HOLISTIC NUTRITIONIST & HEALTH COACH

I am Nimisha Gandhi, a sustainable food lover and cooking aficionado living in San Francisco. Graduating with a B.S. in Psychobiology from UCLA, working in clinical research at UCLA and Baylor College of Medicine, and becoming a certified Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic nutritionist, my PASSION is health. I am DEDICATED to helping people find their TRUTH through lifestyle and nutritional work. My work is research-based, intuitive, and from the SOUL.

I believe you must really love yourself to be your healthiest self. Eating food that is plant-based, nutrient-rich, and brings ENERGY to your body is one of the greatest ways you can RESPECT and LOVE yourself and the people in your LIFE.

I specialize in women’s health, specifically in fertility, prenatal, and postpartum nutrition. I also do private nutrition and lifestyle coaching and consulting for companies. You can also find me hosting wellness and nutrition workshops in San Francisco. Please contact me via email if you are interested in what I do or if I can be of service to you in any way.

Club Dine In is continuously evolving. I started it as a company when I was a newlywed, trimmed it down to only a blog, and it is currently a landing page. I am super ACTIVE on Instagram. I am a mother to a child so full of LIFE that I am suspended in a state of awe.

*All images are my own, unless noted.

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Free Health and Wellness Series in San Francisco

I am nearly done with nutrition school! Woohoo. To complete the program, I am teaching a FREE health and wellness series at More Mojo Studios.

Be inspired to expand healthy changes in your life patterns by signing up for this free life-changing health and wellness program. During the nutrition program, you’ll learn foundations of nutrition, and why they are essential for a life of optimal quality and vitality.

Saturday, June 21 at 11am- Foundation to Eating for Health
Wednesday, June 25 at 7pm- Lean Protein and Good Fats
Saturday, June 28 at 11am- A Rainbow of Cleansing and Protective Foods at Every Meal
Wednesday, July 2 at 7pm – Sustainable Nutrition: An Eating for Health Banquet

 

Nutrition Series

Simple Ways To Include More Vegetables Onto Your Plate

Last week I discussed why you should eat more vegetables and in this post I am going to discuss how you should include more vegetables each time you eat. Vegetables can seem intimidating because there is some basic cooking required, but with the right mindset and plan, they too can be conquered and loved.

Please leave your suggestions on how to eat more vegetables and what resources you use in the comments!

peas

1. Set up a game plan. The first step to eating more vegetables daily is to make a weekly meal plan. The more you meal plan and cook, the less time you will spend making a meal plan. A meal plan will also help you avoid filling up on processed foods. Collect recipes on Pinterest, subscribe to healthy recipe sites and/or blogs, download cooking apps, buy a good cookbook, or just make it up as you go. If you are new to cooking, stick with the vegetables you are comfortable with and introduce yourself to one or two new vegetables each week. Farmers love talking about the food they grow and can give you tons of tips on how to cook and store them. My favorite way to cook vegetables is to sauté with good olive oil until they are tender. I often add spices like ginger, garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, and/or fresh herbs for flavor. This cooking method requires minimal effort and the vegetables always taste good.

Next, you need to fill up your fridge and freezer with vegetables. The only way you can have vegetables in your refrigerator is if you make it a goal to shop for fresh vegetables. Make it a point to go to the farmers market, sign up for a CSA, or shop at the grocery store. Put it in your calendar or us a nifty phone app that will remind you to shop. Also, make sure to always have your favorite vegetables in the freezer for the times when you cannot buy fresh produce.

2. Choose quality vegetables. Most of us have pretty terrible memories when it comes to eating vegetables. String beans from a can, frozen crinkle-cut carrots, and mushy peas can make anyone want to shun vegetables- forever. Though, it doesn’t have to be that way. Fresh vegetables are not only very beautiful, they taste awesome raw and cooked. Actually, fresh vegetables require minimal cooking skills because their flavor excels on their own. Try to buy as local as possible to get the tastiest stuff. Vegetables that have traveled 2000 miles to get your plate are old, picked before their ripeness, and sprayed with chemicals to increase shelf life. On the other hand, local produce is picked when it’s ripe so the vegetables had time develop its natural flavor. The classic example is a mealy, pinkish tomato in the winter versus a sweet, incredibly juicy tomato in July.

When I think about fresh vegetables, my mouth waters. I think crunchy, colorful, slightly sweet, slightly astringent, and beautiful. This was not the case before I started shopping at the farmers market and this thought process has become a habit. When we dine out, we choose restaurants that source the highest quality produce. Most of the time I am more enticed to order the vegetarian main course or several vegetable appetizers, because of the quality of the vegetables and curiosity of how the chef prepared them.

vegetables tofuSautéed broccoli, kale, and spinach with walnuts and tofu.

3. Make it a habit. Make a conscious decision to eat at least 1-2 cups of vegetables with each of your meals. This might sound like a lot to vegetable newbies, but you will quickly realize that a cup of vegetables is hardly any food. Overtime, this great eating habit will become second nature. Most of my breakfasts consist of two eggs and lots of vegetables. A tasty salad of greens and seasonal vegetables with homemade vinaigrette is another awesome way to get more vegetables. Make vegetables the main meal and proteins and carbs the sides. I am also an advocate of Meatless Mondays and have been vegetarian on Mondays for over 20 years. It all comes down to mindfulness and habit.Vegetables should be the main star on your plate, instead of being cast aside as a side dish. They should be the largest portion on your plate and aim to eat at least 6 cups of vegetables a day. Don’t freak out, you can work your way up to this amount. The more vegetables you eat, the less you will reach for filler foods to satiate your hunger.

4. Green smoothies. Even though drinking your food is not the same as eating your food, vegetable smoothies are a good option to get more vegetables into your body. Invest in a quality blender and have a handful of recipes that appeal to you. Just make sure the smoothies are limited to one cup of fruit, so you do not end up consuming excess sugar and calories. Fruit smoothies are not the same as vegetables smoothies. Whole fruits contain fiber and can be quite filling, but fruit smoothies are stripped of fiber and has a concentrated amount of fructose (sugar in fruits), since you will need a lot of fruit to make one, satisfying cup. When you juice vegetables, you are removing all of the fiber (bad) and concentrating the amount of minerals and vitamins (good). Fiber is essential for slowing down digestion, feeling full longer, and lowering the risk of certain diseases. Smoothies should not be a replacement for eating vegetables. There is pleasure in chewing and tasting our food.

5. Snack on vegetables. Whether you are at home, work, or a BBQ, snack on vegetables instead of chips, nuts, or crackers. Vegetables are low in calories and fat, so you do not have to worry about overconsumption. Use carrots and celery instead of crackers to scoop up dips and nut butters. Eat half of an avocado with salt and pepper for an afternoon snack. Since, I do not digest raw foods as well as others, I keep two cups of roasted or sautéed vegetables in my fridge for easy snacking. I heat up the vegetables in the microwave and sprinkle seeds, nuts, fresh herbs, or hard cheese to give it a fresh taste.

avocadoBaked avocados with cherry tomatoes, basil, sea salt, and black pepper.

Resources and Recipes:

You can follow me on Pinterest, where I am always collecting delicious recipes. I also Instagram some of my meals and inspirations to eat better. Search Club Dine In for easy and quick plant-based recipes, such as Broccoli with Toasted Sesame Seeds. Lastly, I publish many recipes on Snapguide.

My new source of inspiration is the school garden and nutrition program where I volunteer weekly. The students make delicious meals using vegetables from their garden and I am always going home with new dinner ideas. I usually post what the students made on my Facebook page.

I also follow people who inspire me to eat and live better. Here are some of my favorite recipes and sites:

Thyme Roasted Baby Beets With Mint by Kiss My Spatula
Roasting vegetables require minimal supervision and you can make them in large batches. It’s perfect for busy lives.

Rainbow Chard Tartlets With Rosemary Almond Meal CrustThe Roost
This is a great dish to make ahead for the entire week or to freeze for later use.

Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad101 Cookbooks
I have made this quickly for when I had unexpected guests and they loved it. I actually eat this as the main dish, by adding watermelon radishes, parsley, and finely chopped dino kale to balance out the bean to vegetable ratio.

Quinoa with Spring Vegetables and Walnut-Kale PestoGluten Free Girl and The Chef
I love pesto recipes, because pesto is an awesome way to get a concentrated amount of vegetables and they can be used for multiple dishes. I take the extra pesto and have it over roasted potatoes, pasta, chicken, and fish. This dish is a full meal on it’s own and does not require sides (IMHO). There are multiple steps and a few of the steps can be done ahead of time. You can also make large quantities- leftovers make great lunches.

This is part two of a three-part series on vegetables. Last week, I discussed reasons why you should eat more vegetables and next week, I will include a protein-balanced vegetable recipe.

Farmers Market Finds: An Orange Proposal

I decided to break away from my usual farmers market routine and visit the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. There are so many reasons why I love this farmers market. It is hailed as one of the best farmers markets in the country and the diversity of farm fresh food is astounding. I believe in the summer, you will be able to find over 75 varieties of tomatoes! For all the reasons listed below, it can get very crowded and even hard to move when the weather is nice. Therefore, it is wise to go on the earlier side if you want to get the best selection.

ferry buildingThe location is magnificent. There is an intermingling of locals, tourists, chefs, and celebrities. The farmers are all verified and have sustainable farming practices. CUESA’s website has detailed information about the farmers,  seasonality charts, and recipes. They also send out a free weekly eletter highlighting the current seasonal food, upcoming events, recipes, and spotlights on volunteers and farmers.

rampsThe ever so rare and coveted ramps. 

The farmers who sell at this market go through an application process and only those who meet CUESA’s guidelines on sustainable agriculture are accepted when there are openings. I definitely feel more comfortable and safer when I buy from these farmers.

Photo Apr 20, 12 07 55 PMCrowd sourced marriage proposals.

Sawn, the gentleman pictured, enlisted his farmer friends to recruit shoppers to help him out on the proposal. The crowd recited a question to the unsuspecting girlfriend in unison and Sawn got down on one knee to propose. The girlfriend was in disbelief, but did say yes! Oh, yeah, the ring was inside of the Cara Cara orange!

horseradish root

The diversity of food is incredible. Chefs and serious cooks come here early in the morning to pick up things like horseradish root (pictured), green strawberries, and ramps for their restaurants.

schoolyard to market

I know, many locals complain that this farmers market is too expensive. I agree, most things cost a bit more at Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. One of the reasons for the higher cost is that farmers pay a higher stall fee to set up and sell at this market. This fee is not for profit, but goes back into all of the amazing and positive things CUESA does for the food system. Each week, CUESA puts on educational demos, classes, and exhibits for people to learn about food and agriculture. CUESA is a nonprofit organization and largely run by volunteers.

fiddlehead fernsFiddlehead Fern- Far West Fungi

The awesomeness of SF is that we have roughly 22 farmers market each week! We are lucky to be choosy about where we get our local, seasonal food.

Being Human

I had a post ready to publish this morning, but with a heavy heart I decided against it. Today we should focus on kindness, love, and the people around us. Focus on the beauty of humanity. Remember that we should stand as one, united against evil, not against each other. xo

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Farmers Market Finds: Thorny Artichokes

My Instagram feed has been flooded with pictures of cherries, rhubarb, purple artichokes, and naturally pigmented cauliflower from other farmers market goers, which got me curious about what I would find. It was another, unusually sunny Sunday morning and I knew the good weather crowd would be at the farmers market too. Satish joined me today, which is something I always welcome since he can help me carry my bags back home!

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The cauliflower had a pinkish-purple pigment, which is naturally occurring from an antioxidant in the purple vegetables and fruits. 

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I did find these gorgeous artichokes, which were not at the market last week. The purple ones had really sharp thorns, which I pricked my thumb on! 

I was especially eager to go to the farmers market after being inspired by what the students at Mission High school (where I volunteer) made in class. The high school has a nutrition and leadership program, where the students learn healthy cooking and eating skills, teach their peers, celebrate cultural recipes, and tend to their school garden. The students harvest fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers to use in the cooking portion of the class. Every week, they make something impressive and extraordinary. I certainly did not learn about kale or romanesco in my Home Ec class nor did I grow up eating these foods. Last week, the students made strawberry short cake using whole wheat flour, homemade whip cream, and just picked strawberries. They also made a stunningly beautiful Three Pea Radish Salad, which I couldn’t resist Instagramming. Actually, I was not the only one, the teacher and other students also whipped out their cell phones to take pictures of the beautiful food.

Pea Salad

After this class, all I wanted to do was rush to a farmers market to pick up these ingredients and make this for dinner.

Mission High School school food
The students made farro with asparagus, arugula, crispy pancetta and herbs along with the pea salad and strawberry short cake.

What did you find at your farmers market?

Food Hackathon 1.0

San Francisco held its very first food hackathon last weekend. Put on by passionate food entrepreneurs, the hackathon’s goal was to concentrate the energy around food entrepreneurship in one space for 36 hours and build innovative hacks to solve problems in our food system and eating habits. Food is the greatest common denominator to spark creativity, emotion, and passion throughout the world. It was no surprise that 200 food lovers, designers, and developers united on their common purpose to build software and hardware tools to potentially change the way we eat and think about food.

There were many people, like myself, who have never participated in a hackathon before and there were those already part of a food tech company. There were people with strong ideas and there were those who just wanted to be a part of this new wave in food innovation. Most of the ideas pitched focused on the restaurant, takeout, and chef space. There were a couple of pitches that actually focused on the food system and improving health through nutrition. Teams formed quickly after the pitches and everyone settled down to make their idea into a plausible company and take home one of the $25,000 in prizes allotted to the top three winners.

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This being a food hackathon, the catered food was impressive. Breakfast was pretty nutritious with green smoothies, granola, organic yogurt, and fresh fruit. Far from the usual fare of pastries and commercial orange juice. Contraband Coffee, a local artisan café and roaster, provided the caffeine fuel for the entire weekend. Callie Waldman, who is a Natural Chef from Bauman College, provided Sunday’s extremely delicious and nutritious lunch. There were also local food sellers sampling their amazing raw chocolates and other healthy edibles.

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On Sunday evening, 14 teams pitched their hacks to a panel of judges in front of the 200 people. The more recognizable judges were Dave McClure (500 Startups), Ben Parr (Dominator Fund), Alexa Andrzejewski (Foodspotting), Danielle Gould (Food+Tech Connect), and Naithan Jones (AgLocal).

The overall winner of the hackathon was Vibrantly, an iPhone app to guide people to make nutritious food choices based on food colors. I liked the concept of this app since it focuses on nutrition and not calories for achieving health goals. The next notable winner was Tiny Farms, which makes hardware to make insect farming easier for people around the world who rely on insects for nutrients and income. The team charmed the judges and audience with their homemade “buglava”, baklava made with wax worms. Slim Menu won the new technology hack, which is an app that helps you order from a menu visually. Touchless Ticket built a gestured-based app to optimize workflow and ticket processing in the restaurant kitchen. I collaborated with Leslie Wu on an idea to make gardens out of unused spaces, called Garden B&B, and won the best social hack.

judges

Most of the teams concentrated on recipe search and stocking the pantry. Although, finding a credible recipe and stocking the pantry with utmost convenience are pain points, there are much larger problems that we can solve with innovation in food and technology. We need to focus on food deserts, educating people about nutrition, sustainability, and health, alleviating the environmental toll of food production, and reducing inefficiencies in food distribution. We can change our broken food system. We can build a solution that is affordable, nutritious, and easy for those who need it worldwide.

In a city where great innovations and companies are constantly being built, we were long overdue for an organized food hackathon. This food hackathon proved that technology innovation is no longer limited to the programming genius, but is open to anyone who has the motivation to make a difference. The follow-up Food Hackathon is set to coincide with National Day of Civic Hacking. I will definitely be there and hope more people who want to change the global and local food system will join as well.

Let’s Take a Moment to Help Japan

In wake of the tragedies affecting Japan right now, I am having a difficult time thinking about writing about food or thinking about anything else other than how to help Japan and increase people’s awareness.

Sabrina Modelle of Tomato Tart is organizing a virtual bakesale, Samin Nosrat of Cia0 Samin is organizing bakesales across the Bay Area, and various restaurants in San Francisco are also donating sales. Marcia Gagliardi of Tablehopper has compiled a good list of food-related ways you can help out.

Other ways to help:
Doctors Without Borders
Red Cross Japan
UNICEF

“So eat a good breakfast. Be grateful for what you’ve got. Enjoy the sunshine while you’ve got it. Then go out & save the world” -Ruth Reichl
Did you know that Club Dine In! is on Twitter and Facebook? Follow@clubdinein for daily health, fitness, and social news, recipes and delicious tips! Join the Club Dine In! community on Facebook to connect with like-minded individuals and find out about exclusive Club Dine! events. 

Gone Fishing- Not Really

I need to take a small break from blogging- not because I am bored, frustrated, or “over it”. Actually, I am more in love with Club Dine In! than  when I started. As some of you may know, I have been working on my own start-up for quite sometime now and it’s really crunch time. I am attending the Game Developers Conference for the rest of this week. Though, I will still be active on Twitter and Facebook, so please join me there! I tweet and post about many cool events, news about food and fitness, and links to great recipes, ideas, and innovations.

Pictures taken on my iPhone.

The view from the Kalalau Trail on the Napali Coast, Kauai

 

 

Kauai, seen from our helicopter ride.

Did you know that Club Dine In! is on Twitter and Facebook? Follow @clubdinein for daily health, fitness, and social news, recipes and delicious tips! Join the Club Dine In! community on Facebook to connect with like-minded individuals and find out about exclusive Club Dine! events.