Category: Food


This week nutritionist and Pilates studio co-owner, Jessica Hope Restrepo, owner of TONE Pilates and Wellness Studio in Astoria, NY, lets us in on some secrets about nutrition and losing weight! She has been advising and training men and women in both NYC and LA for many years now and is known for getting results. So what has her experience and training taught her? Let’s check it out:

Q. Where did you go to study/get certified in nutrition?

A. I studied at the Integrative Institute for Nutrition. I am a Certified Holistic Coach and a member of the American Association for Drugless Practitioners.

Q. Carbs. Should we stay away from them or are they good for us?

A. The school where I studied taught the 90/10. 90% of the time you are eating cleanly (whole unprocessed foods); 10% you are breaking the rules a little. It comes down to bio-individuality. It means one specific type of diet isn’t right for every person. There’s no one-size-fits-all diet –each person is a unique individual with highly individualized nutritional requirements. Personal differences in anatomy, metabolism, body composition and cell structure all influence your overall health and the foods that make you feel your best. I really don’t believe in depriving yourself of carbs and we all need carbohydrates for a balanced diet. Remember vegetables have carbs and you wouldn’t want to cut that out. 🙂

Q. Right now there’s a lot of debate about the health benefits of being vegan. What are your views on meat and dairy?

A. I think it goes back to what you, as an individual, feel is good for your body. There are many people who can’t process dairy or have adverse reactions to meat. I believe if you are not eating meat or dairy you need to take measures to make sure you are not deficient in vitamins like B-12, Vitamin D, Iron, Omega-3 and DHA. Only you can make the choice for yourself.

Q. To cleanse or not to cleanse? (…as in food cleanse, juice cleanse, any cleanse)

A. Hmmmm..In my opinion, cleansing is a very personal decision. No one can tell you to do it. You have to REALLY crave a cleanse. Almost everyone’s diet could stand some improvement. Doing so is a conscious, ongoing commitment. I think better than a cleanse is eating a plant based diet, rich in fruit and vegetables. That’s the better way to go.

Q. Favorite post workout snack? Is it good to eat before and after you workout or should you hold off?

A. Eating 30-60 minutes before a workout is usually a good time frame, however it really depends on the individual. An apple with a little peanut butter, almond butter, a handful of dried fruit, some greek yogurt and trail mix are good pre-workout snacks. My favorite post-workout shake is a Green Monster Smoothie. (Check out recipe below!!)

Q. What type of diet do you recommend for someone who is trying to lose weight?

A. I don’t like to think of it as a diet, more of a lifestyle. Eating cleanly, (cutting out processed foods, eating as much whole foods as possible) and exercising are key to creating lifestyle changes. Diets don’t last and will not create long-term results. Everyone has a calorie budget, whether you’re trying to maintain your weight or lose a few pounds. I’ve found that people ignore this simple fact. Your calorie budget allows you to build a healthy diet, and it helps prevent frustration about weight control. Try planning meals, stop drinking your calories, and as always, exercise. You won’t lose weight overnight. Well, you could lose weight quickly, but you don’t want to — it’ll come back just as quickly. What you want is gradual weight loss that stays lost.

Q. Above all else, what one thing will help to shed those unwanted pounds?

A. The best way to get yourself on track is to become accountable. A food diary is the best way to see what you are actually ingesting as far as calories. Once you actually see what you are eating you will be more aware and you can make better decisions as most times we eat mindlessly. You can download an app on your smart phone, like Lose It or My Fitness Pal to help out. They are wonderful because you can enter goals and exercises to see an entire picture of your day. They will keep account of your calories and help you learn what an entire day of food could look like for you.

Q. What piece of advice do you wish every client knew?

A. You are stronger and more beautiful than you think you are. You are your own worst critic and way too hard on yourself. Negativity can only keep you down; enjoy the ride!! Confidence is everything!


4 cups spinach and kale

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

1 cup almond milk

1 banana

1 tablespoon peanut butter
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and add ice. Blend until creamy.


Special Thanks to Annie Elrod and her awesome blog Three Red Springs for the interview!


Mindful eating….

Food for thought..

Mindful: the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.

How does that apply to our food? When we are mindful of food, we focus solely on the food we are eating, the experience, the smells, the textures, the way our body feels inside and out. It’s about having a healthy attitude with food; taking cues from our bodies and recognizing what it needs, when it’s hungry and when it’s full.
Mindful is about the ritual of food, the pleasure of food.  When you think about it, life does really revolve around food. When we are happy, we celebrate, what do we do? We go out dinner to celebrate a promotion, an engagement, a birthday. In the same vain, when we are sad we might eat a pint of ice cream on the couch. Food makes us feel good; it can make us feel bad. Food is fuel; food is a drug. We have heard it all, but when was the last time you actually thought about the ritual of eating a meal and how that can affect your body.
We live in a fast paced city where everything is on the go. Why wouldn’t your food be fast too? When was the last time you sat at the table with no electronics, no TV, no distractions and just focused on your meal?
Mindful eating is about the pleasure of eating, not dieting, or eliminating food from your diet. It’s about the experience, the ritual. I think that many times the ritual is lost or we are just preoccupied with everything else spinning around us.
Nobody is perfect, there’s no avoiding a fast meal or a meal on the go. Why not shoot for a meal weekly where you completely unplug? Focus on your meal and the pleasurable experience it brings you. Create a different relationship with your food. Chew slower, enjoy the silence, pay attention to your food and the flavors. Love your food and enjoy, when food is no longer your enemy, your relationship will start to slowly change and you will be more mindful of what you put into your body. As in any relationship when we express appreciation, love and focus, a great sense of well being follows.

Cronuts and Craziness!

Photo Jul 26, 5 38 35 PM You may or may not know Jessica and I are both Aries. Basically that means we are both stubborn, persistent and determined. On the Fourth of July we came up with the decision that one morning we would get up early in the morning and wait in line for the famous Cronut and then head to the MOMA for the Rain Room. We knew we were going to be waiting a few hours in line. But little did we know just how long it would take….

4am: alarm goes off…. Jess picks me up at 4:40 a.m. We head down the BQE over the Williamsburg Bridge and fly into the city ( Jess doesn’t drive fast at all 😉 ). By 5am we are in front of 189 Spring St., Dominique Ansel’s Bakery, home of the world famous Cronut.  Insert dance break. 🙂 🙂

We were  fifth and six in line for the Cronut! By 6:30am the line is really wrapped around the corner. By 7am you’re not guaranteed a Cronut since he only makes 250-300 a day… the nerve! Three hours may seem like a long time to sit and wait for a delectable pastry but really the time flew by and before we knew it we were standing up ready to go, doors open.
You’re allowed two Cronuts per person and at five dollars a Cronut you think that’s not bad! However, when you’re in the bakery you see all these other delicious goodies and you can’t help yourself, you kind of lose your mind. $50 later Jess and I sit down at a table and are about to dig in. Can someone please say HOLY SUGAR!!!!!!

A camera crew approaches us and asked if they could film us taking the first bite.  “No problem”, I said (Jess not too thrilled with this idea) Zoomed in, camera is in my face as I’m taking my first bite of this mouthwatering masterpiece.  He kept asking me to take bite after bite after bite and before I knew it I was halfway through my Cronut.

What’s a cronut you ask? It’s a deep-fried croissant filled with calories, oops I mean cream and blackberry jam completely rolled in sugar with pink frosting on top. Taste resembles a cream cheese King Cake. Shout out to NOLA! You take one bite and you’re on a sugar high, you eat the whole thing and you are fully cracked out on sugar. CRACKED OUT!!!!!!

30 minutes later we are back in the car heading up to the MOMA. Side-note: Jessica gets a ticket for an expired inspection sticker!  This ticket sets off the sugar craziness. We transformed from two women into two tasmanian devils…
Our tongues now numb from the sugar, craziness continues to ensue..  Sugar high makes for crazy ladies driving.

Photo Jul 26, 8 47 49 AM

We roll up to 54th and Sixth Avenue, beach chairs on our back. We think this line doesn’t look too bad, we got this! We maybe even be home around 2pm.. MWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
The line starts moving pretty quickly and we think will be here four hours max. An hour later one of the MOMA helpers tells us from our point on it’s an 8 to 10 hour wait. Jess and I look at each other and say, “If you’re in, I’m in.” Then we sit and wait and wait and wait.  As you can see from this picture we went through a bunch of emotions that day. Mostly we laughed, because we were together and we are great partners in crime.

This line was full of entertainment. Including a woman dressed in a pink leotard with black tights with runs in them. I think we were both waiting to see if she was going to bust out dancing but alas she never did.  We are still puzzled trying to figure out why you would choose to spend eight hours with your leotard and tights on. Our annoying neighbor behind us  fell asleep in the never-ending line and people kept walking over him since at that point had no love for him anymore.  Jessica got hit on by a teenage snow-cone maker and a sea of giant metallic silver umbrellas to protect all of us from the sun. Which we thrilled to use when the sun was beating down on us.  Our beach chairs were definitely the stars of the line.  Pretty much everyone envied us for our comfort and let’s be honest our cuteness. Even the staff remarked about us (or our chairs) numerous times.  Apparently we were the only ones who came prepared.
SEVEN AND A HALF hours  later we step into the exhibition. The sound of rain, the cool air, the dark room with a spotlight sent chills up our spines: Maybe even tears to our eyes. Rain falling all around us but wherever you step the rain stops. Beautiful silhouettes, shadows and highlights. It’s an experience I will never forget. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely.
 This is one of those days where you’re truly thankful you live in the city that never sleeps. To feel wonder, joy and maybe a bit too much sugar it’s a perfect day for me, a day of adventure and true patience.
What have you done this summer that maybe is a little crazy, but soooooo worth it?

Water is essential to keep us fit and healthy. But it can also improve the way we function, the way we feel and the way we look. We are constantly reminding each other to drink water and stay hydrated.

Did you know, Approximate 60% of your body weight is water. Staying hydrated is the key to many aspects of health. Most people take water for granted. We don’t usually think about it until warmer months when we are sweating buckets. Your body is constantly losing water through your breath as you exhale through your skin as you perspire and through urination. This water must be replaced to maintain good health. Dehydration is the cause of many headaches.

When participating in physical activity perspiration further increases this water loss therefore adequate hydration or replacement of water in our bodies is extremely important

Proper hydration is critical for optimal body functioning but it is also important to take in the right fluids.

Most fruit juices contain sugar (high fructose, corn syrup)that may not assist in proper hydation due to slow absorption. You are better off eating fruit in its pure form; they can supply nutrients and fiber as well as assisting in hydration because the majority of the piece of fruit is water.

Sweat is the way in which your body cools itself. If you are dehydrated and stop perspiring you are in danger of overheating. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water by then you are already dehydrated.

Now here are some exciting reasons we should all drink more water.. weight loss, heart healthy, more energy, headache cure, healthy skin, cleansing the toxins out of your body, and so much more.. ( dance break)

If you don’t care much for the taste.. Add a squirt of lemon, a squeeze of lime, a few sprigs of fresh mint or a cucumber or orange slice. You can even be so bold as to add a few berries or watermelon. What ever gets you to drink it up 🙂 We personally like to make a pitcher of water and add slices of fruit, cucumber and some mint! Yum!

Here is one of our favorite simple concoctions here @ TONE .

Grab a large pitcher:
One navel orange sliced
Half cucumber sliced
One large slice grapefruit
Three to four sprigs of mint.
Add water, ice! DONE … Vodka optional.. 🙂
13189115-citrus-fruits-fall-into-the-water_thumb mmmmmmmmmmm……..

Cupcake Shenanigans!

Since Its almost Valentine’s day we thought it would be appropriate to blog about our cupcake baking experience. Yes Pilates instructors eat cupcakes too!

As Alicia and I have gotten closer we quickly discovered we had another thing in common: our love for baking.

So when we saw a deal for a two hour baking class, we jumped on it. A 2 hour cupcake baking and decorating class? What could be better?

We had high expectations for the class…but that all changed when we pulled up to the address: there was a window with a big cupcake and skeins of yarn. Our class was taking place inside a yarn shop?…Yes you heard that right a yarn shop. That should have been our first clue.
The ovens looked liked easy bake ovens and the recipes were, dare I say ancient?  Yes they were ancient!
We were definitely the loudest participants of the class and we somehow became the class clowns….but that’s pretty much how we like it! 😝
We baked the day away,  laughed  and even made a few new friends. We seem to make friends everywhere we go.I’m not sure we learned anything new but we definitely blew off some steam and may have just drove the staff a little crazy…dare I say we terrorized the staff:
“Don’t you have real vanilla?”, “We can’t use crisco. Only real butter for us!”
As you can’t imagine they were thrilled to have us in class.
The outcome of our cupcakes: lets just say “menza a menz”, but a day of laughter and shenanigans did indeed insue.
I guess the point of this Saturday really was for Alicia and I to do something to nurture us outside the studio.
One thing we recognized as soon as we opened TONE was how important it was to stay healthy – emotionally, physically and  spiritually.
Our motto is work hard and play hard! We feel it’s especially important to remember that motto as we all get so busy and stressed these days. We want to encourage our clients to try to keep each other healthy by enjoying life and never taking things to seriously even when things get tough. Sometimes that means even frosting a cupcake in a yarn shop with a friend!

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