A Passion for Clean Eating
An ex-athlete, Victoria Gintzette entered the “real world” looking for a new identity, no longer running and working out strenuously every day. Victoria wanted to figure out a holistic way to help her body transition, balance her diet, and use food to fuel her daily life. With no formal background in nutrition or health, she began doing research and teaching herself everything there is to know about eating for nutritional benefits.
“My passion for health started as a journey wanting to fuel my body, I learned about natural plant foods and how they can affect your hormones. I got to a point, where once I was regulating everything, I felt amazing in all aspects of my life – my sleep and mental health were great, my stress levels were low,” said Victoria.
It didn’t just stop there, Victoria shared her knowledge and started cooking for her father, who wanted to lose weight. She started helping him with all his meals and within 6-7 months he lost 60 pounds. Similarly, Victoria helped her husband with meal planning, and in the same time frame, he lost 45 pounds. “I didn’t neglect them anything, they got their protein, grains, healthy fats, etc.”
She understands that everyone’s body is different, and therefore portion sizes should be different. At only five feet tall, and 100 pounds, when she looks at the normal dietary recommendation, it doesn’t meet what she needs. Victoria’s biggest passion is looking at something traditionally unhealthy and making it better. Below, she’s shared 7 tips for maintaining a clean diet:
- Limiting > cutting out – Eating healthy is a lifestyle. Some people who are watching what they eat try to cut out everything or not eat at all. That’s not sustainable. Instead of saying, “I’ll never eat fried foods again,” try to limit fried foods to once per month.
- Stick to whole ingredients & check your ingredient labels – Don’t look at the calories, look at the sugar and oils. Try to find products with low or no sugar and healthy oils like olive oil.
- Watch out when you see “Natural Flavor” – Natural on an ingredient label just means it came from something natural; it’s still processed. Yeast extract is a huge natural flavor, and it has an addictive quality.
- Figure out what you’re craving exactly and find a happy medium – For example, my dad loves burgers, but he doesn’t care about the bun, he cares about the meat. I replaced the bun with an iceberg lettuce wrap, and he was very happy. Find out what you’re wanting and modify from there.
- Learn about where your food is coming from – Look for whole foods, which have not been stripped or manufactured. If you’re eating meat, what did the animal eat? Where is the fish sourced from?
- Control your budget – My husband and I prefer to skip fancy date nights and we’d rather spend that money on better-quality groceries. Don’t feel bad about investing in good, quality, nutritious food.
- Taste the flavor in the food – Salt wakes up your tastebuds, however, the more salt you intake, the less your body senses other flavors on its own. When I did a salt cleanse, I started to find the flavor in every ingredient. For example, most people wouldn’t think that iceberg lettuce has many flavors, but I can sit and enjoy the flavor. I challenge you to do the same.
Victoria started working with Morrison Healthcare at the end of 2020. She was hired onto the Culinary Innovation team to help with recipe creation. Her first recipe created was a Masala Vegetable Quesadilla, which includes wonderful ingredients such as garlic, onions, cauliflower rice, zucchini squash, red bell peppers, and jalapeno peppers.
A graduate of the Rouxbe program, an online culinary training platform available to our associates, Victoria said, “Rouxbe was a great way for me to become familiar with culinary fundamentals. Obviously, I understood how to cook, but Rouxbe gave me insight as to the ‘why.’ Once I understood the whys behind the techniques, I was able to take those already sound foundations and deconstruct them. Thinking of ways to replace some of the less nutritional aspects the industry has gotten fixed on doing only that one way, and substitute in a healthier alternative, all without compromising the integrity of the dish in question.”
Corporate Research and Development Chef Jay Z, who works closely with Victoria said, “She brings a dynamic side to recipe development. She complements my thought process on healthy eating and takes it to the next level. Then, we work together to bring it down to the customer level.”
“I’m so blessed to work with Chef Jeffrey and Chef Jay Z. I was at the right place and at the right time for this opportunity. I’m proud of this passion of mine, and I am never going to stop learning,” said Victoria.