Fighting Seasonal Allergies: Spring Clean Your Diet
Summer is finally in the air—the smell of freshly cut grass, the warmth of sunshine on our skin and yes, those dreaded allergies that linger around us like a low hanging fog. But before you break into your stash of nasal sprays and miracle meds, give your immune system a boost by shaking up your diet.
A new seasonal palette of lighter, fresher ingredients give our bodies a chance to detox naturally, build immunity, cleanse the digestive system and kick start our metabolism. Read our tips to learn how making a few simple changes to your diet can help navigate spring’s stickiest situations.
Manage Mucus Mayhem
You know that uncomfortable sinus pressure and congestion that re-emerges every year? You can thank the cold winter air for that. Dry sinuses and a buildup of thick mucus often carry over into spring, making us more prone to allergy and cold symptoms.
The Remedy: Ginger, turmeric and dandelion, usually harvested in early spring, scrub intestinal mucus and increase circulation and digestion, helping our bodies to naturally rid themselves of toxins we may have accumulated over the winter months. Add them to teas, dressings and marinades to reap their immune boosting powers and—bonus!—enjoy an extra kick of flavor.
While we love the hardy root vegetables and comfort foods of winter, our digestive tracts can’t wait for the lighter alternatives of summer. Incorporating fresh, seasonal ingredients, like antioxidant-rich fruits, will not only help cleanse your digestive system, it will also boost your metabolism (hello, warm weather wardrobe!).
The Remedy: Berries and cherries are loaded with antioxidants that help cleanse the gut and lymphatic system for smoother digestion and increased immunity. On the savory side, dark leafy greens like cabbage are loaded with chlorophyll, which promotes intestinal health.
Safeguard Against Symptoms
Endless sneeze sessions, coughing attacks, watery eyes, an itchy nose—sound familiar? Such are the woes of seasonal allergies. Fear not, there is hope for you yet. Adding summer vegetables into your diet, while limiting processed foods, alcohol and dairy can help manage symptoms.
The Remedy: Every season has its own buzz-worthy list of super foods. For summer, cabbage, arugula, asparagus, squash, bell peppers, and watercress are the superheroes of allergy defense. Also, green onions and garlic are packed with quercetin, which acts like an antihistamine to help protect the respiratory tract against air-born allergens. And since we believe in the holistic power of good nutrition, all of these ingredients are included in our menu offerings.
June 2015 Newsletter: Issue 1
Meet Elle, a professional hair stylist living in New York and working at Paul Labrecque Salon who, for the better part of her adult life, has ventured every diet fad on the market. Sound familiar? It should, because we’ve all either been in her shoes or know someone who has. Well, gee, after years of trying, something had to eventually work, right? Wrong, the only thing you end up losing is a giant plateful of self-esteem. Most of these fads are just that—fleeting trends without any real power of sustainability.
Elle learned the hard way that to truly make a change—and maintain that success—you have to pay attention to the content of what you’re eating, not just the calorie count. A 100-calorie frozen meal may sound like a good low-cal option, but besides the fact that it’s loaded with sodium and artificial preservatives, no one wants to eat that for the next fifty years. And a boring, artificial diet is kryptonite to any healthy lifestyle.
For Elle, growing up as an athlete meant she could pretty much eat whatever she wanted without worrying about her weight—and with her mom’s nightly homemade dinners, she did just that. But the older she got and the less active she became, the more she noticed her weight fluctuating. Then finally, after years of failed attempts, a friend recommended The Fresh Diet. In Elle’s words, this was her turning point. Working in the beauty industry puts a lot of pressure on looking and feeling your best. And after a long day trekking across Manhattan between weddings and photo shoots, the last thing she has time for is cooking and meal prep. With the convenience of daily Fresh Diet deliveries, Elle can eat fresh, delicious food without having to sacrifice good nutrition.
Three years later, Elle is still a faithful Fresh Diet customer. With a newfound confidence and the freedom to focus on things other than her calorie count, Elle is working toward starting a family and owning her own business.
CRAFTING THE FRESH DIET EXPERIENCE
Here at The Fresh Diet, our mission to connect people with convenient, delicious and fresh eating solutions is one that hits close to home. Having started my journey in the fresh meal delivery industry nearly 13 years ago, this mission is what drives my leadership.
I left my career in finance in 2003 after realizing the compromising effects it was having on my health and wellbeing. As an active professional, healthy nutrition and food choices often took a backseat to whatever I could eat on the run to my next meeting. Before long, I found myself on a downward spiral of low energy, lack of focus, and of course, weight gain.
After taking a step back and reevaluating my life, I embarked on a mission to find a better, more convenient way to eat well. Living in New York—where the world is at your fingertips—I set out to explore and learn everything I could about the food/restaurant industry. Then, with a spark of inspiration and all of my savings in hand, I took the leap into entrepreneurship. I started an online fresh meal delivery service with a nutrition solution that could be customized for each customer. I knew that, like me, there were probably thousands of time-starved, active people who could benefit from a meal plan that’s convenient without sacrificing taste and freshness. Fortunately, I was right and soon found myself serving a loyal following of influential New Yorkers like Marcia Gay Harden and Mary Louise Parker.
Now, with The Fresh Diet, we continue to garner a fervent and growing community and work tirelessly to create an unparalleled experience for our customers. In that spirit of innovation, we’re excited to announce a series of enhancements coming to The Fresh Diet, beginning with a new menu this June. Our new Chief Culinary Officer, Chef Silvia de Antonio, will deliver an array of dishes that boast the latest global culinary trends and follow the principles of the Mediterranean diet. We look forward to serving you and, as always, we welcome your feedback.
Thank you for your continued support,
Bryan Janeczko, CEO
MEET THE CHEF: SILVIA DE ANTONIO
Before Silvia became a world-traveled chef, she was a little girl in her mother’s kitchen with a big passion for food. Eventually, that passion grew into an obsession and she launched a career as a chef. Having grown up in Spain, the influence of the Mediterranean is evident in Silvia’s culinary philosophy. Now, as the Chief Culinary Officer for The Fresh Diet, she infuses healthy dishes with rich, global flavors for a fresh, unique dining experience. We sat down with Silvia to talk about her background in cooking, her most memorable meals, her inspiration for the new summer menu and so much more.
When you travel, it helps you grow. You can read about different foods from different places but as a chef, you don’t really learn until you immerse yourself in the culture. When you can see the food like a local, you’re able to translate those local ingredients into new dishes. Take tomatoes, for example. Tomatoes are tomatoes everywhere, but their taste will vary depending on the seeds, the soil and what you top them with. Add basil and it’ll take you to Italy. Add cilantro and it’ll take you to Mexico. Add mint, it’ll take you to Greece or the Middle East. When I’m cooking, the ingredients I have on hand will guide me in a certain direction.
Ethiopian, Moroccan and Portuguese. They’re a lot of really great, rich flavors in those cultures.
This could be a very long list! I’d have to say my go-to ingredients are olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, eggs, avocado, tomato, potato, chickpeas, and pasta.
To be honest, the inspiration came from a number of places. I try to keep up with food trends and develop dishes around things I see popping up in the industry. The first thing I do is study and analyze the trends to see what our menu needs to set it apart. At the same time, I try to maintain a sense of familiarity so our customers feel comfortable. I play with flavors, colors and textures and then I put them into place. Some meals happen by accident, others are inspired by things I’ve grown up with, like my Romesco Sauce from Cataluña.
A Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and healthy and monounsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts, avocados and fish—all heart healthy ingredients that promotes longevity. It’s not that Mediterranean dishes are especially complicated or require a special technique. At its core, it’s about deriving deep flavor from simple ingredients prepared simply. To achieve this in our new summer menu, we’re pairing seasonal fruits and vegetables to give the meals a full, fresh flavor.
Well, like most chefs, I always consider flavors first. And then I figure out how to adapt it within our nutritional parameters. Working at The Fresh Diet keeps nutrition and health in the front of my mind, so I play with things like texture to make meals feel fresh and exciting.
It’s all about knowing how to use your ingredients. Experimenting with cooking techniques, spices and food combinations can have a huge impact on flavor. People often hear the word ‘fat’ and run away, but there are a lot of healthy fats than can be used in place of bad fats that will add a lot of flavor. You don’t have to give up Italian just because you’re on a diet. You just have to understand that eating Italian doesn’t always mean having a heaping bowl of pasta loaded with cheese—there’s so much more to the culture than that. Especially with the Mediterranean diet, the philosophy is all about using local flavors and fresh ingredients to get the most out of your dishes.
I wish I had a knack for music—I love to sing! But, trust me, I’m much better at cooking than I am at singing.
Not that I’m aware of… but give it time!
My kitchen is always stocked with fresh vegetables and fruits. They’re so versatile and can be used in meals or eaten as snacks.
Oh, that’s easy—that fats are bad. Fats are not bad. Bad fats are bad. But there are so many great heart-healthy and cholesterol-lowering fats. I also wish people would stop thinking that vegetarian diets are protein deficient. Beans, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, and soy are all wonderful sources of protein.
I let them participate in the whole process, from buying the ingredients to cooking the meal and, in some cases, planting or harvesting from local farms. I combine healthy food with things I know they like. For kids, it’s not just about the end result. Sometimes, we turn it in into a game—like juicing with different fruits and vegetables and trying to guess what color it will be.
Bacalao Pil Pil—a traditional dish from the Basque Country that’s well known all over Spain.
It was at Sushi Kaji in Toronto. To this day, it’s the best sushi I’ve ever eaten in my life. The chef selects all his fish and it’s flown in that same morning from Australia or Japan. The flavors are incredible and are all very different from one another. And the presentation is beautiful.
It was in a friend’s country house the day after their daughter’s wedding. There were people from all over and the star of the meal was the Lobster Paella. They’re still craving another one.
To visit the 7 Wonders of the world.
Pad Thai noodles. Finding the right rice noodles is an important part of it, as well as the tamarind sauce.
It’s like a cocktail…a little here, a little there. Past experience, diversity, current trends and how I’m feeling that day all play a big role, as well.
I want to help people understand the importance good food should have in their lives. How eating healthy and nutritious food doesn’t mean giving up the pleasure of enjoying a meal. I focus a lot on combining different culinary cultures and I hope my work will help people appreciate diversity as something that’s positive and enriching.
So to help you navigate any sticky situations—like avoiding those bowls of chips and sugary cocktails—try these simple recipes from Chef Silvia de Antonio for your next party.
June 2015 Newsletter: Issue 1
SAVOR YOUR SUMMER WITH OUR NEW 5 & 2 PLAN
Ahhhh, summer—the smoky smell of backyard barbecues, the splashy sounds of parties by the pool and the fruity flavors of outdoor happy hours come to mind. We know what you’re thinking. These are death traps for any diet that has a fighting chance of sticking. And for most crash diets, that’s usually true. But this isn’t a crash diet. And here at The Fresh Diet, we don’t think you should have to give up these little indulgences. So, in the spirit of fun and flexibility, we’ve created a new kind of program designed around your summer schedule: the 5 & 2 Plan. Simply choose which five days you’d like to enjoy fresh delivered meals and take the other two days off. Now, that doesn’t mean you can eat chocolate cake six times a day for two days straight. Use the principles of portion control and sensible nutrition you’ve learned with The Fresh Diet and those two days will never throw you off track.
Our mission is to provide you the tools you need to be successful in your wellness journey. So to help you navigate any sticky situations, try these simple recipes for your next party and avoiding those bowls of chips and sugary cocktails will be a breeze.
FRESH DIET BLOG ON: SHANNON STONE-WINDING
A new year brings with it new opportunities and a chance to start afresh. Shannon Stone-Winding is happy to be returning to Fresh Diet. Shannon’s remarkable journey started in March of 2011. After a visit to her doctor and a weigh in of 611 pounds Shannon knew she had to take action – and fast! ‘I felt like I was going to die. It was my rock bottom!” Shannon immediately contacted The Fresh Diet and began on the program. She also joined a waiting list for the Wellness Center at Chicago’s Northwestern Hospital.
By following the program Shannon lost a significant 75 pounds. The loss meant she was eligible for the sleeve surgery. Following her approval, the surgery was performed by Dr. Alex Nagle in December 2011. Shannon continued with The Fresh Diet following the surgery to accelerate her results. During the surgery recovery, she was limited on her intake and after two years had the gastric bypass surgery in July of 2014. She has lost a stunning total of almost 300 pounds.
Shannon loves the fresh food on the program and enjoys returning to her “gift bags” at her door each morning. “As a true Chicago foodie”, she is adamant that had the food not been up to the highest standard of quality and taste, she would have reverted to old habits and not reached her goals. Shannon speaks from experience as she has tried other delivery services and has used freezer meals. “Nothing compares to The Fresh Diet!” In addition to the food, she also enjoys The Fresh Diet newsletter, social media platforms and now the nutritionist!
As the Assistant to the Dean for Special Projects at DePaul University School for New Learning Shannon’s job is extremely busy. “Grabbing my bag as I walk out the door and treating myself with small meals throughout the day is now part of my routine.” This structure, in connection with therapy, fitness and other wellness activities is the new and improved rhythm to Shannon’s life.
“When I started this journey, I would use a cane and walker daily and on vacations an electronic wheelchair. My goals were small: to walk with no assistive devices, to lower my medications, to live. Now, my ultimate goal is to live well with my husband, Derrick, extended family and friends! I use no assistive devices, am off my medications and life is much larger than I knew! My possibilities are endless! I am grateful for all the support from my family, friends, Fresh Diet team, Northwestern medical team and support group buddies, and my extended DePaul family!”
Shannon is continuously using Fresh Diet on her ongoing journey in regaining control of her health and her life! The Fresh Diet team tip our hats to her! Bring on 2015 – Shannon is ready!
YOU ASKED FOR MORE VARIETY & WE DELIVERED!
In addition to our already delicious food choices, we are kicking off our new menu on Valentine’s Day with a filet mignon accompanied by a creamy hollandaise sauce and our new decadent strawberry cheesecake. These are not the only new items! Take a look below to see more and let us know what’s your favorite?
|Bacon & Cheddar Breakfast Cornbread Muffin with Pineapple
Only 280 Calories
Bacon, cheddar cheese, scallions, onions, and tomatoes baked into a cornbread muffin and served with a sweet side of fresh pineapple.
Only 70 Calories
A hearty blend of a vegetable and zesty cocktail sauce served with a large poached shrimp.
|Shrimp and Corn
Only 90 Calories
A sweet and savory combination of shrimp and corn, cooked and blended with onions, bell peppers, and celery to make for a warm and satisfying meal.
Only 210 Calories
A delicate combination of fresh red snapper with garden raised vegetables and hand-picked herbs brought together in a savory broth that is sure to delight the appetite and thrill the taste buds.
Only 300 Calories
Traditional southern comfort food is found in this dish of smooth tomato sauce with fresh vegetables and diced chicken served with rice.
|Filet Mignon and Hollandaise
Only 280 Calories
Hand selected beef filet seasoned and grilled to perfection, accompanied with a delicate and creamy hollandaise sauce for the ideal savory pairing served with your choice of sides.
Only 240 Calories
Decadence is delivered with our new smooth and creamy cheesecake, baked in a hand formed graham cracker crust, and draped with a homemade strawberry topping.
Don’t wait, login to try our new menu items!
Although you see almost every person around you carrying a water bottle, H2O is actually the second most popular drink in America after Soda. The number one complaint about water is the taste or actually, lack of taste. If this is the reason you are not reaching the recommended 6-8 glasses a day, creating delicious, fruity detox waters, could very well be your savior. Water not only keeps you hydrated but it also keeps your vital organs in their best possible heath. These waters contain ingredients like lemon which helps to flush harmful toxins from your body, mint which aids in digestion, cucumber which contains anti-inflammatory properties and ginger which is a natural pain reliever and aids in digestion. Out of all the different detox water recipes we have seen, here are our picks for the most delicious and beneficial:
½ gallon spring water
½ grapefruit, sliced
½ cucumber, sliced
2-3 mint leaves
½ lemon, sliced
½ lime, sliced
These days, many people are concerned with weight loss programs and which ones are best. There are thousands of options for losing weight and hundreds of options on different weight loss programs. Healthywomen.org presents a wonderful article helping determine which weight loss programs work and what things you should stick to.
The Fresh Diet helps it’s clients by using the following proven weight loss strategies.
When I think of winter I think of the holidays, food, socializing, pictures and trying to keep warm! But there is no sabotage to the waistline like that of baggy sweaters and coats, which mask all of the holiday drinks and treats we keep indulging in. Holiday photos last forever and I want to assist you in making it a picture perfect holiday by sharing some tips to help you avoid packing on the pounds this season but still enjoying all the delicious treats that may come your way.
Alcohol: Moderation! Everyone enjoys an adult beverage every now and then. If you just have to have it remember that moderation is key to keeping calories down and try alternating with holiday drinks and water to reduce your intake.
Eggnog: This holiday staple can easily add hundreds of calories to your daily intake and quickly kill your waistline. Try having one part skim milk and one part eggnog to cut the calories. If you feel really motivated go for 3 parts skim milk and 1 part eggnog and skip the whipped cream.
Hot Chocolate: When treating yourself to this winter favorite ask for it to be made with low fat or skim milk. Try and skip the toppings all together but if you just have to have it go for just one spoon of whipped cream and try the mini marshmallows to cut calories!
Cider: Choose ciders with the lowest amount of sugar and feel free to treat yourself to some extra flavor by adding extra cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves!
Fats: Go for vegetable oils versus butter. These have added health benefits and save more calories than butter and shortening. And if you’re feeling adventurous cut the fat in half by doing one part oil and one part sugar free.
Dairy: Try replacing holiday ingredients like mayonnaise, cream cheese and sour cream with equal parts of low fat yogurt. Replace heavy cream, whole milk and cheeses with low-fat or skim versions can also reduce calories by more than half.
Grains: Opt for whole grain versions of bread, rice, pasta and flours. Can’t commit to that just yet? Try going half white and half whole grain in your favorite dishes to start your transition.
Extracts: Adding peppermint, vanilla and nut extracts can add lots of flavor to your favorite dishes!
Forget the fryer! Roasting, baking, broiling and grilling are all healthier options than frying. Whether its holiday veggies, meats or desserts you can always find an alternative to frying while still getting that crunchy and crispy texture.
Sodium: This can add up to thousands of milligrams in one day! Use low sodium broths and more herbs and spices to add flavor and save on sodium. Canned items have tons of sodium so be sure to rinse canned foods before using. This can cut as much as 40% of the sodium!
Never go to a party hungry! Have a piece of fruit or a glass of water before heading to your party or eating a meal to cut the calories. You can always eat one of your Fresh Diet Snacks before you depart. Be prepared and remember moderation is key. When you’re tempted to go for seconds or to graze on a buffet have a glass of water!
Food can symbolize many things during this season but try not to focus on the food too much and enjoy building memories with those around you. Remember that if you do overdo it during the holidays, you can always get a Fresh Start with The Fresh Diet. Our meal plans have something to suit every taste and lifestyle need. From Gluten Free to Fresh Vegetarian and Premium Choice, The Fresh Diet’s at home meal delivery will be wishing you health and happiness for years to come!