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Nutrition & Healthy Lifestyle Expert

As a registered dietitian, author, health advocate and qualitarian, Ashley believes that better quality nutrition choices are key to optimal health for all ages. She's co-author of the book Mom Energy and a regular contributor to "The Dr. Oz Show," the New York Times, the Huffington Post, O! The Oprah Magazine, and is a contributing editor for Natural Health and Prevention magazines. Based in Los Angeles, Ashley maintains an international private practice and is a faculty member at NYC's Beth Israel Integrative Medicine Center, the Continuum Center for Health and Healing. Ashley's as passionate about the benefits of organic food as we are! (Learn more about Ashley on her site.)

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Q:

I see grapefruit and celery featured in a lot of diet guides. Can they really help me burn fat and lose weight?  

A:

We can lose weight in a lot of ways — and many of them are not healthy or sustainable for our bodies. You make a good distinction in your question between “burning fat” and weight loss; pounds on a scale don’t necessarily equate to change in your body composition (loss of fat coupled with development of lean body mass). If you’re trying to lose weight, some of each pound lost should come from fat, and some, inevitably, will come from lean body mass and water.

The keys to optimal fat burning lie in making healthy changes to your diet as well as increasing your activities, including strength training, cardiovascular training and stretching. Both grapefruit and celery provide water, vitamin C and fiber, which help us feel full, support our immune systems and hydrate our cells — all of which can help you lose weight, tone your body, and improve your overall health.

Grapefruit also provides carbohydrate (as fructose, or fruit sugar) for energy and contains detoxifying agents that help your liver clear toxins from your body. So enjoy both of these organic options as part of your healthy diet (and weight loss regimen). Note that if you take medication regularly, check with your doctor to make sure it's okay for you to have grapefruit, as it can affect the absorption rate of many types of medicines.    -Ashley

Q:

I love ice cream and frozen yogurt...basically every frozen treat (especially in summer)! Are some choices better than others, nutritionally speaking? 

A:

What do you love about ice cream or frozen yogurt or summer treats — the smoothness, the coldness, the sweetness? Whenever you pick a summer dessert or sweet eating occasion, think about what will satisfy you the most. I recently tasted a greens and avocado popsicle — yes, it had greens, green apple, and avocado puréed and made into a homemade popsicle — and it was so yummy that it blew me away. I’ve had coconut water granitas which I loved because they hydrated me and provided a mellow, not-too-sweet flavor. But I’ve also enjoyed peanut butter chocolate coconut ice cream and said, “there’s nothing better than this!”

So the first rule for making a good decision about a dessert or summer sweet is to figure out what you really want/need.

The second rule should be obvious: portion control. If you practice portion control, you really can have your favorite summer dessert and eat it, too.

And third, keep in mind that quality matters a lot in terms of how your body absorbs nutrients and how “bad” or “good” something is for you nutritionally. Your body knows what to do with food, but chemicals can confuse it — so stick with organic ingredients without GMOs, pesticides, artificial colorings, and no hormones or antibiotics used.    -Ashley

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