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Rancho Santa Fe

Chef Jessica visit RSF Senior Center

Chef Jessica Leibovich shares healthy eating tips at the Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene
Chef Jessica Leibovich shares healthy eating tips at the Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene

RANCHO SANTA FE — Personal chef Jessica Leibovich championed a “Healthy Eating Made Easy” lecture at the RSF Senior Center on June 16. Before the class began, attendees were in for a treat by sampling Leibovich’s quinoa salad with almonds and raisins.

Leibovich is a nutritional chef and a coach. She was quick to point out that she does not diagnose people, but she’s very knowledgeable about health issues.

“So, what I do is I take the information you’ve received from your doctor(s), and then I tailor it into a lifestyle plan,” she said.

Part of this is working within one’s budget, assessing the types of grocery stores in the area, and learning what someone likes as far as meals types as well as the likings of other family members in the household.

“So, by looking at all that information, I’m very intuitive, and I can come up with a clear strategy that’s specific to that person because what works for one person is not going to work for another,” she said. “We’re not the same, and we don’t have the same life.”

Her goal at the Senior Center was to simplify and clarify healthy eating. According to Leibovich, there are many misconceptions so her mission was to produce easy solutions that would become a lifestyle as opposed to a challenge or an effort.

“If you have a very good strategy that’s clear and concise, it’s less work, less money and more enjoyable than it is to go out constantly, order takeout or search for your meals,” she said.

It comes down to finding out what works for someone based on their lifestyle as well as their health challenges. One way to do this was to simplify things.

“Sometimes we make things more complicated, and we don’t need to be so excited about every single meal,” she said. “Getting a little bit more boring with our routine is actually good for our health.”

Leibovich shared that every meal is not the last meal — and all dishes don’t always have to be amazing. Some meals should be considered for the sole purpose of nourishment, she said. Yes, dishes can taste good, but they don’t necessarily need to be the best meals of one’s life each time. With this mindset, digestion can be regulated, cravings minimized and energy increased.

“And then when we do have a special meal, it’s more fun,” she said. “It means more.”

During her talk, planning meals in advance was advised. And this also included when someone was out of town. With summer vacations underway, many rentals offer kitchens which is good news.

“Keeping in the same routine as when you’re at home is really important,” she said.

While Leibovich offered many tips, the one item she wanted attendees to walk away with was to remember that knowledge is power. Education on health issues and knowing how nutrition plays a vital role is essential, she said.