HEALTH HACK | SUMMON THE SPIRALIZER

If you haven't invested in a sprilazer yet, now is the time! Spiralizing is a creative and entertaining way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet--this tool can transform all different types of vegetables into beautiful, pasta-like ribbons and help you re-vamp your healthy eating routine! Check out these 5 knockout recipes that will have you reaching for the spiralizer for your next meal:

1. Korean BBG Zoodle Stir Fry Bowl. See recipe here.

1. Korean BBG Zoodle Stir Fry Bowl. See recipe here.

2. Carrot Pasta with Garlic Sauce. See recipe here.

2. Carrot Pasta with Garlic Sauce. See recipe here.

3. Thai Sweet Potato Noodle Bowl. See recipe here.

3. Thai Sweet Potato Noodle Bowl. See recipe here.

4. Sweet Potato Puttanesca. See recipe here.

4. Sweet Potato Puttanesca. See recipe here.

5. Yellow Squash Pasta with Caramelized Lemon. See recipe here.

5. Yellow Squash Pasta with Caramelized Lemon. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | CHICKEN FIX

Chicken is a great, lean source of protein and can be an excellent healthy hallmark in a nutritious diet, but can be boring when you are merely eating plain chicken breasts every other day. Appease your taste buds and healthy conscious by sprucing up the dull chicken dinner. Classic chicken meals undergo a makeover in these 5 simple, delicious recipes--try one of these for your next meal! : 

1. Lemon Chicken Breasts. See recipe here.

1. Lemon Chicken Breasts. See recipe here.

2. Baked Orange Chicken and Brown Rice. See recipe here.

2. Baked Orange Chicken and Brown Rice. See recipe here.

3. Baja Chicken Bowl. See recipe here.

3. Baja Chicken Bowl. See recipe here.

4. Skinny Cowgirl Chicken Salad. See recipe here.

4. Skinny Cowgirl Chicken Salad. See recipe here.

5. Slow-Cooker Balsamic Chicken. See recipe here.

5. Slow-Cooker Balsamic Chicken. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | YOGURT PARFAITS, OLÉ!

Yogurt parfaits are perfect versatile and healthy snacks. They can be the ideal quick morning breakfast, the satisfying mid-day treat or the nighttime sweet-tooth quencher. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and can be complimented with so many different healthy toppings you will never get bored of it (nuts, granola, fruit, honey, etc.). Get creative and make them ahead of time so that you always have a nutrition-loaded snack ready to eat. Try these 5 yogurt parfait recipes:

1. Low-Calorie Blueberry Yogurt Parfait. See recipe here.

1. Low-Calorie Blueberry Yogurt Parfait. See recipe here.

2. Strawberry Yogurt Parfait. See recipe here.

2. Strawberry Yogurt Parfait. See recipe here.

3. Peanut Butter and Jelly Chia Parfait. See recipe here.

3. Peanut Butter and Jelly Chia Parfait. See recipe here.

4. Cocoa Nibs Breakfast Parfait. See recipe here.

4. Cocoa Nibs Breakfast Parfait. See recipe here.

5. Peaches ‘n Cream Oat & Chia Pudding Parfait. See recipe here.

5. Peaches ‘n Cream Oat & Chia Pudding Parfait. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | JULY 4 DESSERTS

Happy (almost) Independence Day! Many things come to mind when you think about July 4th: fireworks, barbecues, pool parties, red-white-and-blue, patriotism, and most importantly...dessert! Allow me to contribute to your celebrations with these 5 healthy, July 4th-themed desserts to try out this holiday: 

1. Fresh berries with maple cream. See recipe here.

1. Fresh berries with maple cream. See recipe here.

2. Paleo Caveman Chocolate Cupcakes. See recipe here.

2. Paleo Caveman Chocolate Cupcakes. See recipe here.

3. Red, White, and Blueberry Ice Cream Pie. See recipe here.

3. Red, White, and Blueberry Ice Cream Pie. See recipe here.

4. Red, White, and Blueberry Vegan Cheesecake. See recipe here.

4. Red, White, and Blueberry Vegan Cheesecake. See recipe here.

5. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait. See recipe here.

5. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait. See recipe here.

FUNCTIONAL FOOD | LET'S TALK ABOUT FRUIT, BABY

Hi, everyone!

Today I want to address a topic I stumble upon and hear way too often: the demonization of fruit!

Fresh fruit is found in nature–you can go out and pick it from a tree if you fancy! Fruit is not only delicious with many textures and tastes but it is also full of goodness: vitamin C, certain B vitamins such as folate and pantothenic acid; and minerals like magnesium, potassium, copper selenium, zinc, manganese and iron, to name just a few.

So why has this wonderful food, that our bodies can use for fuel and nourishment, suddenly become the source of all evil?

Well...when it comes to fad diets and weight-loss gimmicks, there is always a new source of evil, one that can take the blame for all our food problems. First, everything was blamed on fat and poor nutritious avocados and nuts were shunned. Then, the finger was pointed to carbohydrates and people thought that if they even dared to look at a cup of brown rice or a sweet potato they would suddenly bloat into a balloon–unfortunately some people still believe this–and it’s not true!. Now, the spotlight is on sugar. Not just refined sugar–which I can concur offers no nutrition and does much more harm than good–but any source of natural sugar, such as the natural sugar found in fruit, is considered bad. WTF?

So now, instead of eating fruit, people are being encouraged to eat more and more protein: more protein powders, more isolated nutrients, more science lab experiments, more additives with names I cannot pronounce and have no idea how to spell, and less of the natural whole foods found in nature! Did you know that protein-rich foods can also induce insulin secretion? Studies have shown that a quarter pound of beef can raise insulin levels in diabetics as much as a quarter pound of straight sugar. Holy moly!

Anything in excess–even protein–can be turned to sugar in our bodies. And as with anything in excess, if it is not used as energy it can be stored as fat. I truly believe that foods, including protein, should be consumed in their whole packages. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, they say. It would be silly to think that our bodies metabolize 15 grams of only protein (without the fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fats it usually comes with when consume from a whole food source) the same way as when consumed in a cup of lentils, or ¼ cup of nuts–the other components and nutrients of the food are there for a reason! Anyway, I’m getting off topic…

Photo by Gina Mehta

Photo by Gina Mehta

Yes, fruits contain sugar we can use as energy but they also contain a whole lot of other good stuff. Some fruits contain antioxidants, which fight free radicals and are anti-inflammatory. They can help reduce the risk of cancer and improve arterial function. Adding berries such as blueberries or strawberries to a meal (1/2-1 cup) can minimize the detrimental effects of high glycemic foods.

“But Gina what about the sugar?”, you say. Ok. Glucose, one of the three simple sugars along with fructose and sucrose, is the brain’s primary source of energy, and it is necessary to carry out regular functions. But “doesn’t fruit contain fructose?”, you ask.

Fruit NATURALLY contain fructose. The key word here being “naturally”. No one added anything to it. It was “born” and grew this way! This fructose is metabolized almost completely in the liver where more than 50% of it is converted into glucose (that amazing source of energy our brain and entire cells likes so much better than anything) and it also replenishes glycogen (energy storage) in our liver. And, it does not cause insulin to be released–no insulin spikes; thank you very much!

But that’s not all! Along with fructose, fruit also contains fiber–which also helps to prevent a spike in blood sugar even further–, polyphenols, carotenes, flavonoids vitamins and minerals and is a great source of energy. The problem arises when the fructose in our food does not come from the natural fructose found in fruit, but rather when created in a lab as an isolated additive, or extracted from its whole form. Fructose as a “natural sweetener” has been isolated, stripped of nutrients, and binded with other additives. So, again, it is not the same as the sugar in fruit; the way it is recognized and metabolized in our bodies is completely different. On that note, high fructose corn syrup (aka “Dr. Evil”) is not derived from fruits. It is derived from corn syrup. So as you can see, sometimes all these scientific food experiments, that might have been a good idea at one point, can take a nasty, non-nutritious turn. Just because we are used to eating a certain way it does not mean it is the right way.

You still don’t believe me? In a study conducted with people with type 2 diabetes, participants were divided into two groups: One group was told to reduce their fruit intake and have no more that 2 pieces of fruit a day, whereas the other group was told to increase their fruit consumption and have at least 2 pieces of fruit a day. Results showed that the group that reduced their fruit intake had no effect on the control of their diabetes nor their weight.

So while keeping your blood sugar balanced is extremely important, this can easily be achieved by avoiding refined sugar and refined foods. If you want something sweet, reach for an apple or banana–or whatever fruit you like–before you reach for a brownie or a cupcake. Fruit does not have to be excluded or uninvited from your food plate party!

Lastly, I’ll leave you with one question. Next time you grab a snack, ask yourself what makes more sense: to pick up something that grew from this earth, with all the minerals from the soil and water, with sunlight (!); or would you rather pick something that was made in a lab and was put together in a factory from “nutrients” and then packaged all together in a pretty (but usually plastic) box?

(Hint: grab a piece of fruit and some nuts or seeds and your bellies will thank you ;)


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

HEALTH HACK | SALMON DINNER RECIPES

Salmon is a hallmark food item for many health conscious eaters.  Few foods have as much of a nutritional punch than salmon--this fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids (which can decrease inflammation, regulate blood pressure, and benefit overall heart health) and is rich in protein and vitamin D. To help you get more of this super fish in your diet, check out these 5 easy, delicious and nutritious salmon dinner recipes: 

1. Smoked Salmon & Avocado Hand Rolls. See recipe here.

1. Smoked Salmon & Avocado Hand Rolls. See recipe here.

2. Salmon Tacos With Cabbage Slaw. See recipe here.

2. Salmon Tacos With Cabbage Slaw. See recipe here.

3. Roasted Salmon With Pesto Vegetables. See recipe here.

3. Roasted Salmon With Pesto Vegetables. See recipe here.

4. Salmon Salad With Vinaigrette. See recipe here.

4. Salmon Salad With Vinaigrette. See recipe here.

5. Salmon With Sautéed Tomatoes. See recipe here.

5. Salmon With Sautéed Tomatoes. See recipe here.

TRAINER SPOTLIGHT | Marggie

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

My coworker told me that if I liked Pilates I would love Lagree. She convinced me to go with her and check it out. I fell in love with Lagree that night. I signed up for a membership and went back the next day. I became super passionate about Lagree and knew I wanted to teach it almost immediately.

Lagree gave me back my pre-baby body, relieved stress, and made me feel more confident. (Not easy to come by as a new mom!).

How would you describe your teaching style?

I'm a passionate instructor who wants everyone in the room to experience Lagree as I know it (it's life changing). I want you to experience the moves the way I do (the more efficiently you do the moves the more effectively you will change).

I understand sometimes taking a break and taking a sip of water; the workouts are challenging. But it's about getting back into a move ASAP to maximize your results. I love to remind people to smile and to be proud of the hard work they are putting in.  Love is the key, and I want clients to find love for themselves and their bodies.

What's your favorite post workout nosh?

I tend to juice as often as possible but It can become tedious. My easiest go to is...a handful of kale, grapes and a squeeze of lemon. Simple and delicious.

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

Be kind to yourself... Comparison is the thief of joy.  Sometimes we look around the room and don't think we are doing a good enough job.  Everyone was once new and started right where you are.  Be patient, the moves will come.  Be kind, your mind deserves it.  Be proud, you're already amazing.

Marggie teaches in our Glendale and Montrose locations.  Find her schedule here

HEALTH HACK | SUMMER BBQ

With summer officially a couple days away, its time to break out the seasonal staple--the grill. Cooking outdoors can be an easy, fun way to enjoy summertime--whether it be for a weeknight dinner or a Sunday Funday BBQ party with friends. Get inspired to fire up the grill and cook outdoors with these festive and healthy recipes:

1. Pork and Veggie Skewers. See recipe here.

1. Pork and Veggie Skewers. See recipe here.

2. Shrimp burgers. See recipe here.

2. Shrimp burgers. See recipe here.

3. Grilled Vegetables with Romesco Sauce. See recipe here.

3. Grilled Vegetables with Romesco Sauce. See recipe here.

4. Tangy Coleslaw. See recipe here.

4. Tangy Coleslaw. See recipe here.

5. Grilled Watermelon with Balsamic Dressing. See recipe here. 

5. Grilled Watermelon with Balsamic Dressing. See recipe here

HEALTH HACKS | MEAL PREP TIPS

Meal prepping is one of the best ways to ensure you are eating a healthy, nutritious diet even when you have a demanding schedule. Preparation is the ultimate key to weight loss and fitness--making your food in advance so that you have an easy meal later can save you from giving into guilt-ridden bad takeout. Stocking your fridge with healthy options means less impulsive calories throughout the week and time saved from cooking many separate meals every day! See 5 tips for meal prepping here:

1. Schedule. Plan one day of the week when you will do your cooking (Sunday tends to work best for most people).

1. Schedule. Plan one day of the week when you will do your cooking (Sunday tends to work best for most people).

2. Freezer Friendly. Incorporate food that is better suited to freezing and reheating.

2. Freezer Friendly. Incorporate food that is better suited to freezing and reheating.

3. Overlap. Use recipes with ingredients that overlap to maximum efficiency.

3. Overlap. Use recipes with ingredients that overlap to maximum efficiency.

4. 1+1+1. Keep in mind the rule of 3:  one protein, one starchy carb, and one produce per meal!

4. 1+1+1. Keep in mind the rule of 3:  one protein, one starchy carb, and one produce per meal!

5. Sauce Boss. With different sauces and a little creativity, you can transform the same food into various tasty meals.

5. Sauce Boss. With different sauces and a little creativity, you can transform the same food into various tasty meals.

HEALTH HACKS | SUMMER POPSICLES

This summer, skip the store-bought, sugar-packed popsicles and opt for the healthier, homemade ice pops instead! They are incredibly easy to make and aren't filled with artificial colors and preservatives. Making these refreshing pops can be a fun, DIY activity and the results are definitely treats from the heat. Try these 5 DIY popsicle recipes:

1. Strawberry Mango Chia Popsicles Recipe. See recipe here.

1. Strawberry Mango Chia Popsicles Recipe. See recipe here.

2. Berry Pops. See recipe here.

2. Berry Pops. See recipe here.

3. Ginger Peach Popsicles. See recipe here.

3. Ginger Peach Popsicles. See recipe here.

4. Cherry Lime Popsicles with Honey. See recipe here.

4. Cherry Lime Popsicles with Honey. See recipe here.

5. Pineapple Lemonade Popsicles with Blueberry. See recipe here.

5. Pineapple Lemonade Popsicles with Blueberry. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACKS | SUMMER SMOOTHIES

Summer is almost here! The weather is gorgeous, the sun is out and the temperature is beginning to rise. With this in mind, what is the best way to stay cool and refreshed this summer? One word: SMOOTHIES. A good combination of fruits and vitamin-rich veggies makes for a delectable treat on a hot day. Try these 5 refreshing smoothie recipes this summertime:  

1. Green Goddess Smoothie. See recipe here.

1. Green Goddess Smoothie. See recipe here.

2. Mango Blueberry Protein Smoothie. See recipe here.

2. Mango Blueberry Protein Smoothie. See recipe here.

3. Pineapple Coconut Smoothie. See recipe here.

3. Pineapple Coconut Smoothie. See recipe here.

4. Raspberry Lemonade Smoothie. See recipe here.

4. Raspberry Lemonade Smoothie. See recipe here.

5. Tropical Fruit Breakfast Smoothie. See recipe here.

5. Tropical Fruit Breakfast Smoothie. See recipe here.

FUNCTIONAL FOOD | PREPPING IS THE NEW BLACK

Hello, everyone! 

Sometimes, after a long hard day, the last thing we want to do is get home and cook. I can relate: you are tired and you just want to put your feet up and relax. But! you are also starving and want to nourish your body with wholesome food; you want to eat something that will nourish your body, your mind, and fuel those muscles with all the goodness that they need to rebuild, repair, and get them ready for that next workout at Motivate. Who has time for that?!

Although there are options that are readily available (hello, postmates delivery), there is nothing quite like a home-cooked meal in terms of quality, taste, and nourishment. Enjoying food with your partner, family, or just by yourself is a ritual that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Food is life!

So, what to do when you have so little time but don't want to eat microwaved dinners?

Enter meal prepping! If you dedicate just 45 minutes of your week to prepping food in advance (that's less than 7 minutes per day!) you will be able to whip up a bowl-like meal in a matter of minutes any given day! yeah, I said it!

Here's my go-to prepping method:
1.     Bake a big batch of vegetables: Carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, red peppers, even onions are delicious roasted! All you need to do is literally cut them into chunks (in the case of onions they are even more delicious when roasted whole or cut into halves), sprinkle on some dried thyme, fresh rosemary, pepper, a sprinkle of sea salt, and toss them (optional) with 1 tbsp of coconut oil or avocado oil and bake ‘em for 40 minutes in the oven at 400º F. Yum!

2.     Make a big batch of quinoa, brown rice, amaranth or buckwheat. These pseudo-grains (technically seeds, with the exception of brown rice) are extremely nutritious and filled with B vitamins, iron and magnesium. Cook a big batch of one (or two) for the week, and then rotate with another one the next week so you get a different variety of nutrients and you don’t get bored ("Variety is the spice of life" ☺️). Don’t be afraid of complex carbohydrates! These grains contain a good amount of fiber which will prevent your blood sugar from spiking. Complex carbohydrates are essential for energy production–always keep that in mind.

3.     Make a big batch of lentils or beans while you are making your grains.

4.     Steam some broccoli or any vegetable of your choice; you can even sauté them if that's what you fancy.

5.     Make sure you have avocados. Just adding half an avocado to your lunch or dinner plate gives you much needed wholesome fat, necessary to make hormones, for optimal brain function, and for your skin! And you can make guacamole! Guacamole makes everything better! EVERYTHING.

6.     Have a good sauce you like on hand (made out of whole foods with no fillers, or additives). I’m a sucker for hummus. I also like to play around with salad dressings. An easy one is tahini sauce. Mix ¼ cup tahini with 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, ¼ cup warm water, 1 tsp honey, a dash of pepper and that’s it! (Makes about 4 servings)

7.     Always make sure to have some fresh greens. You can simply dump them on your plate. (Kale, which is even more delicious massaged with some avocado, is a great option too. You can do this in advance. Check out Cereza’s recipe). Spinach, romaine….and even fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley and oregano can offer so much nutrition and taste at the same time!

8.     Optional: Have some kind of probiotic food in your fridge to feed your gut. Sauerkraut, plant based kimchee, or organic miso are great ideas.

That’s it folks! The only steps that really require time are 1 through 4, and they are literally just cutting things and sticking them in the oven, or preparing them however you prefer. That won’t take you more than 45 minutes.  If you have a slow-cooker, then lucky you because you can leave your grains and beans to cook and forget about them while you check your instagram feed. It's a win win.

Enjoy!

photo by Gina Mehta

photo by Gina Mehta


Gina Mehta Alimental G Functional Nutrition

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.

TRAINER SPOTLIGHT | Katie H

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

I found Lagree fitness through the help of Lacey Martin, fellow instructor (and friend) at MOTIVATE. She was one of my very first pilates instructors and her passion for the workout was inspiring. The concept of muscle fatigue and idea behind slow resistance training not only made sense, but really changed my whole outlook on fitness in a positive way. It might sound silly, but I think that the method has helped me become a better student, teacher, and better person through listening and understanding. Being able to helpstudents work towards their goals and truly understand why things like "shaky legs" are a good thing, is awesome!

How would you describe your teaching style?

You'll get my energetic personality with lots of positive encouragement. I know that the workout is hard. I want my students to realize that, then push themselves past it and come out stronger, feeling better. With me, you'll get a lot of help on form, an idea of what muscles should be used/felt, and a lot of cheesy Katie sayings that hopefully get you through the move longer. My style is to motivate and leave you feeling better than when you started class.

What’s your favorite post-workout nosh?

Ohhh, this one changes just about every few weeks, but currently my top snack are the Mint Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter RX bars. For beverage, my go-to is a chocolate Vega protein shake with frozen bananas and almond butter. SO GOOD.

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

KEEP SHOWING UP. That's half of the battle. We all have the back and fourth of "to workout or not to workout." The days when you're the most tired, stressed, or feeling down are the days you need it the most. Don't give up on yourself. Try to remember how good the post-workout sweaty feeling was, and let that help keep you on track.

 

HEALTH HACKS | Snack Attack Pt. 2

Let's admit, we all need more guilt-free snacks in our lives. When the 3pm hunger hits, the defensive line should be healthy, lean, satisfying eats instead of oily, high-carb, overly sweetened traps. Fruit is always a good option, but sometimes you are in the mood for something other than berries, bananas or apples. Try these 5 healthy and delicious snacks that you can easily make at home to stave off your next snack attack:

1. Sweet Potato Hummus. See recipe here.

1. Sweet Potato Hummus. See recipe here.

2. Fat-Free Potato Chips. See recipe here.

2. Fat-Free Potato Chips. See recipe here.

3. Citrus-marinated Olives. See recipe here.

3. Citrus-marinated Olives. See recipe here.

4. Roasted Chickpeas. See recipe here.

4. Roasted Chickpeas. See recipe here.

5. Soy and Sesame Kale Chips. See recipe here.

5. Soy and Sesame Kale Chips. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACKS | DETOX WATER

One of the best allies you can have to help facilitate weight loss and maintain a healthy diet is... water! Sure, there many diet hacks and fitness tips out there, but water is the purest natural companion that will rev your metabolism, boost your immune system and promote weight loss. Fuse water and fruits to create a detox water that energizes, combats bloating and keeps you hydrated throughout the day--try 5 of these refreshing combinations below:

1. Grapefruit and Rosemary Water. See recipe here..

1. Grapefruit and Rosemary Water. See recipe here..

2. Springtime Strawberry Spa Water. See recipe here.

2. Springtime Strawberry Spa Water. See recipe here.

3. Citrus Detox Water. See recipe here.

3. Citrus Detox Water. See recipe here.

4. Autumn Infused Water. See recipe here.

4. Autumn Infused Water. See recipe here.

5. Lemon Ginger Water. See recipe here.

5. Lemon Ginger Water. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACKS | COOKIES FOR YOUR CONSCIENCE

For those you with a sweet tooth and a healthy conscience, eating dessert may cause you occasional emotional turmoil. The combination of butter, granulated sugar, milk chocolate and all-purpose flour may make your mouth water, but may also make your mind weep as you consider the considerable calorie intake. But fear not--low calorie, low fat desserts do exist and yes, they are tasty as well! Try out these cookie recipes the next time you are craving something sweet:

1. Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. See recipe here.

1. Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. See recipe here.

2. Cherry Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies. See recipe here.

2. Cherry Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies. See recipe here.

3. Mocha Cookies. See recipe here.

3. Mocha Cookies. See recipe here.

4. Almond Lemon Macaroons. See recipe here.

4. Almond Lemon Macaroons. See recipe here.

5. Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal Cookies. See recipe here.

5. Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal Cookies. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACKS | MORE SPRING SALADS

Spring season brings blooming flowers, lasting sunshine, serene skies and bright springtime recipes. We love salads all times of the year, but there is something so fresh and beautiful about a spring salad that it just lightens your day. Try out these 5 healthy spring salad recipes (and Gina Mehta's from last week's blog here) this season:

1. Spring Greens with Quick Pickled Vegetables. See recipe here.

1. Spring Greens with Quick Pickled Vegetables. See recipe here.

2. Spring Salad with Fennel and Orange. See recipe here.

2. Spring Salad with Fennel and Orange. See recipe here.

3. Strawberry-Rhubarb Salad with Mint and Hazelnuts. See recipe here.

3. Strawberry-Rhubarb Salad with Mint and Hazelnuts. See recipe here.

4. Roasted Beet and Dandelion Greens Salad. See recipe here.

4. Roasted Beet and Dandelion Greens Salad. See recipe here.

5. Shrimp and Snap Pea Salad with Ginger. See recipe here.

5. Shrimp and Snap Pea Salad with Ginger. See recipe here.

FUNCTIONAL FOOD | Fresh Spring Salad

Hi, everyone!

Today I wanted to share a recipe for a delicious fresh spring salad! It actually does not contain any greens–I don’t know if I can call it a salad–but it is made out of two simple and extremely nutritious ingredients: Beets and carrots. “Go, go! Antioxidant Force!” (Sorry, I was a big Power Rangers fan when I was a young pup 😊)

Beets are really good for you but don’t take my word for it. Beets have the ability to stimulate the liver’s detoxification processes. Their beautiful colors are due to the pigments betacyanin (in red/purple beets) and betaxanthins (in golden beets); both pigments are powerful cancer-fighting agents. Beets are rich in folate, fiber, magnesium, manganese, iron, vitamin C, phosphorous, and vitamin B6. The fiber in beets aids in bowel movements and in flushing out any extra cholesterol. It might come out the same color as it came in (I had to do a poop joke 😄).

Additionally, beets contain betaine, which promotes the production of hydrochloric acid (HCl): stomach acid which is essential for breaking down proteins and food.

For this recipe, I say go with golden beets. They have a much milder taste, (in my opinion: better taste) and they are in season right now! This recipe calls for using raw, uncooked beets in order to obtain full nutritional benefits without destroying any enzymes and vitamins, which are often destroyed by cooking and heating foods. Plus, it’s summer. So more fresh of everything, please!

Carrots hold their own as well! Carrots contain antioxidant compounds which can help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer; their lutein and beta-carotene content also promotes good eyesight (especially night vision) and protection against senile cataracts and macular degeneration; they even help to protect against harmful UV rays.

Carrots are an amazing source of vitamin A, biotin (great for our hair), fiber, vitamin K; they also contain significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamine, and potassium.  


Photo by Gina Mehta

Photo by Gina Mehta

Ingredients:

2 golden beets
3 carrots
3 tbsp hemp seeds (optional; they are an amazing source of omega 3-fatty acids and iron)

For the dressing:

Handful of dill
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp raw honey
1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (raw, unfiltered)

 

DIRECTIONS

Peel the beets. Wash your carrots. Chop both beets and carrots into large chunks and shred them; ideally place them in a food processor that will shred them for you!

The dressing is dead easy. Simply add to a bowl a handful of chopped dill, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, the juice of 1 lemon, 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, and 2 tsp of raw honey. Mix together.

Mix dressing in with the salad. Top with an avocado and hemp seeds if you like, and there you have it!


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_Functional_Nutrition

HEALTH HACKS | Tips for Dining Out

Eating healthy and eating out do not usually go hand in hand. When you dine out, you are more likely to encounter unhealthy food (what with the ubiquitous fast-food restaurants on every corner and devilishly persuasive dessert menus in most restaurants).  But just because you are watching your diet and effecting a healthy lifestyle does not mean you should not head out to eat! Though preparing your own food can ensure a nutritious meal, there are tips you can follow to make dining out a healthier experience. Try out these 5 on your next meal out:

1. Drink water throughout the meal.

1. Drink water throughout the meal.

2. Order salad before anything else.

2. Order salad before anything else.

3. Skip the bread basket.

3. Skip the bread basket.

4. Opt for the fish option for your entree.

4. Opt for the fish option for your entree.

5. Box up half your entree.

5. Box up half your entree.