how to keep stress away as much as possible–like you did while on vacation.

Some of us (if not most of us) usually deal with various sources of ‘pollution’ in our daily lives: our commute, job, relationship, family, financial situation, etc. We all have ‘things’ in our lives that cause more stress than any resemblance of joy. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why is it that we’ve seemed to had forgotten to “stop and smell the roses”?

Thanks to (or unfortunate to) the way we are connected and available to anyone through our phones and/or computers, it is actually getting harder for some of us–myself included–to find a moment in our day to have some real down time and be able to decompress from whatever it is that tormented our day; as brief as it might have been. I sometimes find my off-time to be overran by working hours–and I know of other people who experience this same situation on a daily basis–as if the days were getting shorter and shorter leaving us with not enough time to go over our daily “To-Do” list or finish the pending work that has been piling up from previous days, even weeks.

I’ve also noticed that,  due to fear of losing a job/gig or losing a client,  we have seemed to have forgotten that saying “no” to people is OK sometimes. We can’t always be available to everyone all the same time!

Because of these and many other situations, it is no surprise that “stress” has become a household name and, unfortunately, part of everyday life for many of us today.

Yes, stress is vital for our survival. It is essentially a response, a reflex, to any situation identified as a threat to our existence. Have you ever heard of the phrase “fight or flight”? When under a threat, our ancestors had to make a split decision to either run for safety or fight their way out of danger. Currently, how we perceive and manage stress, however, varies in each individual. What one person might consider and perceive as an extremely stressful situation, another might not even notice or have any significant reaction to it. For some, stressful situations–such as working under pressure–provide fuel in their profession and may even improve their performance. For others, unfortunately this is not the case.

Each person has a different capacity to handle the total stress load, and each person’s capacity varies over time and events. I’m going to get a little ‘technical’ here because I want you to get a little glimpse of what goes on in our body when it deals with stress.

Every organ and system in the body is affected by the total stress load. Changes occur in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system, and sex drive. We also suffer from stress at the biochemical and cellular levels–even body shape may transform in some way. Yeap, being stressed all the time is not good if you are trying to lose those extra pounds. Too much stress, (physical, emotional, environmental, psychological or a combination of these) can exhaust the adrenal glands (the glands located on top of the kidneys which regulate that “fight or flight” response) which can cause a decrease in the production of adrenal hormones, especially cortisol, which helps our body how to deal with our blood sugar levels: glucose in our system.

I’m not trying to throw big words at you but, pretty much, stress can trigger your body to go into fatigue to a point where your body either is always ‘screaming’ because it thinks all things are out of wake, or actually ‘numbing’ the response mechanisms in our body due to constant strain of our system.

Beach_Maldives_AlimentalG.JPG

That being said, stress can push us to exceed our personal limits; it can interfere with our workout goals and our health by weakening our immune system; so if anything, we need to practice some self love and give ourselves some daily time to de-stress. Relaxing actually helps your body (and mind) to get the most out of any hard work it follows. Everyone is different and finds relaxation in different places but a few popular ways to get rid of stress are:

  1. Take a few minutes to really turn your mind off and breath. Really take the time to notice how you are breathing and try to go to a happy place for as short as 5 minutes. You’ll notice that something this simple can make a big difference on the rest of your day.

  2. Mindfulness meditation. If you are not in the mood to meditate, try some deep breathing for at least 15 minutes. You could start by doing it twice a week, and you might find yourself doing if more often than that.

  3. Take a walk outside. By yourself or with a loved one, your dog or a friend. No phone, no emails. Smell the flowers, get some vitamin D on your arms and just be.

  4. Take a bath with some Epsom salts a couple of times a week.

  5. Stretch

  6. Listen to some music. Dance. Let go!

  7. Read a book

  8. Get your nails done, get a massage, whatever activity relaxes and calms your body and mind, set a goal to do it once a week, at least.

  9. I know some of us enjoy a good wine after a long day but try why not try an elixir with adaptogens instead. (Adaptogenic herbs support our whole neuroendocrine system, especially adrenal function, and can help to counteract and regulate the adverse effects of stress) You could enjoy the hot chocolate recipe I shared a while ago which contains maca; since it’s summer and hot AF, skip the heating of your nut milk and enjoy it cold. To amp up the adaptogens in it even more, try adding ¼ tsp ashwagandha to it.

If you think that you don’t have the time for any of these, then find the time. Don’t check instagram for the fourth time today. Let your email inbox collect your emails; they are not going to go anywhere. If you have kids, leave the kids with their Dad, granny, or aunt, and self indulge a little. Stress can make your life miserable. This is your health, and this is your life! Make yourself a priority.


Every couple of weeks, I will be posting nutrition and wellness advice, recipes, and interesting findings worth sharing with all of you. I know that we all have different interests and needs so I will try to cover different topics with every post. I would love to read your feedback so I encourage you to share your thoughts and/or questions in the comments section below.

If you would like to know more about me, please visit my website Alimental G.

Gina-Mehta-Alimental-G-Functional-Nutrition.jpg

HEALTH HACK | LUNCHES (BACK-TO-SCHOOL EDITION)

Summer is coming to a close and that means it's back-to-school season! As people gear up for the beginning of yet another school-year, there are many things to consider when preparing for a successful quarter (or semester). One thing that might not come to mind immediately (but is still so important) is keeping healthy! Long nights of studying and grueling class schedules may take a toll on your body so it is imperative to be smart about what you eat during the day--especially if you are trekking around campus from morning to night. To ensure you maintain a healthy diet amidst all the school chaos, here are 5 easy recipes for healthy lunches on-the-go:

1. Lebanese Lemon Parsley Bean Salad. See recipe here.

1. Lebanese Lemon Parsley Bean Salad. See recipe here.

2. Chicken Club Wraps. See recipe here.

2. Chicken Club Wraps. See recipe here.

3. Veggie Fried Rice. See recipe here.

3. Veggie Fried Rice. See recipe here.

4. Smoked Turkey & Farro Salad. See recipe here.

4. Smoked Turkey & Farro Salad. See recipe here.

5. Fajita Quesadillas. See recipe here.

5. Fajita Quesadillas. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS

What's the best way to jump-start your day? Eating a mindful breakfast! Breakfast truly is the most important meal--it starts your metabolism, energizes your body and primes you for the rest of your day. To make sure you are equipped for an energizing and healthy day worthy of a champion, check out these 5 nutritious recipes that will allow breakfast to live up to its full potential:

1. Skinny Fried Egg and Avocado Toast. See recipe here.

1. Skinny Fried Egg and Avocado Toast. See recipe here.

2. Breakfast Egg Muffins. See recipe here.

2. Breakfast Egg Muffins. See recipe here.

3. Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie. See recipe here.

3. Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie. See recipe here.

4. Candied Orange Peel Granola. See recipe here.

4. Candied Orange Peel Granola. See recipe here.

5. Banana and Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal Cups. See recipe here.

5. Banana and Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal Cups. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | GREEN SMOOTHIES

If you are not a fan of eating vegetables, then making sure you are satisfying the daily dose of veggies may be a constant struggle. A great solution to this is blending them all up into a tasty, nutritious concoction! But just because a recipe is labeled "smoothie" or "green" does not make it healthy. We've done the dirty work for you and sifted through heaps of recipes to find 5 nutritious and delicious green smoothies for you to try! 

1. Broccolicious. See recipe here.

1. Broccolicious. See recipe here.

2. Energy Boosting Morning Green Smoothie. See recipe here.

2. Energy Boosting Morning Green Smoothie. See recipe here.

3. Green Goddess Smoothie. See recipe here.

3. Green Goddess Smoothie. See recipe here.

4. The Best Green Smoothie Ever. See recipe here.

4. The Best Green Smoothie Ever. See recipe here.

5. The Green Thing Smoothie. See recipe here.

5. The Green Thing Smoothie. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | ONE-POT STOP

There are quick meals, and then there are one-dish and/or one-pan meals. This summer, spend more time enjoying the weather, hanging with friends and less time cleaning up superfluous amounts of pots, pans, and dishes. Make more time for yourself and make healthy eating even easier by trying out these 5 fast, one-pan/one-pot recipes that are straightforward, nutritious and incredibly tasty:

1. Roasted Broccoli With Shrimp. See recipe here.

1. Roasted Broccoli With Shrimp. See recipe here.

2. Chickpea Sweet Potato Spinach Curry. See recipe here.

2. Chickpea Sweet Potato Spinach Curry. See recipe here.

3. Detox Vegetable Soup. See recipe here.

3. Detox Vegetable Soup. See recipe here.

4. Spicy Cajun Chicken and Rice. See recipe here.

4. Spicy Cajun Chicken and Rice. See recipe here.

5. Garlic Roasted Salmon with Brussels Sprouts. See recipe here.

5. Garlic Roasted Salmon with Brussels Sprouts. See recipe here.