Hey Hey! A healthy lifestyles not only involves exercising, but also consuming foods that are beneficial for your body! I reached out to Marta Tabatabai, a friend of mine who is very knowledgable about nutrion to do an interview for us! What an amazing person! If you have any more questions for her, reach out to me @fit_by_embem , or her on instagram: @cauligirleats_
Hey girly! I hope you are doing well! Can you first introduce yourself and tell people what you are currently studying?
Hey I am Marta and I am currently a graduate student at the nutritional science program at CSU Chico. I am passionate about helping people live a healthy lifestyle by sharing a positive approach to nutrition with evidence based advice.
How did you become passionate about nutrition?
I have always loved the science behind nutrition that I learned in my animal science classes as an undergrad at Cal Poly. I took an intro to nutrition course thinking I wanted to go into the healthcare industry. I really loved it and at the time I was training for a half marathon and saw how nutritious food could be used as fuel. I always grew up with lots of healthy options at home, my parents always had cut up fruit and vegetables at the house. I decided to dig more deep into the science behind nutrition and take some metabolism courses. I was amazed at how complex our bodies are and how nutrition can have such an impact on our health!
Do you have tips for eating healthy while not spending a lot of money?
I think the biggest thing would be to plan out meals ahead of time. Go to the grocery store prepared to know what you are going to get. A lot of times people will go and grab things that they do not need. Getting seasonal produce is cheaper. Frozen vegetables and fruit are an option also! Canned beans and dried grains are very affordable options! Also buying things in bulk and freezing them (buying a large pack of chicken) and defrosting only what you are using. By preparing meals ahead of time, you set yourself up for success and you end up saving money by not eating out!
What are some things people should always pick up at the grocery store? (top 5)
- Spinach! It is so versatile! You can easily add a handful to anything (scrambled eggs, curry, a smoothie)
- Nut butter! I have to throw that in there! I love any type of nut butter!
- Apples! They are easy to pack in a bag, they do not get squashed easily, and they last awhile! The crunch is very satisfying! They are also full of fiber!
- Carrots- They are a great snack and they can pair perfectly with your favorite dip!
- Chickpeas- They are also very versatile- you can roast them and have them as a snack, you can use them as protein in a dish, or make your own hummus
How do you balance going out and still being healthy?
Living a healthy lifestyle is all about having a balance that works for you! Every individual is different. When I go out to eat, I tend to pick what is going to be the most nourishing and satisfying in that moment. For example, if I am really wanting a pizza, I will allow myself to have that! If I deprive myself of it, I feel restrictive and not satisfied. I also really enjoy eating lots of veggies and healthy foods! There is always an option to get something healthy that is more exciting than a plain green salad! I tend to cook most of my meals at home with foods that I know provide me with energy and make me feel good. So, if I go out to eat and I feel like having something just to nourish my soul, I will have that!
Thoughts on intermittent fasting? (what is it and what you think of it)
From my understanding, it is fasting for a certain time whether it be hours or days and then allowing yourself to eat in the other time. I believe the most common one is fasting 16 hours and eating 8 hours. I personally wouldn’t advise it. I don’t think enough research has been done yet. I also think it goes against our bodies internal cues to regulate hunger and fullness. Our bodies are really good at regulating how much fuel we need and when we need it. I don’t think restricting to a time window is the healthiest option physically and mentally.
Thoughts on intuitive eating? What is it and what you think of it)
Intuitive eating is a concept that was come up by two dietitians in the 90’s. It is comprised of ten principles:
- Reject the diet mentality
- Honor your hunger
- Make peace with food
- Challenge the food police
- Respect your fullness
- Discover the satisfaction factor
- Honor your feelings without using food
- Respect your body 🙂
- Exercise and feel the difference
- Honor your health with gentle nutrition
It basically is about letting go of any external cues that influence what we eat. Whether it be from social media or from a friend doing a fad diet. It is about being in tune with your body, realizing what foods satisfy you, nourish you, and make you feel the best! It is about being mindful when you eat, so you can tune into your hunger and fullness signals. Also, respecting our bodies and the way we naturally are.
I honestly think that it is what we are naturally born to do! It is what children do! If someone hadn’t dieted, they wouldn’t think this was any different. This is something that everyone can adopt and is a great way to live a balanced lifestyle.
Biggest piece of advice?
My biggest piece of advice would be to add some more fruits and vegetable into your diet. Also figure out a fun way that you enjoy to cook them! You do not have to eat plain kale with minimal dressing. You can figure out if you like roasting veggies, or maybe having them with some sauce! Play around in the kitchen and see what works for you!
Lastly, what are some meal ideas you would like people to try?
Breakfast idea: Overnight Oats!
Overnight oats recipe:
1/2 cup oats
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 greek yogurt
1 scoop vanilla or chocolate protein powder
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Enough milk to cover it all
*stir it all up, let it sit in the fridge overnight, and top with fruits, nuts, nut butter, and whatever else you like!
Lunch: Pesto Avocado egg salad!
2 sliced hard boiled eggs
1/2 of an avocado
1 tbsp pesto
sprinkle of Trader Joe’s everything but the bagel seasoning (or salt and pepper to taste)
*Mash avocado, mix in pesto, slice eggs in both directions, add eggs and seasonings
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
2 cups broth of choice
1 cup coconut milk
4 cups small cubes of butternut squash
1.5 cups green lentils
dash of turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
4 big handfuls of spinach
-saute onion and garlic in olive oil till translucent on medium high heat
-add in curry powder, ginger, broth, coconut milk, squash, and lentils and bring to a boil
-once at a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes
-turn off heat and stir in turmeric, salt, pepper, and 4 big handfuls of spinach
*the dish may not need salt if the broth has salt in it
-enjoy over brown rice or another grain
Follow her on instagram for more awesome tips and recipes- @cauligirleats_