East Hampton Hosts Panel Discussion on Nutrition

Photo credit: Lisa Tamburini

Left to right: Alyson Follenius, Michele Sacconaghi, Thuyen Nguyen, Charlotte LaGuardia, Dr. Gerry Curatola, Nicole Teitler

The conversation surrounding health and nutrition has been at the forefront of individual minds since the onset of the pandemic. Now, as mask regulations ease up and America reopens its doors, the question remains: how do we not only become healthy, but stay healthy? 

On Thursday, May 20, I returned to the Hamptons to moderate a panel discussion surrounding nutrition at The Hedges Inn. It was part of Wellness East Hampton, a month-long series in East Hampton hosted by Discover the Hamptons, James Lane Post, McKenna Interactive Media, Discover Long Island, and the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce. In conversation were Thuyen Nguyen of Thuyen Skincare, Dr. Gerry Curatola of Rejuvenation Health, Charlotte LaGuardia of ThriveEast Nutrition, Hamptons Wellness Coach Alyson Follenius, and Wellness Foundation President Michele Sacconaghi. Each individual added their own take and expertise to what is an ever evolving field of study.

Nutrition is typically defined as a branch of science surrounding food and nourishment for the human body. In taking a step beyond the traditional definition, the talk touched upon the ways human health is linked to our every day world— from stress, to family ties, to the very basics of what we eat.

Here are my 5 personal takeaways from the nutrition panel discussion:

  1. The “deposit” and “withdrawal” method. Each action, especially what we consume, is either adding to our nutritional value or taking away from it.
  2. No two individuals are alike. As such, we should manage our expectations and rid the word “diet” from our vocabulary. There is no one size fits all to health.
  3. It’s possible to reverse hereditary chronic illness through healthy eating habits and awareness. We have the power to change the future of our health.
  4. Move away from continental breakfasts and include more fruits and vegetables for added variety. Pack in nutrition at the start and all throughout the day.
  5. What you eat, how you sleep, how you move all influence stress. It’s a triangle of wellness where one directly impacts the other.

Watch the full video here.

Hilaria Baldwin: Illuminating a Pathway for Wellness

(This article first appeared in the June 21, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)


Hilaria Thomas Baldwin is a supermom of three, wife of SNL’s undoubtedly favorite Trump impersonator, Alec Baldwin, and career woman taking over the wellness industry in full force.

Her Instagram account reaches over 250,000 people, each family photo somehow more adorable than the last (what can we say, she has some cute kids!). But being a mom is much more than what’s perceived on the outside. Rather, like beauty, raising happy and healthy children is about what’s inside.

“I’m very careful not to talk about weight issues with my children,” Baldwin explains. “I don’t feel like that’s appropriate at this age. I talk about being strong, and your hair growing long, being able to run really fast, sleeping well, and being in a good mood.”

Her attitude and lifestyle are what make this woman a perfect fit for this year’s Illumination Award at the Wellness Foundation’s 6th annual summer benefit being held Saturday. She co-founded Yoga Vida, a yoga studio located in Manhattan and Brooklyn and wrote The Living Clearly Method, accomplishments worthy of the Illumination Award, which is given to those lighting the wellness pathway for others.

“It’s such an incredible foundation. It’s right up my alley. Bringing awareness to health and health with children. I’m extremely honored that they thought of me,” Baldwin said.

The Wellness Foundation is dedicated to empowering children and adults with the tools needed to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Their programs are guided by scientific information to optimize nutrition, exercise and stress management.

“We love to go to Mary’s Marvelous and get the little carrot muffin,” Baldwin admitted. “I look at their entire day and I think where are we going to have the treat portion. It’s not ‘oh, here’s a lollipop.’ Because what does that do to their body in terms of their behavior? And how does that affect my life later?”

Aside from Mary’s, Baldwin and her family can be seen frequenting Provisions in Sag Harbor or the Second Nature markets in East Hampton and Southampton. Like the Wellness Foundation, she aims to cut time out of her day to help educate not only herself, but her children, about the importance of health.

“People have the best intentions … it comes from exhaustion and lack of education,” Baldwin offered, theorizing why some people don’t adopt healthy habits.

Education comes from all sorts of outlets, thanks to social media. As an expert in the field, Baldwin is proud to see the continued presence of healthy lifestyle motivation on Instagram but is weary on self-proclaimed gurus.

“It’s really about changing the world … being an influencer on Instagram is very much trying to pull people up and creating a community,” she said. “I would always tell my students ‘My job is to have you outgrow me so you won’t need me anymore.'”

Baldwin takes part in what she calls “sound moments,” anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes to do squats, walk around, anything to keep herself moving. Staying active for several moments throughout the day can sometimes be better than a single energy burst after hours of staying sedentary.

“I can’t create time … but I can teach you how to be active while doing your day,” she explained. During the telephone interview, she confessed to walking back and forth just to keep in motion.