SWIHA Blog

Melanie Albert, Passionate Nutrition Coach and Intuitive Chef

Posted by Melanie Albert on 1/21/15 2:18 AM

Thirty years ago, Melanie Albert stopped eating meat. This wasn’t a decision based on politics or personal beliefs about animals. She simply didn’t like the way her body felt after consuming meat. “My body was feeling full when I ate meat and I felt as though I could not digest it,” Melanie says about her longstanding decision to eliminate meat from her diet. Shortly after eliminating meat, Melanie began to focus on intuitive eating; listening to the cues her body was giving her about food and making decisions about what food to consume.

Little did she know that a few years later, nutrition and intuitive eating would be a daily part of her life and her work. After leaving meat behind, she began to eat organic, “way before it was popular in the media,” she says. Although her decision to go organic baffled some of her friends and family, Melanie enjoyed the results too much to listen to the naysayers. In 1995, Melanie started to educate herself about the true power of nutrition.

It was her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis in 1995 that spurred Melanie to focus her attention on food and nutrition. Her mother was given six months to live by allopathic doctors, so Melanie moved to Florida to care for her.

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Topics: Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Blog, Holistic Nutrition, SWIHA, Whole Foods, Nutrition

Recovery Foods for the Holiday Season

Posted by Janet Lee on 12/30/14 3:55 AM

By Janet Lee, Guest Blogger

While the holiday season brings happy times and wonderful memories, it can sometimes be challenging when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet. During this busy time of year, most of us have been on the run completing work commitments, eating at the mall while finishing holiday shopping, attending holiday parties with friends while eating plenty of food and drinking a little too much eggnog! It’s quite possible that the only exercise experienced is walking from the couch to the refrigerator, or running from store to store.

If, you are experiencing low energy, headaches, or lack of motivation . . .

or if your pants are fitting a little tighter than a couple months ago . . . it is probably time to begin again with some healthy reminders!

Let’s get back on track and begin some healthy habits in 2015 to help us feel our very best!

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Topics: Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Whole Foods Wednesday, Blog, Holistic Nutrition, SWIHA, Whole Foods, Healthy Desserts, Nutrition

Tasty Tips to Spice Up Vegetables

Posted by Melanie Albert on 12/1/14 9:52 AM

By Melanie Albert, Guest Blogger

“Eat your vegetables,” is a common phrase that most of us probably heard from our parents growing up. Many people, especially children, believe that vegetables are boring, or that they have no taste. That only “health nuts” eat raw or plain steamed vegetables. This is where “finishing vegetables” comes into Whole Food S.O.U.L. Food cooking techniques. Read on for tips and recipes about how to make veggies fun and delicious for the whole family to enjoy!

Add Culinary Interest to Your Veggies

Finishing steamed vegetables with organic oils, toasted spices, fresh herbs, toasted nuts and seeds, and finishing salts adds delicious taste and culinary interest, with beautiful colors, textures and aromas.

Steam carrots, cauliflower or broccoli in a bamboo steamer and then finish them with different combinations of oils, seeds, salt or spices to create exciting, tasty dishes!

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Topics: Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Blog, SWIHA, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Nutrition

Nutritional Food For Thought

Posted by Sally Marks on 11/12/14 2:59 AM

By Sally Marks

Anyone who owns or drives a vehicle knows it runs on diesel, unleaded, ethanol or even vegetable oil. However, when it comes to providing fuel for our bodies we might not be as informed as we think.

A recent Consumer Reports study cited that nine out of 10 people surveyed thought they were eating a healthy diet, however, based on their age, height and weight, 36 percent of those surveyed were overweight and 21 percent would be considered obese.


America is one of the richest nations in the world, but it is said to be a nation of the overfed and undernourished. With certain exceptions our food issues are not as much about circumstances as they are about choosing the right foods. Obesity is a multi-factorial issue, but the main culprit of an unhealthy diet is an excessively high intake of sweets and sugary items such as cakes, cookies and pies. Drinking at least one soda a day, as well as consuming so-called energy drinks, is also high on the list of some of the most common reasons Americans are gaining more and more weight.

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Topics: Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Whole Foods Wednesday, Holistic Nutrition, SWIHA, Whole Foods, Nutrition

The Perks of Plant Protein With Two Quick & Easy Organic Lentil Soup Recipes

Posted by Melanie Albert on 11/5/14 2:42 AM

By Melanie Albert

Protein, alongwith fats and carbohydrates, is an essential macro nutrient which we must eat everyday with every meal. Protein is a building block of our body and helps to buildthe foundation of our bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood.

No Meat for 25 Years

I stopped eating red meat 30 years ago because my body could not digest it. I was a runner and felt like the meat made me sluggish. Then 18 years ago when my Mom was diagnosedwith breast cancer, I learned about antibiotics in poultry and stopped eating chicken and turkey, which I loved at the time.

My family was worried for years that I was not eating enough protein, but while I was studying nutrition, I learned so much about good plant protein, and now I’m honestly not worriedabout eating enough protein. Today, I love educating people about good sources of plant protein, including beans, whole grains and even vegetables.

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Topics: Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Blog, SWIHA, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Nutrition

Experiment With Green Tea & Matcha

Posted by Melanie Albert on 10/29/14 2:35 AM

Discovering Green Tea

I began drinking green tea ten years ago when I started working with best-selling author and integrative medicine pioneer, Dr. Andrew Weil, who has been a long-time advocate for drinking green tea. At first, green tea was a little odd to me. I was not accustomed to the green, grassy taste of high quality green tea. Over time, I’ve grown to enjoy drinking it. Now the ritual of preparing and drinking high quality green tea and matcha tea are part of my daily life. I’m sure many of you at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) campus see me drinking my matcha tea throughout the day.

Why Green Tea is Good for You

  1. ECGC, the antioxidant in green tea, is an anti-inflammatory.
  2. Research has found that green tea benefits heart health, brain health and cancer prevention.
  3. Full of catechins and polyphenols, which help the brain to relax and stimulates dopamine levels.
  4. Theanine in green tea helps improve mood and a sense of relaxation.
  5. Known to increase memory and concentration.
  6. Has less caffeine than coffee.
  7. Tastes delicious, so enjoy a few cups every day!

Most Popular Green Teas

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Topics: Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Nutrition

Eat Omega-3s Today with 2 Simple Wild Alaskan Salmon Recipes

Posted by Melanie Albert on 10/22/14 8:26 AM

Fats Are Essential

While the media has made us afraid of fats, they are actually required in order for our bodies to function properly. For years during the low fat, no fat craze I thought fats were bad and I stopped eating some of my favorite foods, nuts and olives. Now I’ve learned that fats are good for us and that our bodies require about 30% fats in our diet each and every day, for each and every meal.
Plant based fats like nuts, seeds, avocados and olives are a healthy fat source. Today, we are focusing on cold water fish, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

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Topics: Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Whole Foods, Nutrition

Why We Need Carbohydrates

Posted by Melanie Albert on 10/15/14 7:53 AM

Like many in my generation, for most of my life I only knew white rice. Although I heard about whole grains I did not incorporate them into my daily eating until I was learning about whole grains about eight years ago. At that time I decided to get tested for food sensitivities and found that I’m sensitive to gluten, the protein in whole grains including wheat, barley and rye. I stopped eating most food with gluten and now find that when I do eat gluten, I almost immediately get hives. Last year, I was also tested for celiac disease, a serious autoimmune condition in which our body does not absorb nutrients. Fortunately, I do not have celiac disease. I’m glad that I’ve had these experiences as I can now share gluten-free eating with my clients and in my writing.

Why We Need Carbs

People are confused about carbs and about whole grains. Many diets are no carb or low carb, but in reality our bodies need about 40-50% carbs every day at every meal. The problem is that people eat low quality carbs, like cookies, cakes, crackers and bread. Other carbohydrate-rich foods, such as whole grains, beans, vegetables are good for us.

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Topics: Holi, Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Urban Farming, Nutrition

6 Culinary Tips to Enjoy Whole Food S.O.U.L. Food with 2 Simple Recipes

Posted by Melanie Albert on 10/8/14 4:05 AM

When we cook and enjoy eating real whole foods we have the opportunity to create a wide variety of tasty, beautiful, colorful, local, in-season dishes.

  • Cook with variety. You can cook the same foods different ways – raw, steamed, roasted, blended - and enjoy very different, delicious meals.
  • Eat with the Season. When we eat real whole foods, we have the opportunity to eat in tune with what’s in season, and enjoy the food that nature naturally creates for us in the geographic area where we live.
  • Eat with Color. By incorporating whole foods into our life, we easily enjoy the infamous "rainbow of fruits & veggies" that we hear about so often, getting a variety of nutrients and phytonutrients (natural plant chemicals).
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Topics: Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Urban Farming, Nutrition

Buy Local, Eat Healthier: Shop at Farmers’ Markets

Posted by Melanie Albert on 10/1/14 7:44 AM

Eat Local. Shop at a Farmers’ Market. Buy a CSA. Enjoy a Simple Roasted Roots Recipe

In Arizona where the Southwest Institute of Healing Art (SWIHA) campus is located and where I live, many of the local farmers’ markets will be re-opening for the season after our “dry heat, hot summer”. Fortunately, we do have a few farmers whose produce is available during the summer, so I’ve been having fun shopping from a few farmers for our Whole Foods Cooking Classes at SWIHA this summer.

4 Great Reasons to Eat Local

  • Locally grown produce is fresher, tastes better and lasts longer.. Most produce in conventional grocer stores is picked well before it's ready to be picked. Some of the methods used to ripen the food in warehouses and in trucks include methane gas. Food that is allowed to ripen on the vine absorbs many of the flavors and nutrients they are intended to. Local produce shortens the path traditionally traveled from farm to table and the result is better tasting more nutrient dense food.
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Topics: Melanie Albert, Whole Foods Wednesday, Blog, Recipe of the Week, Whole Foods, Urban Farming, Nutrition, Farmers Market

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