wellness services

  • Introductory consultation to discuss goals and health history
  • Customized. individualized visual workout plan and stretches delivered via TrainWithMe app
  • Weekly video conference to discuss progress
  • Available for assistance developing nutritional plan
  • Available for assistance shopping for and preparing meals
  • Guidance with mindfulness meditation and mental training for competition

Background & experience

  • B.S. in biomedical engineering from Columbia University
  • Masters and PhD in biomedical sciences, focus on oncology and immunology, from New York University
  • 14+ years experience in medical research
  • 15+ years training as an athlete and fitness enthusiast

Let’s discuss how we can work together to improve wellness through lifestyle. Contact me at cultivatedcuriosity@gmail.com

 

Turkey Burgers

Turkey burgers

Weeknight dinners need to be simply prepared and sometimes prepped ahead of time when we are busy with after school activities or trips to the park. These turkey burgers are a go-to weeknight meal for our family because you can prep them in a flash, set aside in the fridge to cook just before dinner, or prepare and take out on the go. The Ras El Hanout seasoning, a traditional warming Moroccan flavor, contains turmeric and clove, which are both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich, and cumin, which aids digestion.  Enjoy!

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 12 min

Ingredients

  • 2 lb organic ground turkey meat
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp Ras El Hanout seasoning 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan 
  • 1/2 cup panko or bread crumbs
  • For serving: toasted wheat buns, spinach, tomato, mustard, ketchup 

Add ons:

  • finely chop 1/2 cup turkish figs for sweetness and add to burger mix
  • coarsely chop 1/2 almonds for added crunch and add to burger mix

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, eggs, finely diced onion, all seasonings, parmesan and panko.
  2. Mix until combined.
  3. Separate into 8 patties.
  4. Grill at 350-400 degrees or cook in large pan coated with olive oil at medium/high heat for approximately 5 min per side. Burgers should be firm when pressed with spatula to indicate meat is fully cooked.
  5. Serve over greens or on a toasted bun with tomato and your favorite condiments.
  6. Freeze extra burgers wrapped in foil and sealed in freezer bag.

Project: Make it rain

Project: Make it rain

“Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy.” Miss Frizzle, the adventurous teacher from “The Magic School Bus,” said it best with these words. As a mom of two young children, I see firsthand how children naturally want to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy. It’s important for us adults to encourage their exploration and not caution against it because it might make a mess. These projects don’t have to be complicated—they only require our excitement, attention, and a good dose of curiosity. 

All summer long, we’ve been reading “The Magic School Bus” books and enjoying some of the episodes on Netflix. These books, which are colorful and well-written explanations of topics ranging from how hurricanes form to how we fight infections, are an inspiration for simple at-home science projects. Below is a fun project that you can do with items you have readily available at home.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • Tin can (from canned food)
  • Tongs
  • Oven mitt
  • Tea kettle
  • Stove
  • Bowl to catch “rain”

Instructions

  1. Boil water in tea kettle
  2. Add several ice cubes to tin can
  3. When water is boiling, hold tin can over steam that is coming from kettle with tongs and oven mitt
  4. Place bowl on counter under tin can
  5. As tin can heats and ice melts, watch rain droplets form on the bottom of tin can and catch them in the bowl

What’s happening?

As the water in the kettle is heated, it evaporates into vapor. The vapor (steam) escapes from the kettle and hits the cold ice-filled tin can held above it. This cools the steam causing the vapor to condense into water droplets, which then drip off the can into the bowl.  

Protein: it’s what’s for breakfast

FullSizeRender 4Many of us can recall at least a few mornings when we were told, “Don’t skip your breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day.” This sentiment is true—eating breakfast is essential to our health. At breakfast time, we are breaking an overnight fast and it’s critical for us to consume the nutrients we need to prepare our body and mind for the day. It’s not just consuming any breakfast that’s important, but consuming a breakfast that is packed with protein that’s key. 

How does protein fuel our body?

Protein digestion begins in the stomach, where proteins are split into smaller parts (proteoses, peptones, and large polypeptides). Digestion continues in the upper portion of the small intestine, where most protein digestion occurs, and then through the GI tract. The end result of protein digestion is amino acids and small peptides, specifically di- and tripeptides. These amino acids are essential for most biological processes, including: the transport and storage of nutrients; function of organs, glands, tendons, and arteries; wound healing; and tissue repair of muscles, bones, skin, and hair. Lack of protein leads to anemia, physical weakness, edema, vascular dysfunction, and impaired immunity. Protein is indispensable because it is the only dietary source of the amino acids necessary for carrying out these biological processes.

How does protein at breakfast improve our wellness?

Through various mechanisms, consuming a high protein breakfast changes appetite, hormonal signals, and neural signals that affect our mood, energy, and food intake throughout the entire day. When we eat protein at breakfast, the levels of tyrosine, one of the amino acids synthesized by protein digestion, in the brain is increased. This results in the production of norepinephrine and dopamine, neurotransmitters that make us feel awake and alert.  Protein consumption at breakfast also lowers the daily level of ghrelin. Ghrelin stimulates the appetite by regulating the secretion of Ghrelin Hormone (GH), resulting in the desire to eat. When ghrelin levels are lower, we may stave off hunger longer between breakfast and lunch. Protein at breakfast reduces activation of the brain in the amygdala, hippocampal, and midfrontal corticolimbic regions, which helps prevent pre-dinner snacking. Breakfasts that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates also lead to lower blood glucose and insulin levels post-breakfast, which helps stabilize energy levels. Overall, consuming protein at breakfast can help to set us up for a high-energy day where we aren’t starving by lunchtime. 

How much protein do we need?

Kids require approximately 1-1.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight. For a 50 lb child, that is 23-34 grams of protein per day. Adults require 0.8 g/kg – 1.6 g/kg. For a 150 lb adult, that is 55-109 g per day. If you or your child are more active, err on the higher end of the spectrum. 

How can we fuel our bodies with protein in the morning?

As a parent, I know how busy mornings become getting oneself and children ready, while ensuring everyone in the family starts the day with proper nutrition. I admit, our kids don’t always sit at the breakfast table, but often play before we head out the door. Because of this, I’ve gotten in the habit of making everyone a smoothie, packed with protein, that can be eaten while they’re enjoying play time. I hope you enjoy our “good morning smoothie” for the kids and “berry chocolate shake” for the adults as much as we do!