We were lucky enough to chat with CEO & Founder of Mountain View-based Wellness Science, Karen Morse, about healthy eating tips and recipes for the summer.
Karen works with women to help break unhealthy habits and start new, empowering ones. Read our interview below for some amazing tips on how to keep your body and mind working to its full potential!
Uforia: What are the three best super foods?
Karen Morse: There are so many great ones! If I had to pick just three to mention, I’d go with blueberries, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
The deep rich blue color of blueberries is a by product of flavenoids, which has been shown to improve memory function. Blueberries are also known for their antioxidant value, with a whopping 40% more antioxidants than you’ll get from a glass of red wine.
Sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants and also act as an anti-inflammatory. They are a great substitute for regular potatoes due to the increased vitamins & fiber content.
Spinach provides omega-3s, so even if you are not a fish-eater you still enjoy the benefits. Spinach is also a rich source of folate, which has been known to reduce heart disease risk & osteoporosis.
U: What is the best post-workout snack/meal?
KM: My two go-to snacks after a workout are apple slices with almond butter or a small serving of plain non-fat greek yogurt (six ounces or less) that I add my own fruit (usually a handful of organic blueberries or raspberries) and about a tablespoon of natural granola. My favorite granola is Udi’s Au Natural – there is no added sugar, just whole grain oats & a touch of wildflower honey.
U: What kinds of foods do you recommend for your clients looking to lose weight?
KM: Swap white rice for nutrient & fiber-rich food that keep you feeling fuller longer. Good substitutions include spelt, millet, quinoa, and lentils.
Also, fruits with high-water content like watermelon & berries. They are hydrating & keep you feeling satisfied longer.
U: What is your go-to dinner party menu?
KM: I love summer cookouts but since I’m not a meat-eater, I usually opt for some type of fish. I love fresh salmon cooked on a cedar plank – gives it a really yummy but light smoky flavor. You can usually pick one the planks near the fresh fish section in the grocery store — I know we’ve gotten them at Whole Foods in the past.
I also love veggie skewers on the grill (like red, green, and yellow bell peppers and mushrooms). I make a very simple marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, and cilantro, and evenly coat veggies before placing on the skewers.
U: What is the best healthy summer treat?
KM: I love natural tart frozen yogurt with berries on a hot summer day. Always hits the spot for that afternoon snack.
I’m also a huge fan of heirloom tomatoes, and my garden is chock-full of them in the summer time. That’s a treat to me because it came from my yard, and it’s so full of flavor that, at most, a tiny bit of salt is all you need to add!
Oh, and sweet cherries!
U: Do you have any recipes that are not so healthy that you’ve re-invented to be healthy?
KM: I love nice, hearty soups & stews. I played around with a few recipes until I came up with a really good meatless chili (or fondly known as cowboy soup by some of us from the South). I call mine Skinny Cowboy soup.
U: What do you eat on a typical day?
KM: Breakfast is almost always 6-8 ounces of plain non-fat Greek yogurt with a handful of berries, natural granola, and a few roasted, unsalted pistachios. The yogurt gives you 23 grams of protein per cup and by adding your own fruit you there is not as much unnecessary sugar.
I usually eat leftovers for lunch when I’m working from home, so a typical day would include leftover roasted vegetables and grilled or baked fish.
I just discovered Nutella! So my 3:30 snack is now a slice of wheat toast with Nutella & almond butter with a cup of Puerh tea. Puerh tea has cholesterol-reducing properties, and my total cholesterol was reduced by 30 points after one year drinking the tea daily!
U: Do you have any healthy restaurant recommendations?
KM: Not any healthy restaurants per se, but I love food and you can almost always find something healthy on any menu (and if it isn’t on the menu, you can always ask!).
I’m a huge frozen yogurt fan. I love Fraiche. They have tons of fruit toppings to choose from, as well as non-fat yogurt.
The Counter (on California Ave) makes a mean veggie burger if you don’t eat meat. Their sweet potato fries are pretty darn good too!
Avocados are another amazing superfood. I love the guacamole at Fiesta del Mar in Mountain View (on Shoreline). There are also some amazing shrimp dishes (their specialty) some of which are pretty healthy, especially if you substitute black beans for refried.
U: If you could recommend one thing to your clients that they do everyday, what would it be?
KM: Drink more water! If you don’t like water, add a wedge of lemon, lime, or even mandarin orange. Sparkling water is ok too as long as the sodium content is very low.
U: Do you have any recipes you’d like to share with the uforia family?
KM: Every Monday, I publish a vegetarian recipe on my blog at thewellnessscientist.com in honor of the Meatless Monday initiative.
You’ll find all of those plus other favorites on my Pinterest board called Healthy Eating Tips & Recipes.
My favorites are:
The Easy Guacamole recipe from Real Simple magazine
My Easy Peasy Roasted vegetable recipe
More about Karen:
Born and bred in Louisiana, Karen studied Cell and Molecular Biology at Tulane University in New Orleans. Inspired to understand the benefits of nutrition on chronic disease conditions, Karen worked as a Research Associate at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center measuring the effect of diet on heart disease.
After obtaining her Master of Public Health degree at Tulane, Karen spent twelve years in drug safety working for companies such as ALZA Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
Today Karen is a personal health coach and wellness scientist, customizing one-of-a-kind wellness plans for women that break old, unhealthy patterns and inspire a new and fun approach to self-care. She currently lives in Mountain View, California.