Spotlight On: Eleni Ottalagana

December 12, 2013


Eleni Ottalagana

Former Student

What does health mean to you?: I look at health as something that completes a person emotionally, physically and mentally. Health to me does not mean focusing in on the minor details of obsessing over the small things in life. I have learned stress plays a major role emotionally and physically.

What do you do to make a Healthy UNH?: To make a healthy UNH, I have reached out to students by sharing my knowledge on nutrition and work out plans. As a nutrition and ecogastronomy dual major, I have done events at the dining halls promoting local, clean and fair trade food to students. With the amazing crew at Holloway Commons, I was able to feature some authentic Greek recipes passed down through my family. These meals are healthy and seem extravagant but are created with simple ingredients. I have also done videos on featured nutrition topics, written blog articles and designed healthy meals with the foods in the dining halls, which were all made available to students through the Nutrition and Wellness UNH Page on Facebook. In my spare time I share my recipes and eating tips through social media with friends on Instagram. (Feel free to follow!)

How do you stay fit?: I grew up going to dance classes 4-5 times a week. Now that I lead a very busy schedule the activities I once enjoyed are harder to take part in. Within the last few years I have started yoga, doing high intensity interval training workouts for 15-20 minutes or Pilates. I usually do an interval workout 3 times a week with muscle building by incorporating weights with a Pilates workout. The other 3 days I usually do a flow yoga workout 30-45 minutes and take a rest day. I’ll do “yin” yoga, which is targeted more to stretch out the body and relax the mind 7 days a week with a varying time of 15-60 minutes if I have the time! For my workouts, I usually just put a DVD in my computer or subscribe to free workout channels online. All I have to do is make space in my room to perform the workout. Whenever there is a clear sky, warm or cold, I like to be outside hiking, rollerblading or biking.

Do you have any tips for eating healthfully?: I am conscious of my food and make healthy choices. I think that cooking and buying as much fresh and organic as much as possible is great. Eating healthfully should allow for all types of non-processed food. I love to make my own granola bars, trail mixes and hummus. These are easy snacks to make that are cheap, healthy and free of artificial ingredients that are available throughout my busy days. Limit foods with ingredients that you can’t pronounce, enjoy foods in season like colorful vegetables and fruits and remember food is medicine. Give your body what it needs to function and what it needs to fuel your brain.

How do you find motivation to stay healthy?: My day would feel incomplete without balanced meals and exercise. I am a morning person; I love to get up, make a cup of Detox Yogi tea and start a day with yoga or a quick workout. I always make sure I have a good breakfast with protein, fruit and whole grains. This gives me so much energy throughout the day. Being healthy makes me feel great mentally and physically. I also find motivation through friends; I love to include friends in hikes or cooking a meal.

Have you made any tangible improvements to your physical or mental well-being by making positive changes in your life?: I have improved my health by nourishing my body with whole foods. I make most of my meals from scratch and utilize different food groups to create a complete and delicious meal. I do not cut out any foods or stick to any strict regimes. I have found workouts that I enjoy that are not harsh on my body. I have found complete balance through a mind, body connection.

Anything else you would like to add?: You can’t go wrong maintaining a healthy lifestyle! Even being healthy you can eat sweets, enjoy your favorite dishes and be lazy sometimes. The key to life is balance. You can’t ride the roller coaster forever. The ups and downs of different diets and extreme changes do not work. I may be passionate about nutrition and see leading a healthy lifestyle as easy but I guarantee that anyone can find one aspect of health and enjoy it!

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