One of the perks of my job as a food writer, recipe developer & blogger is trips to learn & eat & spa. Yes, I said eat and I said spa. Myself & a group of fab bloggers gazed upon this image of a fruit bowl as we munched al fresco breakfastin sunny Westlake Village, California for a trip to Dole.
These paintings epitomize wellness & beauty. What is one of the biggest ways to achieve that? A healthy diet filled with fruits and veggies. This artwork can be found adorning the walls at the giant spa within the California Health & Longevity Institute inside the Four Seasons hotel. This institute is located across the street from the Dole headquarters. They started it to help educate people on a life full of wellness & nutrition.
From the moment we stepped foot into the world of Dole we were kept busy with information on the companies history, mission and current projects. Blogging trips are mixed with education, fun & mixed opinions. It is always interesting to discuss food with bloggers & to hear the brands promote their products & ideas. Dole is a giant company that corners the market with fruit & vegetable growing and imports.
I found myself mesmerized by the vintage textiles throughout the hotel. My background is in textile design so I felt the urge to take photos of the wall papers and fabrics. And then I needed to re-color them because thats how I roll.
The schedule for the day included cooking demos, information about Dole products, tastings, a blogger cook-off and a blissful spa treatment and life balance treatment at the hotel spa. I had a massage (well needed) & my first acupuncture treatment. I have to say the needles freaked my out a bit – especially the ones in my tummy.
Learning & Re-Comfirming the Obvious
At MarlaMeridith.com I always encourage you to eat healthy, whole food ingredients. The fresher, the better. Real food Fast-Not Fast Food. Hence, the self portrait I have floating around everywhere.
It was fun to learn from the folks at Dole. The company has a long history of growing fruits and veggies. Below I have listed a few points to remember when choosing your fruits and veggies.
- Eat the rainbow: Fill your plates & recipes with as many colors of fruits & veggies you can. Within those beautiful hues lies many different vitamins & minerals unique to that piece of produce.
- Organic: Source organic ingredients when you can find them & they are affordable. Dole is the largest importer of organic bananas. We are bananas for that over here.
- Volume: Fill your plates with mostly veggies, then add small amounts of protein & healthy fats to add flavor & help satisfy.
- Portion control: Read labels & pay attention to portion sizes when it comes to your proteins and fats. Remember the proper size of animal protein is a deck of cards. A single serving of full fat cheese is one ounce.
- Measure: To learn proper portion sizes don’t be shy to use a kitchen scale. I do.
- Balance: If you have a 3-4 ounce piece of fuller fat steak or burger perhaps skip the cheese. If you go with a chicken breast, eat the cheese. Play around with ratios & be mindful.
Follow Dole for Updates
Here are a few ways you can keep up on new product information and health & wellness tips.
- @dolenutrition– serves as Dole’s corporate handle, incorporating Dole Food Company, Inc., Dole Fresh Fruit and the Dole Nutrition Institute.
- @DOLESaladGuide – serves as Dole Fresh Vegetables’ handle.
There are three DOLE Facebook accounts:
- www.facebook.com/dole (Dole Food Company, Inc.)
- www.facebook.com/DOLEBananas (Dole Fresh Fruit – primarily bananas)
- www.facebook.com/DOLESaladGuide(Dole Fresh Vegetables – primarily salads)
Bloggers Who Attended
It is always wonderful to spend time with great friends & colleagues. These gals work their tails off to bring us fabulous recipes, gorgeous photos & divine inspiration daily! Here are their blogs and @Twitter handles.
- Shaina Olmanson Food for My Family @FoodforMyFamily
- Jennifer Leal Savoring the Thyme @SavorTheThyme
- Brooke McClay Cheeky Kitchen @CheekyKitchen
- Kathy Patalsky The Lunchbox Bunch@lunchboxbunch
- Anne-Marie Nichols This Mama Cooks! @amnichols
- Katie Goodman Good Life Eats@GoodLifeEats
- Sandy Coughlin Reluctant Entertainer @SandyCoughlinRE
- Anne Petraeus Fannetastic Food @fANNEtasticfood
- Maria Lichty Two Peas and Their Pod @TwoPeasandPod
- Jenny Flake Picky Palate @PickyPalate
- Marla Meridith MarlaMeridith.com@MarlaMeridith
- Gena Hamshaw Choosing Raw@choosingraw
- Shanna Coady My Favorite Everything@MyFavEverything
- Amanda BottomsKevin and Amanda@kevinandamanda
- Lorin Falcon A Cowboy’s Wife @acowboyswife
- Amanda Acuna Mommy Mandy @mommymandy
- Susan Whetzel She’s Becoming DoughMesstic @doughmesstic
- Rachael Hutchings La Fuji Mama @LaFujiMama
- Carrie Vitt Deliciously Organic @delorganic
Link Up Your Dole Posts Here
MarlaMeridith.com Full Disclosure: This trip including the meals, spa treatments & post were sponsored by Dole. The opinions expressed are my own and should be taken as such. The content for this blog are carefully selected to fit the overall message of our mission.