Archive | June, 2015

Shopping Healthy Starts in the Produce Section

Top 5 Rules for How to Shop Healthy

Template, Women's WellnessThe key to eating healthy starts with the source of your food, but navigating the grocery store can be challenging with so many competing options and every label claiming to have less fat, more protein, whole grains, etc. My goal is to help you keep things as simple as possible. If you’re going to the grocery store instead of eating out, where you don’t have complete control over what’s in your food, then you’re taking the most important first step. I want to help ensure that you are making the most beneficial choices for your body, and getting the most nutrient-dense bang for your buck! These are my top 5 simple tips for how to shop healthy:

1 – Shop around the perimeter of the store

This is not a new rule on the list of how to shop.  However, I feel it is the most important of all the tips.  It is the easiest rule to remember, and it won’t steer you wrong as you begin to learn how to shop healthier.  The perimeter houses the produce and whole foods.  The center aisles house approximately 20,000 processed canned, frozen and boxed items that shouldn’t be considered Real Food.  Stick to foods that have five or fewer ingredients.

2 – Create a weekly menu, make a shopping list, and stick to your list!

It’s easy to buy foods you don’t need, especially when you shop on an empty stomach.  By planning a week’s meals ahead of time and creating a shopping list, you will determine exactly what you need for the week. Having a list makes it easy to stick to what you need and cut down on those extra “hidden” things you wish you didn’t buy.  Just remember to stick to your list; don’t deviate!  If you are looking for new healthy, simple recipes, you can find them in our DASH Diet Cookbook.

3 – Head to the Farmers Market

Luckily there are farmers markets popping up all over the country as more people are discovering the value in buying fresh, sustainable and local produce.  A lot of times the produce is a lot cheaper than in the grocery store depending on where you live in the country and many of these farmers use organic growing methods, but just don’t have the money to get certified as organic.  We highly recommend visiting your farmers market and getting to know your local farmers.  You will find great deals on real food, especially if you visit the market towards the end of the day.

4 – Spend your money more wisely

Focus on more whole foods and less junk food.  Although junk food cost less in some instances, you are getting less nutrients and no value.  Sit down with your shopping receipts and take inventory of what you spent money on.  Calculate how much you spend on processed junk food that has absolutely NO nutrient value such as soda, hotdogs, potato chips, etc.  How much do you spend compared to nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, etc? If you think eating healthy is expensive, try validating purchases of food that don’t do anything for your body! Rollin’ in greens! Getting the most nutrition for my buck at the Oakland Farmer’s Market!

5 – Be Label-Savvy

Read the ingredient and nutrition labels on all food packages with a label.  Clearly, your carrots and grapes don’t have a label.  Avoid packaged food that contains more than five ingredients, or has words that you can’t pronounce.  Lastly, avoid foods that make health claims. Many fake foods try to entice you with bogus health claims like low fat and sugar-free. Look at the ingredients carefully.  A cereal might advertise one third less sugar, but that does not tell you how many grams of sugar are still in a serving.  It also may not tell you if they substituted the real thing with a processed, fake substitute. Your body doesn’t digest fake food very well and those fake ingredients can lead to weight gain and chronic disease over time.
Filling your body with the right fuels has an incredible impact on your energy. Learn some of my other techniques for boosting your energy naturally with my . You can download it here free:


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Dr. Mariza TRX Workout

How to Stay Active While Traveling

Template, Women's WellnessIn my last blog, I discussed how despite being on a 3-week honeymoon in Italy, we tried to stay healthy and maintain at least a few of the habits that are part of our healthy day to day routine.  In today’s blog, I want to fill in the other half besides nutrition, and that is how to stay active.  Vacation is a great time to sit back and relax, but there are still ways to stay active that won’t feel like you have to alter your day to fit in a workout.  For the sake of this blog post, and given our recent situation in Italy, I’m going to assume that you do not have access to a gym, although a gym, a pool, and many other facilities like tennis courts or golf courses are of course excellent ways to stay active on vacation.  However, I’m going to focus on what you can do within your room and and while you’re out and about. I present to you: My Top 5 Tips to Stay Active While on Vacation!

1 – Walk Everywhere

This is one of the easiest options.  Walk anywhere and everywhere you can.  While safety is, of course, the first priority, in many cities, walking is the main form of transportation.  Where I might elect to drive or take a taxi/Uber/Lyft at home, walking is a much more commonly used and more effective form of transportation abroad [I’m talking to you Europe].

2 – Embrace Simple, Basic and Effective Exercises

Lunges.  Squats.  Push-ups.  Situps.  Stairs.  You’re very familiar with the basics, regardless of what you do on a regular basis.  These are all possible with zero equipment and very little knowledge or preparation.  Try to focus on the core areas, and you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve and maintain.  Here is an example of a quick fat-burning circuit that I can easily repeat on a daily basis anywhere I go.  Repeat the circuit 3-5 times, depending on how much time you have, for a strenuous and workout.  Modify the number of reps to meet your fitness level.

  • Jump squats: 5 – 15x
  • (Modified) Push-ups: 10 – 20x
  • Burpees: 5 – 10x
  • Planks / Side planks: 20 seconds normal / then each side
  • Lunges: 10 – 20x
  • Russian twist (use a full water bottle for a weight): 25-50x

3 – Run!

Similar to the above two suggestions, movement is key in whatever way you can achieve it.  In almost every location I’ve ever traveled to, a morning or evening jog [Let’s be honest… vacations are normally in hot places, unless you’re traveling for business and don’t have a choice, or seeking winter sports (in which case you’re already active), so finding the cool time of the day and planning around it is often a small but very important detail] is way easier than you think.  Challenge yourself to a run a mile quicker than your normal pace, or to do a quick couple laps within a smaller area.  Running shoes take up extra space in the suitcase, but are worth it if you can fit them in, and can also double as walking shoes for longer walking days.

4 – Yoga & Stretching

While a vacation may not always be the most convenient place to get your normal workouts in, simple routines involving yoga and stretching can make a big difference.  You’ll most likely be walking more than normal, even if it’s just within airports and train stations, especially when dragging your luggage with you.  This can tighten up any and all muscles, which makes staying limber even more important.  Even just finding a quick moment to do a few yoga poses or stretch out will make a difference, but if you can get in a routine where you make some time daily, you won’t regret it!

5 – Bring a TRX / Resistance Exercise System

If you are not familiar with the TRX suspension system, within your regular routine at home, in classes, or anywhere else, I can’t endorse it enough.  Not only because of the effectiveness but especially because of the lightweight and portability.  My best workouts are often achieved through this wonderful resistance-based workout system.  You can modify the difficulty by simply adjusting the angle of your body in relation to the straps/wall, and can complete many different full-body workouts wherever you are, strap onto a door, a tree, or a wall-hook, if available. You can find some basic TRX workout information here.


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Farmer's Market in Venice

5 Tips on How to Eat Healthy on Vacation

My husband, Alex, and I just came back from a three week honeymoon trip to Italy! The land of pasta, bread, cheese, wine and gelato! We had an incredible time as we explored Venice, Rome, Florence and Chique Terre.  Before we arrived to Italy, we did some research and prepared ourselves for healthy eating during our trip.  The one thing that I knew about italian cooking is that it’s fresh and simple, which is very important in terms of healthy eating.  It’s not surprising that Italians are very healthy because they use real food in their recipes and these recipes are passed on for many generations. I realize that not everyone is heading to Italy for the summer, so here are some tips for travel anywhere you go this year.  Enjoy!

#1: Eat Veggies.  Eat Fresh.  Eat Seasonally.

Not only are some of the healthiest meals going to be based around veggies (not always easy to find while traveling), and the freshest ones at that, but not surprisingly, the best meals are going to come from fresh ingredients, particularly vegetables grown locally and in season.  Look for restaurants and markets that provide what is in season.  This is a great opportunity to try produce you may not get at home, but might be a new and delicious experience that is very much worth trying.  Forget the familiar, and embrace what is fresh and tasty!

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