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training nutrition

Balancing a meal with 5 essential flavors

Next time you have a great meal notice whether the 5 essential flavors are present. I find my meals more satisfying and I don’t crave more food, or sweet treats after if there is a balance of these five flavors plus fat. Sweet does a great job of giving a savory dish more depth, just like salt. Both salty and sweet tastes signal an intake of calories to our brain. If a dish seems too sweet, sour ingredients like lemon and vinegar will neutralize the sweetness. Fruits and root vegetables are good naturally sweet whole foods to include in your meals.

Bitter is a flavor many are not too fond of, but bitter foods are really good for us. It’s the compounds within the bitter foods that make them healthy like carotenoids in sweet potatoes and spinach, flavonoids in cranberries, and polyphenols in wine. Other bitter foods to incorporate are broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts.

Salty brings out subtle flavors you’d like to highlight and also diminishes flavors that are too bitter. Salty foods you may consider are soy sauce, miso paste, cured meats, olives, or cheese.

Sour is another flavor that tends to be hard to swallow, but just a small amount of lime or vinegar can brighten up a dish. Don’t confuse sour with bitter; the main difference is that sour is acidic. It generally doesn’t take much of a sour food to take a dish that is fairly bland and produce great flavor. Consider cultured dairy products, kimchi, sauerkraut, lemon, lime and vinegar.

Unami is the hardest flavor to describe. The word translates to mean “savoriness” and is often associated with meaty flavors and foods that are aged or cured. A seared red meat dish already has a unami quality, but if you are looking to make a vegetarian dish, or less flavorful chicken or fish dish more savory try soy sauce, fish sauce, miso paste, dried seaweed, beef or bone broth, parmesan, anchovies, tomatoes or mushrooms.

And what about fat? Although not on the list I feel fat should be another flavor or taste we should think about for food combining.


Take a look at the salad in my picture. I’ll put this together and have if for at least 3 meals, adding different ingredients each day. It’s so easy to pull out of the refrigerator and eat right away after a workout and I can eat a tone of it. So satisfying! I also really enjoy the textures of the shredded vegetables, crunch of the seeds and bursts of flavor from the pomegranate. If pomegranate is not in season I like to substitute grapefruit.

3 heads broccoli = bitter

1 small head cauliflower

2 large carrots = sweet

½ cup sunflower seeds (unsalted)

½ cup pomegranate seed= sour and sweet

½ cup mint

Salt and pepper to taste

With the shred blade and a food processor shred the broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Place in large bowl and stir in sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds, chopped mint, and salt and pepper to taste. Do not over salt as the dressing adds salty flavor as well.

Dressing: combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth

¼ cup tahini = Unami (you can sub any natural nut butter)

2 T rice vinegar = sour apple cider vinegar works ok but I like a more subtle vinegar

2 tsp miso= unami and salty

1 T maple syrup or honey= sweet

¼ cup + 1T hot water

Toss dressing into salad.

Other things I may add for additional pleasure on other days: grape tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, shredded chicken, hardboiled egg, or canned tuna.

Cooking and Multitasking

A topic that comes up from time to time with my clients is how to find time to cook a whole foods meal post workout.  I had this situation arise myself recently and thought I would share how I managed to cook, stretch post workout, take a shower and fold laundry all within 50 min! I had started preparation for a meal on a Sunday afternoon but by time dinner came around our plan had changed and the meal was not going to get cooked.  On Monday afternoon, I was on my bike in Central Park and negotiating how I was going to manage getting this meal cooked.  I’m strict about refueling within an hour of a workout (in this case a 2 hour bike ride) and sometimes turn to shakes and snacks, although they are great supplementation, sometimes these post workout mini meals turn into extra calories that I would prefer not to consume.

So here is the Spicy Coconut Chicken Casserole that I cooked, and the steps I took to get it all done in 50 min.

Spicy Coconut Chicken Casserole

This was originally a Martha Stewart recipe.  This serves 8 small dishes (1thigh each) or 4 large dishes. Nutrition data is for 8.

Ingredients:spicyCoconutChicien 1 Tbsp coconut oil 3 lbs chicken thighs 1/2 tsp sea salt 1/4 tsp black pepper 13 1/2 fl oz coconut milk 2 tsp curry paste 1 cup Arborio rice 2  bell pepper (red) 8 oz green beans 6 oz red onion 1 1/2 cups chicken broth


You can use chicken thighs or drumsticks. Arborio or jasmine rice are good choices. I used light coconut milk and went with red curry paste, 2-3 teaspoons is just a guide.

1.  Start with prep work and cut all veggies into 1-inch chunks or pieces. Skin chicken and trim the fat.

I completed these steps the day before.

2.  In Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in two batches, cook chicken until browned 3-4 min per side. Transfer to a plate.

While browning the chicken I brought my mat into the kitchen and stretched for a good 15 min, longer than I would usually stretch.

3.  Scrape chicken bits from bottom and add coconut milk, broth, 1/2 cup water, and curry paste. Taste and adjust spice while bringing to a boil. Stir in rice. Add chicken and any remaining juices arranging pieces in a single layer.  Cover, reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, without stirring until rice is done, about 15 min.

I made sure heat was adjusted and would not boil over.  Took my shower and dried my hair for 15 min while this simmered.

4. Scatter bell pepper, onion, and green beans on top, cover, and cook until vegetables are crisp tender, 8-10 min. 

I folded laundry and cleaned up around the kitchen for the last few minutes of cooking time.

Calories 385; fat 17g; saturated 7g; carb; 28g; protein 23g

Done!  Within 50 min post workout, got a great stretch in, got cleaned up and was refueled in less than an hour.  Plus this simple one dish meal gave me plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week.

Fueling Your Body During Exercise

There are a number of factors that determine what you should consume during exercise. The most notable factor is duration. The primary concern during short duration exercise is to maintain proper hydration. I require that all my clients bring water with them during our trainings, a sip here or there from a water fountain is not enough. If your exercise lasts less than and hour then purified drinking water should be adequate at low intensities. Bring the effort level up with heavy weight training, or exercising above that so called fat burning zone and now your workout should be accompanied by a sports drink or electrolyte replacement drink. If you are pregnant, have low blood sugar or are diabetic you should bring some carbohydrate based food as a back up for times when you feel your blood sugar dropping. In some cases a sports drink will work well for this population as well, the point is to plan and experiment.

Before I go further into sports drinks and electrolyte replacement I want to delve into the importance of water. Most people are dehydrated before they even begin exercise. Do you ever experience headaches and unusual fatigue during a workout? If so you are most likely dehydrated. Do you check your heart rate and notice that it seems a bit high for the level of work you are doing? This can also be a sign of dehydration. Before you even begin your workout you should be consuming water. The amount I recommend to start with is half your body weight in ounces of water. If you weigh 160 pounds, you should start tracking your water consumption and be sure to drink at least 80 ounces a day. On days you exercise you will need to consume even more. For those who workout first thing in the morning you should be aware that this is the time of day that your body is naturally most dehydrated, so drink up as soon as you roll out of bed.

What is in a sports drink or electrolyte replacement drink? An electrolyte replacement drink is designed to replace the fluids (that would be water) and electrolytes (which are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, etc) lost during exercise. Sports drinks and electrolyte replacement drinks are one choice for instant energy during moderate to heavy exercise and also for muscle recovery afterwards. The idea is to start hydrated before you workout, drink an appropriate amount of electrolyte fluid during exercise to maintain blood glucose levels and then perhaps ingest some as well after exercise to balance fluid losses.

Here’s the scoop on electrolytes and why you should think about whether you need to add this to your workouts. Electrolytes are minerals that, when dissolved in water, break into small, electrically charged particles called ions. They are present wherever there's water in your body, such as your blood, cells and cell surroundings. Electrolytes regulate your body's fluids, helping to maintain a healthy blood pH balance, and creating the electrical impulses essential to all aspects of physical activity; from basic cell function to complex neuromuscular interactions needed for athletic performance. Many people know sodium and chloride are among the body's most important electrolytes, they both help excite nerves and muscles, but don't think dousing your food with table salt (sodium chloride) is the key to proper electrolyte replacement. Consider these other key electrolytes:
Calcium - aids muscle contraction
Magnesium - aids healthy cell function
Potassium - helps regulate pH balance
Phosphate - helps regulate pH balance
If you eat a balanced diet you are probably consuming adequate quantities of electrolytes for normal human function. When consumed, electrolytes separate into positively and negatively charged ions in the water inside or surrounding each cell and in the bloodstream. As long as your hydration and electrolyte levels stay in balance, you enjoy normal physical function. However, add exercise to the equation and that balance begins to shift, first by increasing the concentration of electrolytes in your body and then, over time, depleting them from your blood stream. This circumstance can seriously hinder athletic performance and in extreme cases can lead to serious illness.

With so many options on the market, from Vitamin Water, to Gateroade, it can be difficult to make a good choice for a sports drink. Because so many of them are marketed as performance and so called health foods one may think that any of these popular brands would be appropriate. Look for these qualities in a sports drink and avoid the products that meet these criteria. Avoid high calories per serving, and pay particular attention to the serving size. During an hour of moderate intensity exercise most people will not need more than 120 calories. Look for sugars glucose, fructose, maltodextrin, and cereal starches. These are carbohydrate sources that are not recommended for people looking to reduce fat, maintain weight, or who are diabetic. Look carefully at the labels and avoid products with added coloring and dies. My favorite electrolyte replacement is called “want more energy” is only 35 calories a serving, is added to your water as you need it, and replaces all electrolytes. It also includes minerals which assist in absorption of the electrolytes and is all natural with no additional colors or dies.

There is also a time and place for drinks that are higher in calories and carbohydrates. Power events of short duration require rapid use of carbohydrates for fuel. For example a sprinting event, power lifting event, a race of short duration such as a 5K, as well as long endurance events all require additional carbohydrate and a drink or gel that includes electrolytes plus carbohydrates will be beneficial. If you are an endurance athlete participating in events that last more than an hour then you will need to replace carbohydrates throughout your training and racing. You will want to choose a product or combine products to replace fluids, electrolytes, and carbohydrates. It is extremely important to practice with the nutrition you will race with and recognize that it may take some time to come up with the right combination. Generally endurance athletes will choose to use gels or powder formulas for the additional calories along with electrolytes required. I highly recommend a line of products by Infinite Nutrition. They have both pre-formulated options and custom-made training and recovery products. If interested in ordering go to and use “compleat” as your discount code during check out and receive 10% off all your orders.

How do you know if you are getting enough fluids and replacing enough electrolytes? There are some very simple tests you should perform to determine this. First start by assessing your urine, is it yellow or almost clear? If it is dark yellow then you are already dehydrated. Keep in mind that when you take supplemental vitamins or eat certain foods it will change the color of your urine, so this is just a guideline. Try to get to a hydrated state before you exercise. Before you workout get on the scale and weigh yourself and then weigh yourself again after the workout. For every pound of body weight lost during exercise you need to consume 16 oz of fluid. Now look at your skin and clothing post workout. Are their white sweat marks on your clothes, are your clothes fairly damp, is your skin a little tacky or can you feel salt granules on your skin? These are all really great indicators of your sweat rate and the amount of electrolytes lost during your workout. Wet clothing means you lost a lot of water during your workout and based upon ho heavily you sweat you should consume 6-12 oz of fluid every 15-20 minutes of exercise. That amounts to a minimum of 18 ounces to maximum of 48 ounces in an hour. Now back to those nasty sweat marks. If you are salty, then you lost a lot of electrolytes and need to consume an electrolyte drink during and after exercise. Remember this does not necessarily need to be a high calorie drink, the key is to replace vital nutrients.

The key to properly fueling your body during training is to experiment with which foods in what quantities work best for your body. Consider the type of exercise, intensity, duration of exercise, time of day, when your last meal was, and your ultimate goal. Still feeling a bit at loss? Then contact me for a free nutrition and exercise consultation.

Fueling Your Body Pre-Exercise

Here are some questions my clients ask me.  Should I eat before my workout?  Is it better to exercise on an empty stomach so that I tap into my fat stores and burn them away?  I run out of energy during my workouts but have a sensitive stomach and can’t seem to figure out what works.  How much should I eat before going out for an easy jog?

If your goal is to perform well during exercise then you definitely want to eat prior to exercise.  The bottom line is that when you eat carbohydrate-rich foods before exercise, you will perform better, both mentally and physically during the workout.

If you have a sensitive stomach or find that you basically don’t feel great when you eat before exercise choose low-fiber and low-fat foods, they are easier to digest.  Also try to eat at least an hour before beginning your workout.  Avoid foods like peanut butter, cereals, bread and grains before your workout.  Both fat and fiber hold food in the stomach longer and if you have a sensitive stomach you will want to eat food that will be digested and out of your gut when you start exercise.  Some good low-fat, low-fiber options are banana, fruit salad, fresh berries, steamed non-gaseous vegetables, kefir, low fat yogurt, organic milk, soy milk or almond milk.  For those lifting weights a meal replacement shake may be appropriate such as the Isalean Shake

How much to eat is dependent on your body size, the type of exercise, intensity, duration, and ultimate goal of the exercise.  If you are exercising for fitness, at a low to moderate intensity for 60 minutes or less experiment with consuming 120 calories and see how that feels.  If the workout is very light, such as yoga, walking, or light cardio you may not need to eat.  In these cases an empty stomach may feel best or you can consider liquid calories like a half serving of 100% juice added to water, coconut water, or an electrolyte replacement drink.

What if your ultimate goal in exercising is to burn fat?  It is true that exercising on an empty stomach allows you to burn fat during exercise, but this does not necessarily translate into a reduction in body fat.  Why?  Because when you go into a workout with a low carbohydrate reserve you will feel less energetic and are likely to drop the intensity of your workout.  When you have low carbohydrate reserves generally exercise feels much harder.  Therefore if you were to get on a stationary cardio machine with low carbohydrate reserves and attempt a moderate to high intensity workout you would probably run out of fuel within 20 minutes resulting in a reduction in intensity and perhaps even total time of exercise.  But if you were working with the cardio machine and are planning for a very low intensity workout you would be more likely to sustain the intensity for up to an hour even if you had not had a meal or snack prior to exercise.  If your goal is to loose body fat you should be working at a moderate to high intensity.  In order to sustain that type of workout your body needs carbohydrate as fuel.  Therefore if you have not had a meal within approximately 2 hours you should consume a low calorie, carbohydrate rich food.  Some examples are ½ cup cooked oatmeal with some berries; whole grain bread, look for sprouted bread, along with no more than 1 Tablespoon of almond butter; or a small serving of organic yogurt with ¼ to ½ cup of fresh fruit.

If your goal is to  build muscle the pre workout meal is only a little different.  As stated before, any high intensity workout requires carbohydrate reserves for fuel.  Carbs power exercise and weight lifting, cycling, running, tennis, soccer, volleyball are all examples of high intensity workouts.  If you have not had food within 2-3 hours it is easy to blow through your glycogen stores and then your mental and physical energy will drop during your workout.  When trying to build muscle choose pre-workout meals that provide carbohydrate and a bit of protein.  Great options are hummus and raw veggies, oatmeal topped with seeds or nuts, baked sweet potato with a little cheese, slice of sprouted bread with 2 ounces of chicken or other lean meat, or snack on edemame.  I like to buy the edemame in the pod, it’s available as organic and already cooked in the frozen food sections.  The meal I am most likely to consume prior to weight training, running over one hour, or cycling over and hour is an Islean Shake which provides 23 grams of carbohoydrate (more if I add some fruit) and 23 grams of protein.

The key to properly fueling your body is to experiment with which foods in what quantities work best for your body.  Consider the type of exercise, intensity, duration of exercise, time of day, when your last meal was, and your ultimate goal.  Always keep in mind that with all exercise, except very low intensity, the purpose of the pre exercise meal is to provide the nutrition your body needs to complete the exercise for a given intensity with a particular goal in mind.  Contact me for a free nutrition and exercise consultation.

Dual Speed Work Session

Although I don't have a thoroughly planned triathlon program in place I felt it was time to start writing about what I am doing for training.  From October through December I wasn't training.  yes I was running, some swimming, very little cycling and plenty of weight training but no specific purpose.  It was nice to have some unstructured workouts for awhile but now I'm ready to take action so I have a great tri season this year.  My plan is to focus on Olympic distance races, 4-6 throughout the season, and throw in some road races, 10k to half marathon distance.

Yesterday, Sunday, was my long run for the week and really today should be an easy day but was feeling up for this, and I had the time bloked off in the AM so I went for it.  I woke up, had 4oz of Cleanse for Life and filled my water bottle up with Want More Energy and went to the gm in my building.  My upperbody workout is focusing on upperbody stabilization work and I did a circuit of 7 exercises and repeated 3 times.  Hamstrings feel a little tight today, but otherwise everything is good.

Immediately following I set up my indoor trainer in my office.  I've been riding on my terrace but today it feels like below 0 here on the waterfront.  Heat is off in the office and temp is at 54 so that is manageable.  My bike workouts have consisted of alternating weeks of speed and force for 1 day of the week and another day as either recovery endurance or muscular endurance.  Today it is Speed, and i'm using workout SS4 from my book.  Easy warm up spinning 95 plus rpm followed by 6x3 min at 95rpm in aero position and 3 min rest in climbing position in z1-2 at least 95rpm.  I have a pretty good play list going here and my cadence really does coincide with the music.  Hardest part of the workout was keeping the cadence up and I was supposed to work in HR Z3 but for most part was at top of Z2.  I was holding myself back a little but also know i'm running out of glycogen stores which is why i have not eaten.  Goal here is also to burn some fat!  Total workout time was 51 minutes and I did not do a proper cool down because i'm going into a run after this.

I really don't like treadmill workouts but at least intervals keep me more engaged than steady state or tempo workouts.  About 20 min after the bike ride i was on the treadmill in my gym.  I had hoped to get to the track, but it really is bitter out.  I have more water with want more energy and I had a honey stinger gell (about 120 calories) 10 min before the run.  Warmed up 10 minutes really easy jog and then prepared for this new interval workout.  Goal is 4x5 min at 20-30 sec slower than 5k pace.  I'm not going to worry so much about what pace i choose, but to choose a pace and stick to it.  I'm finding these treadmills are not calliberated properly anyway so will basically go by RPE and HR.  I was at 7:52 pcace for all 4 intervals and the 4th one was really hard.  For the rest interval I slowed to walk until HR got down to about 123 then jog for total of about 3 minutes before repeating again.  Feel the recovery period was sufficient.  Because it is so warm in here (at least to me it is) I feel my RPE was higher than it would have been with same workout outdoors.  My HR for the intervals ranged from Av of 174 to max of 195.  I feel if i was doing this on a track I could have worked faster.  Either way, next time I want to jog for the rest interval and try this outside.

The fact is I did really well on very little fuel over 3.5 hours.  This was my first brick (even though there was 20 minutes between) and my legs felt really fresh on the treadmill.  Will do this again, and will also try to do the run in the AM and bike in the PM and see how that goes.

I Just wanted to loose a few pounds

Thank you Umut for the following testimonial of your experience training with me. I really wanted to loose a few pounds, but even though I was dieting and going to the gym, I just couldn’t seem to get more than 5 pounds off.  After experiencing ho-hum results from in-gym trainers, I knew that this time around I wanted to work with an independent personal trainer.  After doing some research, I was pleased to find Carla and Compleat Fitness. I was impressed by the fact that Carla doesn’t just train people on the side – this is her full-time profession.  And in addition to her clients, Carla is constantly training her own body for marathons and triathlons – intimidating and motivating at the same time!

I’ve been working closely with Carla for about 5 months now.  She is even-keeled, professional, reliable, and easy to work with.  My sessions with her are supportive and positive, and I always leave feeling better than when I came in.   She manages to calmly weather my moments of frustration and keep me on track.

One of the reasons I chose Carla is that she has a wide skill set.  Some days we do free weights in the gym, some days we go for a run outdoors, and other days we do intervals and exercises in the park.  This type of cross-training has kept me from getting bored.  And Carla’s nutritional advice compliments our workouts well.  I’ve tried the nutritional supplements that she recommends and have been surprised and pleased by the results.  During the times when my weight seemed to plateau, the shakes and cleanses helped get me over the hump.

So far I can report that I’ve lost 15lbs (my goal!) and have gained strength and tone.  It’s not just the weight loss, the actual shape of my body has changed.  I’ve been getting compliments left and right, and I love how clothes fit me now.  As a doctor I’m sure I haven’t been the easiest of clients for Carla, but I have found that she is well-read, experienced, and knows her exercise physiology.  Carla has certainly gained my respect and I would not hesitate to recommend her.


IN SEASON: Watermelon

No other fruit says summer quite like thirst-quenching watermelon.  I had my first triathlon in Connecticut two weeks ago and at the end of the race there was plenty of food for the competitors to enjoy.  Unfortunately at this race there was nothing on the menu I wanted.  Then I saw a guy munching on a watermelon.  “Where did you get that”?  Man did those few wedges of sweet, juicy watermelon hit the spot. Much of the watermelon’s health-giving powers, as well as its blush color, are due to an abundance of the phytochemical lycopene.  By helping counter oxidative stress, lycopene may play a role in taming, inflammation, certain cancers and maintaining healthy eyesight.  Watermelon is also rich in citrulline, an amino acid used to make arginine, which relaxes blood vessels to help maintain a healthy heart.  And the seeds that we tend to discard?  They are packed with magnesium, a mineral vital for nerve function, blood pressure regulation, immunity, and bone health.  No wonder I was craving watermelon after swimming a mile, biking 25 and running 6.2 miles.

Want to know the best ways to eat this health giving summer delight?  

  • Juicy watermelon wedges are perfect fare for a picnic, beach day snack, or post exercise on a hot day.
  • Lay ½ inch thick watermelon slices on the grill and heat both sides
  • Puree extra watermelon and add to ice cube trays, freeze and add to your favorite beverage.
  • Chop or puree and add to salsas, chutneys, compotes, and vinaigrettes.
  • Add to a summer spinach salad.  A favorite of mine is spinach, watermelon, feta cheese, and mint leaves tossed with lime juice and olive oil.
  • For backyard parties carve out the watermelon and fill with other seasonal fruits.

Detoxifying Spring Seasonal Food: Millet

Millet is a grain that is fairly high in protein.  It is a gluten free wheat alternative excellent for consuming in the spring.  It has a sweet and salty flavor; is a diuretic; strengthens the kidneys; is beneficial to stomach and spleen-pancreas; moistens dryness; is alkalizing; and is anti-fungal- one of the best grains for those with Candida overgrowth. This simple spicy dish is versatile and is a hearty accompaniment to wIld salmon, a green salad, or steamed vegetables.  You can toast millet in a little oil before cooking to bring out the flavors.  For softer millet, add more water.  You can find this in boxes in the grain section of gourmet grocery stores or health food stores.  If the store has a bulk section it can often be found there as well.

Herbed Millet with Steamed Vegetables

1 cup millet

2 cups vegetable broth or water

½ onion finely chopped

3 small cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage.

Rinse millet well.  Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat.  Cook for 30-40 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.  Serve warm with steamed vegetables, chopped raw vegetables, fish or a salad.  Makes 4 servings.

NATURALLY DETOXIFYING FOODS: Foods to eat and Foods to avoid

Whether you are transitioning to a cleansing lifestyle or simply want to be more knowledgeable of which foods to consume to improve digestion and overall health these are good guidelines to follow. Maintenance Nontoxic Diet Guidelines

  • Eat organically grown wherever possible.
  • Drink filtered (or properly purified water).
  • Eat a natural, seasonal cuisine, focusing on fresh foods as much as possible.
  • Focus foods on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
  • If dairy and meat are part of your diet focus on low-or non-fat dairy products (particularly organic yogurt), fresh fish (not shell fish), organic poultry, and wild game such as buffalo.
  • Rotate foods, especially common allergens such as milk products, eggs, wheat, and yeast foods.
  • Cook in iron, stainless steel, glass, or porcelain cookware.  Avoid Tefflon and other fabricated non stick finishes
  • Avoid or minimize cured meats, organ meats, refined foods, canned foods, sugar, salt, saturated fats, coffee, alcohol, and nicotine.

Foods to Include during a Cleanse

  • Dairy substitutes: Rice and nut milks such as almond milk and coconut milk.
  • Non-gluten grains: brown rice, millet, amaranth, teff, tapioca, buckwheat, potato flour, quinoa, gluten-free oats.
  • Fruits and vegetables: unsweetened fresh or frozen whole fruits, water-packed canned fruits, diluted fruit juices, and raw, steamed, sautéed, juiced or roasted vegetables.
  • Animal proteins: fresh or water-packed fish, wild game, lamb, duck, organic chicken, and organic turkey.
  • Vegetable protein; split peas, lentils, and legumes.
  • Nuts and seeds: walnuts; sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds; hazelnuts; pecans; almonds; cashews; nut butters such as almond or tahini.
  • Oils; cold-pressed olive, flax, safflower, sesame, almond, sunflower, walnut, canola, and pumpkin.
  • Drinks: filtered or distilled water, decaffeinated herbal teas, seltzer or mineral water.
  • Sweeteners: brown rice syrup, agave nectar, stevia, fruit sweetener, and blackstrap molasses.
  • Condiments; vinegar; all spices including sea salt in moderation, pepper, basil, carob, cinnamon, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, and tumeric.

Foods to Exclude or Minimize during a Cleanse

  • Dairy and Eggs, even organic.
  • Butter and mayonnaise.
  • All processed foods: boxed cereals, frozen meals with additives, bread, canned goods.
  • Gluten including sources from bread and grains including wheat, corn, barley, spelt, kamut, rye, and oats.
  • Certain fruits and vegetables: oranges, orange juice, corn, creamed vegetables,
  • Animal protein in the form of pork, beef, veal, sausage, cold cuts, canned meats, frankfurters, and shellfish.
  • Soybean products such as soy sauce, soybean oil in processed foods, tempeh, tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt, and textured vegetable protein.
  • Peanuts and peanut butter.
  • Specific oils: shortening, processed oils, commercial salad dressings, and spreads.
  • Drinks: alcohol, all coffee, caffeinated beverages, and soft drinks.
  • Sweeteners: white and brown refined sugars, honey, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and evaporated cane juice.
  • Condiments: ketchup, relish, chutney, barbecue sauce, and teriyaki sauce.

Sustainable Meals: 4 Energy Boosters

When you are planning your midday meal, make sure it includes these nutrients for sustained energy throughout the afternoon. Complex Carbohydrates: Think of them as superpremium fuel for you body.  Complex carbs deliver more energy per bite than processed carbs or sugary sweets because they are digested more slowly and prevent spikes and subsequent dips in blood sugar.  A few good lunch sources include brown rice, bulgur, wheat berries, millet, hulled barley, whole grain pasta, beans, artichokes, pea pods, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, spinach, sweet potatoes, and zucchini.

Iron: This essential mineral helps the body produce hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to the muscles and brain.  Combine iron-rich foods with foods high in vitamin C for increased absorption.  Try watercress, arugula, spinach, collard greens, kale, chard, mustard greens, kidney beans, wheat bran, raisins, and blackstrap molasses.

Protein: Feel fuller longer!  Protein fulfills this promise by slowing digestion of other foods and regulating the energy release they provide.  Aside from lean meats try adding nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, tempeh, and eggs.

Good Fats: A little goes a long way when using these concentrated sources of energy that add flavor and make food more satisfying.  Use olive, coconut, flax and other plant-based oils, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, avocado, and natural nut butters.