Eating right can be a challenge for most people as the idea of changing your diet sometimes intimidates us because frankly, we don’t know where to start. But you don’t need to change your diet completely to get that healthy lifestyle your body deserves. With slight adjustments, a bit of planning and a positive outlook, introducing new things to your diet will serve great satisfaction in many more ways than you can imagine.
I had the chance to sit down and talk to nutritionist, Ishtar Yousif, also known as the @nutritionistafiles on Instagram, to discuss some healthy food trends and try some delicious home made recipes.
Born and raised in Toronto, Ishtar Yousif was always interested in natural health. With her mothers influence at a young age, Ishtar became more conscious of the food she ate as she took nutrition seriously. So seriously that she was able to make it through high school without buying or trying cafeteria food! All this lead to the realization that she could take this new found interest and turn it into a career. She studied at Ryerson University and received a Bachlors of Applied Science in Nutrition & Food.
What is it about nutrition that you are so passionate about? Why do you continue to do it?
I obsess over anything that makes you feel & look good! Understanding holistic health and the way our body responds to the food we eat is something I constantly educate myself on and like to have full awareness of. It goes beyond just eating well! There’s always an alternate way to combat a health ailment and cool new trends to boost metabolism or nourish your body from within. After going through an intensive program focusing mainly on Dietetics and working at a health food store upon graduating, I became partial to all things concerned with holistic health. I’ve become a hippie to say the least!
I also love staying in the know when it comes to health food trends and I’m constantly reading and experimenting along the way with new products within the industry.
Talk to me a bit about superfoods!
The infatuation around superfoods deserves all the hype! Superfoods are nutritionally dense foods that contain antioxidants; essential for boosting energy levels, maintaining healthy looking skin and preventing cancer. Açai, goji berries, cacao powder, bee pollen, spirulina, maca and matcha are all superfoods that have taken the health industry and followers by storm!
What are some of your favourite ingredients to use? Why?
- Acari, originating from Brazil, offers high level of antioxidants and is great for pre-workout as it is an energy booster.
- Spirulina-Blue-green algae aka “Natures multivitamin” is key to healthy looking skin, hair and nails and is a great source of protein.
- Mac is grown in Peru and not only will it boost energy levels, but it’ll balance out hormones for both male and females. It’s bit potent so I wouldn’t use more than 1 tsp at a time.
- Cacao powder is an antioxidant and magnesium rich which will help with muscle fatigue and nerve support.
- Matcha, my personal favourite and you’ll understand when you try for yourself is a potent green tea powder which has properties (l-theanine & EGCg) that boosts energy without the caffeine crash. It increases metabolism, soothes the soul and calms the mind!
- Turmeric, consider it “Natures Gold”. Simply known to have superior Anti-inflammatory and cancer preventing properties. The benefits go above and beyond the obvious and is something I highly recommend reading up on to counteract many health ailments. Many people don’t know this but if you make a numeric latte before bed you’ll have a really great nights sleep.
- Bulletproof coffee is an organic coffee with a touch of grass-fed butter (butter derived from grass-fed cows=healthy fat) and brain octane oil blended together to make an energy and metabolism boosting cup of joe! It helps you get that youthful glow, aids in weight loss and improves cognitive function! I make this before my morning workout and I feel energized and satisfied for hours!
7. What is one dish that you cannot live without?
If we’re talking about a healthy dish-Scrambeled eggs with chopped dates & cinnamon (and a side of gluten free toast topped with grass-fed butter & honey. Not so healthy-Pasta!
8. What advice would you give to someone who is trying to create a healthier lifestyle/eating habits for themselves?
9. What keeps you on track with your healthy lifestyle?
I am self-disciplined enough to avoid anything that doesn’t make me feel my best. I find that having a pantry/fridge stocked up with all of my essentials, prevents me from gorging on just anything-especially when I’m hangry!
10. What does an average day for the nutritionista flies look like?
I almost always know what I’m going to have for breakfast in the morning because I think of it before I go to bed! (You know you’re a foodie when…) I make time for breakfast no matter what and will wake up early enough just so I can sit down and savour it without rushing for work. I go to my morning Barre or Pilates class at my second home/workplace, Body Barre Fitness. If it’s a work day at the studio, I stay put and carry on with my tasks as Operations Manager. When I have free time, I experiment with new recipes, catch up on vlogs (Negin Mirsalehi, Mimi & Alex Ikonn).
Recipes to Try!
Rich & Smooth- Avocado Chocolate Mousse
- Blend 3 avocados
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tbsp pure cacoa powder
- 1/2 bar 80% organic dark chocolate (Greens Blacks)
- 3 medjool dates
- 1 tbsp coffee
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Top with lemon zest, coconut flakes, fresh berries, goji berries, whatever your heart desires.
Green goddess smoothie
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/4 avocado
- 1/2 cup vita coco coconut water
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tsp organic matcha powder
- 1 tsp spirulina
- 1 tbsp vanilla Iron Vegan protein
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 Medjool date
Wholesome Winter Salad
- Roast sweet potato by cutting into wedges, marinate with olive oil, turmeric, cayenne, pink salt, black pepper and lemon juice
- Toss and pop in oven at 400 for approx. 25-30 min.
- 1/2 cup cooked lentils
- Sliced radishes
- Sliced red onion
- Pumpkin seeds
- EVOO, lemon and tahini drizzle
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (alcohol free)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp organic matcha
- Heat in small saucepan over medium heat until boiling
- Remove from heat and blend using immersion blender (any blender) to get that beautiful foam on top! Pour into your favourite cup & enjoy!
Follow Ishtar on Instagram to see her journey through health food trends @nutritionistafiles