In Conversation: Well + Good

Is calorie counting so last year? On Tuesday, March 3rd STORY at Macy’s hosted Melisse Gelula, co-founder of Well+Good, and a panel of nutrition experts to discuss the new era of eating. 

Left to right: Gelula, Knauer, Dr. Tate, Maffucci

In conversation was Ali Maffucci, Founder + CEO of Inspiralized, registered dietitian Molly Knauer, and Doctor of Behavioral Nutrition Chinara Tate. Together, the women debunked the myth that calorie is king and focused on a new mindful way of eating.

Here are some key points that I took away from the conversation:

  • Calories are not nutrients, so comparing 100 calories of almonds to a 100 calorie cookie isn’t the same. What we feed our bodies should be determined by nutritional value instead. “Nourishment is devoid of judgement,” Dr. Tate pointed out, “It’s meant to pleasure you and isn’t about the good vs bad.”
  • Eating is not a one size fits all mentality and we shouldn’t base our habits on the habits of others. Veganism isn’t for everyone, nor is keto, going carb free, etc etc. What works for one might not work for you. The takeaway is to experiment with different eating styles and find what fits.
  • New York City, and major cities in general, are a hotbed for hyper information. Our minds are being supersaturated by wellness market trends, making it difficult to keep up sometimes. Is coffee good for you? Is a glass of wine a day healthy? My answer to both of those questions is always yes, research be damned. So, while it’s important to stay informed, it’s crucial to learn the difference between trends and facts.
  • The food market has wised up with target marketing. As consumers, we need to wise up to what we’re being fed, literally and figuratively. At the end of the day, organic, non-GMO gummy bears are still gummy bears.
  • Shop the perimeter of your grocery store and avoid the center sections. The real foods, those with an expiration date, are located in the refrigerator or freezer sections while processed foods, those with additives meant to last longer, typical sit in the middle.
  • To become a smarter consumer look at who you’re following on social media and pay attention to a company’s ethos. Smaller brands have bigger voices through the everyday consumer posting genuine feedback while bigger brands tend to follow the values of the founder/CEO. A good example of this is Kind Brands CEO Daniel Lubetzky.
  • Take time to pause and become a mindful eater. Staring at a screen, such as your computer or smartphone, takes the focus away from what you’re consuming. When we switch our attention to our meal, and those around us, we are eating intuitively. We’re pausing, conversing, and focusing on what enters our body. Doing this allows our body, and stomach, to speak to us more clearly.
  • Apps recommended by the experts: Woop (Gelula) Headspace (Knauer), Sweat, Think Dirty (Maffucci), and Pinterest (Tate).


What do you think about this conversation? Is there a topic you’re more curious about? Add in your comments or questions below.


Daily Fitness: Organic Ways to Detox

This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper


Summer is around the corner. From the remainder of cold days, it’s common to indulge in unhealthy eating (and drinking) habits. Yet, after so many days or weeks on end, eventually the body needs a restart to a more sustainable lifestyle. Hence, a brief detox.

I’m not one for gimmicky cleanses or adding a slew of ingredients to my body that I can barely pronounce. Rather, I prefer going to the supermarket, or farmers market, and picking up foods that Mother Nature created to naturally help restart my body. If you’re feeling like you need a jumpstart on healthier habits or a quick detox, here are some foods to pick up the next time you’re at the store.

To help with your stomach, pick up grapefruit, guacamole, hibiscus and white teas, turmeric, lemons, and ginger. My personal favorite go-to for a quick pick-me up when I’m feeling sick is blending carrots, oranges, lemon, ginger, and turmeric. I immediately feel a boost of energy.

Coffee addict? Add cinnamon to your cup of joe. In addition to its nice flavor, cinnamon is high in antioxidants and retains anti-inflammatory properties. With this said, while coffee does have benefits, it will dehydrate you.

Water is everything, and the most common way to flush out toxins. If you need help upping your water intake, try adding lemon or other freshly squeezed juice to carbonated water for a soda feel.

Boost your metabolism by consuming egg whites, chili peppers, coffee, green tea, lentils, celery, spinach, lean proteins, and fish.

Other ways to help rest your organs are periods of intermittent fasting — between 12 and 16 hours —which can benefit your health and help you lose weight.

While it’s always advised to eat healthier to maintain long lasting benefits, sometimes your body just needs a casual reminder of what the proper fuel is. Overall, make sure you consult a doctor before any drastic changes in eating habits, and try to choose organic foods as much as possible.


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Daily Fitness: Juicing at The Giving Room

(This article originally appeared in the August 23, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)


Black Dragon. Sunburst. Lotus. These are just some of the countless juices offered at The Giving Room, an organic grocery and juice bar located in Southold.

In 2010, the Giving Room opened its doors on the North Fork. At the time, it shared a wall with a boxing studio and acted as a community space for yoga classes. Only four years later, the Giving Room expanded to include an all-encompassing health lifestyle shop.

Paula DiDonato, the company’s founder, left her full time job at AmEx corporate in Manhattan to pursue a life of wellness; more than for herself but for an entire community.

“Everything about this place is organic in terms of how it developed,” DiDonato said as we ordered our freshly made juices.

“By looking for a peaceful place that helped me become healthy on every level — spiritually, emotionally, physically — I started to learn about yoga and well-being. Our clients taught me a lot, so I have a really strong interest in what we’re offering.”

Looking around I saw everything from green cleaning products to local jams. The shelves were filled with food products such as nuts and granola, stored in glass jars to help reduce waste and eliminate the plastic.

The shop’s loyal customers include both a local contingency and the summer crowds.

As the blender silenced in the background, three colorfully filled glasses came out, lined up at once.

“The idea is really to continue a healthy lifestyle,” DiDonato said. “To compliment it, we introduced a very small juice bar as a way for people to enjoy something light, organic, and fresh after class.” As I reached for my first sip of the gorgeous purple fluid in my glass, DiDonato continued. “They all have different elements that are healthy for you, that are also enjoyable and delicious.”

Black Dragon, made with orange juice, blueberries, strawberries, turmeric, ginger, and protein, is probably best for the morning, pre-or-post workout.

Wendy Chapman, a resident of the area since 1998, entered the store for her traditional fix. “This is the best thing that ever happened on the North Fork,” she said. “It’s the best place in town because of the warmth and the friendliness.” She sees the next drink in my line of beverages and asks for a sip.

The Sunburst, a refreshingly light and summery taste with carrot, apple, orange, pineapple, lemon, and turmeric is perfect for a hot day, or after good sweat sesh.

DiDonato certainly lives an organic life but admits that modern medicine is essential in addition to natural remedies. Of course, since her yoga certification five years ago, this entrepreneur hasn’t been on prescriptions due to the liquid nourishments she’s created. And she’s sharing, or better yet creating, all her secrets.

Her personal favorite is the XXX. It has cucumber, celery, ginger, lemon, kale, parsley, dandelion, spinach with extra lemon, extra ginger and extra turmeric: “Everything you need to help the body function optimally.”

Last in line was the traditional “green drink.” The Lotus was a cleansing beverage my body immediately thanked me for. With kale, pineapple, green apple, and ginger, it’s a sweet spin on an earthy liquid.

As DiDonato handed me refilled mason jars for my “juice cleanse,” I reached for a sweet finish of Ali Katz Small Batch Baking chocolate chip cookies. The Giving Room is the room that keeps on giving!

What’s next for the Giving Room? Aside from continued participation in loyalty juice programs, DiDonato and her team of superwomen are playing with tastes like rosemary, oregano, and other herbs with strong antibiotic properties.

They currently offer private parties in the studio or in the comfort of your own home with a yoga instructor, props, music, and a choice of juice or smoothie. There is also yoga for all levels, 85-degree hot yoga, meditation classes, and the Ellen Herman barre method and Pilates program, where exercise meets dance.

The Giving Room is located at 56215 Main Rd., Southold and is open seven days a week, year-round. Call 631-765-6670 or visit

May your glass overflow with goodness and your mind be at peace. Cheers!