This week I had the privilege of sitting down with Alona Geller who holds a Masters in Science and is a registered dietitian at www.nutrition-heals.com.
I asked Alona for her recommendations for healthiest eating practices. Her emphatic response,
"Eating plant-based foods in their naturally occurring states, if it comes from the garden or earth, then it will be healthy for our bodies."
Alona stressed that anything processed should be avoided. She referred to herself as a “flexitarian” meaning she doesn’t subscribe to any one way of eating, she simply chooses the best possible nutrients for her and her family. Alona advised that the best time to instill lifelong habits are when children are young, so they develop into adults who have an affinity towards healthy eating. Alona told me that she grew up in a home in which her parents instilled healthy food habits and, on rare occasions, when she would visit friends' houses and indulge in “junk food” her immune system would weaken and she would feel sick.
Alona's passion for perpetuating a healthy body, through natural nutritious nourishment, has led her on a career path that embraces her joy in giving the gift of health, through knowledge, each and every day.
Alona's Top Tips!
Best Snacks for Kids:
Seaweed snacks - kids today are so used to eating chips, seaweed has less sodium compared to chips but still has that crunchy texture. It’s an excellent source of iodine, vitamin c and several minerals it also has great detoxifying benefits, which children wouldn’t get from anywhere else. It’s the kale of the ocean!
Edamame - “cruncha mame” - dried soy beans or any type of bean you can roast at home - high in protein, iron and fiber all in a naturally occurring state. The body recognizes the nutrients in beans, not in a synthetic form, so their nutrients are more bio-available.
If you are going to choose bread for your kids' sandwiches look for “Ezekiel bread” - it contains both legumes and whole grains yielding a complete protein source and in a sprouted form instead of the typical processed flour found in most breads. Flour products turn to sugar rapidly which raise blood sugars, even if it is gluten free flour!
“Love grown power o’s” as a cereal snack. 1 cup has 6 grams of protein and made from beans and lentils. Add some hemp milk fortified with calcium - best sources of fats for a non dairy milk alternative.
Pumpkin patty - oats, pumpkin puree and pumpkin seeds
Top 5 Superfoods:
- Broccoli sprouts
- Watercress - everybody knows kale, watercress is high up there in anti-oxidants
- Purple cabbage - so many anti-oxidants, brassica family (same family as Kale) the colors of vegetables represent different anti-oxidants, so you’re getting a rich color which translates to nutrient dense food!
- Purple sweet potato
- Turmeric root - SO many health benefits especially for inflammation
Best Tips for Eating Out:
With any dish you order, ask for no oil, dressing on the side, no butter, no added salt. Ask for lemons, lime or plain vinegars to flavor your food instead.
Always get a side of vegetables steamed with no added salt
When ordering a protein, ask for it to be cooked dry
Be assertive and ask questions about what’s really in the food on the menu
The 5 Worst Foods for You:
Anything with high fructose corn syrup - high fructose corn syrup has been linked to a liver disease known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Soda - it is simply a non nutritive empty calorie beverage with high amounts of sugar and acid that deteriorates your bones, and recent findings of the caramel color have been linked to a cause for cancer in mice
Bread - all bread, even whole wheat flour turns into sugar, so basically bread = sugar, gluten is very inflammatory. Buckwheat, millet and amaranth are ancient whole grains, eaten as is they give health benefits, but turned into a processed form, they are harmful for our bodies and give us a higher risk of diabetes
Fast or Fried food - not only is it lacking in nutrients but it also raises your triglycerides, a type of fat that is stored in different places like your hips or tummy
Charred meat - heterocyclic amines “HCA” is a chemical, which forms when there is a high heat temperature on animal proteins. Charred meat is also carcinogenic and associated with colon cancer.