Healthy Holiday Tips!

I’ll admit it, I love all the rich dishes and cut out cookies the holidays bring. In fact, I love them so much that I have to remind myself not to sabotage all the hard work I do throughout the year. While the temptations might seem endless (I’m talking about you peppermint bark & pumpkin pie), I’m positive a balance can be struck. This year, I have a game plan in place so I can indulge without the added bulge!

Workout. I know, I know … However, I refuse to go to hell in a hand basket this year and spend my winter break fitting back into my skinnies. Yoga is my mainstay and I enjoy my weekly run club, but, it’s easy to “oversleep” on the holiday or punt due to day after coma. While I’m not advocating a massive workout session, use this opportunity to take a walk with a loved one and enjoy the fall foliage or join a local turkey trot like this one. Not only will you feel better for it, that pumpkin pie will taste all the more sweet!

Eat a healthy snack. I already know I am going to be tempted to pile on an extra spoonful of my mother-in-law Mia’s fantastic mashed potatoes that are reserved specifically for Thanksgiving. Chances are good I’ll make a few fruit kebabs like these (minus the mini brownie, though I LOVE that idea) to throw in the car for my husband and I to snack on before dinner. If you don’t want to snack before dinner, a few tall glasses of cool H2O should do the trick!

Bring a healthy dish. If you’re worried that Thanksgiving dinner may be a bit too rich for you with all that butter and cream, bring a healthy dish with a bit of decadence like this acorn squash. I like that the author includes a savory option as well as a sugar & spice version. Your host will appreciate the contribution to the dinner table and you can feel good knowing you contributed a healthy touch to the day.

Remember if you overindulge one or even two days, it’s okay. Don’t beat  yourself up and don’t use your overindulgence as an excuse to fall of the wagon for the rest of the holiday season. Just get back to your healthy eating habits the following day and move forward. Feel like you need a jump start? Try replacing one or two meals with a healthy green smoothie. They’re incredibly filling and super nutritious!

Let the festivities commence!


Nutritional Yeast

Though I am pretty adventurous when it comes to food, it took a bit for me to hop on board with the sadly named nutritional yeast.

A favorite amongst the vegan crowd, nutritional yeast can be added from everything to veggie stir fry and mashed potatoes to popcorn. Nutritional yeast is slightly tangy and adds a nutty/cheesy flavor to cooked dishes. While the cheese flavor is an added bonus, nutritional yeast is also a reliable source of vitamin B12. I like to add a heaping tablespoon to my favorite veggie, kale, and mix in a small amount of steamed brown rice. This meal to me is my updated version of the comforting cheesy rice and broccoli dish my grandmother made growing up.

Vitamin B12 naturally occurs in animal and dairy products, so practicing vegans and many vegetarians must supplement this vitamin through other means such as nutritional yeast or fortified cereals. Nutritional yeast can be found in the bulk food bins of your grocer or in the supplement section and comes in either flakes or powder. I like Bob’s. Make sure to purchase nutritional yeast, not brewer’s yeast, which does not contain vitamin B12.


Lean, Mean & Green

Smoothie that is!

I have to admit I’ve been feeling a little run down lately. I won’t lie, school is stressful and it has begun to take a toll on what I would consider a relatively healthy diet. Luckily, I’m pretty tuned on with what’s going on in there and knew my body needed a rest and reset. This week, which I call “green week,” it’s time to clean house. I have been giving my body just what it needs by enjoying a raw diet devoid of anything other than strictly delicious vegetables and juicy fruits, kicking my unhealthy cravings to the curb!

I have found green smoothies to be an awesome and very satiating part of my reset. Green smoothies are quick, highly nutritious, and very affordable. I like to have one for breakfast and have found them to be an excellent, filling dinner as well. You don’t need a fancy blender to make a smoothie — mine is almost 10 years old and still runs like a pro! Make sure to rinse your veggies and fruits as well as chop them small enough so your blender can process them easily. Also, I find if I add the greens very last, nothing gets caught up in the blender. I feel light, healthy and refreshed already!

Here are a few recipes I came up with this week which are all vegan, raw, and gluten free. Enjoy!

1/2 cucumber
handful blueberries
1/2 cup to 1 cup H2O
1 small banana
4-6 kale leaves

1 beet
1 cup H2O
1/2 lime (juice only)
2 beet greens
4 kale leaves

1/2 cup melon
1/2 cup H2O
6 kale leaves

1/2 pear
1 small banana
1/2 cup to 1 cup H2O
4-6 kale leaves

What kind of nutritional changes do you make to your diet when you’re not feeling at your best?

Healthy Goal Setting

We all know making healthy food choices has a tremendous affect on our overall health. Eating healthy helps us manage our weight as well as reduces our risk for disease. Due to the increase in food related illness, educating the public with comprehensive nutritional information is now more vital than ever before. However, it’s not just what we eat that matters.

Food and fitness work synergistically. So often we separate food and fitness into their own categories. To maintain our health, we eat everyday, so why aren’t we exercising on most or all days of the week. Think about how good we would all feel if we were taking care of our bodies through proper nutrition and exercise. When we eat a balanced diet full of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and engage in regular physical activity, we boost our mood and build self-confidence.

Therefore, I challenge you to set two healthy goals to finish out these last few months of the year healthy, strong, and confident!

Need some new ideas?

Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. You should aim for 3-4 cups every day.

Water? Hydration is so incredibly important. You should aim for 6-8 glasses each day (more if you exercise). Try adding a slice of lemon or your favorite fruit like raspberries or grapes to add a little flavor.

Eat Breakfast!

Get moving! You should aim for 60 minutes of physical activity everyday. Remember, it doesn’t all have to be at once. Take the stairs at the train station or park your car out a little further at the grocery store. Take a walk with your family after dinner.

Remember, small changes add up over time!!

What do you do to encourage others around you to make healthy choices?

Two Awesomely Good Events!

This weekend is sure shaping up to be a good one! Check out these two unique events happening this weekend in the SF Bay Area. I’ll be there, will you?!

Saturday, September 24th

Check out Slow Food’s first annual “Childhood Obesity Bay Area Conference: Boots on the Ground.”

As a dietetics student, I’m thrilled to be able to attend COBA. For me, this is a fantastic opportunity to gain a better understanding of the issue as well as meet key professionals in the health and wellness fields. I’m especially excited that Slow Food has rounded up a well-diversified group of speakers including representatives from Shape up SF and the Contra Costa County Wellness City Challenge.

Members of the general public are encouraged to attend. Tickets are available for purchase through Eventbrite.

For more information, check out Slow Food’s website.

Sunday, September 25th

It’s no secret I love yoga! I have a unique group of outstanding yoga instructors that continually challenge me as well as provide an encouraging and positive atmosphere in which I’m quite blessed to practice. With all that said, my yoga studio also has an amazing teacher training program set in place. This Sunday, recent graduates will lead a special 75 minute class fusing together two amazing yoga styles, Hot Power Fusion and Power Yoga. Both inspiring classes aim to work the entire body through a series of poses set to music that will leave you feeling detoxified and energized!

This group of dynamic instructors has put together this class with the intention of raising awareness and donations for the Art of Yoga Project, a unique organization that brings yoga to at-risk young women in the juvenile justice system. Early intervention really is the key and through yoga, these young women will gain confidence and self-respect that ultimately will lead to healthy lifestyle choices. The class is free, yes FREE, but donations will be accepted! Please come out on Sunday to support a great cause and practice with CorePower’s newest grads!

For more information on CorePower Yoga, click here.

For more information on the Art of Yoga Project, click here.

Karma Yoga Class for the Art of Yoga Project
Sunday at 2:00pm
Corepower Yoga Berkeley

Team Spirit

As a dietetics student at SFSU, acquiring volunteer hours through working with the community is an important component of the major. Our opportunities come in a variety of settings and we are only limited by our own imagination. Nutrition, I have discovered, is a wide and varying field. This year, I would like to explore teaching nutrition to local kids in a school setting or possibly hosting cooking demos at a local farmers markets, featuring tasty, in-season produce. Opportunities to support the community really are endless.

I feel very lucky to have excellent professors in the Dietetics and Food Management program at SFSU. These professors work hard to support the local community and pass that excitement onto the students. This semester, rather than work in the Vista Room, SFSU’s fine dining establishment, a hands-on environment that allows students to explore the demands of the food service industry, I’ll be volunteering with Glide’s free daily meals program.

Glide, one of the largest social service agencies in San Francisco, provides an incredibly accepting community that aims to provide services to the underrepresented in San Francisco. In addition to nutritious meals, which include breakfast, lunch, and dinner, 364 days a year, Glide offers numerous complimentary health care services ranging from medical care to yoga. Glide not only relies on the public for support through generous donations, but, daily community participation is vital. For the meal program alone, Glide counts on about 60 volunteers every day. Organizations such as Glide could not function without this daily influx of enthusiastic volunteers. For many in our community, this may be their only filling, nutritious meal of the day.

Getting involved in your community is one of the best ways to establish a meaningful connection to the community in which you live. One of the best ways to learn is through experience, gaining valuable knowledge and passing it on to those around you. Volunteering allows you the extraordinary opportunity of meeting diverse groups of people, from a wide variety of backgrounds and organizations that you may have otherwise overlooked. Just giving one hour of your time each week will not only positively change your life, but will truly impact the lives of those you support. I assure you the experience will be overwhelmingly positive!

What are you doing to get involved in your local community?

For more information on Glide, click here:

To learn more about SFSU’s Vista Room, click here: