Plant-Based Living & Nutrition Trends by Albina Bilalova, Nutritionist & Trainer

Plant-Based Living & Nutrition Trends by Albina Bilalova, Nutritionist & Trainer

Plant-Based Living & Nutrition Trends

Albina Bilalova
NeXa Pilates and Fitness
Certified Holistic Nutritionist (AFPA of the United States of America)
Bridgewater, NJ

Brief Introduction/Tell Us About yourself (where you are from, etc)

I've always loved sports and fitness, At 12, I started training in cross country skiing in my home country of Russia, by 18 I was competing in national Biathlons. My interest moved to road cycling when I moved to America at 26. Soon I realized I wanted to pursue a career in the fitness industry. The study and certification in Pilates, Yoga and nutrition naturally followed. The years I spent training gave me the body awareness and discipline needed to be a fitness professional. When I joined Nexa Pilates and Fitness I had found the perfect company where I could apply all my skills.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in nutrition?

I knew all along that being physically active is important for good health. But I always had many questions such as, why do chronic diseases progress, why do we get sick, how do we slow down aging, why are there people who work out regularly yet are still not losing weight? I started exploring to find the answers to these questions.  I read many books, listened to blogs, attended live seminars, watched videos, interacted with fitness experts and learned that nutrition is equally or more important than physical exercise for wholesome healthy living.

How did you become passionate about healthy eating?

Having learned the benefits of good nutrition, I put myself through a few different tests.  I tried eating organic foods, juicing and several different kinds of diets.  The results of all these tests were remarkable - I felt more energetic, the acne on my face disappeared, my weight stabilized, my digestive system improved and I felt really happy internally.  These experiences made me become more and more passionate about healthy eating.

What kind of training did you undergo/certification you received 

I started my studies with Balanced Nutrition for family (ISIS of Russian Federation). Certified Holistic Nutritionist (AFPA of the United States of America) followed a year later. For my next endeavor, I am considering Sports Nutrition certificate.

What do people look for in a nutritionist or dietitian?

A good nutritionist should be able to offer variety of options but also incorporate their training with their own life experience to understand clients needs and give specific advice. Working with a nutritionist to eat better is more than just dieting. Anyone giving nutritional advice should be able to understand how whole food nutrition can help to heal your body. 

If you could persuade people to change three things about their diet, what would they be?

The body is made up of 60 percent water. This fact alone indicates how important it is to stay hydrated. Water is an essential tool to manage weight and plays a tremendous role in digestion. The more water you drink the better and most importantly be sure to hydrate during the daytime. Raw vegetables and fruits provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body. Adding some fruits or vegetables to each meal will help you to stay satisfied. How you start your day is also very important. Having a proper breakfast full of complex carbs, protein and fats will keep away your cravings during the day. As an example, try an omelet with veggies and slice of whole bread, oatmeal with nuts and berries or avocado toast with some hemp seeds for a protein packed breakfast.

What would you make as a quick and healthy dinner option, if you have 30 minutes of preparation time?

Digestion closer to evening slows down to prepare the body to sleep and rest. That’s why its important to keep dinner simple and light, with some source of protein and fiber. A quick and healthy dinner option could be seasoned chicken tenders with some fresh salad on the side.

Recipe: Sprinkle chicken with black pepper, oregano and salt. In a large skillet, heat oil (coconut or grapeseed) over medium heat. Add chicken and cook about 7-8 minutes on each side until cooked. While chicken is getting cooked, prepare salad with lettuce, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, radish and green peas. For seasoning mix lemon juice with olive oil and sprinkle with hemp seeds.

What is your favorite snack?

A good source of complex carbs combined with some protein will fill you up faster and keep you full longer.  As an example, sliced apple with nuts or a rice cake with banana and almond butter.

What nutrition trends are you paying attention to in 2020?

Trends such as plant-based meat and plant-based food are already popular and will continue to gain more traction in 2020. Another trend gaining popularity is the elimination of disposable bags and take home containers. Plastic is dangerous not only to the environment, but to our own bodies as well. For example, drinking coffee from plastic cups increases the estrogen level in the human body which creates hormonal imbalance, which can also lead to disease and weight gain. Raw desserts, substitutes for dairy based products, and local farm produce will only become more popular in 2020.

Plant based living is becoming more and more popular. When eating a mostly plant based / vegetarian diet, are there certain foods to focus on to make sure we’re getting enough nutrients and protein?

The average American Male consumes 102 grams of protein per day, while the average American female eats about 70 grams per day. Shockingly, that's almost twice the daily recommended intake. It's important to be aware of your body's protein intake, and to calculate an individual's protein needs it's important to factor the body weight, physical activity level and health status. If you are healthy and occasionally doing a light work out you only need about 50 grams of protein a day. One cup of dry beans, broccoli and 5-6 almond nuts would cover the daily recommended intake.
It is very important to eat complete proteins. Plant based diets also can cover all of your protein needs containing all of the essential amino acids. Foods such as whole grains, sprouts, spirulina/chlorella, seeds and nuts, and leafy greens will keep any plant-based diets complete. 

Speaking of plant based, what are some of the benefits of drinking chlorophyll water / benefits of liquid chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is green molecules found in plants that absorbs sunlight and converts it to energy. Thus it has benefits with blood detoxification, odor control, wound healing, increases immunity, and improves gut health.
As a supplement it comes in a different ways and leafy greens and green vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli are all excellent ways to get more chlorophyll into your diet. 

What’s one of your favorite organic/natural supplements or vitamins you recommended?

Based on price, quality and availability I would recommend Megafood, Garden of Life and Now Foods. Megafood is food based and adheres to ISO 9001 standards, meaning their labs comply with highest standards of quality and assurance and testing. 

Any favorite health / nutrition podcasts or books you recommend to our readers?

I like Dr Eric Berg's podcast and YouTube channel as he simply explains about nutrition. Also great books to read are Prescription for Nutritional healing by Phyllis A. Balch, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell,   Why We Get Fat by Gary Taube, and  Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by Giulia Enders

Where can our readers find your company? (Instagram, Facebook, etc)


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