Cleansing is a lot better with friends by your side! That’s why we’ve decided to feature local culinary artists on the blog highlighting some amazing Bikini Cleanse approved recipes. This week, we reached out to our gal Carina (aka @kalememaybe), to give us an inside scoop on the importance of a healthy food and fitness regimen. Make sure to keep reading our culinary spotlight with Carina Wolff for a tasty, Bikini Cleanse approved zoodles recipe!
BC: Hey Carina, tell us about yourself!
CW: My name is Carina Wolff and I live in Santa Monica, California. I actually do a few things as my job. First, I am a Public Relations Account Executive at a small health and beauty boutique PR firm called Spotlight Communications Group. I am also a freelance health and nutrition writer for an awesome women’s website called Bustle, where I write multiple posts weekly. Lastly, and probably most importantly, I run my own health food blog called Kale Me Maybe, where I create original, plant-based recipes and post them to Instagram as well as my blog (kalememaybe.blogspot.com).
BC: What is your background in nutrition? How did you get started?
CW: My entire life growing up, I was fed healthy food– and I hated it! My grandma and mom were always telling me why I should be eating whole wheat bread and eating my broccoli, and I just didn’t understand why. In high school, I had a rebellious stage where I would go out and eat a ton of candy and unhealthy food just because I could. Once I started living on my own in college, something in my head switched. I had heard so much about “The Freshman 15,” and I really didn’t want that to happen to me, so I started doing my own research on what foods are good for you. It was then that I started to learn the WHY of healthy eating. I started eating at the vegan food court at my college (NYU), and began getting creative with my options. When I had my own apartment the next year with a kitchen, I was so excited to have control over what I was eating. I began looking up recipes and cooking healthy food, and it felt great! Over time, I just began to become more and more curious, incorporating these foods into my diet and also reading A LOT. The key is really keeping yourself educated on what happens to your mind and body when you eat well, and what happens when you don’t. It was surprising to me how much food affects more than just your weight. It can affect your mood, your sleep, your energy levels, your immune system– you name it.
In school, I was a journalism and psychology major, but for my senior thesis, I put my focus on nutrition. I spent the entire year researching and reporting for my long-form investigative piece on using nutritional therapy to treat mood disorders. It was then that I realized how much I really loved nutrition and educating others about it. I had really begun to get creative with my healthy cooking, so I decided to put together Kale Me Maybe to help share this knowledge and creativity with others. Everything I write about is thoroughly researched, using peer-reviewed articles. I love to read, so I’m always keeping up-to-date on the latest studies on health and nutrition. And I have always been a foodie, so it’s exciting for me to try to incorporate healthy eating into making things taste amazing.
BC: How long have you been using social media for your recipes? What’s it like using this platform to spread the word on your recipes?
CW: At first, Kale Me Maybe was just a blog on Blogspot. I got a lot of positive feedback from friends and family, which was really exciting. I would pin my recipes to Pinterest, which also drove traffic, but it wasn’t until Instagram that I captured the audience I have. I have been using Instagram for over a year now, and it’s an amazingly powerful tool. I have been able to reach so many more people, and it’s so exciting seeing people recreate my recipes or tagging their friends in mine. I am able to follow so many other cool food bloggers and get ideas from them. I have even met some fellow bloggers through Instagram who are now my friends! It’s a great community where people are really passionate about educating people and sharing content. The only “con” I can really think of is it that’s a lot of work! But I can’t complain because I truly love it.
BC: How do you implement healthy eating and nutrition on a daily basis?
CW: Every morning before work, I wake up and prepare my breakfast and lunch for the day (usually what you see on Instagram). Everything I make is plant-based and filled with healthiest ingredients. I am a firm believer in eating throughout the day, because I cannot focus if I am hungry. I like to snack on dark chocolate, nuts, and other healthful foods that are also filled with antioxidants. I’m constantly online reading about the latest nutrition news (and writing articles of my own!). I keep water by my desk and drink it throughout the day to stay hydrated. I try to stay away from dairy and sweets, but of course all things in moderation. I never put restrictions on my diet, which is why I don’t put labels on myself vegan. Though I mostly cook vegan food, I love eggs, and if I want ice cream because it’s a hot day and that salted caramel looks delicious, you bet I’ll eat it. There is such a huge connection between your mental health and what you eat. It goes both ways. Eating well will help make you feel better mentally, and feeling good mentally will help you want to treat your body well.
BC: What’s your favorite meal, recipe, or cuisine?
CW: I know it sounds cliche, but one of my favorite things to eat is a kale salad! It’s just so refreshing and filling, and I know I’m doing something good for my body to eat it. I was always a HUGE pasta lover, but now that I have discovered the spiralizer, I replace my pasta obsession with vegetables noodles. It gives me that same satisfying feeling as eating a big bowl of pasta. And I can’t leave out sushi. There is nothing like the taste of fresh raw salmon with a little bit of lemon. Mmm.
BC: Do you have any nutrition advice for those on the Bikini Cleanse?
CW: Get creative! I use a lot of olive oil in my recipes, but after cooking my recipe for the cleanse, I realized it’s not always necessary! Things you don’t expect to taste good together often do.And there is always a healthy substitute. Whenever I plan a meal, I make sure I’m hitting all the food groups and filling my plate with a ton of color. If I’m eating a green salad, I throw in some tomatoes or other colorful veggies. I make sure I have some sort of protein, and I love to flavor my food with herbs and lemon. Don’t be afraid to try things that sound different to you. It’s pretty difficult to mix two things that will taste just awful together.
BC: What about fitness? Any exercises, gyms, or classes that you absolutely love?
CW: Fitness is another important component of healthy eating. When you do good things for your body, like exercising, you want to keep that good feeling going. If you’re exercising all the time, on your feet, pushing yourself, you’re not going to want to eat foods that weigh you down. I’m a huge yoga person, for many reasons. It’s a great workout, it relaxes me, and it encourages me to feel great about myself and try to be the best I can be all around. I’m also a huge outdoor lover, so I love to go on hikes. It doesn’t feel like work to me to be out in the mountains enjoying the sun and fresh air. I also love classes like cardio barre and Zumba. I used to be a dancer, so I enjoy going back to my roots, and who doesn’t love some good music?
BC: Tell us about the recipe you made for Bikini Cleanse!
CW: Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles) With Lemony Avocado Kale Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes
Zucchini noodles are such a great alternative to regular pasta! They are much lower in calories, contain a large variety of vitamins and minerals, and have a consistency pretty similar to noodles! I love pesto, and it tastes especially great with the zucchini. Pestos can typically contain a lot of fatty components such as cheese and large amounts of nuts and oil, but this one I created is made with avocado and lemon, so you don’t have to worry about eating too much! The great thing about pesto is you can mix whatever you want into it. I love using different nuts with different herbs and greens. Sometimes I don’t even use nuts, like in this recipe, and I’ll use avocado instead because it’s so creamy. I love roasting tomatoes because I think it really brings out their flavor, but it’s also healthier to eat cooked tomatoes, as it increases your absorption of an important carotene called lycopene that helps fight cancer.
2 medium, organic zucchinis
1/2 ripe avocado
1 clove raw garlic
3/4 cup fresh basil
1 large leaf of organic kale
2 small Meyer lemons
3/4 cup organic, cherry tomatoes
Black pepper to taste
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Spiralizer (I use the Paderno)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and dry your tomatoes, and slice them in half. Place on a baking sheet over aluminum foil and drizzle 1/4 tsp. EVOO over them. Place in oven and roast for 15-20 minutes.
2. Wash and dry your zucchinis. Slice the ends off of each, and cut in half crosswise. Spiralize according to your spiralizer. (If you have the Paderno, Inspiralized has a great tutorial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg2UpyanG7s)
3. Heat 3/4 tsp EVOO in a pan. Transfer zucchini noodles to the pan,tossing them in the oil. Cook for about 5 minutes or so, or until soft, tossing every minute or so.
4. To make pesto: Chop your garlic. Put garlic, avocado, basil leaves, and broken up kale leaves into the blender. Squeeze both lemons into the blender. Blend until smooth.
5. Pour your pesto over noodles and toss so they’re covered. Top with cherry tomatoes and black pepper. Use basil leaves as garnish, if desired!
Tags: bikini cleanse, bikini ready, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, weight loss, zoodles, zucchini recipe
**Give Carina some love and make sure to follow her on Instagram at @kalememaybe